The problem

Britain fails children in residential care. They are 15 times less likely to leave school with good grades. They are six times more likely to need mental health support. This ‘care gap’ requires a shift in mindset across society. Children growing up in residential homes have untold resilience and strength. Instead, it is the system that needs to change. The care gap affects us all. Unlocking the potential of children in residential care could save the public purse over £250million.


The last five years have seen a 20% increase in the number of children in residential care. In 2018, there were 8,970 children in either a children’s home or another form of residential setting specifically for looked after children.


Children’s homes often compete with other low paid jobs and due to the intense nature of work, staff turnover is often high. Staff usually enter the sector with few relevant qualifications or experience, yet training and development are often of poor quality.


Only about, 4% of children who live in children’s homes gained five or more good GCSEs, compared to about 18% of all CIC and 60% of their non-looked-after peers. Pre-care experiences and systems which fail to prioritise education are contributing factors to low academic attainment, directly impacting the social outcomes for children.

The solution

Lighthouse believes that children in care have the right to the same opportunities as everyone else – at home, school and in their communities.

They do this by creating children’s homes where children can thrive and where education is central to their holistic approach.

They develop practitioners who are able to build lasting relationships in thoughtfully designed physical spaces. Their entire approach is informed by social pedagogy – a relationship-based way of working with children.

Unlocking the potential of children in residential care could save the public purse over £250million.

Work in action

Lighthouse believes that children in care have the right to the same opportunities as everyone else – at home, school and in their communities.


We believe that education is fundamental to breaking the link between demography and destiny. We place a strong emphasis on education and we take a keen interest in our children’s educational progress. We employ people who understand how to best support children’s education and provide a wide range of extracurricular opportunities.


Each Lighthouse home will offer placements for up to six children at any one time. Children placed at the homes will be aged between 11 and 18, when they reach their 18th birthday, they will be offered the opportunity to take a placement in Lighthouse’s semi-independent accommodation, which will be based near to the children’s home they were living in.


At the very heart of Lighthouse’s approach are our people. We will recruit and train talented people so that they can support some of the UK’s most vulnerable young people. We are the first to offer a two-year programme of training and development along with an excellent remuneration package to attract talented people to work in the sector.


Young people living in Lighthouse Children’s Homes will be able to retain close links with the home as a young person would who have moved out of the family home; returning on a Sunday for dinner, visiting regularly, and maintaining relationships. The semi-independent accommodation will also provide a leaving care offer for children coming out of other residential care settings and for those leaving foster care.

The Big Changers

Emmanuel Akpan-Inwang, Founder & Director

Emmanuel is a graduate of the London School of Economics and also holds an MA in Education and Leadership from The University of Warwick. He trained as an English teacher on the Teach First programme after which he spent several years researching children’s homes across Western Europe. Lighthouse is based on the outcomes of this research.


We’re proud to have backed Lighthouse to open their first children’s home, The Treehouse. This first completed home is now home to six young people in care.

Their work has been recognised in the Guardian, on BBC Radio 4 and in conversations with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. While the recognition speaks for itself, some of those who have worked with Lighthouse also confirmed the transformative impact of Lighthouse’s work:

“Treebeard Trust is so proud to help fund the very first Lighthouse home. Children growing up in residential care have a right to a level of investment, attention and support. We are so excited for the first home to welcome its children.” Jessamy Gould, Director, Treebeard Trust

“I am excited about the potential that Lighthouse has to provide amazing children’s homes. I am proud to be part of an exemplary organisation that includes young people’s voices on its board.”

Samira-Caterina Monteleone, Project Committee member