A FREE school in Bradford has become the first for secondary-aged pupils in the country to be rated as outstanding by Ofsted.
Dixons Trinity Academy, which opened in 2012 was given the top rating in all key areas of inspection by the education watchdog.
The school serves some of Bradford’s most deprived areas, with around half of its students living in the city’s five poorest wards.
It is sponsored by Dixons Academy Trust - a group of schools which started with a city technology college which opened in Bradford almost 25 years ago.
Dixons now runs four schools in the city and is opening another free school in September.
Dixons Trinity is the first of the free schools which opened nationally in 2012 to be rated as outstanding and the first secondary free school anywhere to achieve it. The school said that their Ofsted report “flies in the face of the negative news about free schools.”
Much of this has surrounded another free school in the city, the Kings Science Academy, in Bradford where allegations of fraud are being investigated by police.
Free schools are a key policy of the coalition which is encouraging the development of new state schools. It was originally billed as a chance for parents to run their own schools but Dixons is an existing academies group which has set up two in the city with another set to open in September.
Dixons Trinity’s principal Luke Sparkes said he had been inspired by seeing the work of a charter school in the United States.
He said: “Our school culture is modelled on what I saw in New York. Excellent teaching is central but we put lots of work into building a joyful school culture and this is clear in every class and dominates daily school-wide celebrations.”
The school has been praised for the report by Schools Minister Lord Nash.
He said: “It was a pleasure to visit Dixons Trinity Academy and I congratulate the staff and pupils on the publication of their outstanding Ofsted report.
“I was very impressed by the innovative policies they have put in place which are underpinned by a constant drive to achieve the best for every child.
“I am delighted that my department has been able to support the vision of the Dixons Academy Trust and the principal Luke Sparkes in setting up a school that demands and delivers excellence for all inspired them.”
Nick Weller, the executive principal of Dixons Academies said: “Dixons Trinity’s achievement is unique and is proof that schools in Bradford can match any in the country.”
The Ofsted report rates the school as having outstanding teaching, pupil attainment and leadership. It says: “The vision and ambition of the headteacher, combined with the unrelenting commitment of other leaders and teachers, are crucial elements of the academy’s success.” Ofsted say students make rapid progress from their starting points and after only one year in the academy their attainment is high.