Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Transforming mental health provision for children and families

Collaboration and partnership are going to be crucial if we are to succeed in delivering the step change in children’s mental health that we urgently need. Pears Foundation is a great example of a progressive partner who shares our values and passion for improving the lives of children, and I think the Family School will become an inspiration for many years to come for those seeking new ways to improve children’s mental health.
Professor Peter Fonagy OBE,
Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
We are proud to be working with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and a ground-breaking facility like the centre of excellence and the school which will lie at its heart. This partnership will help us to understand the challenges children face today and how they can best be supported.
Sir Trevor Pears CMG

Partner since: 2018

Funding invested: £3.7m

  • Core: Unrestricted funding; investment in online training for professionals
  • Capital: Pears Family School

Pears Foundation supports organisations that promote children’s social and emotional wellbeing and contribute to better understanding of the challenges that they and their families face. We partner with the Anna Freud Centre because its cutting-edge research and clinical practice is built on collaboration with communities and professionals.

Children today face numerous pressures as they navigate a complex and rapidly changing world.

  • One in eight children aged between 5 and 19 has at least one diagnostic mental health problem.
  • Fewer than 35% of children with mental health problems get any help.

Founded by Anna Freud herself over sixty years ago, The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families works to improve the lives of thousands of children and young people with mental health problems. The charity provides specialist support and services for young people and their families as well as training and professional development for the professionals who support them.

In 2019 the charity opened a Centre of Excellence in King’s Cross, London, where leaders in neuroscience, mental health, social care and education work together with children and young people to improve understanding and practice.

At the heart of the Centre is the Pears Family School, a therapeutic alternative provision for children with emotional and behavioural issues who have been excluded from mainstream school. The School enables its pupils to progress academically; improve their challenging behaviours; recover their psychological and emotional well-being and gain resilience so that they can continue with full-time education and return successfully to their mainstream school or specialist provision.

What is unique about the Pears Family School is that it requires a parent or significant adult family member to participate in the classroom with their child. The focus is on families helping themselves and each other to create the conditions and changes necessary so that their children can resolve their problems and be better equipped to return to school as functioning learners.

Our funding helped the Anna Freud Centre to relocate the Family School and expand its capacity.

Another way in which the Anna Freud Centre improves outcomes for children and young people is by ensuring they have a better experience of mental health services by developing a skilled workforce to support them. In 2020 we made a significant core investment of over £1m in the Centre’s plans to expand its digital offer and reach though the creation of a Child Mental Health Training Academy.