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NACE Challenge and coronavirus: Q&A
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NACE Challenge and coronavirus: Q&A

Guidance for schools working with the NACE Challenge Framework and preparing for Challenge Award (re)accreditation, in the context of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – including new support available from NACE.

For additional guidance or support, please contact

My school is due to undertake a pre-assessment. What should I do?

Schools will be offered the choice of undertaking their pre-assessment meeting either remotely or as an on-site visit. Please contact Karen Burnham ( for further information.

My school is due to undertake accreditation/reaccreditation this academic year. What should I do?

Schools due for accreditation/reaccreditation may be in different operational contexts. To support schools, NACE will offer the following options:

  • Have an accreditation/reaccreditation visit following the usual procedure as outlined in the Challenge Award School Handbook.
  • OR: Submit evidence to a nominated assessor (part 1 of the assessment/reaccreditation process) at a date agreed with their assessor. On successful completion of this stage, the school will then be ready to move straight into assessment/reaccreditation day when the school is able to accommodate the on-site visit.
  • OR: Schools may defer their accreditation/reaccreditation process, setting a later provisional date which can also be kept under review. A nominated assessor will be allocated to the school.

How is NACE undertaking school visits?

NACE is adhering to current government guidance and will work with schools to ensure that local procedures are met. For details of the guidelines NACE is following please click here.

Please note: where areas are in local lockdown and the NACE assessor/associate is not based in that area, we are not able to provide an onsite visit at this time. However, there are a range of options available, which include remote sessions or deferral. These should be discussed directly with the NACE colleague you are in contact with. Alternatively, for further detail, please contact the NACE office.

NACE will contact schools due for accreditation/reaccreditation in the early autumn term to discuss the school’s preferred options and any further support needed.

For schools that wish to split part 1 and part 2 of their assessment/reaccreditation day, fees will be split, with 50% payable at part 1 and 50% payable at part 2.

Please contact Karen Burnham ( for further information. For schools which have already set autumn term dates with their assessor, please continue to liaise with them if changes to the dates are needed.

Can my school still put in an application for initial assessment/reaccreditation if I have not yet been contacted by NACE?

Yes. Your application will be followed up with a telephone call.

My school purchased consultancy and/or CPD as part of my Challenge Framework package. Can I access this support remotely?

Yes. NACE can provide this consultancy/CPD remotely via Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

For consultancy, our Challenge consultant will contact you initially via telephone to explain the nature of the consultancy and to ask you to gather some key detail ahead of the appointment. Once you have agreed a date, an agenda will be sent. Following the meeting you will receive a consultancy report, capturing key actions to take forward to help you work towards the Award.

For CPD, please contact Katharine Langley ( for further information.

How will NACE view this summer's teacher assessments and awarded examination grades when considering my application for Challenge Award accreditation?

NACE will follow the DfE guidance on changes to 2020 accountability arrangements which states that organisations working with schools should use data from previous years and not the 2020 data for any school assessment purposes. Similarly, NACE will follow Welsh government guidance which states that qualifications awards data will not be used to report on attainment outcomes at school, LA or regional consortia level or be used for accountability purposes in 2019/2020 and also extended to 2020/2021. However, if a school wishes NACE to consider 2020 teacher assessment information, it is acceptable evidence. We will also continue to take account of the broader view of the school's performance over time and the school’s own evaluation of able pupil attainment and progress.

My school is working towards Challenge Award reaccreditation. What will happen if we don’t achieve this before our current accreditation expires?

NACE will extend reaccreditation timescales appropriately to take account of the time lost during school closures, and the additional time schools may need to be fully operational. Please contact Karen Burnham ( to discuss your particular case.

I’m new to the Challenge Framework. How do I get started?

All schools which have purchased the Framework have free access to the NACE Challenge Hub, which includes guidance, supporting resources, case studies and recorded webinars. Log in to the Hub for ideas and resources to help you get started. If you are still unsure where to start, please email Katharine Langley ( with specific queries and she will arrange a telephone call.

Additionally, all schools can purchase additional consultancy and CPD to support work with the Framework and/or work towards the Challenge Award. Please see below for information about the various types of support available.

I am currently working towards a Challenge Award application. Is support available?

Yes! Support includes…

NACE Challenge Hub: The NACE Challenge Hub is a great place to start. Here you will find a range of support documentation, exemplars and templates. For example, the “Challenge Framework guidance for schools” handbook is essential reading to support you on your Challenge Award journey. There are also case studies from schools that already hold the Award. All schools which have purchased the Challenge Framework have free access to the Challenge Hub. Need help accessing the Hub? Contact

Challenge Clinics: FREE one-to-one telephone support. Designed for schools working towards the Challenge Award. Run by a Challenge Assessor, these 45-minute appointments will answer specific queries about your application, help you understand more about the six elements of the Framework, or support you as you prepare for (pre)assessment. Upcoming Challenge Clinics will be held on Thursday 1 October and Thursday 28 January; early booking recommended as limited spaces are available.

Half-day consultancy and report: This can be delivered remotely or face to face. This session can be used to help your school get started with the Framework, or at any point of development, allowing you to have your progress externally checked, and to receive advice and guidance to help you move forward. Contact Katharine Langley ( to find out more.

Bespoke CPD: Sessions can be developed to focus on an identified area for development in provision for more able learners, and can be delivered for senior leadership, heads of department and/or teaching staff and assistants as appropriate. Contact Katharine Langley ( to find out more.

Challenge Mentor: As your school works towards an application for the NACE Challenge Award, you can choose to engage one of our Challenge Mentors who will support your audit and review of progress through each of the Challenge Framework Elements, providing ongoing guidance on whole-school implementation of your Challenge action plan. Contact Katharine Langley ( to find out more.