Horizon International School Achieves Prestigious NACE Accreditation

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Horizon International School (HIS), the student-focused community school located in the heart of Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, proudly announces it has achieved the prestigious NACE accreditation award. This recognition is a testament to the school’s unwavering dedication to excellence in education, following an 18-month rigorous review and action planning process. Horizon International School is now one of only two schools in the UAE to receive this distinguished honour, demonstrating its whole-school commitment to personalised and challenging learning for all students.

The NACE Challenge Award, provided by the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE), is an accreditation that recognises schools for their high-quality provision for more able learners. The award is part of the NACE Challenge Development Programme and highlights the school’s commitment to creating a challenging learning environment for all students. Schools that achieve this award demonstrate a whole-school approach to supporting and challenging students to achieve their best​​.

Rob Lightfoot, Chief Executive, NACE said: “I am delighted to congratulate Horizon International School on achieving the prestigious NACE Challenge Award for excellence in provision for more able learners. This award reflects the hard work and dedication of the entire school community. NACE looks forward to continuing our collaboration to further advance high-quality education for all”.

Alexander Tate, Director of Enrichment and Enhancement, Horizon International School said: “Guiding our school through the NACE accreditation process has significantly enhanced our educational approach, leading to improved student outcomes and raised academic standards. This journey has empowered our students by giving them leadership opportunities and a voice in their education. We’ve expanded enrichment activities, offering broader learning experiences and fostering collaboration and healthy competition among peers. The emphasis on ‘challenge for all’ has ensured inclusive and effective teaching practices, benefiting every student and creating a unified, high-achieving school culture.”

Horizon International School’s recent NACE Challenge Award assessment report highlighted several strengths of the school. The accreditation process involved a comprehensive evaluation of the school’s programmes and teaching methodologies. Assessors praised the high level of challenges observed in classroom settings and highlighted the exceptional enrichments offered outside of the standard curriculum, particularly through the innovative EVOLV3 programme, the success of F1 in School teams and numerous other initiatives. The assessors were particularly impressed by the students’ attitudes towards learning and their confidence in interacting with them, underscoring the school’s effective approach to fostering a positive and ambitious learning environment.

During the accreditation process, several key areas were addressed to ensure the school’s alignment with NACE’s high standards. These included identifying the more able learners in the school and evaluating how well they are achieving, assessing if they are sufficiently challenged and how this is measured and examining the consistency of the quality of challenge across the school. In addition, the process involved ensuring that all teachers know what challenge looks like and how to plan for it, that learners understand what challenge feels like and how to respond to it and exploring ways to raise expectations and improve the level of challenge for all students. These considerations guided the school’s reflection and action planning, ensuring a thorough and sustainable approach to educational improvement.

Horizon International School used the NACE Challenge Framework to enhance provision for more able students, supported by resources from the NACE online Challenge Hub. The school also utilised bespoke consultancy, CPD, coaching, mentoring and development programmes for schools working together. As part of the accreditation process, HIS completed a case study on more able underachievement and conducted an Action Research Project with the University of Birmingham, Dubai. This project aimed to address underachievement among more able students, with findings shared across the MENA region. The research emphasized the importance of strong leadership, strategic focus, and combining academic extension with cultural enrichment and personal development. These insights have informed teacher training and shaped the school’s approach to improving educational outcomes for all students.

Darren Gale, Principal of Horizon International School, commented on this achievement: “This accreditation is not just an award; it’s a reflection of our relentless pursuit of excellence and our belief in the boundless potential of our students. We are proud to be recognised for our efforts to challenge and support every learner, ensuring they not only meet but exceed their own expectations”.

This remarkable achievement adds to the celebrations of Horizon International School’s 15th anniversary year, marking a significant milestone in the school’s history. The NACE accreditation not only recognises the school’s commitment to challenging and personalised holistic education but also sets a benchmark for other institutions in the region.

Horizon International School is accepting admissions for 2024/5. For additional information and to schedule a school tour today, please visit www.hisdubai.ae or contact +971 4 348 3314.

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