Sue Riley, NACE CEO

Welcome back to a new academic year – I hope you feel refreshed for the coming term.

Like NACE, I am sure many of you spent much of the summer preparing for the new academic year – reflecting on policy and development, results and the new challenges that lie ahead.

In my first blog post of the year, I want to share with you some of NACE’s developments – and how NACE members will benefit in the coming weeks and term.

Responding to member views

At the end of last year NACE undertook its first member survey – and the results have informed much of the work we have been focused on over the summer. You told us that online resources and subject-specific materials were some of the most useful ways NACE could support you, so this term will see key resources added to the members’ section of our site; log in to see the latest additions.

Later this term, we’ll be sharing new primary maths resources, and links to partner materials, with a focus on English to follow. We’re also investing in the technology to make these more accessible to busy teachers, with a relaunch of the NACE website planned for later in the year.  

NACE Insight, our termly member newsletter, has had a summer “facelift”. With a refreshed and extended format, it will offer some new regular features, including updates from Ofsted, Estyn and partners, a focus on NACE members in the news, recommended resources and your views on the key issues affecting schools.

NACE members are our strength – you are involved in testing, reviewing and developing practice for more able learners. We see in our 400+ Challenge Award schools some of the best practice in the country, representing a unique repository of excellence in teaching and learning for high achievement. Later this term we will be inviting some of you to work with us to interrogate and disseminate good practice, offering supported research opportunities.

National and international developments

As part of its role, NACE not only monitors and reviews more able policy and practice, but also seeks to inform development and debate – both at home and further afield. Here are just a few of the areas we are currently focused on:
  • Ofsted updates. This month marks the 25th anniversary of the formation of Ofsted, and we await with interest the first set of findings from its curriculum survey. Once Ofsted has the initial evidence, it will look at whether it needs to place a greater focus on curriculum during inspection; this will feed into the new inspection framework being developed for September 2019.
  • Developments in Wales. NACE is closely monitoring the curriculum and professional standard changes in Wales, and it is against this backdrop that we have been asked to work closely with regional consortia partners to support the development of regional MAT policy and practice.
  • International support. Further afield, NACE’s international membership continues to grow. Spanning 18 countries including Cyprus, China, Kenya, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain and Nigeria, there is a wide mix of primary, secondary, international, British and MoD schools. Over the past 18 months NACE has supported a number of these schools with CPD, and we’ve been delighted to welcome schools from as far afield as China, Italy and Malta to our UK conferences.
  • National publications. Our senior team is regularly asked to contribute to publications in the more able field. Currently our education adviser Hilary Lowe sits on the Advisory Editorial Board for The SAGE Handbook of Gifted and Talented Education, and is author of the chapter on The Education of the Highly Able in England and Wales. We will share more on this later in the year.

Updates to the NACE Challenge Framework

It is against this backdrop of constant review and development that next month NACE will announce an important update to the NACE Challenge Framework. Over the past decade, the NACE Challenge Framework has become an established and respected tool for whole-school review and improvement in provision for more able learners. The update reflects current policy and thinking and will make the framework more accessible to schools, at any stage in their more able journey. The next issue of Insight, due to arrive in schools in October, will provide more detail.

I hope you will agree that this is an exciting start to NACE’s year – and to the opportunities we can provide our growing community of member schools. I look forward to sharing developments with you as we move through the year, and invite you to contact me directly in the meantime if you want to learn more, or feel you can contribute to our developments. 

Sue RileyThe CEO of the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE), Sue Riley has 20 years’ experience in the education and charity fields, having worked on a range of programmes designed to raise confidence and aspirations for young people. To find out more about upcoming projects at NACE and opportunities to get involved, contact Sue via the NACE national office.
Friday, September 8, 2017