Telepresence robots at The Ponds School


To trial and measure the impact of using telepresence robots for students with long term absences, with the aim of increasing their ability to participate in education.

Measure of success

Improvement in school connectedness for students with long term absences, including school attendance, engagement and academic performance.

All measures

  • Participation

  • Major behaviour incidents

  • Suspension and lockdown incidences

  • Attendance

  • Learning outcomes through the Students with Additional Needs (SWANs) assessment tool

  • Engagement and responsiveness

  • Teacher and parent satisfaction

Partner schools

  • The Ponds School


Students at The Ponds School have been staying engaged in learning and connected with their classmates using telepresence robots.

A school for specific purposes that primarily supports students with intellectual disability, The Ponds staff first investigated telepresence robots as a solution to support a student with high medical needs.

The use of telepresence robots has been expanded and is now being formally tested as part of the Innovation Program, and robots are now in use by a number of students who struggle to attend school due to chronic illness or mental health issues.

Staff have received training on how to better engage students using the robots during lessons, while parents and students have been shown how to control them and access lesson content remotely using iPads and other technological tools.

“This doesn’t just benefit the student who isn’t physically there, it benefits those at school that they can see their classmates also and have that connection,” said Leonie Donaldson, principal at The Ponds School. “Students at home can move the robot around to see the classroom, if another student is communicating with them they can move to see that student.”

“The academic benefits will be amazing as well. The robot will enable virtual attendance for students in the classroom and students’ participation in daily activities – library, incursions, daily assembly, music therapy. ”

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