To ask Her Majesty's Government what help they have arranged for school-aged young carers who cannot attend schools because they are self-isolating with parents who have vulnerable conditions.
Ensuring that vulnerable children and young people, including young carers, are protected and supported is a top priority for this government. That is why we have included young carers as a target group for our new See, Hear, Respond service. It will provide a range of support, including online counselling or therapy, and will help identify children who would most benefit from extra support so that they can reintegrate into school in September. In addition, the government will shortly be publishing advice for young people with caring responsibilities, which will include information and guidance on how and where they can get help and support, including for those who cannot currently attend school.
We are committed to ensuring that any pupil who cannot yet return to school continues to learn at home. Schools know their pupils best, including those with caring responsibilities, and we have been clear that school leaders should use their resources, particularly pupil premium funding, to support pupils who have particular needs because of their home circumstances. This will include young carers and pupils who have a social worker. We are working with a range of partners, including the Education Endowment Foundation, to explore how schools can best help their disadvantaged pupils to make up lost ground. Our latest guidance on remote education during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here:
The government has committed over £100 million to support children to access remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers. We have ordered laptops and tablets for children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in year 10, those receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. We are providing over 50,000 4G wireless routers to disadvantaged children with a social worker in secondary school, care leavers and children in year 10 who do not have access to a suitable internet connection through other means. We are also ensuring every school that needs it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education. We are offering peer support through the EdTech Demonstrator schools programme – with leading schools and colleges helping others to make the best use of available technology to teach pupils remotely.
The department is continuing to assess the potential impact of school closure on children and young people’s mental health and attainment. We are working closely with schools and colleges, sector organisations, the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England to understand the risks to academic attainment, mental health and wellbeing and identify the children and young people that may need support.