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​Varndean School is a centre of excellence!

We are thrilled to announce we have recently achieved the NACE Challenge Award (National Association for Able Children in Education), making the school a centre of excellence for Able, Gifted and Talented Students.

Varndean School is the only secondary school in Brighton & Hove to have achieved this award and one of only 1% of schools nationally. The award is given for high quality work by the whole school, teachers and Governors, in challenging all pupils, including those with high abilities, to achieve their best.

NACE Chief Executive Rowena Gaston said: “Varndean School has worked hard to win the NACE Challenge Award status. It has shown itself to be committed to developing a school where all pupils are challenged to be the best they can be. The more able and talented children are challenged and this helps the other learners to see what can be achieved.”

The Award is given by NACE, a leading national education organisation and registered charity established for over 30 years. The Association exists to help the daily work of teachers providing for pupils with high abilities whilst enabling all pupils to flourish. It provides advice, training and resources for teachers, including The NACE Challenge Award Self-Evaluation Framework which Varndean School has used to audit and plan what it provides for more able, gifted and talented pupils. Many thousands of primary and secondary schools are using The NACE Challenge Award Framework to develop their work.

Assessors, who spent a day in the school, were impressed by strong leadership and the management of provision which keeps the needs of more able learners at the forefront of the school’s work and the good support and challenge provided by the Governors. They were also impressed by the range of opportunities for students to pursue their talents such as the particularly large offering of enrichment options.

Following NACE’s framework we have demonstrated a wide range of systems are in place to support this and NACE’s assessors noted our ‘culture of celebrating all the diverse gifts and there are lots of opportunities for students. There are also opportunities to take on leadership roles with student voice and the arts department where students run events. Not just academic but learning to take control of things.’

Assessors judged the quality of the school’s work by observing lessons, interviewing the pupils, teachers, parents and Governors and by looking at the pupils’ work. The Award is given when schools demonstrate that they meet the criteria of the Award and will remain committed to continuing to ensure high-quality provision for more able, gifted and talented pupils.