The RB philosophy and practice is reflected in our online provision, Red Balloon of the Air (RBAir). Like the Centres we have a strong focus on community, learning, and therapy or well-being support. Our community video best explains what RBAir does and what it offers from a student’s perspective.
RBAir students are scattered around the country. They might not have access to a RB Centre, they might not be ready to attend a physical Centre, or their nearest Centre might be full. Every morning they log into the RBAir community from home. All our students have challenges to overcome and benefit from a supportive and friendly community – which is possible online!
RBAir offers a range of learning, therapeutic and community support to young people who would otherwise not be getting an education. We work with students and parents/carers to plan a bespoke programme for each young person based on their needs and personal circumstances. We try to ensure that our students are given as many opportunities as those who attend physical Centres.
The RBAir curriculum, based on the national curriculum, focuses on the student’s interests and offers considerable choice to ensure that our students become excited about learning. Students who are in Years 10 and 11 can sit for a range of qualifications. Younger students can take ASDAN and other online courses.
Students benefit from the power of shared experience in a small safe community. Building social confidence and skills, trust in others and friendships is a key part of the programme. Each RBAir pod takes no more than 30 students at any one time, and group work normally involves no more than four or five.
One-to-one and small therapeutic groups provide important opportunities for our students to deal with the past and progress.
RBAir is a stepping stone, not a final destination. Our regional mentors work with the families to support students on their next step in their educational journey once they are ready.
Parents/carers have also been through a very difficult time. RBAir staff offer them support and advice and encourage frequent communication with us.
The RBAir programme has two components: the online provision, and face-to-face contact. What is offered in both depends on what students feel comfortable with and the stage they have reached in their educational journey.