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ASDAN boosts student resilience and engagement with wider world

ASDAN’s Personal Development Programmes complement core subjects while fostering life skills for success beyond education. Shelley Evett, ASDAN lead at Inaura School, shares how the programmes improve students’ future prospects.

“Inaura is an independent, co-educational school for young people who have complex educational, social, emotional and mental health needs. It is comprised of four separate bases located in Somerset, catering for students with education, health and care plans,” says Shelley Evett.

“All our students have, for a variety of reasons, struggled to access mainstream education in the past. Many of our students have low self-esteem issues, increased anxiety and a lack of faith in the education system.

“Building trust is key to our work as we look to establish an environment for our students to re-engage in their learning and prepare for the challenges of wider society.

ASDAN’s PDP (Personal Development Programmes: Bronze, Silver and Gold) have proven to be a brilliant way of getting our students engaged in learning the core subjects while gaining practical life skills and new experiences.

“ASDAN’s PDP contain invaluable activities, allowing us to bring meaningful and accessible learning experiences into our one-to-one teaching. PDP gives our students the chance to enjoy success in their learning.”

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Boosts self-belief

Shelley Evett shares an example of the positive impact that PDP has had on learners’ future destinations:

“Harry is one of our PDP students that really stands out,” says Shelley. “When he first came to Inaura, he would sit in the corner with his hoodie drawstrings pulled so tight that we could hardly see his face. He had incredibly low self-esteem and wouldn’t talk. Through ASDAN’s PDP challenges, we were able to take him out and build his independence.”

“We encouraged him to go horse riding as part of the Module 3: Sport and leisure and it boosted his confidence so much that he then undertook work experience at the horse riding centre as part of Module 8: World of work.

“Through engaging Harry in practical challenges outside of the classroom, he gained a sense of freedom that he hadn’t previously experienced and he became more interested in the world around him.

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“Thanks to the confidence boost he gained from ASDAN’s PDP, Harry has been able to complete his three core GCSEs, the Bronze award and he’s even completed ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness Level 1 qualification. It’s an incredible achievement, we’re so proud of him. He’s now in college learning animal care and doing really well.”

Develop work-related skills

“PDP offers a great scope for cross-curricula learning and the chance to move away from the more traditional and formal approaches that have historically been such a struggle for our students,” says Shelley.

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“PDP enables us to focus on mathematics-based life skills through Module 6: Number handling, such as understanding a wage slip. In addition, we get all our students to complete and send off their own college applications and this process is accredited through PDP, which is brilliant,” says Shelley.

Personalised, practical learning

The structure of ASDAN’s PDP enables teachers to tailor challenges to suit the individual learner’s needs and interests.

”The variety of PDP challenges provides something of interest for everyone,” says Shelley. “PDP challenges link to everyday life and the real world, which provides a more realistic backdrop for our young people to see the benefit of undertaking the course.

“The flexibility of the programme gives plenty of opportunity to work outdoors and in the community, which provides students with broader life skills and social interaction.”

Regular rewards provide incentive to progress 

ASDAN’s Bronze (60 hours’ work), Silver (120 hours), and Gold (180 hours) system motivates students.

“PDP enables students to receive regular rewards for their efforts without feeling that the mountain to climb is too steep,” says Shelley. “Students are always proud of receiving their Bronze certificates and they’re then motivated to get their Silver.

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“ASDAN’s PDP increase students’ resilience and give them a strong sense of achievement. It supports our aims of rebuilding the students’ faith and trust in school and the realisation that education can be fun.

“At Inaura, PDP is complemented by a variety of ASDAN Short Courses too, such as PSHE, History, Living Independently, Sports and Fitness and Uniformed Services,” says Shelley.

“I would strongly recommend incorporating ASDAN’s PDP into any curriculum if the centre is searching for new and versatile ways to engage their students in learning.”

Download a PDF version of this PDP success story (501 KB)

Please contact if you would like to work with us to share your centre's success story or would like to find out more about ASDAN’s Personal Development Programmes.