Leading the way in Hampshire, Applemore College has received two awards to recognise their outstanding work in supporting their students’ wellbeing.
Applemore College is the only Hampshire School to receive a Silver Young Carers in Schools Award and has also been awarded the AcSEED Award for emotional wellbeing and mental health support in schools.
Led by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society’s Young Carers in Focus partnership, and funded by The Queen’s Trust and Big Lottery Fund, Young Carers in Schools has been developed with teachers and school staff to make it as easy as possible for schools to support young carers and reward good practice.
Roland Marsh, Head Teacher of Applemore College says: “We are delighted to have won a silver award for our work with young carer students.
We want all our students to participate fully, including those with caring responsibilities. The Young Carers in Schools programme has been an insightful process, helping us to understand the signs that a student may be a young carer, and identify the support that might be appropriate.”
Young carers are responsible for emotional, practical or physical care for a parent, sibling or other family member who has a long term illness, physical disability, mental health issue or substance misuse problem.
Research reveals that there could be 700,000 young carers in England, equivalent to one in 12 school children many of whom are unrecognised and unsupported.
Through a Family Support Questionnaire, 32 young carers have identified themselves to Applemore College staff, asked for help and been provided with support from peers, staff and outside organisations as needed.
Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, says: “We are delighted to be able to honour schools who have done so much to help the young carers they have. Schools play a vital role in a young carer’s life, but many care for relatives without their teachers even knowing what they do.
On average young carers will miss half a day of school each fortnight as a result of their caring role, so the steps schools take to identify and support them can have a huge impact on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.”
The AcSEED Award is a quality assurance mark presented to schools that have made a substantial effort to support the mental health of their students.
It encourages and rewards the provision of high quality emotional wellbeing services, from the broad provision of information right through to appropriately targeted intervention.
The AcSEED assessment team were particularly impressed with Applemore College’s involvement in the New Forest Mental Health in Education initiative with CAMHS and the school’s links with external organisations such as Heads Up (Solent MIND).
They also commended student support groups such as Applemore College’s ‘Chill and Chat’ Group for Young Carers which meets fortnightly at lunchtime and the ‘help box’ in the library where any student can post a worry, concern or request help from peer mentors or staff.
Student Support Manager, Heidi Kavanagh explains that whilst there is a very good student support team at Applemore College “it is actually the whole staff team, including form tutors, our librarian, the learning support and reception staff that make the difference, with everyone prepared to go that extra mile to care for our students.
We are very proud that our work has been recognised with these National Awards.”