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R&D Hubs

NACE Challenge Award logo

Launched in 2018, NACE’s Research and Development (R&D) Hubs offer regional opportunities for NACE members to exchange effective practice, develop in-school research skills and collaborate on enquiry-based projects. Each Hub is led by a Challenge Award-accredited school, bringing together members from all phases, sectors and contexts to share and augment the available evidence on what works for more able learners.

2019-20 programme

Hubs develop their own annual programme of CPD and support, based on local need. However, a central strand for all Hubs is helping schools engage with research to enhance practice.

Over the course of the year participants will learn more about research, including how to access, understand and evaluate a range of sources. They will also be supported to undertake their own professional enquiries in an aspect of classroom practice.

At the end of the year the findings from all Hub professional enquiries will be shared with the NACE community and beyond, building up a database of good practice that extends beyond individual school walls.

For an update on the autumn term Hub meetings, click here.

Additional support

Hub participants’ learning about research will be supported by online CPD from the University of Birmingham and Chartered College of Teaching, through a four-week MOOC (massive open online course) starting on 16 September (late joining is possible). To register for free access to the course, click here.

Participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about NACE’s work with York St John University in the area of perfectionism.

How to join a Hub

Participation in the Hubs is free for NACE members, and all Hubs are open to members of all phases, sectors and contexts within the region. Participants must be able to commit to the full year’s programme, and should be prepared to share ideas and support one another.

If your school is not yet a NACE member, you are welcome to attend one R&D Hub event in order to find out more about the initiative and NACE.

Expand the sections below for details about each Hub's current areas of focus, to access the Hub online groups (accessible to participants only), or to request to join a Hub.

This year the Alfreton Hub will explore three concurrent strands, with associated CPD, alongside a focus on research:

  • Creating a culture of high aspirations, revolving around challenge, perspective and curiosity, for more able learners
  • Supporting more able children with the transitions between schools
  • Increasing parental engagement for more able children in school

Upcoming meetings:

Wednesday 6 November 2019 (1-3pm)

This session will concentrate on supporting participants to find the focus of their own professional enquiry for the year ahead. Those who have been involved in the Hub since its inception will share what they have achieved thus far. Time will also be spent discussing how the Hub online group will be used, as well as sharing the use of IRIS (a digital recording and monitoring system) which is used in school to support enquiry-based practice.

Wednesday 26 February 2020 (1-3pm)

Reserve your place.


Wednesday 3 June 2020 (1-3pm)

Details TBC.

To access the Alfreton online group (for Hub participants only) or to request to join the Hub, click here.

This year the Barry Island R&D Hub will focus on language and literacy with opportunities to discuss curriculum development, questions and ideas for more able and talented (MAT) learners. Session one will introduce you to the Hub programme for the year and include a technology learning walk – focusing on how technology can be used to enhance literacy skills.

Upcoming meetings:

Wednesday 25 September 2019 (9.30am-3.00pm)

Booking now closed.

Wednesday 15 January 2020 (1.30-3.30pm)

Booking now closed.

Wednesday 4 March 2020 (9.30am-3.00pm)

Reserve your place.

To access the Barry Island online group (for Hub participants only) or to request to join the Hub, click here.

Upcoming meetings:

Wednesday 2 October 2019 (1-4pm)

This year the Haybridge Hub will open with a CPD session on auditing provision for more able learners, providing practical tools and techniques to help you undertake your school’s audit and to support curriculum leads.

Wednesday 15 January 2020 (1-4pm)

The spring term meeting will share findings from a range of current Hub professional enquiry projects and introduce the topic to new members.

Wednesday 17 June 2020 (1-4pm)

In the summer term meeting, participants will learn more about NACE’s work with York St John University around perfectionism and more able learners. Reserve your place.

To access the Haybridge online group (for Hub participants only) or to request to join the Hub, click here.

Based on work completed to date, this year the Holme Grange Hub will explore three concurrent strands, with associated CPD, alongside a focus on engaging with action research:

  • Ensuring that feedback enables progress and considering how this can be evidenced
  • Considering the impacts of exposing pupils to and developing challenging vocabulary
  • Retention – techniques and strategies

Upcoming meetings:

Tuesday 15 October 2019 (2-4pm)

The 2019-20 programme will open with a session focusing on current research relating to challenge for the more able, considering techniques and implementation across age ranges with a specific focus on vocabulary. There will be an opportunity to form multidisciplinary and curriculum teams who can work as a unit to implement some of these techniques with the view to assessing their effectiveness at the next meeting. The concept of perfectionism in more able learners will be explored with a view to being involved in a collaborative project with York St John University.

Thursday 27 February 2020 (2-4pm)

Session two will provide the opportunity to discuss work to date. CPD will be provided relating to retention and feedback. This session will see the launch of the work with York St John University on perfectionism.

Reserve your place.


Wednesday 29 April 2020 (2-4pm)

The final session of the year will give participants the opportunity to share results and findings from action research ventures, as well as a continued focus on perfectionism.

To access the Holme Grange online group (for Hub participants only) or to request to join the Hub, click here.

Southend High School for Boys (SHSB) is NACE’s newest R&D Hub. This year, participants will be invited to undertake a professional enquiry into designing a lesson for the more able, with Hub Lead Laura March first sharing her findings on what the research tells us, best practice and ideas.

Upcoming meetings:

Wednesday 23 October 2019 (2-4pm): creating challenge in the classroom

The year’s programme will open with a session on challenge – exploring what this means for the more able and what it looks like in practice, with reference to the NACE Challenge Framework.

Wednesday 5 February 2020 (2-4pm): memory retrieval

Session two will focus on research into memory retrieval and will include ideas to adapt teaching strategies and revision practices to ensure students are prepared to recall information in high-stakes exams.

Wednesday 1 July 2020 (2-4pm): effective resources to support parents and pupils

Reserve your place.

To access the SHSB online group (for Hub participants only) or to request to join the Hub, click here.