1. Do students that go to Connect ever go back to Mainstream fulltime?
Yes, some students return successfully to mainstream education and some (mainly KS4 students) choose to stay in Connect for some or all of their education to minimise disruption to their qualification subjects.
2. Can you be excluded from Connect?
Yes, wherever possible we will try to avoid this and if there is a more restorative approach we can adopt we would prefer to use this. Exclusions from Connect are rare and when they do occur they are normally due to a risk to the safety of others or a persistent pattern of abusive behaviour where alternative approaches have not been effective. Exclusions from Connect place a young person’s future at CoDA at significant risk given the cost and specialist level of support a placement offers.
3. Are you allowed to go outside at break or lunchtimes?
Yes, but due to our outside space being accessible to the public via a gate this must be supervised by a minimum of 2 staff.
4. Can you get GCSEs at Connect?
Yes, and wherever possible we would encourage young people to be leaving with 5 or more GCSEs or equivalent qualifications by the end of year 11. Connect students have also left with grades 4s, 5s and above despite being predicted lower earlier in the year. Academic success at Connect is both possible and encouraged
5. Can you still get into College or apprenticeships if I finish year 11 at Connect?
Yes, Connect staff work with all young people to ensure that they are post 16 ready, which includes support with applications, visits and interviews as required.
6. Is Connect a Special School or Enhanced resource unit for SEND?
No, City of Derby Academy pays for the additional support Connect provides without additional Local Authority funding for the provision. All young people that access Connect are on the SEND register and some have Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Young people who finish their schooling at Connect attended City of Derby Academy.
7. Do staff restrain young people at Connect if they don’t do as they are told?
No, Connect operates a no restraint policy unless to prevent death or serious injury. Staff will also warn young people if they intend to do this and use the least restrictive method to deescalate the situation.
8. Is Connect a safe place to learn?
Yes, Since the change in approach the results of annual student survey score the statement “I feel safe at Connect” as 5 out of 5 by all students.
9. Does Connect have a uniform policy?
Students at Connect still wear uniform however there are some adjustments made due to our approach. Students that attend any lessons in mainstream will still be expected to wear the full CoDA school uniform to lessons taking place there. Connect have spare ties and a limited number of school blazers which can be used for this purpose.
In the Connect building students are expected to wear a minimum of Black trousers and a white shirt or plain white polo shirt on non PE or Forest School days. On PE or Forest School Days students can wear their PE kit to school however this should be plain black or grey with no large images, logos or motifs. Students are not allowed to wear ripped jeans for PE, Forest school, External learning/therapeutic sessions. Jewellery that poses a health and safety risk (e.g. hoop earrings) will need to be removed and will be labelled and stored in a safe until the end of the day.
10. Are students allowed mobile phones?
Students in Connect are expected to be responsible with their use of IT equipment including their own. Students can use their mobile phones during social times providing that
• It has been agreed prior to its use and parents are aware that the school is not responsible for any damage that may occur through its use in the day.
• The student has been working well with staff and in lessons
• The student has not had their mobile phone out in lessons
• The student is not using the phone to watch inappropriate content or access social media whilst at school
• The phone is not used to take photos, film or contact other students in school
• The student is prepared to immediately show what they are using the phone for to any staff member that asks
• The student understands that if any of the above is not adhered to the phone will be labelled and stored in the safe until the end of the day and if repeated will need to be collected by a parent
• If a mobile phone becomes an issue or distraction parents will be required to collect the phone and the student will be expected to leave the phone at home to avoid further issue.