Middlesbrough Virtual Schools experience with AC Education
3 min read/Published On: March 5, 2024/647 words/

Middlesbrough Virtual Schools experience with AC Education

This case study explores Middlesbrough Virtual School’s experience with AC Education’s eLearning courses, face-to-face training and webinars. It highlights the council’s decision to select AC Education as their training provider, the specific courses utilised, and the impact these programmes have had on educational professionals across Middlesbrough and, ultimately, the children they work with.


Middlesbrough has encountered significant issues related to socioeconomic deprivation. Ranking third highest on the national deprivation scale, they face challenges, particularly in supporting the educational needs of its most deprived children. Recognising the need for advanced professional development, Middlesbrough Virtual School wanted to ensure educators in the region have the necessary skills to tackle these challenges head-on.

The council sought a provider capable of delivering comprehensive, impactful training tailored to the unique demands of its educators and support staff. Before partnering with AC Education, the Virtual School led the charge in professional development, with Educational Psychologists (EPs) later joining. However, it quickly became apparent that the demand for training far exceeded the team’s capacity to deliver, highlighting the need for a more scalable solution.

Middlesbrough Virtual School chose AC Education for our wide range and depth of training programmes. We offer courses addressing the critical needs of vulnerable children in schools, including how to prevent exclusions and handle school avoidance through hands-on activities. These courses are developed by experts who have deep knowledge in their fields and real-world experience, ensuring that our training is both relevant and effective.

Implementation and Outcomes:

Our partnership with Middlesbrough Council’s Virtual School began in 2019, with a comprehensive rollout of our online training programmes to key stakeholders across Middlesbrough’s educational settings, so far, we have provided online training to over 100 school professionals. In addition to this, we have provided whole-setting training in attachment, trauma, and emotion coaching, areas identified as crucial for addressing the needs of the city’s most deprived children. AC Education has been an integral part of the PROCLAIM project in terms of our Attachment and Trauma programme, we are working with over 25 settings currently and this year will be the third year we have provided keynote speakers for their annual conference. This training is delivered either face-to-face or via webinar.

The scope of this initiative expanded significantly, with plans to include all schools in Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough College, and two Local Authority (LA) service areas by 2025. Feedback from educational settings has been overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the significant impact of AC Education’s training on professionals and the children they support.

Victoria Banks, Virtual school head at Middlesbrough Council, commented:

“AC Education’s approach has been impressively responsive and showcases a high level of skill. They work alongside leading experts in the field, bringing a depth of knowledge. We have received some fantastic feedback from teachers and support staff alike. It’s clear that AC Education’s programmes are making a real difference in how we support our most vulnerable children.”

Middlesbrough Virtual School’s experience with AC Education showcases the powerful impact of expert-led training in overcoming significant educational challenges. By partnering with AC Education, the council has not only enhanced the capabilities of its educators and support staff but has also taken a crucial step toward addressing the broader needs of its most vulnerable children.

“AC Education are proud of our association with Middlesbrough Virtual School.  They are a beacon of innovation and quality as well as being committed to ensuring all schools adopt relational practices with children and young people at the heart of all they do.” commented Karen Beach, Head of Educational Development at AC Education.

As we continue to work closely with the council, our goal remains to equip educators and support staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to make a lasting difference in the lives of their students. We are committed to developing and delivering training programmes that meet the educational community’s current demands and anticipate future challenges.