Back to news Success story


CoPE is core part of the curriculum at outstanding school

Many students at Hockerill Anglo-European College have gone on to achieve success following the completion of ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness. Popular among learners, staff and parents, the qualification has become a key part of the school’s curriculum.

Because of the international dimension to Hockerill Anglo-European College, most students study two languages at GCSE. However, for some learners, the demands of studying a second language are too onerous and the school delivers the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) Level 2 as an alternative.

Hockerill, an Ofsted-rated outstanding school in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, has been delivering CoPE since 2010. Undertaken by students in Years 10 and 11, the qualification is timetabled for five lessons a fortnight with each lesson lasting an hour.

Alison McCulloch, Assistant Principal, teaches CoPE in collaboration with a colleague. “Where students may have failed in a second GCSE language, they are succeeding in CoPE,” says Alison.

“The personalised learning element of the course is very important to students. In all the years we have been delivering this qualification, I have never had a student who did not want to come to their CoPE class. The choice they have about their learning engages and motivates them. CoPE isn’t just for those struggling with a second language, we have also had highly academic students undertaking the qualification. All our students have greatly benefited from it and have found it challenging and rewarding.”

Developing and accrediting skills

Alison says students gain many skills such as the ability to communicate effectively and give good oral presentations. They also start to realise how they already have skills and knowledge from experiences outside school that they can accredit through the course.

“We cover careers guidance which helps students consider their options after school,” says Alison. “CoPE boosts the learners’ ability to write CVs because they are able to articulate the importance of essential skills having discussed and developed them through the course. Our students can talk about skills in interviews whereas those who have not taken the course might struggle in this regard because they have not had the same skills development experience.”

Portfolio of evidence

Alison says the CoPE method of formative assessment through the building of a portfolio of evidence boosts students’ self-esteem, enabling them to achieve and experience success.

“The creation of the portfolio is a great way of working for our learners. It helps them improve their organisational ability in particular, a skill which benefits them in other subjects as well as when they go on to college and further study elsewhere. The students take great pride in their portfolios.”

Positive post-16 destinations

“One former CoPE student told us she went for a marketing internship interview recently where she talked about CoPE despite having gone on to achieve a degree. This is an indication of the lasting impact this qualification has on learners.”

Another former CoPE student went on to college before being offered a place recently on the exercise and sports sciences course at Exeter University. Alison says CoPE helped this learner succeed through the development of better organisational skills and self-management of their work and performance. As a result of the skills they have developed through CoPE, Alison says many past CoPE students have gone on to thrive in further study.

Confidence boost

“With the new GCSEs, the introduction of assessment through final summer exams has placed greater pressure on students,” says Alison. “We plan to enter our Year 11 CoPE students for moderation in December so that, provided they pass, they will receive an importance confidence boost mid year. We hope this lift will benefit them across all their subjects.”

When the students get their certificates at the end of the course, the head invites them to a special reception to mark their achievements. “It’s amazing how eloquently the learners speak about their CoPE experience and the skills they’ve developed. They are thrilled to have this recognition of their success.”

Popularity of CoPE

“We have parents requesting for their children to do CoPE because they can see the holistic benefits of the course and how it complements academic learning.

“There is great support from the headteacher and director of the curriculum in relation to CoPE and it is a respected part of the curriculum. We have discussions every year about the appropriateness of the curriculum and what’s best for the students but the place of CoPE has never been questioned. Staff, students and parents all see its value.”