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Did you know.....on average, two children in every school class will run away from home before the age of 16?*

(60 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-Oct-13 10:45:02

Please download the free runaway prevention lesson plans from Railway Children and ask your child's teacher to deliver them to their class to educate them on safer choices.

Railway Children say "This statistic brings home the need to introduce runaway prevention education to every child's class in the UK not to scare children, but to get them to think about the safe people in their lives, and the ways they can get help to sort out problems. If the subject of running away from home is not a topic on your child's school's PSHE curriculum, then you should download Railway Childrens free lesson plans for KS1, 2 and 3, available here and take it into your school or encourage your child's teacher to download it for themselves.

Please do this and then return to this thread and let us know:

~ What you or the school thought of the resource
~ Would you want your child's teacher to teach this lesson in class?
~ Do you think it's up to the school or the parent to raise awareness of the issues around children running away from home?

Leave a 'proper' comment below and for every response (ideally to the questions above) (up to a maximum of 3 per user), Aviva will donate £2 to Railway Children to support the work they do.

* Based on a life time running away rate of 8.9% - Still Running 3, The Childrens Society

flow4 Tue 15-Oct-13 21:33:05

This is an important subject... But every time I read a new thread, I am frustrated to see figures that just don't seem to add up... I worry that dubious statistics undermine your cause: I can't be the only person who is doubtful...

There are approx. 14 million children under 16 in the UK, and about 5 million of them are in secondary school. Each year, 84,000 run away (for a night or more). That's 0.6% of all children, and 1.6% of secondary school kids. (Runaway figures are from the same source you're using BTW, the Children's Society 'Still Running 3' report . That means that on average 1.6% of each and every class will run away in any given year. That's less than half a child in a class of 30.

And of course in reality, it's often the same children who run away over and over again... so overall, most kids won't know anyone who has run away.

I can see that claims like "two children in every school class will run away from home before the age of 16" aim to make people feel this is commonplace and 'everyone's problem'; but if it doesn't chime with people's own experience, then doesn't it detract from the real issue?

Runaways are hugely vulnerable: they are often in real danger, as well as emotional distress, and need all the support they can get. Surely it's better to focus available resources (which are scant and shrinking) on the 84,000 children who really need the help, rather than trying to reach all of the 5 million kids in UK secondary schools?

lljkk Fri 18-Oct-13 10:22:44

Thanks Flow, that was my first thought too, to quibble with the stats.
What's worse is that the runaways are concentrated in more deprived communities; MN is not the best place to reach out to those.

Willemdefoeismine Tue 22-Oct-13 10:42:50

I feel I should say something here but not sure what....Whilst I see the merit and well-meaning intent behind the runaway prevention lesson planner, I cannot imagine suggesting to my DS's super-selective that it be incorporated into their lessons - I am not arrogant enough to think that there might not be a few children at super-selectives who do run away, but my guess would be that the numbers could be added up on one hand over a matter of years.....

cory Wed 23-Oct-13 12:37:38

I am worried by the fact that this campaign is focusing on the act of running away rather than what you are running from and what you are running to.

A child who runs back to his former foster carer because SS's estimation of the new coping abilities of his birth family proved overtly optimistic is not the same as a child who runs from a loving family onto the streets after a tiff. A child who goes off to spend the night with grandma because his parents get into fights when they've been drinking is arguably looking after his own safety. A child who runs away from home 10 times in a year doesn't make other children statistically more likely to run away.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 25-Oct-13 15:10:13

Hi - we have had the following comment from Railway Children which they have asked me to post for them.

"I completely agree that limited resources need to be used effectively, and this profoundly defines how we work with vulnerable children. A large portion of Railway Children's work is as a result dedicated to providing safety nets for children on the streets. But government funding cuts have put huge pressure on frontline services, making preventative education even more crucial. Many run away because they think they have no choice or no-one to turn to. We speak to children in the classroom about the dangers of running away and that help is there if they need it.

And statistics should of course always be used carefully. Our research shows awareness of child runaways in the UK is very low and children from all backgrounds run away from home. This makes the Government-sourced secondary school and Children's Society data, for example, invaluable in tackling the misconception held by many parents and children that this can only happen to certain kids. With more support from schools, fewer children will run away in the UK and the most vulnerable will have a much better chance of getting the support they need before it is too late"

ZillionChocolate Tue 29-Oct-13 10:52:48

I can't believe there aren't more posts on this thread given the charity donation aspect?

Lomaamina Wed 30-Oct-13 20:49:47

In response to the charity's message - I am sure your charity does important and worthy work and it's important to raise awareness to the problem. However, like the posters above, my first response to this was "I must contact BBC Radio 4's 'More or Less' - this is doesn't seem like a correct use of statistics. It weakens the message and does no favours to the charity.

LordPalmerston Thu 31-Oct-13 04:47:12

In a trivial note I'm laughing at the mn pic of a classroom. I know stock image etc but ok classrooms look like that !

mindgone Thu 31-Oct-13 22:40:05

Commenting for the donation.

AnonEMoose Fri 01-Nov-13 12:30:32

Commenting for the donation

Oakmaiden Fri 01-Nov-13 12:52:54

interesting... I will download and save the lesson plans for a suitable occasion (primary school teacher !). Posting mostly for the donation - don't have anything helpful or insightful to say!

Oakmaiden Fri 01-Nov-13 12:54:48

Oh - and you are part of Girlguiding's Girls in Action campaign. My Brownie group are going to be looking at that next term.

See - another comment!

NotCitrus Fri 01-Nov-13 13:35:04

Given the definition of running away: "the term ‘running aw
ay’ is used to refer to young people who indicated that they had either run away or been forced to leave home, and had stayed away overnight on at least one occasion. ", I'm actually surprised that only one in fifteen kids has 'run away', given that would cover all the teenagers who flounce off to a friend's house swearing never to go home, as well as all the ones who end up living with grandparents/other relatives/friends for part of their studies.

Presumably the particularly vulnerable ones are those who run without somewhere safe in mind to go to?

deliasniff Fri 01-Nov-13 16:26:26

Commenting for the donation

Karenblixen Fri 01-Nov-13 17:12:29

Commenting for the donation and out of personal concerns at the moment.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Fri 01-Nov-13 17:26:33

i do think there is alot of 'but thats other peoples children' going on. I do think prevention is better than cure and it not just being targeted at deprived areas is key.

I'll comment for the donation happily, but I can't answer the questions because I live overseas and non of the children in my child's school would understand a lesson like this delivered in English ;) PSE doesn't exist here either. I have no idea what the running away rate is. I will look at the KS1 lessons though to talk about with my own children at home.

taffleee Fri 01-Nov-13 18:21:02

Cory I stopped reading this threads further comments when you expressed my point of view totally - its not about children 'running away', its what causes them to do so -

As for 'deprived areas', that's total rubbish, I have lived in areas from 'Muirhouse' in Edinburgh, to Bray-on-Thames, - I currently live in a so called 'deprived area' in Liverpool,(Although I live in a 'detached lovely house, in an area surrounded by a lovely, friendly neighbourhood', we still get letters home from the school telling us we are living in a 'deprived area, according to the government???) and you could not find closer families anywhere, children mean more here to families than some so called 'upper class' areas, I'm sure of that, the same when I lived in Edinburgh.

Class has nothing to do with runaways, infact, quite the opposite - I would welcome a survey on this - because I think far more children runaway from home because they can't relate to their parents?

taffleee Fri 01-Nov-13 18:40:31

On a personal note, I ran away from home when I was 13, my family was very well off, but my mum left at eleven, my dad was a high ranking policeman, moved in a 21 year old girlfriend who didn't want kids (he was 34 at the time, so the age thing not on a 'wrong' level lol) and I was left on my own, cooking for myself when he was out with her or on a 'late' shift - i got left for two weeks during the summer holidays at home with my 16 year old brother because they used to go to the 'dominican republic' for all inclusives - and my mum was no where to be seen.

Eventually I got thrown into a children's home, and a million foster 'carers' money grabbers to be honest, not one person iIstayed with cared for me) from the age of 14 - 15 until my friends mum took me in, then I worked my backside off eventually working for a high powered publishing company in Edinburgh -

I've ranted, but I hate the 'its a lower class problem' - live in a so called 'deprived area' now, and the people here are the most family oriented, down to earth 'child friendly' people you could ever hope to meet

TheGonnagle Fri 01-Nov-13 18:47:32

Thank you. I shall read for awareness both in my personal and professional life.

jchocchip Fri 01-Nov-13 19:14:53

One of my daughters ran away over night at 13 stayed over with a new older than her bf. I reported her missing. But why did he not own up that he had seen her and why didn't his mum insist on calling me to let me know she was safe? Hmmm.

LovesBeingHereAgain Fri 01-Nov-13 19:15:43

I will have a read and hope it addresses why children run away. I think dd class is too young for this though.

taffleee Fri 01-Nov-13 19:25:29

TheGonnanle 'Thank you. I shall read for awareness both in my personal and professional life.'

OMG, that's the most insensitive response to a thread I think I have ever heard -

taffleee Fri 01-Nov-13 19:33:14

I'm sorry, is this a thread for parents, as 'mumsnet' would suggest, or is it a site for so called 'professionals' to get information??? I've been on this site for a little more than two weeks, and it seems to be overrun with social workers and so called 'health' professionals, even one that was a journalist starting a thread?

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