Set foot on the active pathway


Rated as outstanding by Ofsted, St John’s in Marlborough is a mixed, comprehensive academy for ages 11-18. Among other commendations, Ofsted highlighted the academy’s ability to “ensure the curriculum is appropriate to meet the needs of all students”.

The Active Curriculum is a learning pathway aimed at students who would benefit from a more practical approach to education, with a reduced number of examination subjects including English, Maths, Science, PE, Languages and Design Technology. 

The remainder of the timetable is based around the ASDAN Personal Development Programmes and CoPE. This section of the pathway is taught by Charlie Paul, who said: “I designed the curriculum around what I felt students required as a minimum to gain employment or a further education placement. The skills focus on becoming an independent learner, team building, problem solving and raising self-esteem. ASDAN would seem to be the perfect vehicle with which to do this and gain accreditation for it.

“The combination of the Silver award and CoPE qualification allows for a structured two-year programme of study which suits many students with diverse needs.

“I am proud to be able to say that from the five cohorts to leave St John’s Active pathway, 98 per cent are still in either further education or full-time employment. So far eight students who have left the pathway have received direct employment as a result of their work experience placement, testament to the fact that ASDAN courses help provide skills and experiences that equip students for the world of work.

“I wanted to improve student attitudes towards education which should, in turn, improve attendance and behaviour. I believe that students who appear disaffected often ‘misbehave’ as a response to a lack of accessible material or an inconsistent approach by staff to the students and their needs.

“Students and parents value the different way of working that ASDAN courses provide and this is part of the reason that we have had six different families coming back with younger siblings and requesting that they go onto the Active pathway.”

Student voice: Chloe, Year 11
“Being on the Active pathway is important to the students on it, including myself, because we are able to get on with ASDAN work and push ourselves towards the levels we wish to reach before we leave school.
"We have all been part of the Active group for a year and a bit now and we are all there for each other and help each other out. We treat each other like family. No-one feels out of place or isolated in doing a piece of work on their own. I think this helps with self-esteem.”