SecondaryHealth & WellbeingSENCo

Qualifications that will boost your learners’ confidence


Martina Veale explains what education charity ASDAN’s Personal and Social Effectiveness courses have to offer students at risk of falling behind

Our Expert
Martina Veale

Martina Veale

Education Director, ASDAN

Ask me about

  • Evaluation – We are consistently refining and enhancing our offer – join us, and become part of our professional learning community.
  • SEND offer – From curriculum programmes, such as My Independence, to our Personal Progress qualification for Entry Level 1, we offer a range of courses for SEND learners.
  • Employability – Our Level 3 EPQ allows students to gain valuable employability skills via work placements and work-based projects, while acquiring up to 28 UCAS points.

Who is the target audience for what ASDAN offers?

Our Level 1 and 2 personal and social effectiveness (PSE) qualifications are for those young people for whom the standard diet of GCSEs and exam-based qualifications isn’t enough to engage or excite them.

These will be young people at risk of falling behind their peers without qualifications that provide opportunities to practise using personal and social skills in context. The qualifications are designed to meet the needs of these learners.

How attractive are the qualifications likely to be for employers?

PSE qualifications are designed to equip young people with the core personal and social skills that are essential for work. Academic learning often provides learners with theory before they have opportunities to practise. In the real world, young people are quick to have a go, but might refer to an online video if something doesn’t work.

Our qualifications place practical learning at the forefront, supported by a fully resourced curriculum that practitioners can use to support young people in reflecting on, and learning from, their experiences.

Is there an ‘emotional health’ dimension to PSE qualifications?

To make sense of their education journey, young people need a secure understanding of who they are, their heritage, what motivates them and what holds them back.

Employers need emotionally intelligent and resilient young people who can work collaboratively and effectively problem solve. PSE develops competencies in the key areas of communication, collaboration, emotional intelligence and resilience, providing a solid foundation from which young people can progress onto further learning and work. That way, they can continue to learn new skills with those core competencies already in their toolkit.

How are the qualifications assessed?

Our student-led portfolio structure is designed to support young people who struggle with exam-based approaches.

They can demonstrate that they have met the learning objectives of the units ‘Developing Myself and My Performance’, ‘Working with Others’ and ‘Problem Solving’ at their own pace. Those seeking to achieve a certificate in Personal and Social Effectiveness then go on to undertake a project based on one of 12 challenge topics.

What evidence is there that the qualifications work in practice?

PSE has been created with practitioners already delivering our existing personal effectiveness qualifications. We incorporated their ideas throughout development, and continue to involve them and other teachers in delivery, as part of our PSE evaluation project.

One participant on the project told us, “The personalised aspect of PSE is crucial for learners’ future development. The course is totally unique and valued by the learners, parents and staff delivering it. I value it immensely.”

To find out more, visit, call 0117 941 1126 or email


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