Back to news Success story


CoPE enhances personal and social development at Welsh school

Pupils at Aberdare Community School, Rhondda Cynon Taff, south Wales, undertake ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) qualification at Levels 1 and 2 mainly in Years 7-9. The school uses CoPE to fulfill some of the requirements of the Welsh personal and social education (PSE) framework for seven to 19-year-olds. PSE forms part of the basic curriculum for pupils in maintained schools in Wales with aims including:

  • developing learners’ self-esteem and sense of personal responsibility
  • equipping learners to live safe, healthy lives
  • fostering positive attitudes and behaviour towards the principles of sustainable development and global citizenship

“CoPE is timetabled during Key Stage 3 for two hours every fortnight,” said Chris Lovell, Assistant Headteacher at the school. “We tend to deliver the Section A challenges in the CoPE student book in Year 7 and for Years 8-9 we deliver a mix of the more involved Section B and C challenges.

“We also have ‘shut down days’ for PSE when the timetable is suspended and pupils undertake a variety of enrichment activities. One shut down day was based around the theme of health and wellbeing. Learners undertook training for a first aid qualification [see image above], which forms part of the CoPE Health and Fitness module. On another shut down day, learners undertook a sports leadership award programme, which is part of the Sport and Leisure module. One of the great things about CoPE is that it can be used to accredit learning and skills development gained through enrichment activities.”

By Year 9, the vast majority of learners at the school achieve CoPE Levels 1 and 2. A small number of pupils go on to complete CoPE Level 2 at Key Stage 4.

“One of the things we like about CoPE is that it provides strong PSE outcomes for students,” said Chris. Learners produce evidence to demonstrate how they have improved their personal effectiveness and developed skills in areas including working with others, improving your own learning and performance, problem solving and planning and carrying out research.

“There is a huge variety of challenges in the course which the learners appreciate because it means they can undertake activities related to their interests. There is something for everyone in CoPE and the course can be adapted according to the ability of the learners. Some of our more academic pupils have decided to focus on challenges in the Science and Technology module while others might prefer to concentrate on activities in the Sport and Leisure module.

“Our learners have been ecstatic to pass CoPE – picking up this qualification means so much to them. We haven’t found any other course that enables us to deliver and accredit PSE in such a flexible and engaging way.”