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Dixons Academies Trust

Civic responsibility

Posted 24th April 2024

At Dixons, we manage the aspects of our mission that sit within our school gates extremely well, but beyond the school gates, we are doing more to support our students and families. Whether it is the tireless work of our designated safeguarding leads, or the innovation in supporting families we have seen during and since the pandemic, we go above and beyond. We set the standard. We raise the bar.

To achieve our mission and break down some of the barriers that exist for our students beyond the classroom, placing the voices of our students and their families front and centre is crucial. We believe civic responsibility is an important part of the work we do to challenge educational and social disadvantage in the North.

We know that we can’t achieve our mission alone, and we want to actively work with others to succeed in challenging educational and social disadvantage in the North. That’s what we mean by civic responsibility at Dixons: achieving our mission by reaching out and working with others to break down barriers for our students, based first and foremost on the powerful voices of the students themselves.

Our civic responsibility work begins with this process, which we work on alongside national community organising charity Citizens UK. But it also includes how we interact with the local and national public sector, in order to improve public services for our families. And it includes the excellent family support work we do in all our academies.

Citizens UK builds alliances in cities around the country to win positive changes for local people. It uses a toolkit of techniques called community organising, based originally on the work of American civic activist Saul Alinsky. Our academies are affiliated to the local branches of Citizens UK in Leeds, Bradford, and Liverpool.

Every year, we follow the community organising cycle of listening – research – action. This academic year, for example, in Bradford we have run a listening campaign engaging 10,000 students across the city, which settled on the issues of cost of living, mental health, and antiracism as priorities for our young people. We have held meetings with the local NHS, the council, the West Yorkshire Mayor, MPs, the Bishop, Morrisons and many more. These have all been led by students and they’ve achieved great results.

The priorities and advocacy of the students has also given us the opportunity to work across public services with like-minded professionals to improve outcomes for families.

Visit our Dixons OpenSource website to find out more and see what else we have to offer: www.dixonsos.com