We started building ‘Red Balloon of the Air’(RBAir) in 2011, on the solid foundations of the warm and caring Red Balloon philosophy and practice found at the Centres.
RBAir students are scattered around the country. They might not have access to a Red Balloon 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 the supportive and friendly community.
On any given day we can have a small group of students online with the ICT teacher programming a game they will share with the Red Balloon community during end of term online presentations. A new student who is not yet ready to join his peers may be in a one-to-one maths session. A student could be having a confidential online chat with our counsellor to work through recent events. The session afterwards will involve a group of four students in a small therapeutic group with a mentor, discussing their anxieties around their upcoming English GCSE exam. Within the week students will have covered parts of the national curriculum, pursued their passions through bespoke learning programmes and developed essential life skills.... all from their homes.
The regional mentor in Braintree Essex runs a ‘mini-Centre’ once a week where the students meet each other in person. We strive to complement the online programme with face-to-face interactions for all of our students, regardless of geography. Regional mentors visit students at home, we organise trips to London or outdoor adventure days. Students can undertake work experience throughout the year.
The programme offered by RBAir is markedly different from that of other online learning providers. We are a welcoming community where the learning is led by the students and is therapeutically grounded, with considerable benefit to the student’s well-being. This is what education should be... with students inspired to love learning, where the development of the whole student is paramount, and well-being is valued as highly as academic progress.
Our virtual Centre can transform a young person’s situation before they are ready to leave their homes. We provide the stepping stone without which some students might never take that first step.
Signed copies of all Red Balloon of the Air policies are available to view at 7a Chesterton Mill. The following policies are available to download:
If we receive a referral for a student with English as a second language, we will seek support from the pertinent Local Authority.
RBAir will make all reasonable adjustments to enable students with a disability, such as visual or hearing impairment, to access our services.
To ensure appropriate preparation for exams, the last admission date for Year 11 students expecting to take GCSEs in the academic year 2017/2018 will be September 2017. Applications for admission must therefore be submitted by early July 2017.
Address Red Balloon of the Air, 7a Chesterton Mill, French's Road, Cambridge CB4 3NP
Chair of Trustees and Proprietor Stan Webster OBE
Number of official complaints received - 0