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“ASDAN's PSHE Short Course is a ‘no-brainer’ – it benefits every student”

We spoke to Senior Education Support Officer at Ballakermeen High School, Jim Murphy, and LSS teacher, Clare Skelcher, about the impact of ASDAN's PSHE Short Course on students. The course has developed learners’ confidence, boosted their independent learning skills and given them a sense of accomplishment.

Ballakermeen High School is a comprehensive secondary school on the Isle of Man where ASDAN’s PSHE Short Courseis delivered to KS3 and KS4 students in the LSS (Learning Support Services) faculty.

“We bought the PSHE Short Course within days of our ASDAN regional manager showing us the student books,” says Jim. “PSHE is very important for some of our vulnerable students who face greater challenges than their peers. ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course encompasses an aspect of nurture, which many of our students need.

“Students have responded incredibly well to ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course as it’s progressive and pertinent to their needs, especially with the implications of the pandemic.”

Independent and personalised learning  

“The format of ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course has given our students choice. They chose the challenges that suited them and their way of working. One Year 11 student started from Module 1 and worked right though, whereas another Year 11 student started on a module that was of particular interest to him. The point is they both took control and were able to personalise their learning,” says Jim. 

Jim’s colleague Clare adds: “Through online research and taking advantage of course material that ASDAN provides in a resource folder, the students were immediately engaged in mature, comprehensive discussions and discovered that they all had different views.

“Our students have taken to the PSHE Short Course more than any other course because it’s full of modules that teenagers are genuinely interested in. The subjects are current and relevant to their lives.”

“Each student’s confidence and the development of independent learning has come on better than I could have imagined.”

Emotional wellbeing 

ASDAN’s PSHE Course helped students remain engaged throughout lockdown. Jim explains how the course was useful in gauging students’ mental health. 

“The PSHE Short Course really helped over lockdown because it was a way of keeping in touch with our students virtually. We work with many Year 11s who have a wide range of abilities. Some of the modules gave me an understanding of how our students coped during such a challenging time for their mental health, for example with modules such as Module 1: Emotional wellbeing, Module 2: Keeping safe and healthy and Module 3: Social media."

ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course provides a platform for discussing a range of topics, including sexual orientation. 

“Without a shadow of a doubt, we feel confident that ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course will support discussions about the LGBT+ community,” says Jim. “As we work through the Short Course book, the students start growing up. They take the subject seriously.”   

Flexible working with the e-portfolio

“We set up students for online learning for the first time just prior to the pandemic. ASDAN’s e-portfolios have been a great success,” says Jim. 

“Since lockdown, we registered a lot more students with the e-portfolio to factor in the potential for returning to working remotely. We gave students the option of ASDAN’s hard copy student books or e-portfolios, which resulted in us using 12 e-portfolios and six student books to deliver the PSHE Short Course over lockdown. Some students liked physically writing and others didn’t have access to a computer or phone so ASDAN providing this option was perfect. 

“There is a progress tracker through ASDAN’s e-portfolio and I was able to see the time and date of when a student last logged on and their recent activity, which is great information for us,” says Jim.

Confidence for further education

“ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course gave students another incentive to work hard because they could see that the Bronze, Silver and Gold award as part of ASDAN’s PDP (Personal Development Programme) was attainable,” says Clare. “Up to three ASDAN credits from Short Courses can be put towards Bronze Award. Each credit is worth 10 hours of work and six credits are required for Bronze, 12 for Silver and 18 for the Gold Award. Students realised that if they were able to achieve in the PSHE Short Course, they could put their credits towards other ASDAN programmes as a way of supporting their progression. 

“The confidence and sense of accomplishment that ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course gave students enabled many of them to gain entry to further education.”

Jim explains: “ASDAN has gone from strength to strength at Ballakermeen High School. Four years ago, we had six students doing ASDAN courses and now we have 48 students currently doing an ASDAN programme. We have just been given a newly built classroom especially for ASDAN courses, which is amazing. ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course is a must for all schools, it’s a no-brainer! It works with every kind of student.”

Download a PDF of this PSHE Short Course success story (582KB)

Please contact if you have been inspired by the work of Ballakermeen High School and would like to find out more about ASDAN’s PSHE Short Course or would like to work with us to share your centre's success story.