At XP we focus on three things:
- Character growth
- Beautiful work
- Academic success
We believe that through a relentless focus on the development of character, students will learn to produce beautiful work of a quality beyond which they ever dreamed possible. As a consequence of this, they go on to achieve academically.
We have a shared language around development of character, and have five traits that we reflect upon constantly:
- Craftsmanship and quality
- Above all… Compassion
We keep our expectations of each other simple. We ask for students and staff to:
- Work Hard
- Get Smart
- Be Kind
These are our habits of work and learning.
Our holidays can be found on our trust website here.
They are aligned to other schools in our trust and are similar to the holiday patterns in Gateshead Local Authority with three roughly 12-week terms.
The two key differences are the two-week break in October, and importantly the staff days during the middle of each half-term.
We have more staff days than most schools to allow us to collaborate across the trust on our curriculum and professional development for our staff.
Think of this as like a tutor group in a more conventional school, however it has as much more fundamental importance at XP. At XP schools, each student is placed into a crew of 12-13 students who will be their school family throughout their time with us.
The tradition of Crew is both a culture and a structure. The term “crew” comes from educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. Hahn’s said “We are crew, not passengers, strengthened by acts of consequential service to others”.
Crew is a place where character, adventure, and a sense of family are developed in a deliberate fashion.
Crew fosters a sense of belonging in students, and is a place where students learn to be the best version of themselves, whilst helping all students achieve in their common mission of being university-bound.
We Are Crew *super-cut* from Relational Schools on Vimeo.
Students at XP Schools learn through cross-curricular learning expeditions. Each expedition is mapped to National Curriculum and GCSE standards.
Expeditions are centred around a guiding question which provokes thought about a range of disciplines. Each expedition starts with an immersion which builds background knowledge. There are then a number of case studies that look at different people, places, periods or concepts. Students work with their teachers and in addition alongside experts in the community to carry out purposeful fieldwork. Expeditions then culminate with students producing purposeful products that have an audience beyond the classroom and impact upon their community.
For example year 7 students studied an expedition called From the Ground Up with the guiding question “What do we owe to the miners?” creating a book which is now one of the best-selling local history books in Doncaster. Click on this link and you can even buy the book.
We ask parents/guardians for complete commitment and support for the values of XP School. These being an emphasis on:
- Developing Character
- Producing Beautiful Work
- Aspiring to Academic Success
At XP Schools, parents’ evenings are replaced with ‘Student-Led Conferences’ in which students discuss their progress with parents and their crew leader. These take place at least twice each year. It is an expectation that all parents/guardians attend ‘Student-Led Conferences’. Students show their portfolio of work and illustrate how they are mastering academic learning targets, and developing their character through the production of beautiful.
In addition, Every learning expedition ends with a public-facing product or presentation. On average we ask for parents to come to around four presentations each year.
We also use the expertise of parents to help with our curriculum delivery, with students working alongside parent experts, or parents volunteering to join important fieldwork.
Our crews are deliberately sized with around 12-13 students per crew. This means that crew leaders are in regular contact with parents to share success, and to support and challenge where needed.
XP Gateshead will be a mainstream school. Students are taught in mixed-ability groups. Students in our existing XP Schools in Doncaster are enjoying academic success from the full range of starting points in Year 7. Likewise we have experienced success with students with SEND needs.
However, our proposal is for a mainstream school and we are not proposing an alternative education or special education provision.
If you have any specific questions about your son or daughter’s educational needs, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Should we be successful in our application to open the school, our initial focus will be to successfully set up XP Gateshead and to ensure this is providing an outstanding experience for young people in Gateshead.
Once we have established XP Gateshead to the same high standards as our schools in Doncaster, we will consider how the school could become a new ‘hub’ for XP in the North-East.
Our expectation would be for this to follow a similar path to our Doncaster hub, with primary schools whose values are aligned to XP’s joining our trust, and additional secondary schools where there is a demonstrable need for this kind of provision.
Our Doncaster schools work in close partnerships with university providers to give students experiences on university campuses throughout their school year. We have a very strong relationship with Sheffield Hallam University in particular. Our focus on character growth, beautiful work and academic success means that XP students will be highly prized when it comes to university places.
No. We place great importance on working with experts, carrying out purposeful fieldwork and development of character through adventurous activities such as Outward Bound and the Duke of Edinburgh Award. These are all integral parts of our curriculum and are free of charge to all parents.
Of course, if parents are able and willing to contribute financially or with their time/expertise we would welcome that, but it is by no means expected.
At the moment, we are in the application phase of the process to open a new school. If in Summer 2020 we are approved to open, then we will begin recruitment for leadership including a Principal, Teaching Staff, Learning Coaches to support in the classroom and Administration
Our advice at the moment would be to subscribe to our website or follow us on Twitter / Facebook to keep updated on our progress.
During 2020 we will be holding further consultation events, so come along and talk to us in person.
Details on how to apply to our existing schools in Doncaster are here.