Gordon has spoken in the Commons to praise Blackpool Carers and also used the debate to ask how the Government were supporting young carers in schools and colleges.
In his question to Edward Timpson MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, he asked: “What guidance her Department issues to schools, colleges and other educational institutions on identifying young carers?”
Mr Timpson responded saying: “Since 2011 we have worked with the Children’s Society and the Carers Trust to develop good practice materials for schools in order to increase teachers’ awareness of issues affecting young carers, including those relating to identification.
In preparation for the introduction of the new young carers duty this April, we are planning to invite bids for the development of further materials to help school staff to understand and respond better to the needs of young carers.”
Gordon then went on to praise Blackpool Carers, highlighting their fantastic work and in particular the work they do for Young Carers, making reference to Lauren Codling, their Young Carers Champion as an example.
In his question to the minister, he commented further: “Given that the trust has identified 450 young carers and the last Blackpool census revealed the existence of more than 1,000, the trust believes that a statutory duty is urgently required to help young carers, schools and colleges to do things that they could and should be doing.
“There are good links between our college and Blackpool council, but the carers group has spoken to Ofsted about inspections only once in the last eight years. Looked-after children benefit from a statutory duty; why should not young carers do so as well?”
The Government minister replied saying he was aware of the “superb” work done by Blackpool Carers, adding: “The identification of those carers, and the support that we give them, are vital to ensuring that they have the childhood that they deserve, at the same time as taking on a role that is often beyond their years.
“That is why we have introduced the new duty, and why we are working closely with charities in Blackpool and in Cheshire East—where I have also met young carers—to ensure that they continue to receive the support that we need.
“However, when we inspect those services, we need to be confident that the outcomes for young carers are measured in a way that demonstrates that the duty that we have introduced is having a discernible effect, and we continue to pay attention to that.”