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Empowering young people through a
personalised approach to learning


Exams dominate the UK’s education system. They have come to define what is taught, how it is taught, and young people’s educational experience. The grades race exacerbates inequalities and detracts from developing the kinds of qualities and skills that young people need to thrive in learning, work and life.

Education leaders and employers are increasingly looking beyond exams, considering how to provide a well-rounded education for their learners and how to find out more about an employee’s potential and what kind of person they are.

ASDAN has an established history of developing young people’s competencies and personal qualities to build their confidence, wellbeing and personal resilience. Through advocating personal and social effectiveness, ASDAN is driven to inspire confidence in young learners and prepare them for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

In response to the abrupt changes in education and society that 2020 brought, ASDAN began updating their personal effectiveness courses. Continuing the focus of preparing young people for their futures, they developed new qualifications to meet their needs in an uncertain world.

The Personal and Social Effectiveness (PSE) qualifications were designed to develop modern and future-facing competencies in communication, collaboration and emotional intelligence. Aimed at learners aged 14 to 19 working at Level 1 and 2, the PSE qualifications offer a unique and personalised approach to enabling individual progress, assessed by a portfolio of evidence.

The ASDAN Award in Personal and Social Effectiveness covers three skilled-based units at Award level:

• Developing myself and my performance

• Working with others

• Problem solving

Learners can advance to the Certificate in Personal and Social Effectiveness by delivering a project linked to a topic covered in one of the three units. These cover a wide range of topics such as health and wellbeing, science and technology, the environment and independent living.

By selecting to study topics that interest and motivate them, learners can create experiences they find meaningful. Their positive engagement with the subject matter provides a solid framework for developing the targeted skills, attributes and values of the core units. This approach to learning can help improve behaviours and grow confidence, crucial for young people’s future development.

The qualification was created in close collaboration with education practitioners and ASDAN members, incorporating their input to guide its development. Employing this pedagogical approach to feedback, ASDAN’s PSE evaluation project continues to gather rich insights to reflect on and help shape learning processes.

Offering a unique flexibility for teachers, the course is equipped with intuitive and adaptable resources to design their curriculum in a way that reflects and meets the needs of their learners. The Scheme of Learning provides support in planning and managing the course delivery, and accompanying resource packs include over 30 hours of robust teaching resources.

Susannah Harlow of ASDAN is a co-author of the PSE qualifications and notes how they are “incredibly flexible and adaptable and can be tailored to a variety of curriculum models in education settings.” She adds how PSE can motivate and assist with existing studies, giving “learners the personal effectiveness to transfer into their core subject GSCEs.”

Carolyn Rolleston, Head of Department (Vocational) at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School, Gloucestershire, was one of several members who collaborated with ASDAN to ensure the qualification met the needs of both teachers and learners. She noted how the PSE qualification engaged and motivated her learners, as well as increasing confidence.

“The personalised learning aspect is crucial for learners’ future development,” Carolyn said. “It is totally a unique course that is valued by the learners, their parents, and the staff delivering it. I value it immensely.”

Read more about the Personal and Social Effectiveness qualifications: ASDAN Website | Personal and Social Effectiveness Level 1 and 2

Get in touch with an ASDAN advisor to discuss the benefit to your learners: 0117 941 1126 | info@asdan.org.uk

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