two pimary school girls at st marys in a classroom working with blocks

Lower School celebrates NACE Challenge Award for high-quality provision for more able learners

19 July 2023

The National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE) has accredited St Mary’s Lower School, Colchester for the second time with the NACE Challenge Award. The award is given in recognition of school-wide commitment to high-quality provision for more able learners, within the context of challenge for all.

The award is based on the NACE Challenge Framework, which sets out criteria for high-quality provision for more able learners within a wider ethos of challenge for all. The framework 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.

Head of St Mary’s Lower School, Mrs Emma Stanhope said: “We have worked hard to attain reaccreditation through the NACE Challenge Award for our pupils at the Lower School. We are absolutely thrilled that our continued commitment to developing an environment in which all learners are challenged and supported to be the best they can be has once again been formally recognised.”
NACE’s assessor reported: “The school’s new values of ‘Ambitious, Bold, Compassionate, Dynamic and Enquiring’ succinctly describe the aspiration of this outstanding school. School leaders … are outward looking and reflective … and are passionate about seeking out and celebrating all children’s achievements and strengths including those of the more able and talented. Provision for more able pupils is at the heart of the school… There is a good balance between both skill development and acquisition of substantive knowledge, which builds on the learning taking place in the EYFS. Pupils talked about how they appreciated the range of opportunities to work collaboratively and be creative in their work. Enrichment activities provide rich learning opportunities and memorable moments.”

This NACE accreditation follows an Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) inspection in February 2023 where St Mary’s was rated EXCELLENT across its Kindergarten, Lower School and Senior School.

Our Locations

St Mary's Colchester
Two St Mary's Lower School pupils sitting in a Library holding books and laughing
Additional places now available

Due to increasing demand at St Mary’s, additional places are now available from September.


Enquire today to find out more: