Essex County Council

AV1 case study: local authority ensures education and inclusion for long-term absent students with telepresence robots

Began working with AV1 in 2019
Current fleet 87 robots
Managed and allocated to schools by the Education Directorate within the council


Essex County Council initially bought four AV1 robots as part of their commitment to provide education for children who were unable to attend school for a variety of reasons.

Julie Keating is the Education Access Manager at Essex County Council. Her small team within the Education Directorate ensures the authority meets its obligation to provide education for all children across Essex’s 560+ schools. They decided to trial AV1 after meeting with No Isolation to discuss their needs, as part of a review of their provision for children with medical referrals, unable to attend school.

Positive results from their initial pilot allowed them to secure funding for more in 2020, 2021 then 2022, giving them a total of 87 AV1s to help children and young people in Essex.

About their project

The council has used AV1 to help vulnerable children with a wide range of challenges, including:

  • Anorexia and eating disorders
  • Anxiety and mental health issues
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Immune deficiency
  • Long term illnesses, like cancer
  • Primary students at risk of exclusion
  • Pupils with special educational needs
  • Reintegration for children with emotionally based school avoidance


AV1 doesn’t have to only be used for education, but widens the opportunity to make the child feel part of the school community and not isolated. It allows the children to chat at break times and we even had an AV1 that went on the school residential trip.

As a team, we love AV1. We’re excited by it and were one of the first local authorities to use it. We’ve had some great success with it. Local authorities can go very different ways about approaching the AV1 Service.

– Julie Keating, Education Access Manager, Essex County Council

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