Connect2Education are an interim bespoke education provider. Working with schools and local authorities supporting children who are out of mainstream education. This could be due to medical needs, anxiety or because they are between schools and are in need of education.
We first met owner Julie in July 2020. Let’s find out how the business has changed since then.
Covid forces change
“The impact of covid has dramatically changed the education landscape. Pupil’s mental health and wellbeing needs have vastly increased. Subsequently, many children are struggling with the traditional school model and larger class sizes. The vast amount of time spent in isolation has left some with a fear of school, lacking in confidence and unsure of their abilities. Furthermore, a fear of socialising has created groups of extremely withdrawn young people, reluctant to join in. Simply put, we can’t go back to where we were in 2020 and schools are really struggling with this change. Parents are also recognising that their child may need specific catch up sessions tailored to their needs.”
Julie’s experience speaks volumes. She’s a qualified teacher of 20 years, SEND director, and has had her own practice in clinical therapy for over ten years; she truly understands the challenges for children in the current educational climate.
But she’s also experienced first hand some of the difficulties facing parents and carers of children with anxiety.
Talking from experience
“When my daughter reached year 7/8 she suffered with anxiety and eventually became extremely stressed about going to school. This affected the whole family. We were very worried about her life chances and concerned about her missing education. As a parent that’s really frightening. You can’t force your child into school and you don’t know how to fix the situation. It’s currently a 3 year waiting list for child and adolescent mental health services in this area which is really stressful for parents and carers too.”
Eventually Julie left her career as a teacher to support her daughter.
One size does not fit all
“We found the right place for her after trying a couple of different schools. She needed to know that we were a network of support and that her voice was being heard. Building confidence, giving her space and organising the bespoke tuition that she needed was crucial. The right school with very small classes was what worked for her. So we get it. We’ve lived it. Working holistically, we listen to the hopes and fears of parents and carers, and understand how worried they are. With our knowledge, understanding and expertise we are able to help. It’s not a one size fits all solution. Some children need a hybrid approach. Some need some schooling at home alongside tuition. Others just need quieter spaces with less people. Children on the autism spectrum will have additional needs.”
Here come the tutors
“In 2020/2021 the government acknowledged that there were massive gaps. The most vulnerable were the worst hit. Subsequently they launched National Tuition programme. Allowing schools additional spend for targeted academic support delivered by trained and experienced tutors and mentors. 1-2-1 tuition and small group tuition delivers the biggest outcome for children that are falling behind. This is something that we’re now delivering in schools, during in school hours.”
Adapting to suit the pupils
“As a business, we recognise this shift in children’s needs and have adapted accordingly. Therefore, our tuition services are now available locally. The Connect2Education centre in Stokesley is an informal, relaxed environment. We work with primary school kids right up to GCSE age. Being very flexible to meet individual needs with blocks of time to suit their timetables. All of our teachers are trauma informed, and are trained to be therapeutically supportive of these children.”
Smaller is better
“Evidence demonstrates that kids are likely to work better in small groups of around 4-6. Our quiet, purposeful setting makes it easier to concentrate. When children start to fall behind at school, tuition can be used to bridge the gap. Working on emotional resilience as well as the educational side, so that returning to school in September is more enjoyable as kids feel more confident. Parents and carers want and need this and children learn that it is possible for them to make academic progress. With that in mind, from August we’re offering after school tuition, and holiday tuition in small groups. It’s very cost effective. We plan to double our workforce over the next 6-12 months as we expand our tuition services nationally. Watch this space as we have exciting plans in development!”
It’s great to see the way Connect2Education has developed on the Terry Dicken Business Park. But would Julie recommend it to prospective businesses?
Going the extra mile
“We recommend it all the time! The landlords go above and beyond to make sure that you are supported. Not only in terms of the space and facilities, they genuinely care and want you to do well. They go the extra mile. Mark has spent time listening and talking through things. We have an honest relationship where we can talk about what might not be going as we expected. Mark is often coming up with helpful suggestions. Such as can we put you in touch with another business on the park that might be able to help? That’s really valuable from a business perspective.”
Connect2Education are taking bookings for August for 1-2-1 and block sessions. They have small groups for English and Maths, Craft sessions, and fun literacy sessions. Booster sessions for primary aged children are also available.
They can be found at Office 8, 2 Roseberry Court, Terry Dicken Business Park, Ellerbeck Way, Stokesley TS9 5QT
Contact them on 01642 961230 or via email