Dixons Unity Academy: Ofsted says Leeds school 'making progress' in bid to tackle serious weaknesses

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A west Leeds academy is said to be "making progress" in its bid to overturn a poor Ofsted rating.

Dixons Unity Academy, located in Whingate Road, Armley, was graded Inadequate after an inspection in March 2023, when Ofsted inspectors judged the school as having "serious weaknesses."

In a recent monitoring visit, inspectors noted that the school had made a number of new staff appointments and established an academy improvement board in a bid to raise standards.

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The education watchdog said: "You, in partnership with colleagues from the trust, have carried out much work to improve the quality of education. At the time of the previous inspection, you were new to post and had little time to effect change.

Dixons Unity Academy, located in Whingate Road, Leeds, is still Inadequate but "making progress". Picture: Tony JohnsonDixons Unity Academy, located in Whingate Road, Leeds, is still Inadequate but "making progress". Picture: Tony Johnson
Dixons Unity Academy, located in Whingate Road, Leeds, is still Inadequate but "making progress". Picture: Tony Johnson | Tony Johnson

"Since March 2023, the pace of improvement has accelerated. New subject leaders are working with their teams to enhance subject knowledge and pedagogical expertise."

The capacity of the special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) team has increased. This has included the appointment of a new special educational needs coordinator.

The report added: "You have shown a particularly strong commitment to improving the quality of education for pupils with SEND. With strong support from the trust, you have increased the capacity and expertise of the SEND team.

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"New leaders are making improvements in how promptly and effectively needs are identified. Stronger links are being built with parents and carers of pupils with SEND."

Inspectors noted that some aspects of the curriculum remain more difficult to fully address, such as the school being unable to offer a design and technology curriculum that would "match the ambitions of the national curriculum".

While one of the biggest barriers to pupils experiencing an acceptable quality of education remains poor rates of attendance, which currently stand at 82% for all pupils.

The academy was praised for its work to strengthen relationships with the local community, which has included the creation of a community hub, providing direct support for essential resources and signposting families to external services to get them the help that they need.

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A spokesperson for the academy said: “We are pleased that Ofsted has recognised the excellent progress that the school is making following the inspection almost a year ago.

“Early in 2023, the school put in place a strong improvement plan under an excellent new principal early and with the full support of our trust, and this is seeing sustained progress.

"We continue to work hard every day so that the very positive trajectory is maintained.”

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