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ASDAN courses improve confidence and communication, say members

This year’s customer survey findings have provided us with an abundance of heartwarming examples of how ASDAN courses are the difference in the lives of learners. We have also been given a wealth of information about how we can improve our offer, which our new professional learning and innovation team are beginning to explore. 

Impact of ASDAN courses 

“87% of survey responders feel that ASDAN courses meet the needs of their learners” 

Responders to the survey told us that the top three areas that learners have improved in by engaging in an ASDAN course are: 

  1. Confidence
  2. Communication
  3. Preparing for adulthood 

We received uplifting comments about the flexibility of ASDAN courses and their impact on students who have become disengaged with their education: 

“When many of our learners have found it hard to engage, interact and belong, ASDAN has allowed them to do so…pupils that have struggled throughout school and cannot pass exams, can finally achieve a course…courses are designed to suit our young people and accommodate all levels of ability.”  

“ASDAN have a great reputation and add validity to our mission…I believe with ASDAN's support, I can offer a diverse, engaging and achievement-led course as an alternative to a GCSE option. For many of our students these may be the only certificates they achieve on leaving school.” 

The challenge facing learners 

“83% of survey responders feel that ASDAN courses engage young people in greatest need” 

As a learning organisation, we wanted to find out what challenges both our members and learners face. Understanding these challenges will better inform how we remove barriers to education and how we help ease the daily frustrations experienced by education practitioners. 

It’s been the first full year returning to a ‘normal’ way of working since the disruptions caused by Covid-19 and it’s proved extremely challenging for many of our members.  

The three biggest challenges that survey responders feel that learners face are: 

  1. Mental health
  2. Literacy
  3. Self-esteem 

We know that young people’s mental health, wellbeing and confidence have declined this past year, a sentiment echoed by keynote speakers and panelists at both the recent TES SEND Show and National Education Show in Cardiff we attended.  

Our courses have long been designed to equip young people with the core skills of communication, teamwork, problem solving, alongside supporting the development of maths and literacy skills. As part of our vision we want to see the achievements of all learners to be held in high esteem.  

We are seeing some positive examples of these challenges being addressed by learners engaging in our courses: 

“Students achieving work where they were unable to access school. Quality work and a sense of achievement and pride. This has led to confidence and a willingness to work independently and want to read and write.” 

We know this requires a systemic approach to support all learners who have faced disruption to their education and lives. We are committed to playing our part.  

The challenge facing education practitioners 

“73% of survey responders are planning to continue with ASDAN courses next year" 

The top three challenges education practitioners experienced are:  

  1. Workload
  2. Complexity of learner needs
  3. Funding 

Survey responders noted that the increasing complexities of learners’ needs is creating more pressure on staff and resources. They expressed that it’s been challenging supporting learners holistically into learning routines, attendance and motivation after the pandemic. 

Responders also highlighted the lack of appropriate employment and work opportunities for learners. Although there’s lots of work still to do in bridging the gap between preparing learners for the workplace and them finding employment, we were delighted by this comment made by one of our survey responders regarding a successful outcome for an ASDAN learner: 

“Last year one student took his ASDAN portfolio to an interview for an apprenticeship at a local landscape gardening family business... and got the job.” 

Addressing the needs of our members 

We’ve exciting plans for addressing the clear request from survey responders for more support from us to effectively deliver our courses, and share and hear good practice, through the development of professional learning communities. Watch this space! 

We’re also working on ways to better articulate pathways between ASDAN courses and beyond our courses into further education, training, apprenticeships or employment. Hopefully some of you will have seen our new welcome packs, which are just the start of this process.  

We pride ourselves on our customer service and constantly seek ways of bettering how we enable our members to get the best possible outcomes for their young people, led by our front-facing Centre Support and Relationship Management teams, supported by our Finance and Publications teams. Thank you for all the positive comments you have shared about specific individuals at ASDAN. We think they’re great too.  

A heartfelt thank you to everybody who contributed to this year’s survey. We read your feedback rigorously and embed it into how we move forward in our developments at ASDAN. Your voice is invaluable. We’ll leave you with one more comment from one of our survey responders: 

“I am proud to deliver meaningful awards and qualifications that are relevant to prepare our young adults for independence. I love these programmes so much! I work in a mainstream school with students with disabilities and I use ASDAN for these students to achieve success.”