YOUNG people who juggle school alongside caring responsibilities told a conference about the things they wished their teachers understood.

The Dorset charity MYTIME Young Carers held the county’s first summit to bring young people together with teachers, council officials and the world’s leading expert on young carers.

Dorset has 600 registered young carers – but it has been estimated that one young person in 10 has a caring responsibility, so the county’s real number of young carers could be 10,000.

The education summit ended with the top messages the young carers wanted to send to professionals – including “I’m tired”, “There’s a reason I’m easily distracted”, “I often feel different and alone” and “Being around other young carers is a relief”.

Young carers can find it difficult to finish homework, get to school on time or attend regularly.

If they are worried about a relative, or experiencing high levels of stress at home, they may struggle to concentrate in class.

As a result, they achieve on average nine grades lower at GCSE than their peers.

Lara, a young carer from Dorset, said: “I’ve been caring for my mum since I was about four. It’s been hard to keep up with homework and I’m always getting detentions.”

Her brother, Bradley, said: “Sometimes there are more pressing things to do than homework when you’re caring for someone.”

Professor Saul Becker, deemed the world’s top expert on young carers, said: “Hearing the stories of young carers and seeing so many representatives from educational establishments attend was incredible. It’s so important to raise awareness of the challenges young carers face and the steps that educators can take to support them.”

Other speakers at the event, held at Bournemouth University, included Ben Antell, regional director for United Learning; Samantha Viney, principal of Glenmoor and Winton Academies; and Jane Pope, pastoral care worker and young carer champion at Burton CofE Primary School.

Krista Sharp, chief executive of Poole-based MYTIME Young Carers, said: “The purpose of the summit was to bring together teachers, people from the voluntary sector, academics from universities and people from local authorities to essentially upskill them on who young carers are and what they wish their teachers knew.

“I was a teacher for 13 years and I never had any training on who young carers were and how to identify them and support them in my classroom.

“I realised I had probably been punishing the carers inadvertently for their caring role.”

She added: “The legacy is that the professionals that were in the room would go back to their roles and responsibilities in schools and local authorities with a better understanding of young carers but also with a series of strategies that they know will work.”

'What I wish my teachers knew': The 10 messages young carers delivered to professionals:

I don’t get much time for myself.

I’m tired.

There’s a reason for my behaviour.

There’s a reason I’m easily distracted.

I don’t always know what I need

We’re all different.

I’ve developed lots of skills through caring.

It’s frustrating when you tell me it’ll all be OK.

I often feel different and alone.

Being around other young carers is a relief.