February 15-26. The vPlus Festival is an online festival from Potential Plus UK, full of workshops, webinars and discussions for young people with enquiring minds, their families and schools.


vPlus Festival: Full Throttle Fun! (and More to Come!)

Hands raised high at a festival in mobot

vPlus Festival: Full Throttle Fun! (and More to Come!)

Well, Glastonbury may be cancelled again this year, but fate has thrown a curveball and decided to follow the lead of the best cheesy clubs of my long-passed youth, working on the prized principle of strictly one out, one in. For, my friends, the inaugural vPlus Festival 2021, courtesy of Potential Plus UK, and with gratefully received funding from the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, is underway, and the feel-good factor has been turned up to eleven!

And so, at long last, providence has richly provided for our high potential little (and not so little!) ones and a festival of fun forged entirely for our outlying offspring is free, fully accessible, and finally here! Oh, and the toilets are much better, too…

With more headliners than the main stage, we’ve been treated to some true festival treasures: Bobby Seagull delivering an inspirational session on success, Jeff Forshaw enchanting us with Einstein, Joe Seddon on thinking about University, and much, much more. We went prime time on Saturday night as we were all universally challenged courtesy of Bobby Seagull’s family quiz night, and we’ve been putting the pi into the Pyramid Stage with Paul Morris talking Turing and Tom Briggs’ Mathematics of Black Holes…

  DS10 really enjoyed it and it was great, as this is the most animated I have seen him about a subject he loves in ages. Thank you  (Feedback on The Mathematics of Black Holes – Tom Briggs )

Muddy fields made way for the magnificent Minecraft server, making for many a made-up minor, and with Teams tent zipped up we ‘Zined it! with artist Marian Savill…

 “This session captured our interest & inspired us to action, thank you. Ps loved the zine instructions in the form of a zine”  (Feedback on Zine it! with Marian Savill,  20TwentyProductions )

And then, with virtual wellies on, we waded out to enjoy even more of the wide range of wonderful sessions the festival had to offer. And boy, were we spoilt for choice: there’s been music, motion, and the magic roundabout; entomology, encouraging creativity, and inspirational ideas on youth social action. There’s been brains, building, books and philosophy buffets; chess, challenges, chill outs, and chatter. There’s been Canadian history, Quantum computing, critical thinking, and cartoon drawing…

 “Wonderful upbeat and fun hour – just what we needed!”  (Feedback on Liz Million’s Cartoon Creations Draw-Along

And all of this is just a mere soupcon of what the festival has already offered. I think it is fair to say that it has been more fun than the Circus Field and more heavenly for our high potential learners than Shangri-la, with a smorgasbord of STEM, an ambassador’s reception-worthy array of art, literature, and philosophy to really spoil us; a veritable hoe-down of higher order thinking skills. With wonderful parent sessions too, because it can’t just be the kids who have all the fun, it’s hard to believe we’re only half-way through!

And so, my carnival cohort, onwards to the second week of festival fun, and if you want to catch up on this first week of fabulousness just register at https://virtualplusfestival.org  and watch videos of last week’s sessions – come on in, the mosh pit awaits!

About the author: Caroline Hooton-Picard is an adviser for Potential Plus UK. She has a background in mental health, having worked for Suffolk Mind and also in private practice, and has a first class degree in Philosophy from the University of Essex. She also has a High Learning Potential daughter who keeps her very much on her toes!