Our OpenSource story
Nationally, when educationalists talk about school culture, they talk about Dixons. We share everything we can as frequently as we can – through opening our doors for visits; through partnering with organisations educating leaders and teachers across the sector and strategically helping to shape those programmes; through board memberships and training for experienced educators and for teachers new to the profession through our Centre for Growth. We speak openly and honestly in articles and blogs, and through the wide-reaching work of the Bradford Research School.
Still, we found that we needed to do more: the questions we were receiving were detailed, meaningful, and covering all areas of academy and trust leadership, and sometimes from colleagues inside our own trust. We wanted to make sure that all our colleagues at Dixons had access to this thinking, to what drove the set-up of our trust, all the way through to why we do things the way we do at Dixons. This helps us as we continue to scale, and we came to the belief, in line with our values, that if we are offering something valuable to our team, we should be sharing it with the whole sector.
Beyond our own walls, over 10% of maintained secondary schools in England sent visitors to just one of our schools within a window of just over a year, and our visits continue to grow in popularity. After starting out on this journey of sharing openly across our trust, we have been persuaded that the content has value for colleagues beyond Dixons. As such, we have moved to a completely opensource structure to extend reach and to do so in an agnostic format – one that anyone can access.
Our team are passionate about the importance of sharing the best of what we know works for our young people, so we came up with a plan. We ambitiously set about codifying all our content into watchable, listenable bites – nothing as onerous as a podcast or as distancing as a blog. Our thinking is about quick, accessible, agile commentary that can be strung together into coherent sequences but also has efficacy alone. Think of it as a playlist or an album… each song (episode) – just a couple of minutes long – stands alone but there is overall coherence.
We have created playlists; each one begins with an episode capturing the high-level thinking and then begins to drill down into increasingly granular detail. We are not proposing a specific methodology – more a way of thinking about moving from theory to practice and offering everything we have, free of cost, along the way. To amplify this idea of plurality, we have looked at multiple iterations of artefacts across all our schools.
Please know that we are not a polished production and are simply offering up our work (with no intention of telling others how to do anything); primarily, we want to share our transferable process rather than the inputs. We appreciate all constructive feedback and look forward to your responses.
Dixons Insight supports you further with implementing culture, with access to virtual live events, executive Q&A and leadership resources.
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