Chiswick House School, San Ġwann, has become the first school outside the UK to be accredited with the National Association for More Able Children in Education (NACE) Challenge Award. Since its launch in 2004, the award has been granted to over 415 schools, with many going on to maintain accreditation for a decade or longer.

NACE is a UK charity which supports schools and teachers committed to providing high-quality tuition for more able learners, in the context of challenge for all. The association’s CEO Sue Riley said: “Chiswick House School sets high expectations for its learners, and in turn learners do the same for themselves. The school demonstrated that its provision for more able learners is at the heart of its development plan. Staff work closely with parents and there is a strong ethos of collaboration and innovation. We look forward to working with Chiswick House as the school further develops its offer and sharing its expertise with other NACE member schools across the globe.”

The award is based on the NACE Challenge Framework, which sets out detailed criteria for high-quality provision for more able learners within a school-wide ethos of challenge for all. The experience and evidence gathered by Challenge Award-accredited schools shows that effective strategies to improve provision for the more able are likely to have positive impacts on the achievement of a much wider group of learners.

To attain the 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, alongside interviews with school leaders, learners, parents and governors.

Commenting on the process of working towards the award, Bernie Mizzi, director of Chiswick House School and St Martin’s College, said: “It has been an energising experience – rigorous, demanding and a great school improvement tool. The school has felt united; staff have been fully engaged and all learners have benefitted from the setting of high expectations and more challenging approaches.”