Cheslyn Hay Academy

Cheslyn Hay Academy

AV1 provided connection for student with a long-term, life-limiting condition in a UK school

Interview with Lynne Podmore, Assistant Headteacher at Cheslyn Hay, September 2021

Cheslyn Hay Academy is a mixed secondary school in the county of Staffordshire, catering to approximately 1,300 students between the ages of 11-18. They are committed to maintaining a school community characterised by openness and support.

Staffordshire County Council have been trialling 10 AV1 devices over the past year, to support children with qualifying health needs in both Primary and Secondary schools.

Lynne Podmore, Assistant Headteacher at Cheslyn Hay, explains how AV1 has supported one of their year 7 pupils over the past year:

“The student herself has a long-term life limiting condition. She hadn’t been into her primary school because of her health and was in many ways socially isolated from everybody.

She has taken to using the AV1 well. Mum thinks that it has made such a massive difference to her life. Getting up and logging onto the AV1 in the morning is a routine that she now looks forward to.”

In a secondary school environment it is likely that the AV1 will move between various classrooms throughout the day. Lynne describes the steps taken to ensure the AV1 was looked after and managed:

“One of the student’s friends was brilliant at taking the AV1 around when needed. We appointed her as a buddy and she would collect the AV1 every morning and put it on to charge at the end of the day.

Transporting it around this year was made easier by having year group bubbles, so we will have to plan for how AV1 will be moved efficiently going forward.”

Whilst the school faced some challenges in ensuring the student had a clear view of the board they were able to use AV1 alongside other distance learning platforms to provide any additional resources.

“We have also used Google Classroom so that the student could receive the lesson slides and any worksheets before hand. This meant that the teachers were happy with using AV1 during lessons and there were no real concerns about setting work.

We also post house competitions online and, because of the interaction she’s gained through AV1, she’s really taken to virtually joining in on those. I think it has given her a desire to access the extra curricular side of school as well.”

When asked what sets AV1 apart from other remote learning options Lynne comments:

“The student who has the AV1 is more in control of their experience. Without it they wouldn’t have been able to have the same level of interaction within the classroom.“

Lynne agreed that the biggest impact for the student was how they began to feel part of the school community again:

"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.

Whilst the student is keen to return to school we expect her education to continue in this way for a while. If she was able to start coming back we would likely use the AV1 to support a staggered reintegration."

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