CONCERNS have been raised by a Swindon charity about new Ofsted school inspection rules, which they say could leave young carers unnoticed and unsupported.

Swindon Carers’ Centre raised their worries as a consultation closed on proposed changes to the way schools and colleges are probed.

Ofsted say the changes in the draft Education Inspection Framework could boost the importance of the curriculum, by introducing a measure rating the quality of the education a school provides – rather than logging schools based on pupils’ results.

It has also been proposed that schools be given a morning’s notice by inspectors that they plan to visit the school. The suggestion has gone down like “cold vomit” with teachers, the Times Education Supplement reported.

Swindon Carers’ Centre, which supports more than 900 young carers in the town, has raised concerns that Ofsted inspectors no long need to pay particular attention to the support schools offer pupils with caring responsibilities.

Fiona Prinzi, deputy chief executive of the charity, said in a letter to Ofsted: “This is a significant back-step, neglecting the needs of this vulnerable group and leaving them unnoticed and unsupported.”

She pointed to the work schools and colleges in Swindon had done to support young carers, such as providing support workers, respite trips or by taking part in the charity’s Young Carers’ Award.

But Ms Prinzi added: “Schools and colleges in Swindon are to be commended for the outstanding work they do to support young carers. Nationally, young carers experience a multitude of barriers and the effects of caring can be staggering on their health, emotional wellbeing, socialisation and life opportunities.

“We have worked extremely hard to ensure this is not reflective of young carers in education in Swindon.

“By removing young carers as a group from the framework, this work will not be sustainable in the future and young carers in Swindon will be disadvantaged in comparison to children who do not have a caring role. We cannot allow that to happen.”

An Ofsted spokeswoman said: "The draft framework sets out clear expectation that schools should understand the needs of all of their pupils.

"We could try to list all the different groups that schools need to consider, but an exhaustive list is impossible and would fail to acknowledge that many pupils may fall across several groups. As such, rather than listing groups, our focus has been on understanding need. It should not be interpreted as any group being considered less important."

The consultation on the framework closes today.