We are delighted to announce a new partnership with The National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE), an independent charity supporting schools to improve provision for more able learners and to raise standards and aspirations for all. In pursuit of their mission, NACE run the innovative Making Space for Able Learners Project, which looks to make evidence-based research around best practice for most able learners more accessible to education leaders.
Hilary Lowe, NACE Education Advisor, and Dr Ann McCarthy, NACE Research and Development Director, discuss their research below.
When seeking a foundation of evidence and research on which to build effective provision for the most able learners, today’s education leaders and practitioners will often search in vain; the contemporary evidence base in this area is thin and not readily available.
This paucity of research is compounded by the fact that highly able learners are often overlooked and underserved. In particular, those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds or facing other barriers to achievement are at risk of going unnoticed and failing to receive the support they need and deserve. An additional imperative comes from the fact that focusing on improving provision and pedagogy for the most able is likely to have a positive impact on the learning experience of all pupils.
In this context, NACE (the National Association for Able Children in Education) launched the Making Space for Able Learners project – seeking to review, collate, extend and disseminate evidence-based practice in this field. The first phase of the project focuses on approaches to developing “cognitive challenge” – outlining approaches to curriculum and pedagogy which optimise the engagement, learning and achievement of very able young people. Key findings are summarised in the recent publication “Cognitive challenge: principles into practice” – available via the NACE website.
We believe this research is an important step towards closing the existing evidence gap in policy and practice for the more able. The project draws on a broad review of relevant research and theory – from both within and beyond education – and brings the theory to life through current examples from schools holding the NACE Challenge Award, an accreditation marking excellent provision for the most able within a context of challenge for all.
The project continues to develop, and we are working with our network of member schools, education leaders, trainers and consultants – and with organisations including The Brilliant Club – to further explore, share and embed the core strands identified thus far.
Find out more:
Annual school membership to their network covers all staff, providing access to practical resources, CPD, networking and expert support.
To benefit from 20% membership discount, simply enter promotional code BC20 when joining via the NACE website by 31 March 2021.