Positive results from their initial pilot allowed them to secure funding for 11 more in 2020, then a further 24 in 2021, giving them a total of 40 AV1s to help children and young people in Essex.
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.
– Julie Keating, Education Access Manager, Essex County Council
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.
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. “
No Isolation offers full support through the AV1 Service
“We’ve worked really well with No Isolation, who have been brilliant supporting us in working to dispel concerns that some schools and parents have.”
“We have access to the AV1 Admin app, which enables us to monitor usage and make sure our robots are being deployed as we hope. If we see a robot hasn’t been used, we can see and get in touch with the school to find out what is happening.”
“We have sought to raise the profile of AV1 across Essex through conferences for schools and education professionals. No Isolation presented at the events which helped to boost awareness and confidence. The headteachers and teachers who are using the robots were also informally sharing how they’d successfully used them.”
Essex County Council would like to procure more AV1 robots to help more young people
“Our next steps are to set up an AV1 steering group across Essex, including the SEND team and educational psychologists to widen the scope of where it could be deployed and create a formal evaluation framework with a view to seeking long-term funding options. We aim to go to our investment board to request more robots to help more young people.”