Ofsted rates half of the free schools in the region as less than good

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OFSTED has judged another of the Government’s flagship free schools in Yorkshire as requiring improvement.

However, Dixons Music Primary School in Bradford has said it was very disappointed with the inspection report and has lodged an official complaint about it.

The latest report means that three of the first six free schools to be assessed by Ofsted in Yorkshire have been found to require improvement.

It follows Batley Grammar School and the Kings Science Academy, in Bradford, which were both placed in the category last year.

Rainbow Primary, in Bradford, and the Lighthouse School, in Leeds, a special needs school for pupils with autism, have both been found to be good and Dixons Trinity – a secondary free school in Bradford run by the same trust as Dixons Music Primary – has been rated as outstanding.

Both Dixons free schools opened on the same site on the edge of Bradford city centre in 2012. They are both run by Dixons Academies Trust. It was formed out of Dixons City Academy which is one of the most successful schools in Bradford and was originally one of the first city technology colleges set up more than 20 years ago.

The primary school has a specialism in music which was chosen to emulate charter schools in the Bronx, in New York, where every pupil learns an instrument.

The new Ofsted report says pupils achievement, teaching and leadership and management require improvement. It says the head of school carries all the responsibility for leading and managing all aspects of teaching and learning – apart from in music. It also says the leadership of the school’s music specialism is not effective.

Nick Weller, the executive principal of Dixons Academies, said; “We are very disappointed that our complaint was not upheld despite significant issues with the process and conduct of the inspection. Nevertheless our reception and year one pupils are making excellent progress in reading, writing and maths. In a year’s time when our first set of key stage one results are published we are confident that Ofsted will have to grade us at least good if not better.”