Back to news Success story


Developing essential life skills through Personal Development Programmes

ASDAN’s Personal Development Programmes have boosted the confidence and self-esteem of GCSE students at Alderwood School in Hampshire, as well as helping them to develop essential life skills.

Alderwood School is a mainstream 4–18 all-through school, based over three separate sites, in Aldershot, Hampshire.

Richard Scarborough, Assistant Headteacher, delivers the ASDAN Personal Development Programmes (Bronze, Silver, Gold) to a group of Year 10 and 11s. These pupils had previously been struggling with the exam-focused GCSE curriculum. Their ASDAN classes offered a chance to develop essential life skills, including teamwork and problem solving, as well as a chance to build their confidence and self-esteem.

The learners have undertaken a wide range of activities for their ASDAN work, including supporting students in the infant school with their reading and various sporting activities. Additionally, the learners have taken part in a range of gardening activities, using the ASDAN Gardening Short Course curriculum towards the Personal Development Programmes. For every 10 hours of work for Short Courses, learners gain one ASDAN credit and these can be carried forwards to other ASDAN programmes and qualifications, allowing learners to demonstrate their progression and achievement.

Students have planted their own vegetables in the junior school greenhouse and went on to host a barbeque for fellow students and teachers using the home-grown ingredients, including roasted vegetable kebabs. They also visited supermarkets to compare prices of food and cooked an Italian-style meal with vegetables they had grown themselves.

Developing confidence through practical activities

Richard said: ‘The students have been on a real journey with their ASDAN work. They started the classes feeling very disaffected but have really grown in confidence over the year. They have enjoyed their gardening activities and getting their hands dirty, and especially liked cooking their own meals from the vegetables they have grown.

Learners cooking their home-grown vegetables

‘The portfolio-based aspect of the ASDAN Personal Development Programmes has allowed the students to work at their own pace and take control over their own learning, thus increasing their self belief. They would not have been able to cope with the pressure of additional exams.

‘ASDAN has really helped the students emotionally. It’s been a real lifeline for them.’

One learner in particular has really benefitted from undertaking the Personal Development Programmes. Ellie Walker quickly progressed from Bronze to Gold and has created a wide range of evidence from activities for her portfolio. Richard said: ‘She’s absolutely flown! She has been able to work well independently and has thrived during the lessons. She’s now on track to achieve her Gold certificate, a great achievement.’

Accrediting activities and achievements 

The ASDAN Personal Development Programmes offer imaginative ways of developing, recording and certificating a wide range of people’s personal qualities, abilities and achievements, as well as introducing them to new activities and challenges.