Why are we sponsoring the Family School London?
Too often mental health services in schools are offered in a child-focused manner, with little consideration of what is going on elsewhere in the child’s life, and are unable to provide the broad support that is so necessary if there is to be a good chance of them engaging with their education and meeting their potential.
We know that the family is a critical part of the solution to child and adolescent mental health problems. We also know that for mental health interventions to work they have to be integrated with children’s lives, their families, with other helping systems such as health and social care, and, most significantly, their schools.
Family life experience is key to the development of emotionally resilient learners, but sometimes there are problems facing families that have an impact on childhood and adolescence. For successful outcomes for vulnerable pupils, their parents and carers can be supported to be a critical part of the solution.
The Family School London is a massive step in the right direction. By focusing on integrating mental health and education needs, the school is offering a vital lifeline to children and adolescents who would otherwise have been suspended, excluded and marginalised in a pupil referral unit. Such units rarely have the therapeutic capacity or expertise to deal with the complex and often entrenched difficulties of the families involved.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families staff, who are world-leading experts in family therapy, have pioneered and tested the multi-family approach with great success. We are very proud to be part of the next phase, delivering family therapy groups in a school especially designed to provide help to the pupils and their families who need it most, but who are often the hardest to teach and reach.