An avatar army has assembled in Southend to assist children when they are unable to physically be in the classroom.

Southend Borough Council has bought 15 AV1s – mini-robots, 10 are available through Southend Adult Community College’s new Interim Tuition Service with the remaining five loaned directly by schools through the Council.

The robots will allow students who may not be able to go to school because of medical or mental health reasons, to attend their classes remotely so they learn in real time, interact with their classroom peers and participate in lessons.

The Interim Tuition Service is an educational service that provides support to students who are unable to attend due to health needs.

There may be occasions on which support is also provided to students who have educational health care plans who the local authority is planning full time provision for.

The aim of the service is to ensure that the education that each student receives enables them to reintegrate successfully back into school as soon as possible.

Debbie Angel – Programme Manager at Southend Adult Community College, said: ‘We are really excited to have the opportunity to use the AV1 Robots to enhance our learners’ experience.  Many of our young people suffer from conditions that prevent them from engaging in a traditional classroom environment.  This innovative development will allow us, and more importantly our young people, to participate remotely in normal lessons with a view to transitioning back into school or college.  Details on how you can access our AV1 robots are available from Debbie Angel through the Interim Tuition Service at Southend Adult Community College.’

Read the full story featured in the Echo newspaper here