Why some children are missing from school

Increasing numbers of young people are missing from education, not because they are not interested in learning or have been excluded from school, but because they suffer from severe depression and social anxiety. What causes this state of mental trauma differs between individuals.

Bullying, abuse, mental health problems or life-long conditions are among the most common causes that lead young people to hide in their bedrooms. There, they isolate themselves from the company of others, from school and from society.

This causes a downward spiral of social isolation, marginalisation, missed education and deteriorating mental ill-health. They become ‘hidden’ at home and their voices are ignored. They risk not finding their place in the adult world.

What we do

Red Balloon is an alternative to school which enables young people to re-engage with education. We have both ‘physical’ and virtual Centres to best meet students’ needs.

Students are at the heart of what we do, and there is an equal focus on mental wellbeing alongside education. Students can negotiate their curriculum to ensure their interests and goals are being met, and their personal development achievements are highly valued. Through engaging with Red Balloon, students can grow as individuals, restore their confidence, develop resilience, and build the skills they need to successfully handle returning to education, work, or further training.

Why we are needed

We know that exam grades are not a measure of a successful education. Progress and attainment can be seen in all aspects of a student’s life if we choose to acknowledge and support it, and that is what Red Balloon does. Many students have come to us with difficult pasts and find themselves unable to attend mainstream schools, and we know they may be facing some challenges.

Progress looks different for each individual student, and attainment is measured against their individual needs and the goals they set for themselves. Students may need a little extra support in their mental wellbeing, personal development or education to get them back to a place where they feel able to re-engage with their peers again. We are the only organisation that offers this level of personalised, multi-faceted support to prevent self-excluded young people from permanently withdrawing from education.

Our aim is to help students continue their education and personal development so they can successfully return to a mainstream school, further training or work. Students are offered a programme tailored to their individual needs and personal goals and enables them to make good progress at KS3 or KS4.

What students say

  • “I have finally found a place where I belong and where I feel safe and I trust people.”

    From the Red Balloon of the Air Centre
    In Red Balloon of the Air

  • “Since coming to RB I have made lots of friends and have unforgettable good memories.”

    From the Red Balloon Norwich Centre

  • “I value the feel of a community I get when I’m at Red Balloon. ”

    From the Red Balloon NW London Centre
    In Red Balloon NW London

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