Fox Wood Special School

AV1 case study: inclusive technology for long-term absent pupils

In terms of the academic impact, she’s been exposed to the same kind of lesson content as the rest of the class... It was as if she’s not even been away because she still feels part of the group.

Fox Wood Special School, in Warrington, caters to pupils aged 4–19. Their aim is ‘to provide the best possible personalised learning environment and curriculum for all of our children in a supportive and caring way.' They support pupils with a wide range of needs including Autism, ADHD, Severe Learning Difficulties and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.


One of their students was awaiting and soon to be recovering from a serious operation. Fox Wood Special School loaned an AV1 from Warrington Council to support her learning during the long-term absence.


We interviewed the Deputy Head (Lianne Buchanan) and Class Teacher (Dale Holden) in May 2023 about their experience.

AV1 robot on a desk in a classroom with another student

How does AV1 compare to the other support you had in place?


Lianne: "We were doing a lot of home visits and taking work packs out, but mostly we were using Zoom. The pupil was struggling a bit with the links; they kept breaking or the parent couldn’t access them at the set times."
Dale: "On Zoom, either the camera or microphone would end up not working and it was really heavy in terms of staff resources as there was a member of staff that had to be assigned to take that specific lesson. Now through AV1, the pupil just joins the class as they normally would, which for me is a huge benefit; to know I won’t be missing that extra member of staff to support with what, at times, can be a challenging group."
Lianne: "The family also struggled to be bound by certain login times due to the medical appointments. If she has to log on in the middle of class because of an appointment with a physiotherapist, for example, it doesn’t cause any disruption with AV1.

"We’ve had much better engagement from her since we started using the robot. It was also very useful as, during recovery, she was sometimes wearing pyjamas or needed to be in bed. Using the AV1 gave her parents a lot more confidence that we couldn’t see her and that she wouldn’t be able to accidentally turn her camera on."