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Students better prepared for future destinations thanks to CoPE Level 3


Students’ confidence, drive and prospects for life after school have been enhanced by ASDAN’s CoPE Level 3. Director of Innovative Learning Opportunities, Anita Sacks, tells us how the qualification has expanded students’ opportunities.

La Retraite 6 is the sixth form of a Roman Catholic, multi-ethnic comprehensive school in Lambeth, London, with an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating. Students are encouraged to contribute to the school and wider community.

“We use ASDAN’s CoPE Level 3 (Certificate of Personal Effectiveness) to further enrich the work ethic of our 250 sixth formers, equip them with skills for the workplace and higher education and enhance their career paths,” says Anita Sacks.

Sixth form student smiling while working on a computer
SolStock/E+ via Getty images

“ASDAN’s CoPE Level 3 has given our students the opportunity to continue learning key skills during the pandemic. It is a great award for students of all abilities, not just the most able,” says Anita.

“Sometimes our students don’t see themselves outside of their social environment so ASDAN’s qualification is very much about socially mobilising them through volunteering and engaging them more in the outside world.

“Some of our students may be limited by their lack of cultural capital but the CoPE Level 3 tasks that we’ve personalised for our students fill that gap and show them what work-related skills look like in action.

“CoPE Level 3 really impacts students’ futures,” says Anita. “Through CoPE Level 3 tasks, our students developed their research skills and their confidence was boosted by delivering a presentation to an audience,” says Anita.

UCAS points provide incentive

“Many of our students are disadvantaged, entitled to free school meals or are young carers and to achieve their target grades is often a challenge. CoPE Level 3 works for our centre as it strengthens our students’ future opportunities and offers the bonus incentive of receiving 16 UCAS points once the qualification is completed.

“Students begin to count their UCAS points and realise that they can go to university. They then start to work harder at their own performance and gain a greater understanding of their metacognitive skills. CoPE Level 3 gives our students such a strong chance to get into Russell Group universities.

“We blend our RE (Religious Education) curriculum with CoPE Level 3. Students can bank their RE tasks towards CoPE Level 3 UCAS points by getting a volunteering placement online such as taking part in local NHS Virtual Work Experience programmes. These are open for all Year 10 to 13 students to apply for and involve 10 hours of activity that can be completed over a two week period.”

Remote learning

Student listening to headphone while working from home
damircudic/E+ via Getty images

“Students gain very important skills in the CoPE Level 3 Career planning module. We use a platform called Unifrog, which feeds in career, apprenticeship and post-18 study information and gives students their aspirational, solid, and safe course options. CoPE Level 3 allows them to gain credit for learning how to use Unifrog, which fundamentally pivots them in the right direction.

“Many of our students were digitally disadvantaged. Since we crowdfunded, all our sixth form students now have devices to use at school and at home. We’ve trained them all to use Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams and have adapted the CoPE Level 3 tasks to match these new required skills, for example by students recording themselves for the Planning and giving an oral presentation task.”

Interest-led learning

“With CoPE Level 3’s Communicating through discussion task, we taught students how to debate. Some of our students want to work in parliament so this task gave them the understanding of what they need to get there.

“One Year 12 student got a volunteering placement in Scouts. She really lit up with joy as she told me how rewarding she found it. She hadn’t realised that she could achieve this and now she wants to work with children in the future. It’s brilliant because she’s getting the work experience and volunteering rewarded internally through CoPE Level 3 and she’s contributing to the community in such a positive way.”

Personal development

A Year 13 student from La Retraite 6 outlines the skills she’s learned during the qualification:

“CoPE Level 3 has been useful to my personal development and future beyond school,” says the student. “I’ve been able to gain a range of skills such as organisation and teamwork, but I think the most important skills I’ve gained are taking responsibility and independent learning.

“I would most definitely recommend CoPE Level 3,” says the sixth form student. “It's not only engaging but is also a straightforward way of gaining skills that will benefit you in the future, such as in the workplace, in applications for universities, apprenticeships and much more.”

Anita Sacks, Director of Innovative Learning Opportunities, La Retraite 6
Anita Sacks, Director of Innovative
Learning Opportunities, La Retraite 6

Meaningful skills for life after school

Anita summarises CoPE Level 3’s impact on La Retraite 6:

"Our success is down to the great teamwork at our centre between teaching staff, support staff and the excellent guidance of our ASDAN advisor, Darren Hughes.

“CoPE Level 3 uses metacognition in education. Students have to think about their own thinking and this is fundamental to higher education and independent learning.

“ASDAN’s CoPE Level 3 has enhanced every single student’s future prospects and transferable key skills,” says Anita. “Students appreciate the opportunities that CoPE Level 3 has given them to develop leadership skills, explore RE and plan their own future destinations."

Download a PDF of this CoPE Level 3 success story (478 KB)

Please contact if you have been inspired and would like to work with us to share your centre's success story or would like to find out more about ASDAN’s CoPE Level 3 qualification.

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