Free school subject to fraud and teacher stabbing rated 'outstanding'

Dixons Kings Academy in Bradford receives glowing Ofsted report after years of making headlines for the wrong reasons

CREDIT: This story was first seen in TES 
Just three years ago its reputation was in tatters, with its founder and principal arrested for fraud and the school having received a “requires improvement” judgement. But today it was revealed that Dixons Kings Academy has made a complete recovery with an across-the-board “outstanding” verdict from Ofsted, TES reports.
The free school in Bradford, formerly known as the Kings Science Academy, was personally endorsed by then prime minister David Cameron in 2012. But it swiftly fell from grace, being reported to the police by the Department for Education (DfE) in 2013 over allegations of fraud.
In 2014 the founder and principal, Sajid Raza – who was on bail after being arrested on suspicion of fraud – was sacked. The school was taken over by the Dixons Academies Trust in January 2015, and the current principal, Neil Miley, was appointed.
But the school hit the headlines again later that year, when a 14-year-old pupil stabbed a supply teacher in the stomach and was arrested for attempted murder. The boy was subsequently sentenced to 11 years, after admitting causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Just a few months ago, the school was in the news once more as its founder and two ex-members of staff were found guilty of defrauding the DfE of tens of thousands of pounds. Sajid Raza was jailed for five years, while Shabana Hussain and Daud Khan were sentenced to six months and 14 months respectively.
Previous inspections have been highly critical of the school, judging it as “requiring improvement”. But the school has made an astonishing turnaround, with an Ofsted inspection carried out at the end of January this year rating it as “outstanding” across the board.
The report, which has not yet been posted on Ofsted’s website, was given to the school on Monday, February 27. It states: “Leaders at all levels are relentless in their pursuit of excellence. They uphold the highest expectations of behaviour and learning. Consequently, the rate of school improvement has been tremendous.”
Improvements made since the last inspection, in 2014, have “been rapid and sustained, following a turbulent period”.
This was due to the “exceptional leadership and tireless drive of the principal, in particular, and other senior leaders that filters down through the whole school community”.
The report states: “All adults have the highest expectations of pupils’ behaviour and learning, which results in exceptional rates of progress and excellent behaviour.”
Mr Miley told TES: “We are very proud of all the staff, students, parents and governors. It has been a rapid and sustained turnaround that could not have been possible without the diligence of the whole team.”
He added: “The Dixons Multi-Academy Trust continues to strive to provide an exceptional level of education to the local community. We are very pleased that the inspectors recognised the teaching methodology we employ, the high expectations of behaviour and the dedication of the staff and students.”
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