News & Updates

Funding for Telepresence Robots

The Raedwald Trust has been awarded funding from the grant-making charity, The Wolfson Foundation to acquire telepresence robots. The robot devices will support young people at the Trust where their medical needs present a barrier to them attending school.

Following the successful use of similar devices in established hospital schools, the Raedwald Trust are seeking to build upon the use of telepresence robots in an alternative provision environment.

The award provides funding for two different devices (see images). One device will allow a young person prevented from attending school due to their medical needs to continue to have access to their school environment. It will enable them to participate in lessons and experience the transition between lessons, as well as break and lunch times – essentially pupils will be able to participate in all the expected features of everyday school life.

The second device will allow pupils to not only access remote teaching but to fully engage with the lesson. It will allow the pupil to communicate with peers, have sight of the entire classroom and interact easily with the teacher when they require support.

The costs of using such technologies are high, and having the support from The Wolfson Foundation to purchase this state-of-the-art technology will allow the Trust’s most vulnerable pupils to maintain access to their education no matter how their particular individual needs impact on them accessing school on a regular basis.

The Raedwald Trust is devoted to ensuring that the most vulnerable young people in society have barriers removed, allowing them to access the highest levels of education, both academically but also socially.

James Benson, Head Teacher at Parkside Academy said: “During the current pandemic we have seen just how important it is to ensure that all young people have access to technology.

“It is an exciting time to be part of the Raedwald Trust, and the installation of the robots in our academies is yet another strategy that we are using to continue to remove the barriers to education faced by many young people in Ipswich with medical needs.

“We are determined to ensure that young people are not disadvantaged as a result of their individual needs and whilst the use of these telepresence devices will not remove all barriers, they will certainly improve their overall education experience.”

The robots will be used within the Ipswich Hospital School as well as at other academies across the Raedwald Trust.

The Wolfson Foundation aims to ‘fund excellent organisations and outstanding projects to improve the civic health of society’. Click here for more information about the charity.