Information from the Head of the Virtual School
Author: The Virtual School
Posted: Wed, 29 Aug 2018 14:18
This summer, the Virtual School supported 8 young people aged 12-16 to take part in a music project with Pedestrian, a Leicester-based charity delivering workshops in music, art and media.
We started off the week by putting together a team agreement. Then we listened to a local beatboxer before sharing our interests and adding them to a beatboxing track.
The group then developed a theme for the music and song writing they wanted to develop. After a vote, they decided they would explore the theme 'Old to New' for the album that they would work on together throughout the week. They also looked at sample art work to inspire the music and lyric writing as well as using a recording studio and the Logic music programme to put together tracks.
Throughout the week, the group took part in mindfulness activities and games involving learning rhythm and how to use instruments.
The group worked really well together and by the end of the week, had produced an album of 5 tracks that involved rapping, poems, music and lyrics. Some young people got creative as they designed an album cover and made plans to showcase their performance to carers, social workers and Virtual School staff.
On the day of their performance at Curve Theatre, the young people's nerves were eased by us all taking part in some Zen time with positive postcard feedback and meditation. They all fully engaged with these activities. As the afternoon continued, the young people showcased the tracks they had created throughout the week to carers, social workers and other professionals. There were even live performances by two of our brave young people!
Posted: Mon, 16 Jul 2018 09:12
The night sail was one of the highlights of the Virtual School Tall Ships trip. We were split into two teams and each team planned out a route using a map, a compass, a protractor and a nautical speed chart. We sailed the route, looking out for specific markers which had their own patterns of flashing lights. It was hard to find the right markers in the dark as there were so many other markers flashing but we all got the hang of it and both teams ended up in the right place.
It was a late night (interrupted by the doors banging when ships went by and caused our boat to rock!) so we were all tired this morning as we got ready for the journey home. We sailed to Portsmouth before cleaning the boat and packing our bags.
We were all given certificates, our sailing awards and positive feedback from the crew who said how much they'd enjoyed having us on board for the week. The skipper said we all impressed him with our attitude and great teamwork. Chloe was pleased to have been chosen to come back as a mentor next year for showing exceptional leadership.
We just had time for a quick look around some shops before setting off for Leicester.
Our highlights of a great Virtual School trip were jumping off the boat into the sea, the night sail, being on the beach, crabbing and the lovely showers at Beaulieu! Also, meeting each other and being together- by Monday night our friendships had grown massively and we've had a great time together all week.
Posted: Fri, 13 Jul 2018 13:28
A late breakfast of pancakes this morning. We were feeling a bit grubby and salty after being in the sea yesterday so we went for a lovely embracing shower. Next to our boat was a lavish yacht similar to one Madonna would own and we convinced ourselves we saw her through the blacked out windows!
We split into two teams for a challenge: We had to go down town in Poole and find the tackiest souvenir for £3. One team made balloon ice creams and the other team found a "dad dance mat" and made the skipper try out.
Then we set the sails again; we're getting the hang of it now. We sailed from Poole all the way to a spot opposite Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
We had some chill time in the afternoon, which we spent chatting, listening to music and playing cards. We even had a bit of a rave on the front of the boat!
We need to go now as we're going to do a night sail tonight. Stay tuned to read all about it!
Posted: Fri, 13 Jul 2018 09:04
Wednesday was such an action-packed day that we didn't have time to write the blog until the following morning
Dylan and Chloe made bacon sandwiches in our tiny kitchen before we sailed out of Beaulieu. After we came out of Beaulieu River, we set the sails (even though there was not much wind) so we needed help from the engines. We reached around 7-8 knots. Before approaching Studlands Bay, we saw the Old Harry rocks and his wife (well what was left of her).
We arrived at Studlands Bay. The beach was lovely, golden sand and blue water with a never-ending view of trees in the New Forest. Everybody went swimming together even though Chloe, Alannah and Jordan wouldn't go past the sea weed due to the feeling between our toes. After getting used to the sea weed, Jordan, Alannah and Francesca helped Chloe to become a stronger swimmer. We all went for a walk, down to the rocks, where we saw beautiful mini fish, little shrimps and nasty crabs that liked to try to eat our toes!
When we go back to the boat Mike let us jump off it into the English Channel. YES, we have officially swum in the English Channel! We then had the most amazing fish and chips followed by a chilled out evening watching the football. We lost!
Posted: Thu, 12 Jul 2018 09:12
It was lovely to wake up to a view of the beach this morning. It was another sunny day, but with a pleasant cooling breeze.
We checked the engines before setting off from Chichester. Some of us had a go at steering the ship and after a little while we put the sails up for the first time. That involved a lot of teamwork as we all hauled on the ropes together. The winds were good so we got up quite a speed as we sailed past Cowes on the Isle of Wight on our way to Beaulieu. Our skipper, Monkey, taught us how to remember the different parts of the boat and how to find then.
As we came down the river Beaulieu, we saw loads of jellyfish. We got off the boat and ventured into the woods for a walk to Beaulieu. It's a lovely old village and we bought ice creams and crab lines. We walked back by the river and had a cruise (well a dinghy ride) back to the ship.
We used our crab lines on the pontoon with bacon as bait and caught about 30 crabs! Kate got nipped by the biggest crab in the bucket.
We were ready for our supper after another action-packed day! As a bonus, there are showers in Beaulieu!
Posted: Tue, 10 Jul 2018 15:27
We set off from County Hall a little bit late but arrived in Portsmouth on time. We met our crew for the week, Jim and Monkey (Mike). We had a tour of the boat which people thought was amazing. It is also described as like a Tardis as it looked quite small but once you get inside it's quite big. We set sail around 3pm where we sailed from Portsmouth to Chichester. The weather was nice - after weeks of hot weather it was good to have a cool breeze. Chloe steered the boat for the first time and thought it was easier than expected. She also said it was calming. One member of the group found it so relaxing that he fell asleep whilst Chloe was steering!
We then dropped anchor and released the dinghy into the water so we could go ashore to the beach. While at the beach there was a competitive game of boules which everybody enjoyed. We are now eagerly waiting for our first supper on the boat!
Posted: Fri, 08 Jun 2018 14:08
Last night's meeting was arranged so that the group could meet each other and find out more about the Tall Ships week in July. Penny (Virtual School) and Kate (Residential Support Worker) will be going on the trip. They started by congratulating the young people on being chosen to go on the trip as a result of their achievements this year.
Kerry (Youth Worker) and our Y12 mentor gave the group lots of information including what to bring (e.g. a sleeping bag) and what not to bring (e.g. high heels). They were shown photos from last year's trip which looked amazing!
At the end of the meeting, there was a lot of excitement in the room and we are all looking forward to setting sail in July!
The group are also looking forward to the traditional first night supper of fajitas!
Posted: Tue, 24 Apr 2018 16:28
On the 19th April staff from the Virtual School took a group of young people to see An Officer and a Gentleman at Curve theatre in Leicester.
An Officer and a Gentleman, the Musical is a stage musical based on the, original movie written by Douglas Day Stewart.
We had the privilege of watching the new version of the musical at Curve before it tours the UK. The show was enriched with some 80's favorites such as "Up Where We Belong", "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", "Toy Soldiers", "Alone", "Don't Cry Out loud" and "Material Girl".
The youngsters who attended the show behaved brilliantly. They were enthralled by the fast pace and never uttered a word during the show. They enjoyed the free ice cream and it was great to watch them chat to each other during the interval. They were an absolute joy to take to the theatre .
It was a great night enjoyed by all who attended including virtual school and corporate parenting staff and carers.
Posted: Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:21
On Thursday 15th March, 15 young people from Years 5 and 6 took part in the Leicester University Experience Day. The young people were all accompanied by an adult from their school.
Student Ambassadors met us at the foyer of the Charles Wilson Building and took us to our room for the day. Once everyone had arrived and settled the day began!
The Student Ambassadors chatted with students in groups about university life. Following this we all went on a tour of the university. This included a visit to a library which was huge! We also saw the astronomic clock, the Raven rocket and a dinosaur!
During the morning the young people had an opportunity to make a 'dream catcher' and a mortar board.
After lunch students from the Law Department gave a talk and led a role-play activity around a mock trial.
At the end of the day our young people were presented with a souvenir university bear.
Everyone had a lovely day, and all the children said it had helped them to think about their future. In addition 14 of them said that the event had motivated them to do well at school!
Posted: Mon, 26 Mar 2018 09:16
Last week I attended the National Association of Virtual School Heads' (NAVSH) annual conference in London. Over 200 delegates representing more than 120 local authorities witnessed presentations by Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Matthew Brazier, Ofsted Lead for Children, Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner and representatives from Adoption UK, Coram and the National Consortium of Examination Results (NCER).
It also offered a great opportunity to speak to other Virtual School Heads from local authorities across the country, share some great ideas and discuss issues affecting us all. It was good to talk to representatives from the Department for Education, in particular regarding new statutory guidance and our extended remit for previously looked after children.
It was a very useful two days that left us all feeling inspired, emboldened and enabled; re-invigorated to meet the challenges before us.