Staffordshire County Council

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

Began working with AV1 in 2020
Current fleet 25 robots
Managed and allocated to schools by the Medical Tuition Service and Virtual School


As one of the biggest AV1 local authority pilots, Staffordshire County Council started with 10 robots in early 2020.

The medical tuition service implemented the robots quickly and effectively, despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic that year. They opened up their service to long-term absent children with qualifying health needs across both primary and secondary schools.

As schools became more aware of and interested in AV1, the demand on their fleet of robots increased. Within 3 years, the council expanded their service twice to bring their total to 25. They teamed up with the virtual schools to make this happen.

About their project

Staffordshire's large fleet means there is a good chance that a robot is available for schools and students that want to apply. Their Alternative Provision Panel helps to allocate them when it is deemed the most effective solution. The team are keen for AV1 to be their default offer for long-term absent students, especially for cases of EBSA and anxiety.


The positive impact of AV1 for Staffordshire includes:

  • Increased hours of education that absent pupils receive – meeting the section 19 statutory guidance.
  • Improved attendance rates – schools are encouraged to use attendance code B when students attend and participate in lessons through AV1.

It also ensures students in Staffordshire remain connected to their classmates and teachers during long absences, and importantly supports smoother reintegration back into school.

To date, Staffordshire County Council has allocated an AV1 to at least 35 different schools, proving the widespread impact of their hard work and commitment to equal educational opportunities for all.


At lunchtime some of the students would stay in the classroom and have lunch with her. It’s enabled her to reform old friendships and make new ones as well. The sense of belonging that’s given to her, to me, is even more important than the educational aspect. In terms of inclusion I think it’s a massive step forward.

– Lynne Podmore, Assistant Headteacher at Cheslyn Hay Academy (click for school case study)

A very useful tool to use with children who want to stay connected to their school… good value for money.

– Karl Hobson, Head of Attendance & Inclusion, Staffordshire County Council

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