Department for Education written question – answered on 17th December 2018
Judith Cummins Labour, Bradford South
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of formally identifying young adult carers as a vulnerable group in order to give them full access to the 16-19 bursary.
Anne Milton Minister of State (Education)
It is very important that we make sure that young carers can participate in education and receive the support they need. However, financial need will vary significantly from family to family.
The department keeps under review the use of the 16-19 Bursary Fund to inform our understanding of whether it is providing effective support to our most economically disadvantaged students.
The defined vulnerable groups eligible for particular support from the 16-19 Bursary Fund are groups that generally do not receive financial support from their families. Young carers can receive help from the discretionary element of the 16-19 Bursary Fund, which is made available to education and training institutions. It is their role to determine which young people need bursaries and the level of financial support required to enable these students to participate.
Young carers are able to discuss their particular needs with their school or college, which can then provide appropriate individualised support. Government guidance for those institutions is very clear about the need to encourage young carers to apply for the bursary fund, to reassure them about confidentiality and to consider whether they need extra help because of their caring responsibilities. Our view is that institutions are best placed to assess the needs of young carers, rather than making a decision at national level.