Outstanding post-16 provision
Dixons City Academy is the flagship Academy of the Dixons Academies Trust. Our school community is based one of the most deprived areas of Bradford (deprivation index 0.33 compared to 0.22 national). We are a diverse school community with more than 40 languages spoken. Approximately one third of our students speak English as an Additional Language. The vast majority of our students are the first people in their family to attend University and our largest ethnic group is Pakistani-heritage. The percentage of students classed as Pupil Premium is above national at 30%. Prior attainment on entry to the Sixth Form is lower than national average. Our students study a traditional curriculum in KS3 and KS4 in their preparation for 6th Form. The majority of our students study the EBACC route. Approximately one third of students study Triple Science GCSE and all students take English Literature, English Language, Maths, and Science at KS4. Along with other high performing institutions, all A’ Levels are now linear and we do not routinely enter for AS. The vast majority of our students take 3 A’ Levels, with some taking a mix of vocational and academic qualifications. Predictions are very accurate because of our emphasis on cold-timed exam questions in formative and summative assessments. At Dixons City, we aim to ensure that our Post-16 curriculum fosters diversity challenge and achievement and that our students will be ready to meet the many challenges of adult life, including access to higher education and employment.
We encourage students to understand the opportunities available to them. We help them develop the confidence to make the most of opportunities, whilst making a valuable contribution to society as a whole. With regards to the formal curriculum, the academy aims to provide a broad based curriculum that emphasises the importance of offering courses that suit the individual learner. As such, several pathways will be offered and students will be encouraged to undertake a programme of study that best reflects their learning-style and ability. As such, no one pathway is seen as correct: the profile of the individual student should be considered when offering subject options. All students are supported by a strong system of academic monitoring which takes into account individual student situation and potential.
The academy recognises that Year 12 students do not always make a smooth transition from GCSEs to AS levels and as such teachers ensure that independent learning is something that is seen to be encouraged and developed rather than expected. Gradually, however, all teachers encourage independent learning and self-motivation amongst Post 16 students. This is achieved through structured schemes of work, a variety of teaching and learning styles and a strong emphasis on study-skills.
Overall Aims of the Curriculum
The Post-16 curriculum should offer a wide range of Level 3 courses to our internal students who we will endeavour to place on courses which are suitable for them. It should also encourage our students to develop as well-rounded individuals as well as offering them the opportunity to gain the qualifications needed for further study or employment external students will be recruited to fill any places not filled by our internal students.
The Post-16 curriculum offering will incorporate a variety of courses including those that reflect our academy specialisms and those that promote personal development. In addition, there will be an induction programme for all students to help them make a smooth transition to Post-16 study.
Students will be given a subject offering that is suitable to their ability and allows them the best possible chance to fulfil their potential All courses should have (where appropriate) opportunities for students to develop the functional skills of literacy, numeracy and ICT as well as personal learning and thinking skills.
Throughout the duration of all courses, students should become more independent of the teacher and more capable of managing their own study employment. Activities to facilitate independence will be identified through schemes of work. Stretch, challenge and problem solving are key to success at KS5 and help ensure that students are well prepared for higher education and employment. Students are encouraged to take the Extended Project to help them develop research and independent learning skills. Post-16 personal tutors will encourage students' personal as well as intellectual development.
Expectations for students' conduct are outlined in the home school agreement and code of conduct and will be revisited by personal tutors in regular interview sessions. All students undertake a thorough Careers and Guidance course with a great emphasis on effective decision-making, particularly in relation to higher education. This is supported by the Post-16 Manager, Head of Year 12 and Post-16 Form Tutors There will be many opportunities for students to develop their social and communication skills outside of the formal curriculum, for example, by working as mentors for younger students or assisting staff in teaching or preparing activities, being a member of the Student Council or Student Manager team. A programme of Active Citizenship and Enrichment is fully in place Each certificated Post-16 course has a student contract detailing expectations and course details.
Pastoral Support, Information, Advice and Guidance
The academy aims first and foremost to support students in what can be a difficult transition period from KS4 non-compulsory education to Post-16 education with its greater emphasis on independent learning. This support is given through the Pastoral system in a variety of ways, but particularly through a coherent Careers and Guidance programme, delivered by Form Tutors and monitored closely by the Post-16 Manager and Head of Year 12.
Support for students continues throughout the students' time in Post-16 and guides the students from initial subject choices to considering suitable future pathways either in Higher Education, Further Education or Employment. The academy continually encourages students to make informed decisions with expert guidance. This programme is supported wherever possible by links with outside agencies and also experience of real work situations.
The Post-16 pastoral curriculum reflects the belief that education goes on beyond the formal academic curriculum. Students are encouraged to become skilled at assessing their own strengths and weaknesses and equipping themselves with enough information to make realistic and appropriate decisions in all areas of life, including career choices and moral, personal and religious values.
Students are actively encouraged to be involved in the life of the whole academy and see themselves as senior members of this community. This approach to Post-16 education can be described as valuing the development of the well-rounded individual. Where students are particularly struggling to adapt to the demands of Post-16 life, or have difficulties outside of the academy, the HOY or Post-16 Manager will monitor them carefully, involving parents as appropriate. In some cases students may be referred to the academy Nurse who will consider whether expert support is needed.
Post-16 Student Financial Support
The Post-16 Bursary Fund is available to support students. It offers financial help towards stationery,