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Case Studies

Below are some case studies of students currently attending, or awaiting results, for their Level 2 / iGCSE courses with us here at Cambridge Online Education.

Level 2 Courses

M’s Story:

M has dyslexia and ASD and struggled with associated anxiety and depression which was particularly bad when he first joined the course. This meant he worked slower than most and so the amount of work he could manage was considerably affected.

Despite this, M worked through his course and as feedback was given, he was able to build up skills in the area of drawing and painting which he likes very much. He found artists to inspire him and together we were able to personalise a final themed project which he completed to the deadline and is currently awaiting his results. His progress was excellent, and he finished the course with a huge sense of achievement and pride in his final portfolio.

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S’ Story:

S has ASD and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) and this is the first formal education he has been involved in. S missed his entire Secondary Education apart from sporadic minimal home tuition due to complex health and educational needs. He also had to deal with a complex sleep phase disorder which meant inconsistency in attending lessons and accessing his course website.

Demand avoidance was the hardest to overcome for both the school and S, who found feedback and suggestions for improvement hard to act on. Together we built great trust and through effective communication with a home tutor we were able to produce a great portfolio for S to ensure he made progress on his Art course. Acknowledging his demand avoidance allowed us to personalise his outcomes and use his art and creativity to progress with life, as well as with the course.

He is coping well and steadily approaching his deadline for the course with an ongoing progression of work being submitted. S hopes to continue into further education with his Art and we are confident he will be able to do so.

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O’s Story:

O is diagnosed with ASD and initially he found having support with progressing with his work incredibly stressful, due to his demand avoidance. His anxiety initially was preventing him from completing any work and we had big concerns he would not complete his course. So, we changed tack early on to keep building confidence in what he could achieve: small steps and small submissions into his own work submission boxes, to avoid the need for being graded early on, this worked for O.

Attending live lessons helped O considerably too. Careful and considered structure has allowed O to build a huge amount of confidence. O is now eager to share work with others in class and get feedback from anyone. A tremendous achievement.

O is about to embark on a final themed project which is independently produced. This has brought about new anxieties to lose the structure of guided weekly lessons. A program has been put in place to ensure he can still attend lessons and we can link the content to the project he is working on. This is giving him an enormous feeling of support and encouragement. O also has a written time plan which we wrote especially for him to track shorter, more manageable deadlines, for his final year ahead. His Art work is excellent and he is reaching the highest of grades as he has refined many skills over the past six months. There is every confidence O’s final portfolio will be not only a huge achievement for him, but of the highest standard as he has realised his potential for the subject.

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E’s Story:

E has many rare health conditions which meant she was in a wheelchair and in chronic pain. With EDS, fatigue, mental fogging, severe Irlen Syndrome and Dyslexia, E had to carefully plan her course around hospital appointments and the inability to access the course site consistently at times.

Live lessons gave E a great sense of inspiration and encouraged her to build on exceptional skills with visual language, and her work went from strength to strength. Telling her story through her Art became apparent early on, and E was able to stretch the boundaries of her Art in ways none of us expected.

Having access to a range of resources online, E was able to work to her own pace and access materials whenever needed at the times that suited her. One to one tutorials directed E to try more advanced experiments with media, and in doing so, she produced excellent mixed media work which was highly individualised.

Achieving the highest of grades in her projects, E sat her Art exam and is currently awaiting results. She aspires to attend the Royal School of Needlework to take a degree in hand embroidery, whilst in the meantime, is exhibiting her work with the Embroiderer’s Guild Summer School.

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Level 3 Courses 

J is slight and small in stature and was bullied in main stream school to such an extent that when he left at the age of 14 he suffered from PTS. As a result of this he became depressed, at times suicidal, and he self harmed. He was home schooled from that point onwards.


When he began the course with us he came with a helper and she worked with him encouraging him and discussing his work. The three of us met on Skype regularly but in the beginning J found it hard to work in a disciplined way and he kept failing to meet his targets and would not be there for our meetings. This was worrying and we tried to find a way to engage him with the course.


A flamboyant dresser in his everyday life we became aware that he is adept at making garments, prosthetics, wigs, head dresses, shoes, and accessories which he wears himself to create different personas. We also learned that the personas he created generated thousands of followers on Instagram.


We encouraged him to consider this activity as serious art work and to incorporate this into his college work. We were able to introduce him to artists and designers who would be of particular interest to him and in this way his own work became more informed and a had depth and rigor previously lacking. Once he understood what Fine Art practice is and can be he flourished and became much more disciplined.


Gradually he began to attend the skype tutorials were we were able to discuss his future and we encouraged him to apply for university. We guided him in regard to the courses which would best suit him and we suggested that he attended open days to ascertain if he felt comfortable within the environments and the course structure. We suggested that he needed to find somewhere where he would fit in, not be alone, and where there would be students like him.


J was accepted at the University of the Arts London to attend Central Saint Martins College which is the most prestigious Art and Design College in the world. This has given him a huge confidence boost and he will begin his course knowing that he has the knowledge, skills and working processes he learned at OCAD, to rise to the challenges of undergraduate study


J still has depression and anxiety which can be debilitating but we have noticed that these episodes are less frequent now. He is looking forward to starting his new life and we anticipate that he will become a major player in the art world.

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G has severe autism and is prone to fitting and violent rages. He has difficulty in communicating verbally and being in main stream school traumatised him to such an extent that at the age of 13 he was taken away from that environment to be home schooled.


When he came to us he was 17 years old. From the beginning he has shown great aptitude for art and design not just in terms of technical ability but also in understanding concepts and in analysing his own work and the work of others. G has shown remarkable ability in all areas of the course in regard to understanding what he sees and relating this to his own work. He spends a long time composing the sentences in his written work in order to impart the correct meaning with no ambiguity and this precision is also reflected in his visual responses.


Initially G was reluctant to engage with us in any way and would Skype off camera and relay his thoughts to his care/supporter who is his also his mother and in this way we would discuss his work. However, as time has passed he is much more communicative and is on camera and can engage in meaningful discussions about his work with his mothers help. He has used his work to describe his life, and he has articulately written about what it is like to be autistic and he has made work which is of a very high intellectual standard in this regard also. In comparison to the other students the rigour he shows cannot be matched and his lack of verbal skills is more than compensated for within his fine art practice. He has by his own admission learned a great deal from the course and as we have been able to allow him to work at his own speed he has been enabled in terms of inwardly digesting what he has studied and as a result he has remembered everything he has learned.


It has been fascinating to work with G and to see his growth. There are still bleak times for him when his condition overwhelms and we then allow him to recover and resume the course in his own time when he feels stronger. We challenge George and he responds, and he in turn challenges himself.


G is like all our students original and special and we do all we can to nurture his remarkable talent with empathy and understanding.

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