As part of its focus on research and commitment to supporting school-to-school working, NACE is launching a network of regional hubs to promote the identification and dissemination of evidence-based good practice in provision for more able learners.

The new NACE Research and Development (R&D) Hubs will bring NACE member schools together to share existing good practice and expertise, and to contribute to new research in the field.

For the initial phase of the project, three schools have been selected as Hub leaders:
  • Barry Island Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Haybridge High School and Sixth Form in Worcestershire
  • Portswood Primary School in Hampshire
All three hold the NACE Challenge Award and have significant expertise in leading on research and partnership working.

Share approaches, identify gaps and move to action

Each R&D Hub school will invite fellow NACE member schools within their regions to join the project. Participants will come together to share expertise, research and resources, and will collectively work to identify areas for further investigation and development.

Drawing on the key elements and criteria of the NACE Challenge Framework, the Hubs will explore specific aspects of provision for the more able – focusing on gaps in the existing research; regional needs and priorities; and areas in which there is the potential to significantly improve learner outcomes and experiences.

At an initial meeting this month, representatives from the three Hub leading schools discussed possible areas of focus, including approaches to improving transition from primary to secondary school; uses of digital technology to challenge and support learners; the development of problem-solving skills and creativity; and nurturing aspirations amongst learners from diverse backgrounds.

The Hubs will share results and recommendations with the NACE community and more widely, through online and print publications, new resource creation, and via NACE’s CPD and conference programmes.

Extending the reach of the R&D Hubs

The Hubs will be coordinated by NACE associates Caroline Gaitely and Jon Murphy, who will oversee the initiative in England and Wales respectively. As the project develops, NACE will select additional schools to become Hub leaders, aiming to build up nationwide networks and establish a broad body of evidence to guide more able provision.

Highlighting the excellent provision already in place at many NACE member schools, Caroline Gaitely adds: “It is hoped that Hub activities will not only benefit schools through sharing existing good practice and considering the latest developments, but that the initiative will also lead to a wider national debate about how schools should support more able learners in the years ahead.”

Jon Murphy agrees, highlighting the current national – and international – demand for research in this area. “The NACE R&D Hubs will optimise opportunities and help to shape the future of provision for many generations of more able learners to come.”

Commenting on the initiative, NACE CEO Sue Riley, says: “The R&D Hubs will allow NACE to respond to the needs of schools, build capacity and add value, and encourage the sharing of expertise and participation in the context of local issues and priorities. We are delighted to announce our first three Hub schools, all of which are already highly outward focused and successful in their regional approaches to capacity building."

To find out more about the project, or to express your school’s interest in participating, get in touch.