Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions which aren't covered on this page or elsewhere in our transition information, please contact us using the form at the bottom of our Contact page.

What does climbing your mountain mean?

When you join the Dixons McMillan family we will talk a lot about climbing your mountain to university or a real alternative. Your mountain is your personal journey to success. Your mountain climb may have many stops along the way such as your Spanish end of year exam, your English speaking GCSE assessment or achieving a qualification in Japanese in electives. Climbing a mountain also comes with challenges. We will do whatever it takes to ensure you are supported along your journey. You may also climb a real mountain on residential during your time at DMA.

What is an advisor?

An advisor is similar to a form tutor. Your advisor will support you to climb your mountain to success. They will lead literacy sessions with you, sit with you at family dining, see you every morning in line-up, check your planner, communicate with your parents and carers about your progress and wellbeing and be a source of encouragement and advice during your time at DMA. If you have any questions about the academy, your advisor can often answer them and help you to be a bit better tomorrow than you are today.

What is DEAR?

DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. DEAR is one of our three main literacy strategies. DEAR involves ensuring you are always carrying a DEAR book which can be selected from our iBase library of excellent books. DEAR sessions can involve whole class reading, independent silent reading, peer reading, book presentations and comprehension activities. Reading and literacy is enjoyable and essential to being successful in exams, gaining employment and leading healthier, happier lives.

What is family dining? What if I don’t like the food?

Family dining is one of our distinctive features at Dixons McMillan. We sit together and eat with other members of our advisory and staff. It forms an integral part of our 100% culture and allows us the opportunity to build healthy relationships. It also enables us to try new foods and broaden our horizons. Everyone takes part in family dining. Family dining meals vary each day and we listen to scholar voice to ensure the menu is enjoyed by all. Scholar’s always have options of salad, fruit and desserts to fill them up.

What is collective learning?

Each morning the DMA day starts with collective learning. This is a lecture-style learning session with the rest of your year group. You will get updates on your year group’s behaviour and attendance, spend some time revising and quizzing in different subjects and take part in Times Table Rockstars.

What is an elective?

Each week, scholars have an opportunity to learn new skills in a subject or area that is outside of their ‘usual’ curriculum. Examples of electives on offer in the past have been coding, Japanese, Gender Action Group, Eco Award, Portugese, Glass Workshop and Sports Leadership. You will get an opportunity at the start of the year to find out what electives are on offer and express your preference.

How do you celebrate hard work at DMA?

At Dixons McMillan we value hard work and demonstrating a growth mindset so celebrating scholars who work hard is a key part of life at DMA. Each lesson, scholars can earn positive comments in planners for their efforts in lesson. Each week, scholars can receive appreciations from teachers and their peers for striving to work towards our values of excellence, positivity and respect. Each cycle, scholars who demonstrate excellent attendance and behaviour have the opportunity to go on reward events organised by their head of year. Previous rewards events have included ice skating, lazer quest, cinema trip and live gaming competitions. Reward certificates, positive calls home and celebratory text messages are also embedded in our culture of celebration. So, if you work hard and try to do the right thing you will receive a lot of praise!

What homework will I be set?

All scholars in the Academy are given homework in the EBacc subjects every week (i.e. English, mathematics, science, humanities and MFL). Occasionally scholars may also receive homework in Art, ICT and Technology which will be handed in to the teacher in the lesson it has been set by. Year 7 scholars are expected to spend around 45mins on each piece of homework set. More information about homework can be found on page 11 of the family handbook.

Why do we have silent corridors?

Silent corridors are vital in supporting other scholars who are learning in the academy. We have some open classrooms and some small corridors and stairwells. Therefore, scholars walk on the left in single file and in silence to ensure transitions are as quick as they can be and no learning time is lost.

What shoes can I wear?

Scholars can wear black, leather look shoes that are either slip-on or have laces. Ballet pump style shoes are not allowed. The full academy uniform policy can be found in the family handbook. If you are unsure whether the shoes you want to purchase are in line with the academy uniform policy please get in touch with a picture.

Can I have henna or lines in my hair/eyebrows?

In consultation with our new Y10 Prefects as our new scholar leadership team, we have amended our uniform policy to allow henna as this is a significant cultural custom for many of our scholars. Scholars will therefore be allowed to wear henna as part of Eid celebrations; for future permission to wear henna at other points in the year, a note in your child’s planner written by families will need to be seen and agreed by the relevant Head of Year beforehand. Lines in hair or eyebrows are not allowed at the academy.

Can I wear earrings and makeup?

Earrings and makeup is not allowed at the academy.

What trainers do I need for PE?

Scholars can wear any supportive sports trainers for PE.

What does it mean to be a ‘no touching’ academy?

To support our academy learning habits we operate a ‘no touching’ policy. We do not expect scholars to touch each other whilst in the academy.

What are learning habits? What is a correction?

Please refer to the Family Handbook for detailed information regarding learning habits and corrections.

What calculator do I need for maths?

You will need a scientific calculator for maths and specifically you need the Casio fx-83GT. Either the old or new model is fine. If you are unable to get this calculator, they will be on sale from the academy and you can buy them at the start of the academic year.

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