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Making learning accessible and meaningful with ASDAN’s PSD qualifications

ASDAN’s Personal and Social Development (PSD) qualifications support young people to develop skills to prepare them for independence and working life. Available from Entry 1 up to Level 2, learners complete the required number of units to attain the PSD award or its larger version, the certificate.

We spoke to Sam Lynam, tutor at Great Western Academy, who spoke about how the versatility of this course has met the differing needs of her students and helped them look towards the future.

“We chose Personal and Social Development as we wanted the freedom to do different things with different cohorts, and the flexibility of PSD gives us that.”

“There's a real wealth of options, allowing students to choose the units they want to do. It makes them feel in charge and immediately more engaged in their learning. We aimed to incorporate 'Preparation for work', creating tangible things they can take away from school and use, like a CV or a cover letter”.

“The flexibility in the teaching and assessment of the course is fantastic. We can decide to pursue the certificate if a group excels by the end of the year, or we can opt for a slower pace, making the most out of each module to complete the award. The students determine their learning pace. We don't have to decide at the beginning of the year.”

Learning in and outside the classroom

“The course provides great opportunities to apply learning in real-life situations. For example, my year nines completed the 'Managing your money' module, and after classroom work, I took them to a café and gave them a five pound budget. They could have whatever they wanted but had to calculate the costs and what change they should get back. Connecting lessons to real-life activities immediately engages the students, showing them the practical value of classroom learning.”

“Our year 11 cohort prefer the classroom environment, so the course allows us to work with a small group in a close, quiet setting. Alternatively, my year 10s are really outgoing. For their 'Making the most of my leisure time' module, I booked trips to attend a sporting event, art gallery and a museum. With the introverted group, I might opt for a guided online tour. It just gives me that flexibility to meet their differing needs and complete the activities”.

Boosting core academic achievements

“It's plain to see the cross-curriculum benefits. 'Managing your money' links well to the maths curriculum, while the 'Environmental awareness' module connects to geography and science. Everything has a connection to English through research, reading, writing and comprehension. It builds confidence in those other areas and that fundamental skill is worked on continuously through the ASDAN course.”

“During ASDAN lessons, learners can achieve at a pace more suited to them individually. The skills they gain with the ASDAN curriculum support other areas of their schooling. For example, many subjects will recognise the importance of extracting important information from a body of text and this can all be explored at a matched pace."

Thinking about the future

“All the students who completed ASDAN last year have gone on to college. Some chose catering college, and one pursued health and social care, aligning to the 'Healthy eating' and 'Parenting awareness' modules we completed.”

“We had a student that struggled with attainment and challenging behaviour, and we certainly saw their engagement improve. Partly due to feeling more relaxed in school, feeling more in control, and doing something that they can see a connection with what they want to do after school.”

“It gives them a different perspective, showing that education doesn't need to be as maybe they think it should be, based on their past experiences. They can learn in a relaxed setting and have more freedom in the way they learn, and there are courses beyond school that continue that. It’s a good introduction to the types of vocational courses that are available at college and sixth form.”

“This style of teaching and learning introduces students to new options, making them feel more at ease, in control of choices, and finding learning more accessible. The relationships we've been able to build up with the students in our ASDAN lessons have helped us understand the students better. We are making learning accessible but still meaningful. And that has been nothing but a positive for them.”

Please contact if you have been inspired to share your centre's story or would like to find out more about ASDAN’s PSD qualifications.