School or college

For some young carers, going to school or college is a welcome relief. It means that you can see friends and forget about your problems for a few hours. For others, going to school means being away from the person that you are looking after, and this can make you worry.

Not everyone will have the same experience. But telling your school that you are looking after someone with cancer will make it far easier to get support if you need it.

Young carers’ services can also speak to your school for you. There will be someone at school who can make sure you don’t have to go through this alone, and some schools have extra help for young carers.

Some things you might be worried about are:

  • getting to school on time
  •  finding it difficult to concentrate
  • doing homework and keeping up with school work
  • finding it hard being away from the person you look after.

Telling your school about your worries or problems can help them support you. For example, you could ask if you can contact the person you look after during lunchtimes.

Keeping up with homework

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 are finding it hard to concentrate at home, think about whether there is another place that you can go to do your homework. This could be a relative or friend’s house, or a school or homework club.

If you are worried that you might be falling behind, you can ask a young carer worker or a family member to talk to your school about your homework. It may be possible for the school to give you a bit less homework, to make things easier.

The teacher spoke about cancer in assembly which made a difference. Now my brother is treated like a king and has made lots of friends.

Ryan, 13

Talking to your teachers

You may not want to tell your teachers that you are looking after someone with cancer. But if they know, they may be able to help you. There might be a few teachers who you really like and trust, so you could start by talking to them. Or you could tell other members of staff at the school who you trust.

Missing school

Balancing 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 with cancer. Or you may struggle to get to school on time. If these things happen, speak to a teacher or someone who works at your school. They may be able to help you get support for yourself and your family. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the school yourself, you can ask a family member or young carer worker to do this for you.

If you are being bullied

Bullies often pick on people who are different to them. If you are a young carer, you may find that you are the target of bullying.

If you are being bullied because of your situation at home, it is important not to blame yourself. Talk to someone about it. Tell your school. Perhaps they could arrange to teach a lesson about cancer. This may help your classmates and teachers understand more about your situation.

Young carers’ services can also offer support, and we have contact details for organisations that can help. You may be able to talk to other young carers who have experienced bullying.

You could tell your teachers about the website Kidscape, where they can download an anti-bullying resource for teachers, created by Kidscape and Carers Trust.