Life at Red Balloon Norwich

RB-Norwich has teachers, students and lessons, but that’s where our similarity with school comes to an end. We’re a small community of friendly staff and students, based in a converted house in Norwich. Our curriculum is created on an individual basis and has a 50% focus on well-being, and 50% on academic studies. The atmosphere at our Centres is informal, with students wearing home clothes and calling the teachers by their first names.

Our aim is to help our students regain their self-worth and get back on track – a good outcome is not just about grades, to us it’s about our students being happier, more confident and the things they are achieving as individuals. Our small size means we can really focus on the needs of each individual and support them to reach their goals.


Each student has their own timetable of subjects and well-being sessions across both the morning and afternoon. Lessons may be individual or small groups of 2-3-4, and are at the pace and level our students need to catch up on anything they’ve missed. Lessons take place in one of our small classrooms, science lab, art room or music room, and if it’s really nice weather and the subject is suitable there’s also a chance to be outside instead.

The day is divided into 6 sessions of 50 minutes. All students take part in English, Literature, Maths, Science and ICT. Life Skills, PSHEE, Art, Sport, Citizenship, Mentor and Circle Time also form part of the therapeutic curriculum. In addition there are also a number of options for GCSE that can be taken. Find out more about the subjects we offer here.


At RB-Norwich each of our students has a mentor throughout their time with us. Our mentors help our students however they need it, with a particular focus on mental health. We encourage students to be honest about how they are feeling and what difficulties they are facing and support them to take positive steps towards improving their mental health and well-being. If a student’s EHCP states the specific need for counselling then this can be arranged and factored in to the student’s timetable.

Wellbeing is also about being part of our RB-Norwich family and feeling like you belong, which is why we do lots of community activities. This includes things like games, sports and cooking, as well as all gathering for circle time at the end of the day on Fridays. Our entire staff team knows that wellbeing is crucial to students being happy and meeting their goals, and the entire team strives to support all our students in all aspects of their development as individuals.

Find out more about well-being at Red Balloon here.

Breaks and lunch

The Centre opens at 8.30, ready for our first session at 9.00. We have 1 break of 15 minutes in the day as well as a lunch break at 12.40. During breaks, students can be found in the Garden Room enjoying each other’s company and playing board games or using the Wii. At lunch, all our students and staff sit down together to a delicious home-cooked meal made by our housekeeper Mandi. After everyone has had their fill then there’s time to relax – go for a walk, play games, read a book – before afternoon lessons re-start at 1.40. At roughly 3.30 our students head home.

  • “Red Balloon is a 'safe space' for me.”

    From the Red Balloon Norwich Centre
    In Red Balloon Norwich

  • “I value that there's smaller classes and less people. The work is the right level for me.”

    From the Red Balloon Norwich Centre
    In Red Balloon Norwich

  • “I like the low-pressure approach with everything and the option to do stuff I wouldn't normally get to do.”

    From the Red Balloon Norwich Centre
    In Red Balloon Norwich

View all testimonials

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