The government is committed to supporting young carers so that they are properly protected from excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities and supported to achieve their full potential.
We know that consistent identification of young carers remains challenging, which is why we have funded the Carers Trust to review and disseminate best practice in the identification of young carers - this commitment was set out in the Carers Action Plan 2018-20. The Children in Need review is also identifying how to spread best practice on raising educational outcomes of children in need, including those young carers assessed as being in need.
The department provides schools with £2.4 billion each year in additional funding through the pupil premium to support disadvantaged pupils; each eligible pupil attracts £1,320 to primary schools and £935 to secondary schools. Eligibility for the pupil premium is based largely on current or past claims for free school meals. Some research with young carers aged 14-16 suggested that around 60% already attract the pupil premium through their eligibility for free school meals.
We expect schools to make effective use of their pupil premium and do not tell them how to use it. Schools know their pupils best and will spend the grant to meet pupils needs, which may include needs arising from a caring role. Schools are held to account for their pupil premium use through school inspection and information in performance tables, and most schools are required to publish details about their pupil premium strategy and its impact. These are national programmes of work which will benefit young carers across England. The department is not undertaking regional programmes at this time.
We recognise, however, that there are issues that are specific to the North East around education and employment prospects for children and young people. That is why, in October 2018, the department committed £24 million to Opportunity North East, in order to tackle issues holding back young people from all communities, raise aspiration, and boost social mobility in the region.