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Second Term at The Family School London

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has supported the set up and launch of an alternative provision family school for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties that are beyond what mainstream schools can cope with. It opened its doors in October and is now well into the second term.


The school is unique in that it combines mental health support with education in a non-stigmatising classroom context, enabling young people to continue with their learning during treatment and recovery. A parent or close relative is required to attend sessions and the multi-family groups in school, with the aim of helping families to develop resilience together. In addition to providing education for the child, we also offer literacy, numeracy and ICT training for parents so that they can enhance their existing skills in these areas.

Brenda McHugh and Neil Dawson, founders of the Family School, and Stephen Taylor, Head Teacher of the Family School, said: "We are delighted that four young people who had previously been excluded from school or had refused to attend are now ready to graduate and return to mainstream schooling. One child aged 8 years old who was referred for violent behaviour and poor communication skills has made tremendous academic progress while his family mental well- being scores have significantly improved and his mother’s mental health is no longer a cause for serious concern."

His teacher said: “I have definitely seen a huge improvement in J. When he is given an instruction he responds straight away,  he is interrupting far less now in class and he is much more engaged during lesson time. I have also noticed that he is being nicer to the boys in his immediate friendship group."

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