GCSE alternative boosts behaviour


Kingsdown School pupils 1A Swindon secondary school has found ASDAN's Personal and Social Development qualification to be the ideal alternative to GCSEs, while also introducing students to new activities and developing social skills.

Mainstream pupils at Kingsdown School join with students from the school's Autistic Spectrum Disorder support centre for five hours a fortnight to work towards the Level 1 Award.

Sporty sessions have included trampolining, golf, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby, while visiting experts have addressed the class on issues from local leisure services to teenage parents.

The school's PSD co-ordinator, Will Rosier, said that accessible activities enabled students to succeed in different areas and had an impact on behaviour.

He said: "It brings a number of students away from their peers and peer pressure to a laid-back environment where they can benefit and interact with others they would not normally associate with. Students who may find themselves misbehaving for attention in a mainstream lesson can find themselves being role models for others within the group dynamics.

"We are fortunate not to have pressure from our senior leadership team to complete the Level 2 qualification or even obtain a certificate for the students; this allows us to run much more laid-back sessions to cover the syllabus and content that is more appropriate to the group or individual students.

Kingsdown School pupils 2"The students are able to access the challenges whatever their ability and they all have very diverse learning experiences from the course due to their differing starting points.

"There is less of a focus on recording via pen and paper as it allows them to use other areas of strength within the school environment. It can be used as a great way to build self-esteem and relationship skills."

Staff now plan to introduce the Entry Level 3 qualification with a group of learners at Year 9 who have been disapplied from languages. This will offer them a natural progression to the Level 1 or 2 qualification at Key Stage 4.