We were privileged to receive an invitation to participate in this year's ASCL pastoral conference held in Birmingham.
The ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders) “is the leading professional association and trade union for all school, college and trust leaders.” With the aim and vision of all young people receiving high quality education, the ASCL support and represent more than 25,000 of its members, all leaders of primary, secondary, and post-16 education from across the UK.
The Pastoral Conference was a chance for these leaders and members, as well as invited guests, to exchange ideas, stories, and information, to strengthen systems and processes, and enable improvements to the education system. With the aim of promoting and adopting a proactive rather than reactive response to competing educational demands.
ASCL members include:
- Executive Headteachers
- CEOs of multi-academy trusts
- Heads of School
- Deputy Heads and Vice Principals
- Assistant Heads/Assistant Principals
- School Business Managers/Business Leaders
- Finance Directors and CFOs
- Colleagues with strategic whole school/college or cross-trust responsibilities
One such response was from Andy McGowan from national Carers Trust, whom has been working with the Department of Education, advocating for, and raising the profile of young and young adult carers. It was his work that instigated our presence at the conference and securing a dedicated time slot for the voices of young and young adult carers to be heard, and to shed light on the barriers that carers face in the education system.
On behalf of young adult carers, Caleb spoke from his personal experience and gave an impassioned speech to all members in attendance. He highlighted the disparities he experienced between a college that actively supported his education development and growth, and a secondary school which seldom acknowledged his caring responsibilities.
His experiences were then echoed by a young carer, Christopher, representing Carers Trust Heart of England, and together they gave a hard-hitting insight into the struggles and barriers affecting young and young adult carers across the UK.
Both Caleb and Christopher received a rapturous response from those in attendance and we could not be any prouder of the two of them for giving their personal accounts in a professional and deeply effecting manner.
Together, their heartfelt stories gave the spotlight and microphone to all the hidden and silent young carers across the country.
Find the help you need
If you are caring for someone and have not came forward as an unpaid carer (receiving benefits doesn’t count as being paid), then you need to reach out.
We know it can be hard to start a new journey but you will be supported every step of the way.