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The Swaminarayan Preparatory School has been recognised by the National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE) with its special Challenge Award for “helping pupils achieve their best”.

The NACE Challenge Award is recognised by external bodies as a mark of “quality provision” which honours schools that produce high quality work and encourage pupils to achieve their best. It is regarded as “one of the most purposeful, rigorous yet supportive awards that schools can achieve.”

The award follows the strong GCSE and A-Level results by the Secondary School received in August 2012. The Prep School has also previously been accredited with an award from the Cognitive Education Centre for being a “Thinking School” and this recent award is a testimony of the collective efforts of the staff and governors as well as the efforts of parents.

The award was achieved after meeting requirements for ten different sets of criteria. The School prepared guides for staff and parents as well as incorporating a wide variety of teaching strategies in lessons, including practical work, use of ICT, and independent problem-solving. In addition, students were given opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills and participate in charitable services, an important ethos of the School. Examples included fundraising for organisations such as UNICEF and Prostate Cancer UK.

The Swaminarayan Prep School, situated opposite BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, caters for pupils aged 2 to 11.

The School’s head teacher, Umesh Raja, was presented with the award at a special ceremony at the Mandir by guests including Paralympic swimmer David Hill and former Swaminarayan School student and current Brent councillor Krupa Sheth, the youngest councillor ever (elected at age 20).

Mr Raja explained: “This is a testament to our students’ hard work.We provide a programme for pupils to progress regardless of their ability and believe in an all-rounded education.We always aim to raise standards at all levels of the School, through parents, staff and teachers. This is the beginning of a journey.”

Speaking at the ceremony on Thursday 28 February 2013, Cllr Sheth added: “I would like to take this opportunity to commend every single person connected to this school for making it what it is today. It is a pleasure to know that the School has been accredited with the NACE Challenge Award.”

The NACE inspector shared some comments in a report that was produced during the evaluation process: “The Swaminarayan Prep School is a school with many outstanding features. The highly aspirational parental community ensures that the school is always driving for the best possible outcomes for all pupils. Pupils are reflective and they feel their opinions are listened to. The provision for their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is exceptional and their leadership skills are deployed to very good effect. The pupils are also lively and engaged and very articulate.”

Established in 1983, NACE specialises in working with schools and teachers to improve learning for able, gifted and talented pupils, and is recognised nationally and internationally as the UK’s leading independent education organisation in the field of education for able learners.

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