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 has been developed by NACE to offer a complete package for whole-school review of and improvement to provision for more able learners, in the context of challenge for all. The programme includes the NACE Challenge Framework, supporting resources, consultancy and CPD, as well as the opportunity to apply for accreditation through the NACE Challenge Award.

What is the NACE Challenge Award?

The NACE Challenge Award is a nationally 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. Find out what schools say about the award here.

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 best 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?

School 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 the Challenge Development Programme cost?

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

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.

What is a Challenge Award pre-assessment visit?

As of 2017-18, a pre-assessment visit is mandatory for schools applying for the Challenge Award for the first time. This stage is optional for schools undergoing re-accreditation, but can still provide a valuable opportunity to test your readiness for assessment and identify key areas for development. Find out more here.

What happens during Challenge Award assessment?

The assessment day is based around 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.

How long is the Challenge Award valid for?

As of 2017-18, the NACE Challenge Award is valid for a period of 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 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.

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