A HUGE Bradford all-through school has dropped to “requires improvement” and been criticised by Ofsted inspectors who said some pupils “openly” share sexist and homophobic views.

Dixons Allerton Academy, in Rhodesway, was visited by the education watchdog on May 8 and 9 this year.

It was the school’s first inspection since before the Covid-19 pandemic, when the setting was visited on March 5 and 6 in 2019 and received a “good” rating.

But this time around, Dixons Allerton Academy – which caters for 1,890 primary, secondary, and sixth-form students – was rated “requires improvement”.

The main issues were in the school’s secondary phase, with its early years and sixth form provision graded “good”.

There are high expectations for behaviour across the school and people feel safe, according to the Ofsted report that was published last Friday.

But some pupils in the secondary phase struggle to maintain this and a “significant minority” of pupils and staff have concerns about behaviour.

The report said: “This is most often in the secondary phase of school.

“Some pupils are made to feel uncomfortable in school due to sexist or homophobic views being shared openly by a small minority of other pupils.”

A spokesperson for Dixons Academies Trust said the school is looking at ways to enable additional time for open discussion in class around important issues in PSHCE.

This is so “all pupils are respectful towards each other, including those who may be different from themselves”.

Suspensions are also an issue at the school and the report states these are high in numbers.

The report said: “Most of these suspensions are for persistent disruptive behaviour in the secondary phase.”

Many who are suspended receive support from the nurture team to help improve their behaviour but this is not as effective as it could be “for a significant number of pupils” and they have been suspended on further occasions.

Dixons Allerton Academy, in RhodeswayDixons Allerton Academy, in Rhodesway (Image: Telegraph & Argus)

The spokesperson for the trust said the school is “providing further targeted support for pupils who have been suspended, to ensure these instances do not happen repeatedly”.

Children in the early years provision “get off to a very strong start” and adults know the children very well.

The report said: “They interact expertly with children, working from their individual starting points to develop rich, and varied, knowledge and understanding.”

Pupils who attended Dixons Allerton Academy’s primary phase are well prepared for the secondary phase and turn up for school more regularly, demonstrate more positive behaviours, and achieve more highly in external assessments, according to the report.

Those with good attendance in the secondary phase do well.

But inspectors found many do not attend school regularly and attendance overall is very low.

The report said: “A significant group of pupils in the secondary phase of the school attend very poorly.”

It added: “These pupils can struggle to access the new learning that is being taught.

“The school does not identify and address gaps in their learning quickly enough.”

These pupils struggle, “as they do not have the background knowledge to understand what is being taught”.

Ofsted noted though that the school has recently reviewed its attendance processes, the number of home visits has “significantly increased”, and there is “effective work” with outside agencies.

This has resulted in the number of absences beginning to reduce, particularly those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

The trust spokesperson said: “The school is working closely with parents to ensure children attend school every day and access the same learning opportunities as their peers.”

Ofsted praised Dixons Allerton Academy’s leaders for ensuring they have “clearly identified the crucial subject knowledge that pupils need at each stage of their education”.

Teachers explain new concepts and ideas clearly and provide many opportunities for pupils to recall important learning.

The report said: “This supports many pupils to be successful in external tests and examinations, including in the sixth form.”

Danny Carr, Executive Principal, Dixons Allerton Academy, said: “We have always been clear that providing the best education possible is what drives us, not Ofsted judgements.

“However, we are pleased Ofsted found the quality of both our early years and sixth form provision to be ‘Good’ – this highlights the high expectations we have for all our students.

“As the report notes, students who have good attendance do well in our academy.

“However, inspectors also highlighted the challenges that we, in common with so many schools, continue to face, and we are working hard to continue improving.”