Cyprus MoD schools gain NACE Challenge Award
10 July 2019
Four schools in Cyprus have become the latest institutions outside the UK to gain the NACE Challenge Award, in recognition of school-wide high-quality provision for more able learners.
St John’s School (secondary), King Richard School (secondary), Akrotiri School (primary) and Ayios Nikolaos School (primary) were all successfully accredited in June this year. They follow in the footsteps of fellow Ministry of Defence (MoD) school Episkopi Primary, which last November became the second school outside of England and Wales to achieve this.
NACE Challenge Award Adviser Elaine Ricks-Neal, who visited the four schools as part of the assessment process, commented: “It has been so impressive to see how Cyprus school leaders have embraced the vision of ‘challenge for all’ and worked with great determination to ensure the needs of the most able pupils are met. The success of the schools shows again how the Challenge Framework provides a common language and structure for schools to plan for excellent provision, irrespective of a school's setting or international context.”
A rigorous yet flexible framework
The NACE Challenge Award is granted to schools which demonstrate high-quality provision for more able learners across six key areas: leadership and governance; identification and transition; curriculum, teaching and support; professional development; communication and partnership; monitoring and evaluation. These six key elements are covered in detail by the NACE Challenge Framework, a self-review and -improvement tool for schools seeking to improve provision for more able learners, while raising the quality of provision, expectations and outcomes for all.
Since the Challenge Framework was launched in 2003, a total of 437 schools have successfully applied for the Challenge Award (valid for three years), with many going on to maintain accreditation in subsequent years. In addition to the Framework, NACE offers accompanying resources and support, including consultancy and bespoke CPD. These are all part of the NACE Challenge Development Programme, exclusively available to NACE member schools.
The combined rigour and flexibility of the Framework makes it applicable to schools across a broad range of contexts – including different phases, sectors and stages in provision for more able learners – as well as internationally. In June 2018 Malta’s Chiswick House became the first school outside the UK to be accredited with the Challenge Award, followed by Cyprus’ Episkopi Primary (November 2018) and Dubai’s Hartland International (April 2019).
Developing a shared vision, focus and commitment
Alex Kerr, Head of St John’s School, commented: “Using the NACE Challenge Framework as a tool to self-assess our provision for our most able students and the challenge we provide for all students has really sharpened our focus. We have thought deeply about how we identify students with high academic ability and great learning behaviours and how we support and encourage those who are not quite there but have the potential.
“We have a clear shared view of what challenge looks like in each subject and a really strong enriching provision for student leadership and aspiration. Involving all staff in CPD, planning, evaluating and supporting this process, especially middle leaders, has developed everyone's expertise and created a real sense of purpose and shared aspiration. We feel very proud of the journey we have been on and the results, which show we are trying our absolute best for our students.”
Louise Henry, Head of Akrotiri School, said: “Working towards the NACE Challenge Award has given Akrotiri School the opportunity to effectively focus on our more able provision and our priority of challenge for all. Using the Challenge Framework we have worked collaboratively across school to evaluate and enhance our provision. The process has provided opportunities for staff development, improved our quality of education and informed our school improvement priorities. We look forward to building on our success of achieving the Challenge Award, working with all stakeholders to continue our commitment to challenge for all.”
Sarah Baillie, Headteacher at Ayios Nikolaos Primary School, reflected: “The whole experience from the initial point of our very first school audit and self-evaluation has supported our whole school development for every member of our community. Taking part in the Challenge Award has given us the opportunity to recognise and celebrate our already embedded successes, but also effectively identify our areas for further development. It has provided us with positive reassurance and food for thought when planning our future operational plan. We have been able to capitalise on the high skills base within our school, and across the wider island.”
NACE CEO Sue Riley added: “It is exceptional to see what has been achieved individually by these schools and the impact collaborative working has had on staff development and student outcomes. These schools make the process of learning visible to parents and students which in turn impacts positively on learners’ confidence, independence and achievements.”
Find out more about the NACE Challenge Development Programme.