This afternoon I spoke in the opposition day debate on persistent school absence and the impact on children and young people’s education. 

In my intervention, I urged the Schools Minister, Damian Hinds MP, to address the challenges faced by young carers and the way in which their caring responsibilities should be recognised to improve both their attendance and their wider education experience.  

I told him: 

“According to the 2021 census, there are over 197,000 young carers under the age of 18. That is recognised to be an underestimate, so when 85% of headteachers told the school census that they had no young carers in their school, that only illustrated how those carers are unrecognised within the system.  

Evidence submitted to the inquiry held by the all-party parliamentary group on young carers and young adult carers said that young carers have double the persistent absence rate of their peers—41.6%—but they are not recognised in the Department for Education’s guidance on working together to improve school attendance.  

When this debate has finished, will the Minister go away and review that guidance, and would he consider requiring all schools to have a lead for young carers in the way that they do for SEN, to make sure they are no longer unrecognised within our system?” 

You can watch our exchange below, and you can read the Minister’s reply here.  

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