School when you are a young carer
Your life outside school can have an impact on your time when you're in school. There are always people who can help if you can talk to them. You could call our cancer support specialists for advice.
Written by people who've been in your shoes
The advice in this section has been written by people who are under 18 and caring for someone with cancer. You can download their complete handbook - A guide for young people looking after someone with cancer [PDF, 2.52 MB].
For some of us, going to school was a welcome relief. It meant that we could see our friends and forget about our problems for a few hours. For others, going to school meant that we were away from the person we were caring for, and it made us worry. Some of us got bullied at school, which was horrible. But all of us agree that if you tell your school that you’re caring for someone with cancer, it will be far easier to get support if and when you need it.
As a young carer, you may find that you don’t have as much time to do your homework as you did before. After school, you may be cooking meals or doing housework, or you may just not feel up to it. Try to take each day as it comes. If you’re finding it hard to concentrate at home, is there another place that you can go to do your work? Perhaps a relative or friend’s house?
If you’re worried that you might be falling behind, you can ask a young carers’ worker or a family member to talk to your school about your homework. It may be possible for the school to look at the amount of work that they give you, to make it easier to handle.
You’ll probably have a few favourite teachers. And you may have a few that you really don’t like. You may not want to tell your teachers that you’re helping care for someone, but if they know, they may be able to help you. For example, if you’re struggling at school or with homework, or you need time off, they’ll understand.
Finding the time to balance caring and going to school can be hard. Sometimes you may feel like you need to take a day off to look after the person you care for. Or you may struggle to get into school on time. If these things happen often, speak to a teacher or someone who works at your school. They should be able to arrange support for you or the person you care for, so that you don’t need to miss school. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the school yourself, you can ask a family member or young carers’ worker to do this for you.
Bullies pick on people who are different to them. If you’re a young carer, you may find that you’re the target of bullying.
If you’re being bullied because of your situation at home, it’s important that you don’t blame yourself. Talk to someone about it. Tell your school. Perhaps they could arrange to teach a lesson about cancer. It may help your classmates and teachers understand more about your situation.