Dixons Academies Charitable Trust Ltd (Dixons) is a multi-academy trust of eleven schools in Bradford and Leeds. We focus exclusively on areas of social and educational disadvantage, either by sponsoring turnaround academies to address educational failure, or by opening new free schools to meet growing demand.
The Trust was built around the high-performing Dixons City Academy, which opened in 1990 as one of only fifteen City Technology Colleges nationally. CTCs were the first state-funded schools independent of local authority control, a model which became the template for Labour’s academy initiative a decade later. On conversion in 2005, City adopted a second specialism, this time in the performing arts, reflecting its strong commitment and investment in this area, especially in music.
In 2009, Dixons City was invited by the DfE to take on Rhodesway School, which was at the time rated in the bottom ten schools nationally for value added and had languished in Special Measures for a record two consecutive inspections. Today, Dixons Allerton has a new building and a strong culture, includes an all-through primary element, and its students make outstanding progress.
Always at the cutting edge, from 2012 we embraced the Free School initiative, opening Dixons Trinity and Dixons Music primary that year and Dixons McMillan two years later. All three are graded Outstanding by Ofsted, with Dixons Trinity holding the accolade of being the first secondary free school in the country to be so.
Dixons Trinity attracts many visitors nationally and internationally to learn how it achieves some of the very highest Progress 8 scores in the country for both pupil premium students and others. Dixons Music has consistently exceeded national averages in Early Years, in Year 1 Phonics and at KS1, and we look forward with anticipation to its first KS2 SATs results in 2019. Dixons McMillan achieved outstanding not only for its 11-16 element but also for its sixth form provision, which we had opened early to meet the growing demand for Post 16 places within the Trust. Its students make exceptional progress and we look forward to its first GCSE results, also in 2019.
From 2014 to 2016, we adopted a further three sponsored academies into the Trust. Dixons Marchbank Primary and Dixons Manningham Primary were inherited from two processor schools in special measures, and both jumped two Ofsted grades to Good in their first inspection. Both schools have gone from strength to strength, building their success from Early Years and KS1 upwards.
Dixons Kings was taken in as a struggling local free school carrying two judgements of Requires Improvement, together with difficulties in financial governance. It achieved Outstanding in its first inspection as a Dixons academy, and has achieved a strong academic performance since, fully reflecting our focus on high-value qualifications and exceptional progress, including for pupil premium students.
Our first academy in Leeds, Dixons Trinity Chapeltown, opened in temporary accommodation to Reception pupils in 2017, and its first cohort of Year 7 students a year later. It is modelled and mostly staffed from its sibling academy in Bradford and will bring exceptional education to an area poorly served in the past. It will move into its new building in the first half of 2020.
2018 also saw us take in a further two sponsored secondary schools, Dixons Cottingley in Bradford and Dixons Unity in Leeds. A dedicated Sixth Form academy will open at Douglas Mill in Bradford in September 2019.