About this course

Multi-family groups in schools are a systemic intervention that help children and young people with emotional and/or behavioural challenges, by bringing together multiple families and education staff into one group.

This e-learning training programme gives education staff the knowledge needed to set up and run their own multi-family group in their setting. 

Multi-family groups were originally set up in schools in response to the need to provide accessible help for children and young people who are presenting with behavioural and/or emotional wellbeing difficulties at school.

The approach is one that brings parents/carers, children, teachers, psychologists, social workers or mental health professionals together to find new solutions so that the children can be helped to behave better, be happier or more settled and engage with teaching and learning opportunities in school.

This course is based on our many years’ experience of running multi-family groups in child and adolescent mental health services and in schools. The groups usually run once weekly for up to two hours with six to eight children and their parents or adult family member attending with them.

The online training programme 

The training programme will equip participants with the skills and knowledge needed to set up and run their own multi-family group in school. Teaching is broken down into three separate units which are made up of film sequences, guided voiceover and associated reading material. 

Reading materials and downloads are available for each part of the units with the full manual accessible in Unit 3. At the end of the training programme you will be able to download a completion certificate.

The programme includes videos showing how a family group works in practice. For this, we are extremely grateful to the children, their parents and the staff working at Downe Manor Primary School in the London Borough of Ealing who very kindly agreed to us filming their family group. 

Learning outcomes

Unit 1:

Participants will learn how to:

  • use two different ways of helping children, parents and school staff design targets that will be relevant and useful in the family group
  • lead a planning phase of a first group meeting so that individuals are fully engaged and know how they will participate in the group
  • run an action phase of the group using a Lego activity that involves parents and children working together in different configurations
  • lead a reflection phase which highlights lessons learned and changes observed, from the children and parents’ participation in the previous action phase
  • lead the group on how to help children and parents think about the best ways of transferring changes initiated in the group, to the classroom and home

Unit 2:

Participants will learn how to:

  • use target setting enabling feedback from all members of the group
  • lead the group in employing alternative ways of planning, including the speedy planning procedure
  • use warm-up activities and group cohesion games
  • enable children to gather filmed feedback from peers and staff at school and how to use this in the family group to review progress
  • lead the group using spaghetti model making and composite group portraits activities
  • use reflection techniques in the multi family group.
  • Lead discussion about how changes arising in the family group will be transferred into the classroom and home
  • lead a group ending session.

Unit 3:

Participants will learn about:

  • systemic family therapy theory
  • multi-family therapy theory
  • mentalization-based therapy theory, including the relevance of epistemic trust
  • targets, planning, action, reflection and transfer concepts as they relate to the above.
Booking information

Upon booking onto the programme, you will receive a confirmation email. Access to the training will be granted and you will be emailed your joining instructions. 

If you have any questions or have problems logging in, please email Access to the online training is granted for 10 months from the course date you booked.

  • Online
  • Online training programme - combination of two hours film and written materials equivalent to five hours learning content
  • Online Training Programme - Combination of two hours film and written materials equivalent to five hours learning content



The Anna Freud Centre brings together those with a stake in the mental health of children and young people. Please subscribe to our mailing list to receive a bi-monthly e-newsletter and occasional updates about the Centre's training and events. 

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