‘I learned the hard way the importance of keeping things simple’

Luke Sparkes, one of the free-school movement’s biggest success stories, talks to John Roberts about his meteoric rise to the top of the teaching profession and his commitment to raising the life chances of disadvantaged children

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On a quiet street in a deprived inner-city neighbourhood, a poster is attached to a metal fence, which urges young people to believe they are destined for university.

The children in a playground on the other side are only five years old but their school already wants them to think big. The fence, in Chapeltown, Leeds, belongs to the latest Dixons Trinity school, where executive principal Luke Sparkes is planning to transform the lives of local children.

It is one of a series of positive messages running alongside the outside of the school promoting his vision of a high expectation culture ...

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