It was reported in the media last week that up to 8,000 pupils due to leave secondary school last year left before their exams and never reappeared in another school, according to FFT Education Datalab. 

Based on previous reports and research, we know that this is particularly relevant to Children Looked After. The 2014 Statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care report revealed that though the number of looked after children going missing is a small percentage of the overall number of children that go missing, it is disproportionately high compared with the children’s population as a whole.

The trauma caused by a dysfunctional home life stays with a child, impacting on their behaviour, social and emotional development.  At times of stress there is a strong likelihood that they will run away.  Quite simply, this is their only release from the noise of the moment that is so loud that they need to escape.

The trauma caused to the child and their host family by running away is indescribable, many never recover, moving from one sad and bad situation to another.  The world on the streets is a dangerous and very lonely place.

The trauma created when the child returns remains with the child and family, along with the fear that running away will become the norm.

Fortunately, not all Children Looked After run away, but many feel the need to do so, and may retreat in other ways.

Achievement for All is committed to improving outcomes for Children Looked After. Based on our engagement with 10 London Authorities, our newly developed Achieving Wellbeing for Children Looked After programme is currently being rolled out in schools in partnership with five Virtual Schools around the country.  This is an evidence-based approach that coaches and supports Designated Teachers to promote a whole school culture and staff development where the personalised learning needs of looked after and previously looked after children.

At the heart of the programme is personal, emotional and academic needs, with each being prioritised in order to improve wellbeing and attainment. 

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