Dear Parent/Guardian

Just a quick note to offer a warm welcome back to you and our pupils after what I hope has been a restful and safe half term holiday.

We are looking forward to seeing all of our students again and moving forward with our expeditions. We are particularly excited that pupils will begin their fieldwork this week and will work with a renowned North East geologist exploring the geology of our coastline at Whitburn and carrying out an enquiry into the pit and pit village that were located on the cliff tops.

I am pleased to say that work on site has continued with a new external fire door in Crew Dobson’s rooms and installation of manual window opening systems to give us more control over ventilation in the building. There will be further work externally and I am expecting a bike shed for students and work to begin on additional temporary car parking and seeding of the grassed area on the other side of the tennis courts. 

COVID mitigations – Important

As parents will be aware Covid infection in the community continues to be high and we ask for your continued support in helping us to ensure we keep our provision open and safe for pupils, families and staff. We have updated guidance from Public Health Gateshead. We are proposing the following measures to limit the spread of Covid in our school.

  • Limiting the visitors on site to essential only.


  • Please continue to use Lateral Flow Tests to test pupils on Sunday and Wednesday evening and enter results into our Covid testing spreadsheet – this is absolutely essential and we really do appreciate your support in this. 


  • We will be keeping the building well ventilated with classroom windows open during lessons etc – as the weather begins to turn colder this means students should arrive at school with warm clothing and/or coats which they will be permitted to wear in class.


  • Please inform us if you or any family member living at home exhibits Covid symptoms.
    • If there is a confirmed case via PCR in your household, we ask that you organise a PCR test for your son or daughter as a close contact, even if they are not displaying symptoms.
    • If a member of your household tests positive, we will ask you to also conduct daily lateral flow tests on your son or daughter each morning for 10 days as a close contact, and only attend school if they test negative. 

Fieldwork arrangements

As mentioned above, all students will be going on fieldwork this week, more details of which can be found in Mr Said’s post. It is important that they are prepared for the weather as they will be outdoors for most of the day. The forecast at the moment is for light showers on Wednesday and cold temperatures on both days. Students will arrive back at school at around 4.15pm on the day that they are out on fieldwork.


Lunch charges for the first term have been added to parent pay and will updated on an ongoing basis from this point. Please login to your account to check the balance and make a payment using the login details provided in the letter that was sent home with your son or daughter last term.

G28 Weekly update – w/c 11th October 2021

Dear Parent/Guardian

I hope you are well. Welcome to our weekly update for the week commencing 11th October.

Last week was a very busy week for us with our first Local Governance committee meeting, roll out of iPads for students, our virtual open evening for new and prospective parents and students and topped off by hosting a Trust executive and Heads meeting on Friday ! Our students have stepped up to the mark on all of these occasions and I thought they were particularly brilliant in our live virtual open evening transmission.

This week is our last week of term before the half term holiday where we will all have a much deserved two week break – hard to believe how quickly the time seems to have gone! Students will be continuing with their expedition work – from the ground up, and also their maths expedition looking at mathematics and numbers involved in food waste. We will also be continuing to use our iPads in lessons and will begin to set extended study tasks for students. We hope to have the issues around the appstore resolved at the start of this week. Apologies for the delay around this.


Students will continue to discuss their Habits of Work and Learning in academic crew this week and will make pledges as we focus on how we can be the best versions of ourselves. We are really proud of how honest and reflective our students have been during this process.

Covid testing

Please continue to give your child a lateral flow test on Sunday and Wednesday evenings and please ensure you enter the result into our online form. This is really important and not only helps to keep our community safe and our school open it also avoids wasting important time on Monday and Thursday mornings in crew when we have to chase up testing. We really appreciate your support in this.


We will begin adding charges to lunches taken to parent pay this week including back dating ones from previous weeks. It is worth noting that you can add credit to parent pay in advance, you do not need to wait until charges are added. If you are having any issues setting up your account please contact your daughter or son’s crew leader.

Early close this Friday

Don’t forget that we will be closing early this Friday at 1.30pm to allow us time to “degunge” and set up for the next half term. Please make arrangements to pick up your children at the school gate for 1.30pm this Friday.

After school clubs

We now have Monday – Mixed Fitness, Tuesday – French, Wednesday – Extended Study, Thursday – Minecraft & Football/Multi-sport. This week we will be starting a book club with Miss Tatters on Wednesday lunchtimes. Ms Tatters was on her way this weekend to collect the first reading club books from Waterstones in town. 

Random acts of Kindness

Finally we would like to appreciate a few students in particular: Isla, who has left appreciation cards for staff with delicious cupcakes she baked herself; Ethan who baked cookies for other students on his own birthday and Daniel also who made delicious chocolate brownies for the first lunchtime book club. We are all appreciative but have also gained weight!

Thank you for your continued support through this half term and we hope everyone has a good holiday. We are looking forward to the next half term where we will be focussing on our academic work and beginning to add work to our “beautiful” work portfolios. We are also hoping to organise a mini student-led conference before Christmas which will be an opportunity for you to see some of the work your children have been doing – more on this later.

As usual if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your children’s crew leader in the first instance.

Best wishes

Mark Lovatt


G28 Weekly update – w/c 4th October 2021

Dear parents/guardians

Welcome to our parental update for the week commencing 4th October – we have another busy but exciting week ahead of us.

Open evening – Thursday 7th October at 6pm

This week, students have been continuing with their expeditions and also preparing for our information evening on Thursday 7th October. This will be an opportunity for students to tell prospective students and parents about their school. The event will be streamed on Youtube, you are very welcome to attend by clicking on the link that will be shared on our website next week. Every student has been involved in the production of the open evening. This has been students’ first ‘project’ and we are delighted with how they have been drafting, seeking feedback and redrafting their ideas in pursuit of beautiful work in order to make the evening as successful as possible.

Covid Testing

Thank you to all parents for continuing to test your children for Covid and for completing our online document to let us know the result. This has helped us to keep our community safe and our school open. We have issued extra Covid test kits so please continue to do this every Sunday and Wednesday evening.


Vaccinations for both flu and Covid (where eligible) will take place on Tuesday 5th October for all students that have returned consent forms. We have NHS nurses on site who will administer the vaccinations.


You have been given details of how to set up your parentpay account in a letter which was sent home with your son or daughter this last week.

iPads in school

iPads have now been delivered. We will be distributing to students next we and will share instructions on how to set the iPads up at home. A reminder that once they have been issued, students will need to bring them to school charged every day.

HoWLs Assessment

Teachers have made an initial assessment of student Habits of Work and Learning (HOWLs) in their subject areas and we will begin to discuss with students over the next couple of weeks as part of our academic crew sessions on Thursday morning. This an initial assessment and we are interested to see how these align with students own perceptions of how they are learning and the habits that they are forming. These will form the basis of a discussion between crew leader and student about strengths and area for improvement.

External work to school site

Many of you will have noticed our beautiful new XP Gateshead signs which have appeared at our school gates. There is also currently scaffolding at the main entrance and this is to allow painting of the external wall in our school colours. There is extensive work planned for over the half-term break in October which includes levelling and reseeding the grassed area next to the Tennis court. This will mean we can use this area for sports etc in the Summer term.

Early finish on Friday 15th October

This is an early notice that on Friday 15th October we will be finishing at 1.30pm for the October half term to allow staff to “de-gunge” and set up ready for students returning after the holiday. There will not be any provision for students to stay after this time so all students need to be collected or to have left the school at 1.30pm.

Degunge is an important protocol at XP Gateshead, and is linked to the principle at Outward Bound of ‘leave no trace’. This stewardship protocol helps to ensure the efficient and effective use of resources/running of the school.

Local Governance committee

The first meeting of our local governance committee will take place on Tuesday 5th October. This will be our first meeting since the school opened and I look forward to sharing our progress with governors. Governors will be supporting us in meeting our Key Performance indicators and will carry our a number of visits each term. We have already been visited by Claira Salter (Head teacher at Green top school in Doncaster and one of our governors) and by Andrea mead, the chair of our LGC. Both were incredibly impressed and will feed back on Praises, notices, and wonders in regard to their visit at the meeting.

XP Trust Heads visit our school

This week we will host head teachers from all seven XP Trust schools who will visit us on Friday 8th October. We cannot wait to show them around.

Our students as always remain a credit to you and to XP Gateshead. A visitor last week remarked that she had never come across Year 7 students who could talk so confidently and proudly about their new school.

Thank you for your ongoing support and trust and as always please get in touch with crew leaders in the first instance with any questions or concerns.

Mark Lovatt

G28 Weekly update – w/c 27th September 2021

Dear Parent/Guardian

From the Ground Up

This week revealed the guiding question to our learning expedition: ‘From the Ground Up”. Students have started to explore their guiding question – ‘What do the communities of North-East England owe to the miners?’

We have established clear Learning Targets in English, Science, History, Geography, and the Arts, which students will need to achieve before they are ready to complete their final product for this expedition which will be a published book of stories, interviews and illustrations associated with local mines and the importance of coal to our region.

Food Glorious Food

Students have also started studies on a learning expedition in Maths called ‘Food Glorious Food’ with the guiding question, ‘How can food bring our community together?’ This week students have been using their mathematical skills to interpret data around food waste in the UK.

Likewise students are enjoying their Spanish and PE sessions and have a set of long-term learning targets that they are now working towards. In Spanish students have started to learn common classroom language, so that Spanish can be the language that is used most in class. In PE students are studying football skills and embarking on a series of health related fitness sessions that will help them to understand the many benefits of exercise for their bodies.

Open evening – 7th October

In other news students are helping to prepare for our Open Evening which will be a virtual event broadcast live on Thursday 7th October at 6pm. This is where prospective students (and Parents) applying for schools from September 2022 will find out more about XP Gateshead. Our first cohort of students are proud of their school and will share their experiences of joining our school and tell others about what it means to join our community at XP Gateshead.

We expect that 2 students from each crew will be nominated to be part of the live stream on the evening, to take questions from prospective parents. More details next week.

School Lunches

We are now able to provide hot meals. These are great value at £2.50 for a main and a desert and the week two menu is included below.

Students clearly enjoyed their first taste of the new school food.

We will publish details of how you sign up to parent pay on our website this week. However, in the meantime if your child would like a meal then they simply need to ask their crew leader each  morning and we will collect payment when our parent pay system is set up.

HoWLs (Habits Of Work and Learning)

Students have begun to reflect on their HOWLs (Work Hard, Get Smart, Be Kind)  – these are our “learning” behaviours and will help students to be successful in their studies. In due course students will self-assess how well they think they are doing in each of these areas and teachers will also be reporting their assessment for each student in these areas.

Covid Testing

Please continue lateral flow tests with your child every Sunday and Wednesday evening and also complete our google spreadsheet to let us know the result of the test. This couldn’t be more important at the moment and is helping to keep our community safe and our school open so I really appreciate your support in this regard. In addition it means that we avoid disruption to our crew sessions on Monday and Thursday mornings, so again we really do need your support in this regard please.

Thank you for your ongoing support in everything we are doing at XP Gateshead.

Mark Lovatt


Hot lunches starting from tomorrow

We are delighted to be able to confirm that students will be able to eat hot lunches from our kitchen starting from tomorrow Thursday 23rd September.

Tomorrow is a week 1 Thursday on the weekly schedule:


Lunch will be priced at £2.50 per day. We are setting up parent-pay and should have the facility for you to make payment early next week – and the charge would include any meals taken this week too.

It is important to note that there will be no charge for families eligible for free school meals. We have an updated list of families from the Local Authority, however if you think you may now be eligible and would like to apply, here is the link to the Local Authority page where you check your eligibility.

Each morning as part of our crew protocol, we will ask students whether they need a hot meal from us, and encourage as many families as possible to take up this offer.

Dietary requirements

Gateshead Local Authority kitchens do not use Halal meat, however there is always a vegetarian option.

Please complete this Google Form if you need to let us know of any special dietary requirements that your son or daughter has, so that the kitchen staff can make sure that we can meet their needs each day.

Information about Gateshead’s offer around dietary needs can be found here. A guide for parents can be found here.


G28 Weekly update w/c 20th Sep 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians

Just a reminder that students will return to school on Tuesday 21st September this week following our teacher day on Monday.

Students continue to settle in well and have been exploring themes from diverse communities and how they support each other, to coal and the geology of the North East. They have also been analysing local maps and discovering how line, tone, form, and shape, can be used in Art. All these ideas are connected and are part of what we call “immersion” before we reveal our first expedition and our guiding question towards the end of this week. 

School lunches

There will be a slight delay to the launch of our new school kitchen so please plan to bring packed lunches for at least the first two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) of this coming week. Our kitchen is ready (and looks great) and we are just waiting for electricians to check and test equipment and to put in a second ring circuit to ensure we have enough supply. This should be completed in the early part of this week and I will update you as soon as possible.


Please continue to  let us know if your son/daughter shows any symptoms for Covid and please also continue to test your son/daughter with the lateral flow tests provided every Sunday and Wednesday evening. Thank you for continuing to enter negative test results in the google sheet as normal – this is really appreciated and helps us to keep our school open and safe.


There has been a delay to the shipping of iPads for two reasons. Firstly due to the nationwide issues with haulage, the Logitech cases were not in stock and we did not want to give the students their iPads without the protection and additional functionality that the cases provide. Secondly, we have been presented with the option to to wait a further week when newer 10.2 versions of the iPads would be in stock, which would give you as parents better value for money.

Given that there was already a delay and it would mean just one week more, we have agreed to wait until Monday 28th September, which is the estimated delivery date for the new improved models of the iPads.

As always thanks for your support



G28 Weekly update w/c13th Sep 2021

I hope you are well and your son/daughter is continuing to enjoy their time at XP Gateshead. From all of our staff crew we just wanted to let you know that the conduct of our students has been absolutely exemplary and we couldn’t be more happy with how they have settled into their new school. Together, we are already building such a strong culture based on our character traits of courage, respect, craftsmanship & quality, integrity and above all compassion.

This week we introduced students to our HoWLs (habits of work and learning) which are: work hard, get smart and be kind, and again we are so pleased at how students have taken ownership of these HoWLs, supporting and challenging each other to be the best versions of themselves.

Just a few updates and reminders for the week ahead.


Professional development days

We will be closed for students on Friday 17th September and Monday 20th September. These staff days are crucial for us to be able to work together across the whole of the XP School Trust on our incredible curriculum and our wider work to ensure success for all students.

We will not be setting work for students during this time however we would encourage students to read their crew reader, Seedfolks. If you have not already done so, it may be useful to look at our calendar to make a not of future staff days too:


School lunches

Good news – we are hoping to be able to deliver hot meals from Tuesday 21st September. We think these will represent good value for money. Details on how to order and pay for meals will be posted next week. In the meantime the 2 week menu below shows the choice of food available each day. Week one will commence Mon 20th (teacher day) so children will start with the Tuesday menu on the 21st September. Week two menu will commence on Monday 27th September.

COVID precautions

We are continuing to be as careful as we can be regarding COVID and staying as safe as possible while in school. We are taking the following precautions:

  • Keeping our building as ventilated as possible by opening windows and doors wherever we can.
  • Surfaces are cleaned with disinfectant everyday by our cleaners and additionally we ask students to wipe surfaces down when they have been in a classroom.
  • Practising good hygiene by encouraging students to wash their hands on a regular basis and providing hand sanitiser in every classroom


In addition we would ask parents to support in keeping our school as Covid free as possible by doing the following:

  • Please inform us if your child develops symptoms or if there is a member of your family who tests positive for Covid. In these situations we will ask if we can carry out daily lateral flow tests with your child.
  • Please test your child twice every week using the lateral flow tests we have provided today. Tests should be carried out on Sunday evening and Wednesday evening and we ask that you enter the result on a Google Form. This form takes no more than a minute to complete. We will test students in school on the following Monday or Thursday morning if we have not received a test result.
  • If your child tests positive then please keep them isolated and obtain a confirmatory PCR test as is the normal arrangement.


We really appreciate the support of all of our parents in helping to keep our school community as safe as possible. 

If you have any questions concerning your child please ask crew leaders and for more general enquiries please contact [email protected]

Thanks for your ongoing support, we are delighted with how your children have started their time with us at XP Gateshead.



G28 Weekly update w/6th Sep 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope your son/daughter has returned from Ullswater full of tales of their outward bound adventures. It was incredible to see them make new friends, begin to form strong bonds with their crew and crew leaders, and rise to the challenges put in front of them. I could not help but be impressed by our new students. They were compassionate, courageous, respectful and showed integrity in equal measure. We could not have had a stronger start to our school year.

Regarding w/c 6th September

We are expecting students in school for an 8.30am start so they must arrive in school by 8.25am at the latest. There will be staff in school and supervising from 8 am.

We will finish formal sessions at 3.15pm however students are able to stay in school until 4.30pm. There will be a suite of activities and extended study after school – more details on this in the coming weeks. From now, students are able to stay until 4.30pm Monday-Thursday, but must either be studying or in an after school activity. Students must leave school by 3.30pm on Friday.

There are more details on our frequently asked questions about kit, but students will need a school bag with the following:

  • A filled water bottle
  • Pencil case including: pens, pencils, ruler, eraser and pencil sharpener
  • Headphones – ideally not expensive ones, for example here

I would also suggest that students bring a healthy snack for break time – no confectionery (sweets), fizzy drinks or energy drinks please as we do not allow these in school.


I have been in touch with the Local Authority catering team and they will be providing meals on our behalf. This will be in the form of a packed lunch option for a couple of weeks and will then transition to hot meals when our kitchen is set up. Gateshead has a system for parents to pay for school meals and we will be in touch with details for this over the course of next week. In the meantime if your child requires a packed lunch they simply need to request one from their crew leader when they register in the morning.

Below are the details I have been provided with regarding the packed lunch offer for the next two weeks.
Covid Testing

We will be carrying out Covid testing in line with government guidance when students return to school on Monday and again on Thursday morning. I am not anticipating this to cause any issues as things went very smoothly last week.

The current guidance is that from that point, you should test your son or daughter twice per week (ideally Sundays and Wednesdays) until the end of September. At the end of September the government will review their guidance. This means that the first time you should test your son or daughter at home will be Sunday 12th September. We can provide kits for you to do this.

Site Refurbishment

In other news – most of our furniture has arrived and our classrooms are fully set up although we still need to move some pieces of furniture around. We have our internet connection and brand new TV screens in every room. There will be some ongoing work to the outside of the building and we are still waiting for some orders to be processed and delivered. I am still waiting for confirmation of our iPad delivery although I believe it is scheduled for next week.

We have everything we need to begin teaching and are looking forward to starting our first expedition with our students. As usual if you have any questions about your or daughter please get in touch with your child’s crew leader in the first instance or email general enquiries to [email protected]

Thank you for your ongoing support, the whole staff crew are very much looking forward to seeing our students on Monday morning.

Best wishes

Mark Lovatt


G28 Weekly update w/c 30th Aug 2021

Please read the following letter with further updates about our building and the start of term: