Doing it all – and suffering at school

This is the story of a 16-year-old from Huntingdonshire: I MAY have to leave school soon because I am having so much time off to look after my dad. I miss out on a lot of coursework and practical sessions and I never seem to get my projects in on time.

This is the story of a 16-year-old from Huntingdonshire:

"I MAY have to leave school soon because I am having so much time off to look after my dad.

I miss out on a lot of coursework and practical sessions and I never seem to get my projects in on time.

I've been looking after my dad since mum walked out when I was 10. My little brother was only six at the time.

I have to get my dad up and my brother, get breakfast and make the packed lunches before I go to school. I have ended up doing everything - housework, washing, washing up, I have to do it all usually when I get home at 4pm.

We used to have someone to come in to do the cleaning but we had to pay for it and eventually we just couldn't afford it on dad's benefits.

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Dad can't be left on his own. I used to phone up from school but sometimes he couldn't hear the phone, so I would get really worried.

I used to walk out of school to come home to make sure he was all right. They used to think I was making it up - an excuse for not being at school.

Education welfare have told me: 'It's no excuse for not being at school, you need to get help in'. But it's easier said than done. Having the money problems that we have, it's quite expensive now having a carer in.

School doesn't understand about young carers. I had one-to-ones with someone in the young carers project where I could talk through everything in confidence. She was brilliant. My home life is very difficult. My friends just don't understand.

If my dad had never had the stroke, I would probably still be OK in school. All my coursework would be finished, I would be able to concentrate on just one thing - my school work - and then, perhaps, I could go on to college, but I'll never know now.

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