Cambridgeshire Virtual School uses innovative VR programme to improve educational outcomes for children and young people - Antser

Cambridgeshire Virtual School uses innovative VR programme to improve educational outcomes for children and young people

Cambridgeshire Virtual School uses innovative VR programme to improve educational outcomes for children and young people

With November marking National Career Development month, here at Antser, we are shining a spotlight on several of our partners who have used our innovative virtual reality (VR) technology to help deliver and improve their training offer in a bid to provide better outcomes for children, young people and vulnerable adults.  

In 2019, Antser partnered with Cambridgeshire Virtual School to explore and deliver trauma and attachment training to its education team. 

Run by Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire Virtual School is a team of teachers and dedicated professionals who work to support and improve educational outcomes for Cambridgeshire’s former and current children in care. 

The partnership allowed the virtual school to use Antser VR as a tool to help bring to life the perspectives of children through immersive storytelling. With the aim to enhance users’ understanding of the impact of trauma and abuse, the partnership set out to equip professionals with the skills to overcome and respond to challenges they could face in their line of work. 

The team was shown a series of immersive films which allowed them to walk in the footsteps of children and young people who have had adverse childhood experiences, in turn, helping them to better understand the cause of disruptive behaviours.  

To date, the training has been rolled out to over 120 professionals in local Cambridgeshire schools as well as settings in other counties, helping teachers and teaching assistants to better understand the importance and impact of being trauma responsive. 

Following the training, several users said the VR had prompted them to increase their skill set around trauma. One respondent said: “The VR headsets were a powerful tool and developing trauma and attachment training for the wider school will be a priority, especially reaching out to our parents and wider community.” 

Jo Lyness, Advisory Teacher at Cambridgeshire’s Virtual School for Care Experienced Children, said:

Using the VR has enabled us to create the empathic shift that we need school colleagues to feel, so their understanding of the relational trauma our care-experienced young people have gone through is enhanced, in a way that talking and reading about it doesn’t provide. 

Feedback from schools and settings has consistently mentioned how moving the VR experience is and how it has given them the young person’s viewpoint powerfully. Using the VR headsets has enabled us to deliver memorable training which has had an impact on how schools support care-experienced young people.” 

 

Since adopting Antser VR, Cambridgeshire Virtual School now operates on a tiered approach which presents a variety of training for practitioners, resulting in an empathetic shift amongst its users.   

Richard Dooner, chief executive officer (CEO) at Antser, said: “This partnership with Cambridgeshire Virtual School has allowed us to fulfil our overriding mission at Antser, which has been to become leaders in delivering innovative technology to improve better outcomes for vulnerable children and young people across the UK.” 

Cambridgeshire Virtual School is now planning to run a small pilot two-day training session, further exploring the use of VR headsets to become more trauma responsive. This pilot will be in partnership with Cambridgeshire SEND and Educational Psychology Service to eventually have a broader reach. 

Specifically focusing on trauma, the training will focus on how practitioners in schools can become more trauma-responsive through developing nurturing relationships.   

Understanding that trauma for children and young people is a continuous issue, Cambridgeshire Virtual School is looking to include within the two-day training the opportunity for schools to benefit from a self-evaluation which will lead to undertaking a project in a chosen area.  

Examples like this show how, by making one small change or commitment, organisations can have a huge impact on the people they work with and support. By giving staff the tools, they need to understand the impact of trauma and abuse, they can then provide a better service to the people who need it most.  

For more information about Antser, visit https://www.antser.com/ 

 

 

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