Red Balloon Reading

Head of Centre’s welcome

At Red Balloon Reading we provide full-time or part-time therapeutic and educational support for up to 24 young people who are aged between 11-16. All of our students have found mainstream education difficult and we work hard to support them to regain their self-esteem and confidence. Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds. They all have had different educational experiences and most have not had access to formal education for some time.

Our staff bring a wide range of skills to the community. We offer art and music therapy on site and equine therapy at a local equestrian centre. Our academic curriculum is built around what individual students are interested in. Students have a personalised, negotiated timetable, sometimes working one-to-one and other times as part of a group.

All students have access to English, Maths, Science and Art. We also offer Food Technology, Design Technology, Computer Science, Careers and PSHEE. We access PE across the town and previously students have taken part in kayaking, fencing, boxing, basketball, rock climbing, trampolining and gymnastics. Students can also take part in a whole host of enrichment opportunities through organisations we partner with including mechanics, outdoor learning and animal husbandry. Students are encouraged to plan and lead trips, and we have visited museums, galleries, zoos and other cultural locations. The community also feels it’s important to give back and so throughout the year staff and students take part in various fundraising activities.

Lunch is provided by our housekeeper Charlie, and is always delicious and healthy. We also have a garden and this is a great place for lessons when the weather is nice. Our chill-out room provides a safe space for students to go if they feel anxious or need a quiet space.

Our Centre is located within walking distance of Reading town centre and is across the road from Reading College. Above all, the Reading Centre is a warm and friendly place. I’m very proud of our students’ achievements and I always look forward to welcoming new students into our community.

Christina Pepper
Head of Centre

About the Centre

RB-Reading provides a safe and supportive learning environment for up to 24 young people from Berkshire and surrounding counties. Our Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 16:30 during term time and students attend full-time or a reduced time-table depending on their needs and abilities.

Students can join RB-Reading from age 11 to 16, with those already with us able to stay to the maximum age of 18 to complete their GCSEs. Though we have sixth-form aged students with us, we are not able to offer A-levels. The highest level of education we offer is Key Stage 4 (GCSEs and equivalent).

See more on Subjects and qualifications

What students and parents say

  • “For the first time in her life, our daughter wants to go to school. The staff are great, and support her when she struggles to cope.”

    From the Red Balloon Reading Centre

  • “What I value most about Red Balloon is the support I get here.”

    From the Red Balloon Reading Centre

  • “Red Balloon change lives for the better, everyday. But, for me, you saved my life. I will never forget the love I hold for Red Balloon. You are all so much more than you know.”

    From the Red Balloon Reading Centre

View all testimonials

About Red Balloon

At Red Balloon we judge success and progress for our students against their unique goals. It’s not about getting good grades, we want to see our students grow as individuals and develop the personal skills, social skills and confidence to make their way in the world.

All Red Balloon Centres are based on the three key elements of

to ensure our students get the support they need to thrive. Read more about our Values, ethos and practice.

Negotiated curriculum

All students are given the opportunity to negotiate their curriculum. This means that teachers use topics that students are passionate about – eg horse riding, manga comics, paintball or car racing – and creatively linked them to the curricular subjects to rekindle their interest in learning. Over the course of their time with us, students progress from one-to-one sessions to small group sessions. Forty per cent of our programme is dedicated to well-being support and therapy and students are offered a range of therapeutic support including talking, music, art, equine and play therapies.

At the heart of our community is our big communal kitchen and dining room. Here, staff and students come together to eat, celebrate birthdays and other festive occasions, play games or just sit and chat.

See more on What students can expect or Our Values, Ethos and Practice

Find out more about Red Balloon Reading

Enrolling with us

We welcome referrals throughout the year. To enquire about a place and add your child’s name to our waiting list, please contact us on 0118 958 3004 or

For further information see Admissions.

If RB-Reading is not suitable for you or your child, do take a look at our online provision Red Balloon of the Air.

Contact details

  • 220-222 Kings Road,
    Reading RG1 4JJ
  • 0118 958 3004
Make an enquiry

Safeguarding at Red Balloon Reading

Red Balloon Reading’s lead for Safeguarding and Child ProtectionChristina Pepper0118 958 3004
Designated Safeguarding Team – RB-ReadingChristina Pepper
Sarah Doran
Caroline Uwais
0118 958 3004
Red Balloon Educational Trust Lead for Safeguarding and Child ProtectionRobert Watson07877 857656

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