Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Attendance, achievement and participation: Young carers’ experiences of school in Australia


Schools play an important part in the lives of children and young people who have caring responsibilities for a family member with an illness, disability, alcohol or other drug problem or mental health condition but many of these ‘young carers’ report difficulty in attending, achieving and participating in education. This qualitative research project aimed to gather young carers’ views about school, the challenges they face in engaging with education and their peers, and ways that the system might better support others like them. It found that significant caring responsibilities, a lack of appropriate and responsive support services to meet family needs and a lack of awareness and understanding within the education system significantly reduced young carers’ capacity to fully engage with their learning. Young carers in the study called for more assistance in caring for their relatives, more flexibility and responsiveness to their home lives within the design and delivery of education, and better processes for identifying and responding to the challenges they encounter in participating in the life of the school community.