At Dixons McMillan Academy, we have taken the ingredients of successful academies, schools, the independent sector and abroad; no individual element of our practice is revolutionary, but everything we do is implemented with 100% rigour and commitment. Our visitors agree; they have said that it is the way in which ideas have been combined and embedded with rigour and simplicity that has allowed us to make such a strong start.
We don’t believe in off-the-shelf strategies or practices; there is no silver bullet. It is really about being values-driven, having clear vision, focusing relentlessly on outcomes, operating strict routines, doing the simple things well every day, and building strong relationships at all levels. We pride ourselves on being the best that we can be at Dixons McMillan Academy.
We expect students to follow homework and equipment rules, wear uniform with pride and always be ‘on task’, fully engaged and ready to learn.
We pride ourselves on creating a school where teachers can teach and students learn.
We have no doubt that the achievement-oriented culture at McMillan is the main driver of our success. As Peter Drucker says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Of course, no school is better than the quality of its teachers; however, there is only so much that even the best teacher can do with students who have low aspirations and poor learning habits. Conversely, create a truly aspirational culture with extremely high expectations and all teachers can secure exceptional outcomes for all students. What we have learnt from the best schools is the power of a vision-led culture – it is not a means to an end, but an end in itself.
Being wholly committed to our mission is not that intellectually sophisticated, it is just common sense and we, as a team, have the persistence and humility to return to it every day; to sustain our routines and live our values over and over – the humility to commit is critical. We are a 100% academy.
We develop teacher talent through disciplined, deliberate and intelligent practice and coaching. For example, we practise key techniques collectively as a staff twice every week during morning meetings and engineer more tailored practice during one-to-one coaching sessions.