Millbrook Junior School celebrates NACE Challenge Award accreditation

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The National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE) has named Millbrook Junior School in Kettering the 484th school to be accredited with the NACE Challenge Award. The award is given in recognition of school-wide commitment to high-quality provision for more able learners, within the context of challenge for all.

NACE CEO Rob Lightfoot said: “Millbrook Junior School has worked successfully to attain the NACE Challenge Award. It has shown itself to be committed to developing an environment in which all learners are both challenged and supported to be the best they can be.”

The award is based on the NACE Challenge Framework, which sets out criteria for high quality provision for more able learners within a wider ethos of challenge for all. The framework is available as part of the NACE Challenge Development Programme – a suite of resources developed by NACE to help schools evaluate and improve their provision for more able learners.

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NACE’s assessor reported: “More able pupils feel supported pastorally and academically. Challenge for all was evident with appropriate scaffolding for tasks, often building on previous learning where structures had been created. There was good, learning-based dialogue, with high-level skills-based content and delivery by teachers, using academic language. Behaviour for learning was excellent. The school is moving away from traditional differentiation models towards an adaptive teaching approach which was evident in the lesson observations. Pupils moved seamlessly into extension work and were confident in their use of resources and in what to do next.

More Able Leaders and pupils from Millbrook Junior SchoolMore Able Leaders and pupils from Millbrook Junior School
More Able Leaders and pupils from Millbrook Junior School

Achievement is celebrated across the curriculum from Maths to ballroom dancing in Blackpool. The pupils said they have opportunities to take part in competitions and events and there are lots of awards for good work.”

Improving provision for the more able remains a priority for many schools and has been highlighted by Ofsted as a key focus. The experience and evidence gathered by Challenge Award-accredited schools also shows that effective strategies to improve provision for the more able are likely to have a positive impact on the achievement of a much wider group of learners.

To attain the Challenge Award, schools must complete a detailed self-evaluation using the NACE Challenge Framework, submit a portfolio of supporting evidence, and undertake assessment by a NACE associate. The assessment process includes examination of school data and key documents; lesson observations; and interviews with school leaders, learners, parents and governors.

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CEO Rob Lightfoot said, “The Challenge Award is presented in recognition of whole school commitment to and achievement in providing effective challenge and support for all – spanning school leadership, curriculum, teaching and learning, processes for identification and tracking, extracurricular opportunities, strong communication and partnerships, and ongoing evaluation.”

Millbrook Junior School will now be part of the international community of Challenge Award-accredited schools which have demonstrated a sustained and effective commitment to meeting the needs of more able learners, and an interest in sharing expertise for the wider benefit of the education community.

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