CoPE complements academic learning at Gloucestershire school

Published

Learners at a Gloucestershire School undertake ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness in place of a GCSE subject. This has boosted their engagement in class, enhanced their confidence and helped them develop core skills.

“The students really love CoPE,” says Carol Wallace, Teaching Assistant and Behaviour Inclusion Unit Manager at Cleeve School, Bishops Cleeve, Gloucestershire. “I’ve had students over the years who have told me that they only come to school in order to attend their CoPE class. The course is a hugely positive educational experience for our learners.”

Many of the students undertaking CoPE at Cleeve School are at the 3 to 4 grade boundary at GCSE. Because these learners would struggle with a large number of academic subjects, they are given the option of undertaking CoPE in Year 10 and 11 in place of a course such as history, geography or a language. CoPE is timetabled for two classes of 50 minutes per week for the Year 10s and 11s.

“CoPE fits in really nicely with the students’ GCSEs, giving them the option to learn in a different way as well as experiencing success in the classroom,” explains Carol, who teaches CoPE in collaboration with her colleague Liam Edwards, Assistant Principal. “It complements their academic learning by helping them develop new skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving. The independent living module prepares them to survive on their own two feet once they leave home.

“I tell my students that undertaking CoPE has given them an edge over their peers who have not done this course. This is because of the opportunities they have to develop important core skills that are not necessarily developed elsewhere in the curriculum. The skills and personal development gained through CoPE also help the learners in other subjects. We have seen improvements in the students’ literacy in particular, which has arisen through the building of the CoPE portfolio.”

In Year 10, the students start CoPE Level 1 and at the end of the year they and their tutors decide whether to remain on Level 1 in Year 11 or move on to Level 2. Cleeve School has been delivering CoPE for 10 years and the school remains committed to the course because of its flexibility.

“CoPE enables us to tailor the challenges and the difficulty level to suit the learner," says Carol. "You can make challenges as easy or difficult as you want. The personalised learning we can provide through CoPE engages and motivates the students and the wide range of challenges and modules means there is something to suit each student’s interests.”

One of the key attributes students develop through CoPE is increased confidence.

“Students make huge progress in terms of being able to present in front of others. Doing presentations is an important part of the course. However, every year we have students telling us they don’t want to do the presentations. By the end of the course, many of them are presenting confidently and this does wonders for their self-esteem. It prepares the students for the GCSE English language endorsed component covering spoken language and enables them to develop an important skill that will help them in further study or the workplace.”

Carol says the CoPE portfolio is one of the unique aspects of the course.

“We have the portfolios on display in the class and the students are very proud of their folders. Through building the portfolio, the students take ownership of their work. They can see their accomplishments grow and this leads to a great sense of achievement in the learners.

“Many of our CoPE students progress on to college and sixth form. I have no doubt that CoPE plays a huge role in boosting the students’ ambitions and facilitating this progression.”

What next?