Making Things Happen

Post 16 Students Supported Journey


Dixons Allerton Academy (DAA) serves the community of Allerton in west Bradford. As a Dixons Academy, it adopts the same approach as its sponsor and is witnessing rapid improvements in examination results both at GCSE and post 16. DAA has a specialism in Health and Science and is committed to Diversity, Aspiration and Achievement. DAA believes the learner should be at the heart of everything and should experience “excellent teaching and learning”.

Looking for an inspirational way to kick-start his sixth formers’ career, and seeking a partner who would work with him during the following two years, the Senior Leader with responsibility for Post-16, Neil Miley, approached Bright Futures. Bright Futures Sixth Form Induction Programme provides students with a series of enjoyable and stimulating challenges to introduce them to their new responsibilities. The Programme covers issues such as motivation, self-starting, time management, memory techniques and team building and it introduces students to the skills, qualities and attitudes they need in order to be successful at Post 16 and beyond.

Neil Miley, new in post, was keen to make his mark with the new Year 12 recruits. His request of BF was simple: make sure, by the end of the first day, that our students know what is involved in being a Post 16 student. And to judge from the outstanding feedback the students gave, his wish had been fulfilled. 97% said they understood everything that was presented; 91% of them rated it as “a good day” and 95% described the activities as interesting or very interesting.

Here are some of the comments made by the DAA students:

  • I’ve gained some better learning skills
  • I understand more about independent learning
  • The Fs was good – I’ll be more open-minded about sixth form
  • We learned more about learning
  • It was good having to work in a team with people I didn’t know
  • I’ve learned to understand and listen carefully to instructions
  • I found out the type of learner I am
  • The ‘nails’ challenge looked impossible – but I learned that some things that seem impossible are doable!
Neil Miley

Neil had decided that he did not want just a one-off visit from BF. He is negotiating with BF a series of events during the students’ Post 16 career. So alongside the Year 12 induction, other Bright Futures presenters spent the day with Year 13. Amongst other skills, these students were introduced to several proven methods for improving their memories, such as mind maps, mnemonics and classification strategies.

They also took part in design-and-make group challenges in non-friendship teams. Here again, the students’ own comments tell the tale:

  • The festival activity was really good. I enjoyed it a lot.
  • I thought the section on time management was very good, it made me think about getting more organised.
  • To find out the kind of learner that I am. I think this will be very helpful in the future.
  • I enjoyed the group work

At the end of the day, Neil commented: “When I first heard about the work Bright Futures were doing with schools I was extremely enthusiastic to involve our students. With students coming from different schools to join our Post 16 programme, the induction BF ran was a great opportunity to set the tone and build the community spirit for the year. At the same time, our Year 13 students were able to experience a focus on independent learning and teamwork. The students were so impressed by the quality of the BF programme that they are already asking when they are returning to work with them again – which will be very soon.”

Bright Futures lead presenter, John Fernley, said: “The DAA sixth formers were really enthusiastic and threw themselves into our programme. I really enjoyed working with them. On the basis of today’s showing, I have no doubt that these students will benefit enormously from their Post 16 experience at Dixons Allerton.”

Rachel Kidd

The Principal, Rachel Kidd, commented: “This was an excellent programme. Bright Futures clearly loved working with our students and it was obvious that those I spoke to on the day were enjoying the activities. I could see that, amongst the enjoyment, a great deal of learning was taking place. The students were actively engaged and were almost learning without realising it, which was very effective.

They were also working in teams, communicating effectively with one another and supporting each other. This was a powerful way to bring the post-16 community together. The very full evaluation we have now received from BF was extremely useful and confirmed that our students really appreciated the experience and felt valued.”

Bright Futures

During the Bright Futures programme, the students worked in non-friendship teams designed to develop their teamwork and creativity. Activities focused on developing an independent and inter-dependent mind-set. The format is fast-moving and interactive and includes individual and team challenges.

Dixons Allerton Academy describes itself as being here to work with students to create:

  • outstanding teaching and outstanding learning;
  • high aspirations;
  • a voice and the confidence to contribute;
  • a sense of self-respect;
  • the skills and awareness to support them to be healthy, independent and employable;
  • an understanding of their responsibilities as citizens as well as their rights;
  • a recognition of the individual contribution each needs to make to society and the common good.

Dixons Allerton Academy,
Oaks Lane Allerton BD15 7RU
T: 01274 770230 01274 770231
F: 01274 770231

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