From education to employment

Getting the balance right within 16-19 Study Programmes

It is now two months since 16-19 Study Programmes left the drawing board and became reality; the coincidence of this with the Raising of the Participation Age (RPA), has caused providers to look more closely, and in some cases more innovatively, at curriculum design.

Moving from the previous qualification outcome led model to a broad, balanced and personalised programme of qualifications, skill development and non- qualification outcomes is a major change for providers and those inspecting provision. How to get the balance between the strands right and satisfy both Ofsted and EFA is not yet clear; the following may help to shed light on options.

To support curriculum development ASDAN education has recently completed a pilot study using the Award of Personal Effectiveness (AoPE) Level 3. The pilot involved four schools working with over 350 students who were mainly in Year 12. AoPE was specifically designed to address the ‘breadth’ requirement of 16-19 Study Programmes and to allow personalisation through Unit choice such that “Foundation Sixth” and those planning to complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) could all participate in a meaningful way.

Each school selected a different set of units from the list below; three Units are required for completion of AoPE which has a 30 UCAS point tariff. Career Exploration was identified by the schools as a key issue for learners at this stage so was chosen as one of the three by all participants:

• Career Exploration

• Improving skills in Preparing and Presenting Information

• Learning through Work Experience

• Planning and Reviewing Learning

• Research Skills

• Tackling Problems

• Team Working

The pilot was very successful. Positive feedback from students and course coordinators included the following:

Career Exploration has allowed me to research the best ways to enter careers and what courses to follow.

The UCAS points will help my application to university and I will know how to work as part of a team in the future.

The course came in useful during the exam period. It has improved my teamwork and leadership skills, which I will need in the RAF.

The programme has enabled us to accommodate and complement learning programmes for students on both academic and vocational pathways.

Evaluation of the programme showed that learners were clearly aware of the skills and qualities that had been developed and how these could support learning and progression Post-19.

AoPE provides a suitable method for developing and accrediting personal, social and employability skills; it supports learners to reach appropriate destinations. AoPE can also be used as evidence in support of Ofsted inspection criteria for teaching and learning and outcomes for learners.

On the other (non-qualification) side of the fence ASDAN is working in partnership with Tribal to provide curriculum content and accreditation for their new online programme Gain4Work. Gain4Work offers providers a range of personal development courses chosen to meet the needs of learners in addition to their main qualification, English and maths. Gain4Work will help to equip learners for the world of work or further study.

The non-qualification courses within Gain4Work make use of Tribal’s smart course engine, allowing individuals to tailor their learning according to their specific needs. A learner can complete as little or as much as they need in order to fill their study programme. The courses can be used to accredit between 10 and 60 hours of learning activity and cover a range of areas, including:

• Careers and work experience

• Personal finance

• Environmental issues

• Food and nutrition

• Sexual Health

• Enterprise

• Volunteering

Within each programme is a set of challenges, each challenge focuses on different aspects of the subject. Learners complete only the challenges that are relevant to their interests or learning needs and they produce an e-portfolio of evidence which can demonstrate development of skills and knowledge both to Ofsted and at audit.

The system requires students to complete a personal learning plan online and review their learning, including which skills they have used. Such an approach enables providers to personalise the curriculum and provides a means of tracking learner progress and an auditable trail of delivery of provision.

Dean O Donoghue is national development co-ordinator for ASDAN Education, a charitable social enterprise with awarding body status

To find out more visit ASDAN education


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