​The NACE Challenge Award provides recognition of school-wide high-quality provision for more able learners. The award is held for three years at a time, and is part of the NACE Challenge Development Programme.

Eligibility criteria

To apply for the NACE Challenge Award, your school must:
  • Hold current NACE membership
  • Meet the criteria outlined in the NACE Challenge Framework, based on your completed self-assessment and portfolio of evidence
  • Hold an Ofsted good or outstanding judgement (or equivalent for independent schools)
Your Ofsted judgement should be based on an inspection within the last two years, or written confirmation from Ofsted that standards have been maintained and the school will not be re-inspected in the foreseeable future.

Applying for assessment

Once your school is ready to apply for assessment, you should complete the online application form. An assessor will be appointed to our school, and you will receive a confirmation email with contact details for your lead assessor and a summary of the process and required documents.

Stage 1: pre-assessment

This stage is mandatory for schools being assessed for the first time, and optional for those undergoing reaccreditation.

An assessor will visit your school and undertake a learning walk focused on evidencing the quality of teaching and learning and assessment outlined in your school’s NACE Challenge Framework self-evaluation and portfolio.

Interviews will be held with the senior leadership team and more able coordinator. At the end of the visit the assessor will provide verbal feedback on your school’s level of readiness to proceed to formal assessment, which will be followed by a written report.

If the assessment indicates that your school meets the Challenge Framework criteria, the assessor will contact you to confirm a date for assessment. If additional development is required, the assessor’s report will outline will provide a report

Stage 2: 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.

Who undertakes the assessment?

Spanning current school leaders, specialists in school improvement and advisers, NACE Challenge Award assessors have a broad range of expertise and undergo rigorous training. All assessment reports are centrally quality assured by NACE.

Apply for your assessment online.