1. The Anna Freud Centre
  2. Pears Family School

The Anna Freud Centre

A new home. A new way of working

Our new home, the award-winning Anna Freud Centre, was opened in May 2019 by our Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.

Our Anna Freud Centre has been purpose built to support new ways of working so that we can transform mental health provision in the UK by improving the quality, accessibility and effectiveness of treatment.


On average, it takes 17 years to translate research into practice. Our aim with the Anna Freud Centre is to deliver the transformation we want to see in child and family mental health by bringing together leaders in neuroscience, mental health, social care and education to improve understanding and practice and to reduce this time.

Children and young people are at the heart of the Anna Freud Centre, both symbolically and in actuality. At the centre of the campus is Pears Family School, a school for children who have been excluded, or at risk of exclusion, from mainstream education.

We want the impact of this building to be felt far beyond this organisation; through the influence we can have on policy and practice nationally and internationally, and via the mental health professionals we train and inspire. It embodies our aspiration to transform mental health support by putting children and families at the heart of all we do.

Pears Family School

Pears Family School is a unique Alternative Provision (AP) school for children with serious emotional and behavioural problems who have been excluded, or are at risk of exclusion, from mainstream or other AP schools.

It provides opportunities for children and young people aged from 5-14 to develop skills related to their social emotional and mental health, skills which they require in order to make progress in mainstream education. The school works closely with the children’s families who are invited to attend classes and whose strengths are key to delivering and sustaining the changes in their children’s lives.

Pears Family School focuses on pupils’ academic achievement as well as behavioural change so as to release the latent potential that we see in them.  The school aims to help them recover their psychological and emotional wellbeing and to gain resilience so that they can return to mainstream school.

Two thirds of children return to their former school within four terms and 92 percent sustain their placements over time.

An Ofsted report into the school in June 2017 found it to be ‘Excellent’ in every category.

Leaders, founders and governors have been successful in achieving their vision of creating a school which puts families at the heart of its work. Leaders have high expectations of pupils and staff. They strive to secure continual improvement in all of the school’s work” Ofsted

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