The 900-plus children in Swindon with caring responsibilities deserve more support, the council has agreed.

Chairman of the council’s children’s health, care, and education overview committee Barbara Parry asked councillors to vote in favour of asking for more money from government specifically for young carers.

It was seconded by the Labour spokesman for children’s services Carol Shelley.

Coun Parry said: “There are more than 900 registered young carers in Swindon – which means the number of children actually caring could be in the thousands.

Coun Parry said the official figures showed how young many of the children are, and how many difficulties and obstacles they face.

She said: “The majority of young carers are between 10 and 12 years old.

"Twenty-six percent are 13 to 15, 26 per cent are between five and nine years’ old.”

She added: “Many are anxious because of the health of the person, often a parent, they care for, they are worried about money and their future, they are worried about schoolwork and exams.

“They have fewer opportunities to meet their friends and play, they miss out on making friends.”

Coun Parry said: “We owe these children better.”

Coun Shelley said: “Young carers have not chosen the role but often do it without complaint, and they can miss out on a typical childhood.”

A unanimous vote in favour means council leader David Renard will write to education secretary Gavin Williamson and ask that young carers are included in the criteria for the pupil premium, and that Ofsted reports on schools assess how well they provide for pupils who have to care for family members.

Pupil Premium is paid by central government to schools with disadvantaged pupils.

Schools receive £1,345 for every primary age pupil, or £955 for every secondary age pupil who has claimed free school meals in the last six years.

They get £2,345 for every pupil who has left local authority care through adoption, a special guardianship order or child arrangements order.

Local authorities receive the same amount for each child they are looking after; they must work with the school to decide how the money is used to best support the child.

Coun Martin said: “I’d be very happy to see the pupil premium extended to cover young carers.

“I’d be less happy if it was extended to them, but the same amount of money was just stretched further.”