Aspire, Challenge, Extend

Alton School


ACE is a whole-school centralised learning programme designed to aid and enrich our students’ academic development and improve their learning outcomes through the use of research, technology and best teaching practice.

ACE ensures that staff are at the forefront of best practice in education through continuous professional development and involvement in leading research.  ACE aims to co-ordinate the delivery of additional academic provision whether it be for pupils who are finding work a little difficult, or for those who need to be further challenged and extended. It helps create a smooth, consistent transition between the different stages of the school.

The ACE department is managed by a team of experienced staff able to meet the needs of the very able (HPL- High Potential Learners) and those who require specialist help in order to meet their potential. The Head of Teaching and Learning and the ACE Co-ordinator, who is a specialist assessor of young people with specific learning difficulties, work alongside a team of experienced teachers who are able to support, mentor and advise pupils with difficulties such as dyslexia and dyscalculia as well as guiding those who would benefit from independent enrichment and a tailored, challenging programme of study.

ACE enables our most able pupils to reach beyond the confines of the everyday curriculum. The programme encourages independent research, collaboration with universities, bi-lateral thinking and thought provoking workshops. Experiences which all help develop more sophisticated cognitive skills and expand the brain.

The ACE department will advise staff of ways to support the pupil in class. If appropriate, small group intervention, pupil mentoring or individually tailored programmes of learning are put into place. If it is felt that assessments or recommendations from other professionals, such as occupational therapists or educational psychologists, would be helpful in order to create a fuller picture of a pupil’s needs, we would advise parents on where to find appropriate help.  ACE encourages pupils to make the most of their personal strengths. Our aim is to help build each individual’s confidence, self-esteem and ability to fulfil their true potential.

Pupils’ needs may have been identified by assessment reports from relevant professionals before they come to us, or by teacher observations and class assessments. These help us to determine their place on the programme. Some pupils may need just a short boost in certain skill areas to increase their confidence or ability. Or they may be part of the programme throughout their time at Alton School. We are here to aspire, challenge and extend! Once pupils have been identified as High Potential Learners or those needing some support, ACE can respond appropriately:

  • monitoring and liaising with teaching staff and parents/guardians
  • in-class support
  • one-to-one tuition and small group sessions
  • diagnostic assessments and guidance to parents, if appropriate, regarding external agencies coordinating applications for access arrangements for examinations

The team:

  • Celia Beard: ACE Co-ordinator
  • Heulwen Maher: ACE Assistant Co-ordinator
  • Claire Hobday: ACE team
  • Gill Matthews: ACE team
  • Miranda Hodgson: Head of Teaching and Learning
  • Isabel Walker: HPL Co-ordinator