A REPORT from a Dorset-based charity has underlined the challenges and disadvantages faced by young carers in education.

MYTIME Young Carers found that, when compared to their peers, young carers aged 5-11 perform ‘significantly below’ age-related expectations in maths, reading and writing.

The charity’s report is the first of its kind in considering the link between primary school age children with caring responsibilities and attendance and attainment.

It also highlights the link between those children with caring responsibilities and low- or no-income families.

The reports key findings showed that, in participating schools, 27 per cent of young carers were persistently absent from school, compared to 12 per cent of their other peers.

Bournemouth Echo: Krista Cartlidge, CEO of MYTIME Young Carers.

Forty-four per cent of young carers receive free school meals, while 55 per cent are allocated Pupil Premium and 32 per cent are on the SEND register.

This is in comparison to 17 per cent, 20 per cent and 18 per cent respectively of their peers without caring responsibilities.

In their attainment, 51 per cent of children with care responsibilities hit age-related expectations in reading, 39 per cent in writing and 49 per cent in maths, compared to 70, 63 and 73 per cent of their peers.

The report noted that young carers are not recognised as a separate disadvantaged group, while many do form part of other groups, like those receiving free school meals.

It said that they are a ‘distinct subset of pupils with specific educational needs’.

“As most schools are unaware of the number of pupils in their school that have caring responsibilities and unaware of the relationship between caring, low/no income and attainment, the majority will not divert pupil premium funding to support those who are young carers,” the report said.

The charity said these figures were important to note, as the report’s finding show the potential impact on children’s futures.

Krista Cartlidge, CEO of the charity said: “The findings of our report underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions and systemic changes to ensure young carers receive the support they deserve.

“Education is a fundamental right, yet many young carers are being denied equitable access and opportunities due to systemic barriers.”

The full report can be read on the MYTIME Young Carers website.