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Moving On: pilot centre claims first certificate and readies student for college and independent life

A Wilderness Way has claimed the first module certificate for Moving On, ASDAN’s latest course designed for young people aged 16+ who are preparing to live independently for the first time. Jamie Diwell, Education Manager at A Wilderness Way, shares how the programme has given care leavers the confidence and control to make choices about their future.   

A Wilderness Way offers therapeutic care, education and health programmes for children and young people who have experienced significant trauma and exploitation. They provide short-term residential care lasting 17 weeks, and currently support 44 children between the ages of 8 and 18.  

“Children are referred to us by the Local Authority. When they arrive, they usually haven’t accessed a stable education provision for a long time,” says Jamie. “Understandably, they can be quite turned off to the idea of learning at first, so that's where ASDAN’s programmes come in.” 

“I’ve been an ASDAN coordinator for my entire teaching career and I am aware of the strengths ASDAN’s approach can bring to young people,” says Jamie. “Many of our older children want to move to semi-independence after us, but when it comes down to it, they don’t really know what this entails, so when Moving On was released and I saw the pilot scheme, I thought, this is it! This is exactly what we need.  

“Moving On fits really well into how we teach, it’s brilliant. When children come to us, we assess their needs and then build a bespoke education package around their personalised goals,” says Jamie.  

‘Pick n mix’ course structure meets learners needs and interests 

“The Moving On journals are something tangible for the learners and a record of their work. Most of our children aren’t likely to have a linear progression through education, so having ASDAN certification to show their achievements is a great confidence boost and a really nice way to evidence and celebrate their progression.  

“Moving On is so helpful, easy to use and doesn’t take much upkeep. It's so straightforward that you can just pick it up on day one and start delivering it.   

“The course includes helpful user notes that come with each module; these are a great foundation to build on if you want to expand as the learner progresses. It’s perfect for our children,” says Jamie.  

“All our learners struggle with social aspects, trauma and having genuine and positive relationships. We're hoping that by the end of 2024, every child that comes to A Wilderness Way will leave having completed the ‘Being healthy’ and ‘Relating to people’ module”. 

Providing a structure to help build an independent future  

“Before coming to us, a local authority had put one of our 16-year-olds into a semi-independent living setting without any support. She came to us really scared about living by herself again and she just didn’t know what to do. Thankfully, Moving On came at just the right time and she became the first child to complete an ASDAN Moving On module in the UK!  

“She began with the ‘Starting your career’ module as she had just completed her GCSEs. She knew she’d been let down in life and wanted to help other children like her to make sure they weren’t let down too. Through completing the ‘Starting your career’ journal, she learned about different pathways into being a psychologist and children's therapist and learned how to apply for college,” says Jamie.  

“She now has a clear pathway and a mind map on the wall of her journey, with tick boxes of steps to get her where she wants to be. She looked at her Moving On journal, her personal statement of skills and researched different college courses, and she chose a social care course near her new home and applied for a place! We’re so proud of her,” says Jamie.  

“She’s moving to a step-down care arrangement, which is a bridge between us and semi-independent living. Once she realised she was moving on from us, she asked if she could start the ‘Building a home’ module. After thinking about this next step, she knew she’d have to start doing a weekly food shop, which meant setting up a bank account, so she then asked to start the ‘Managing money’ module.   

“She understood that the careers module really helped her and so she was determined to start the rest of the Moving On modules that she felt were relevant to her situation. It’s honestly amazing,” says Jamie.   

“Moving On is helping our children come to terms with what's happened to them” 

“As well as helping young people move towards their future, Moving On is also helping them digest their past. One of our learners had previously been exploited in a part-time job. Through learning about wage slips and employment law in the ‘Starting your career’ journal, she realised that her employer had broken those laws and researched where she could have gone to for help. She’s gained so much confidence in herself, it's phenomenal,” says Jamie, “it’s really nice to see this realisation of their worth”.  

Empowering education professionals 

“Our staff are finding Moving On really helpful and it is great to see their confidence growing too,” says Jamie. “One colleague was so excited to tell me how they’d helped their child learn about wage slips and salary income, they said they’d learned so much themselves. Teaching Moving On modules is empowering our home teams to work closer in collaboration with our education team, which is phenomenal,” says Jamie. 

Giving care leavers’ choice and control over their future 

“Moving On provides a reality check for a lot of our children. Many come to us with elevated ideas of what living independently is or think they are ready to begin college. Moving On has given them the confidence to research and understand the steps they need to take before that and make a pathway plan. The course has given our children the tools to build the stairs to get to where they want to be.  

“Moving On really broadens young people’s horizons. It gives young people a choice and builds their life skills and confidence to take control of their future.”  

ASDAN’s Moving On will be launched to the wider public in spring 2024. Download the Moving On information sheetand join our mailing list for regular updates on ASDAN course developments.