Academy school in Chapeltown is graded outstanding in all areas by Ofsted at its first inspection

An academy school in Leeds, which is still so new it doesn't have a full cohort of year groups, is celebrating after being graded outstanding in all areas by an Ofsted inspection.

By Emma Ryan
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 8:30 am

The quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and early years provision at Dixons Trinity Chapeltown were given the highest possible grading following the visit in November.

Ofsted released its findings last week and now leaders at the school, which serves the traditionally deprived wards of Chapeltown and Harehills, say it wants to go on to be one of the best schools in the country.

Principal Natalie Brookshaw said she was incredibly proud of governors, staff, students and families for the culture that had been created at the school, which opened in 2017 for early years children (up to age five) in a mobile cabin.

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Dixons Trinity Academy, Chapeltown has achieved an Outstanding Ofsted report. Principal Natalie Brookshaw is pictured with some of the pupils outside the school.

In 2018 a group of year 7s then started, also based in a mobile classroom, and now the school has grown up to year 4 in primary stages and year 10 at secondary. Last year, staff and pupils moved into a brand new purpose built school on Leopold Street.

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"The community that we serve has been under served for years and to have an outstanding school right in the heart of Chapeltown is something that will be transformative. Part of the Dixon Academy Trust Mission is to challenge education and social disadvantage in the north. Morally the right thing to do is to build a school in an area where there are high levels of social and economic deprivation."

Half of the pupils at Dixons Trinity Chapeltown are classed as disadvantaged and qualify for Pupil Premium Funding. Ms Brookes said a number of pupils that started at both early years level and year 7 had challenges that impacted on engaging with education or struggled in a structured environment.

Pupils at work at Dixons Trinity Chapeltown. The school, which is not yet full, has landed an Outstanding grading from Ofsted at its first inspection.

She says a rigorous curriculum and high standards have been key to the Ofsted judgement, but also creating a culture that tells students they can be successful and access to opportunities outside the classroom such as rowing, public speaking, robotics, drama and trips to universities, the theatre and the sea-side.

Ms Brookshaw added: "We want them to leave us articulate, courteous, confident young people. The best thing we can do for our children, because many are disadvantaged is to open up doors for life chances and the way to do that is the best possible qualifications when they get to year 11.

"We are challenging social inequalities because we have high expectations and want them to succeed at university or apprenticeships and thrive in top jobs. We are trying to dispel the myth that children from low income backgrounds underachieve and have low aspirations. If we have the right culture, we can deliver that."

Going forward from the Ofsted report, which says "Trustees, leaders and staff have established a school with excellence at the core of everything that takes place", Ms Brookshaw wants to work with families before children are even born or start school, in time making Dixons Trinity Chapeltown the best in the country.

Natalie Brookshaw, principal of Dixons Academy Chapeltown. The school has been awarded an Outstanding rating from Ofsted.

Inspectors also noted: "The highest expectations are set for all pupils. Leaders have designed a curriculum to help pupils thrive, both personally and academically. Staff teach this curriculum with high levels of expertise. Pupils’ learning is firmly cemented, and they become very knowledgeable. They develop qualities of independence and self-determination.

"First-rate opportunities for personal development are in place. There is a wealth of wide-ranging opportunities for pupils to develop their talents. Links with industry and universities raise pupils’ aspirations. This widens their horizons for what is possible in the future. The school is a true learning community. A pupil described this as, ‘We are all part of a family together.’"

Ms Brookshaw added: "We want to create a 'cradle to career' programme that will form outreach, supporting women and families before children are born and come to us in reception so they are school ready. Our job is not done when they get to year 11, we want to support them after with this programme. We want to be one of the best schools in the country - that will be transformative for our children and we are really looking forward to what we can achieve."

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