Scroll down for answers to frequently asked questions about the NACE Challenge Development Programme, including the NACE Challenge Framework and NACE Challenge Award.

What is the NACE Challenge Development Programme?

The NACE Challenge Development Programme offers a suite of exclusive resources to support NACE members at each stage of developing provision for more learners, in the context of challenge for all. Developed in consultation with schools and education experts, the programme is based on the detailed criteria of the NACE Challenge Framework – an established tool for school self-evaluation and improvement in provision for more able learners.

Alongside the Challenge Framework, the NACE Challenge Development Programme offers:
  • Bespoke consultancy and CPD for your teaching and/or leadership teams;
  • Access to exclusive online resources;
  • Opportunity to apply for NACE Challenge Award accreditation;
  • Membership of a community of likeminded schools and professionals.
The programme is designed to support schools across all phases and at all stages of development – including schools already demonstrating good or outstanding provision for more able learners, and those for whom this is a key action point for improvement.

What is the NACE Challenge Award?

The NACE Challenge Award is a recognised quality mark presented to schools that have developed excellent provision for more able learners. It is reputed as one of the most purposeful, rigorous and supportive awards that schools can achieve.

What is the NACE Challenge Framework?

The NACE Challenge Framework is an integral part of the Challenge Development Programme. It is a self-evaluation and school improvement tool, based on evidence about how to provide challenge for high achievement, with specific emphasis on provision for more able learners.

How can I access the NACE Challenge Development Programme?

To join the NACE Challenge Development Programme, your school must be a current NACE member. If unsure whether your school holds NACE membership, contact us. Once you have decided on the best Challenge Development Programme option for your school, complete our online form to place your order.

How do schools use the NACE Challenge Framework?

Schools use the NACE Challenge Framework to audit and review their quality and scope of provision for more able learners, and to create an informed action plan for continuous whole-school improvement. All schools in all phases can use the framework, at any stage in developing provision for the more able.

How do schools attain the NACE Challenge Award?

Schools gain the award by showing that they meet the criteria detailed in the NACE Challenge Framework. After completing the framework self-evaluation, schools can apply online for Challenge Award assessment. Read more about the assessment process here.

How long does it take to gain the NACE Challenge Award?

This depends on your starting point. If your school has an established focus on provision for more able learners, then your initial audit against the NACE Challenge Framework may show that you will be ready to apply for the award within a year. Most schools take around two years to reach this point, largely due to the requirement for a whole-school ethos and consistency. Some may take longer, depending on their circumstances.

How much does it cost?

The costs involved depend on the level of support your school chooses. Programme options are detailed here, alongside costs for Challenge Award assessment. To discuss the best option for your school, or to request a bespoke development package, contact us.

Why is there a cost for the Challenge Framework?

NACE is an independent charity and has developed the Challenge Framework and Challenge Development Programme as resources to help schools improve provision for more able learners. The framework and accompanying materials are regularly updated with additional resources and examples of best practice. The costs charged to schools cover the work involved in creating and updating these resources.

Does purchasing the Challenge Framework make my school eligible for Challenge Award assessment?

For schools in the early stages of developing provision for more able learners, the Challenge Framework provides a useful structure through which to identify strengths and priorities for improvement. Schools with an established focus on policy and practice in this area will be ready to audit their provision, complete the self-evaluation and compile a portfolio of supporting evidence – this can then be submitted as part of an application for Challenge Award accreditation.

What is the Challenge Award assessment process?

Stage 1 (pre-assessment visit). This is a visit from your assessor to undertake a preliminary review of your school’s readiness for Challenge Award assessment, and to identify key areas for development. This stage is mandatory for all schools being assessed for the first time; mandatory for schools outside the UK at each assessment; and optional for UK-based schools undergoing reaccreditation. Find out more here.

Stage 2: (assessment day). The assessment day is based on a pre-agreed schedule and will include a learning walk, interviews with staff, governors and learners, and further evidence scrutiny. Your school will be verbally advised of the outcome at the end of the day and receive a written report shortly afterwards, which will include recommendations for your school’s ongoing action plan.

Read more about assessment here (or click here if your school is based outside the UK).

How long is the Challenge Award valid for?

The NACE Challenge Award is valid for three years (previously four). On gaining the award, schools receive a report outlining next steps for development, which should be addressed before applying for reaccreditation. NACE membership is also a requirement.

What should I do if my school is working with the 'Quality Standards for More Able and Talented Pupils'? (applicable to some schools in Wales)

NACE has updated the Challenge Framework to reflect curriculum developments in Wales and would encourage schools to use the updated version and its extensive supporting resources. From September 2019, schools wishing to be assessed for the NACE Challenge Award will need to do so against the updated NACE Challenge Framework, rather than the Quality Standards.

If your school has already gained the NACE Challenge Award, at your next reaccreditation you will be required to work with the updated Challenge Framework. You should purchase a school-wide licence for the framework, which will include access to supporting online resources. Please note that following your next reaccreditation, your school will be required to renew accreditation every three years (previously four).

What is a “Challenge check-in”?

A “Challenge check-in” is part of the ongoing support NACE provides for schools accredited with the Challenge Award. In the interval between reaccreditations, you will be contacted by a Challenge Award assessor, who will help you to assess your school’s progress against the action plan outlined in your Challenge Award report. The assessor will also ask about any significant changes in the school, or other matters which may impact on provision for the more able.

What is the NACE Leading Schools Network?

The NACE Leading Schools Network is an invitation-only network for schools holding the NACE Challenge Award. Membership of the network is offered in recognition of a school’s sustained commitment to meeting the needs of more able learners, and interest in sharing expertise for the wider benefit of the education community.

Can’t find the answer to your question? Contact us.