A multi academy trust (MAT) in Bradford has been given £100,000 by a charity, funded by a private equity firm, to improve long-term outcomes for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Impetus-PEF announced its investment in Dixons Academies, which runs eight schools in the area, last week. It will also provide the MAT with ongoing strategic and operational support.

Julia Grant, the charity’s chief executive, says the funding will be mainly used by Dixons to bring in “extra central capacity”.

“This will ensure that the management team has sufficient time to dedicate to the consideration of how they can best raise the prospects of the young people they work with . . . and to the process of putting a plan in place to achieve this.”

The charity chose Dixons after a year of meeting MATs who work in areas of economic and educational disadvantage.

“We chose to work with a group of schools in a MAT because our approach is to support the leadership team of an organisation that oversees work with young people. An MAT structure gives us such a central body to work with,” Ms Grant says.

“In Bradford, 37 per cent of pupils are from low income backgrounds and, over the past three years, only about a third of these pupils got the critical 5 A*-C GCSEs (including English and maths), which are key for them to be able to progress into further education, training or employment.”

Nick Weller, Dixons Academies’ chief executive, says he is “excited” at what the partnership might bring.

“The trust has grown from two to eight academies over the past three years and we are keen to build on our experience to make the most of a group of highly committed schools working together.”

Ms Grant added: “We will facilitate the team to take stock of their work to date and draw upon the collective expertise of the eight Dixons schools to reflect on what works best in running, opening and turning around Dixons schools.

“This will include consideration of how the group can best work together to improve the achievement of their pupils and . . . provide support to principals to free up more of their time to spend on teaching and learning in their schools.”


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