School Curricula Guides


ASDAN is a UK-based awarding organisation whose curriculum programmes and qualifications help young people develop knowledge and skills for learning, work and life. Its original focus was on students with additional learning needs,
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Do your children attend a Thailand school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.

ASDAN is a UK-based educational charity which was originally set up to support students with additional learning needs. Since 1997, when ASDAN was formally established as an education charity, its work has centred on giving all learners the opportunity and tools to discover, develop and make full use of their potential.

Within the UK, ASDAN now offers a range of additional programmes related to life skills which are offered to students of all abilities.  Internationally, the focus remains on support for students of Determination.

ASDAN’s Vision is: to transform life chances through learning by enabling all learners to discover, develop and make full use of their abilities.

The charity works with partner educators to foster the personal, social and work-related abilities of learners. Programmes and qualifications are delivered by over 3,000 secondary schools, special schools, colleges, alternative education providers and youth organisations across the UK and in more than 30 countries and territories overseas.

ASDAN offers a range of nationally approved qualifications based around the development of personal, social and employability skills.  Programmes are designed for young people and adults aged seven to 19 and over, with accreditation available for 10 to 180 hours of activities.

According to the charity, "ASDAN's programmes and qualifications enable learners to succeed at secondary school through the development of core skills and positive attributes. Our courses also boost academic attainment".

Specialist programmes designed to support students with  with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) aimed at both pre- and post-16 learners, aim to develop personal, independent living and employability skills.  

SEND programmes include My Independence and Lifeskills Challenge.  Both are approved and regulated in England (by Ofqual), Wales (by Qualifications Wales) and Northern Ireland (by CCEA) and are supported by high quality resources. 

The qualifications, which include Employability, Personal Progress and Personal and Social Development, are portfolio-based and are moderated externally.

My Independence is a suite of four certificated programmes for young people with a range of special educational needs. Mapped to the preparing for adulthood (PfA) pathways, My Independence is ASDAN’s key programme to achieve positive outcomes for young people with an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

The key aims of the My Independence programmes are to raise aspirations and specifically address the needs of young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD) and moderate learning difficulties (MLD) through meaningful and creative learning opportunities.

The Lifeskills Challenge programme enables centres to meet individual needs by providing a personalised curriculum for young people with SEND. Topics include employability; independent living; out in the community; PSHE; and sport and fitness.

ASDAN's SEND courses support the achievement of the four preparing for adulthood outcomes, outlined in the SEND Code of Practice for England. These are:

  • employment
  • independent living
  • friends, relationships and community
  • good health

As well as preparing young people for adulthood from the earliest years, special schools in England must ensure their curriculum meets the four broad areas of need which are defined as Communication and interaction, Cognition and learning, Social, emotional and mental health, and Sensory and physical need.  The four broad areas of need are a pre-requisite to planning a curriculum for the learner and they provide a holistic and balanced approach to personalised learning.

There are three formal levels of  Qualification:

  • Entry 1, 2 and 3 (Access) qualifications meet the needs of learners working below GCSE (Intermediate) level
  • Levels 1 and 2 (Intermediate) qualifications are comparable in size to GCSEs
  • Level 3 (Higher) qualifications are comparable in size to A/AS-levels

Further details of the qualifications can be found on the ASDAN website.

The International Award Programmes (not available in the UK) offer ways of developing, recording and certificating learners’ personal skills, qualities and achievements. There are different awards available: Bronze (60 hours), Silver Challenge (120 hours), Silver (120 hours) and Gold (120 hours).

The flexibility of ASDAN's International Award Programmes means that they can be carried out in a variety of settings, over a time period to suit the individual or co-ordinating centre. Progression is available within the Award Programmes, from Bronze to Silver and from Silver to Gold.

These programmes are aimed at students of all abilities, mainly aged between 14 and 19. The Bronze, Silver Challenge and Silver Award Programmes are best suited to learners aged 14-16, whereas the Gold Award Programme has been designed for learners aged 16+. The Bronze and Silver Challenge Award Programmes are aimed at students working at Entry level/below Level 1 - that is below GCSE level; Silver is aimed at learners working at Level 1 - that is at GCSE level and Gold is also aimed at learners working at Level 2 - GCSE level .

ASDAN programmes are widely recognised by educators for providing an engaging curriculum that empowers students through personalised learning and choice. ASDAN courses are designed to motivate and enhance learners' confidence, self-esteem and resilience. In addition, learners develop core skills in teamwork, communication, problem solving, research and self-management.

Further information about the options outside the UK can be found on ASDAN's international website.



Latest Thailand articles
School Performance

Ofsted Urged to Pause UK School Inspections

Education unions in the United Kingdom are urging Ofsted to suspend all school inspections…


King’s InterHigh, The Metaverse, IB & the Future

Online schools are here to stay – and being physically present in a traditional clas…

University Preparation

Online Schools: Preparing You for University

An online sixth form can be a great pathway for students who want the most flexible, conve…

Choosing A School

Why Choose the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP)?

MYP students at Dubai International Academy - Al Barsha As your child races through their …

Courses & Curricula

UK Summer Schools 2023

A summer school programme at a UK boarding school is a great opportunity to get a taste of…


UK Uni Applications: Major Changes to Format

The UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has announced its plan …


Interview: Brian Rogove, CEO, XCL Education

International school groups are growing in size and number worldwide – and among the…

Exam Preparation

GCSEs and iGCSEs: A Guide Map

Wondering exactly how GCSEs and iGCSEs work, as well as what you can expect from the key e…

0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All