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Parents' Information Line

St Cedd’s School celebrates NACE Challenge Award second accreditation

St Cedd’s School has been reaccredited with the prestigious National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE) Challenge Award. The independent co-educational preparatory school on New London Road in Chelmsford is the 133rd school to receive this award for the second time, which 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, says: “St Cedd’s School has worked hard to attain reaccreditation through the NACE Challenge Award. It has displayed a continued commitment to develop an environment in which all learners are challenged and supported to be the best they can be.”

The award, which the school was first accredited with in 2018, is based on the NACE Challenge Framework, which 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; a key focus by Ofsted and the Department for Education.

In addition to completing a detailed self-evaluation and submitting a portfolio of supporting evidence, St Cedd’s School was visited by a NACE assessor who observed lessons, spoke with staff and pupils, and carried out a thorough review of pupils’ work.

The NACE assessor who visited St Cedd’s School reports, “Pupils appreciate the opportunities that are provided to them across the curriculum and beyond. More able learners say, ‘Teachers understand each individual person. They take their time to know everyone.’ This personalisation, championed by the head teacher, is a key element of effective provision and underpins much of the success of St Cedd’s School.”

“The school encourages and celebrates all talents whether musical, sporting, linguistic or mathematical. High achievement for all is expected, valued and celebrated, but the curriculum is not narrowly academic. Specialist provision ensures emerging talents are developed and can be showcased. Learners behave exceptionally well and are keen to learn. Staff care deeply for the children and are mindful of the pressures the learners face, and are keen to foster an understanding of growth mindset and metacognition.”

Rob Lightfoot adds, “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, extra-curricular opportunities, strong communication and partnerships, and ongoing evaluation.”

Mrs Ellie Hodivala, Deputy Head of St Cedd’s School, who champions the NACE Challenge work within the School, says, “We are extremely proud to achieve the NACE reaccreditation in recognition of our commitment to providing challenge and inspiration for all of the pupils at St Cedd's School. We continue to strive for curiosity to be at the heart of every lesson to enable our learners to be resilient, prepared and motivated to seize the opportunities ahead.”

St Cedd’s School will now remain 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.

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 a positive impact on the achievement of a much wider group of learners.

For further information, call 01245 392810 or email

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