XP Gateshead – new Free School gets the go ahead

In a new wave of Free Schools announced today by the Department for Education, XP Gateshead has been approved and aims to open this September. The new school is part of the XP School Trust, 

XP Gateshead is an exciting and innovative new secondary school for 11-16 year olds. The school will be based on the same model as the strikingly successful XP schools in Doncaster. Initially the school will open with 50 students in Year 7.

Students at XP Gateshead will follow a curriculum that focuses on character development, academic success and the creation of beautiful work that connects them to and improves their community.

The aim is for the school to be based at the former Thomas Hepburn Community Academy site in Gateshead.

Gwyn ap Harri CEO of the XP Schools Trust commented:

“We’re thrilled with this news. We know from the fantastic feedback from the local community in Gateshead earlier this year, that there is strong support for our plans for the school.”

“The school will address a need for secondary places and hopefully use an existing school building that has been mothballed. It’s a win win.”

“We are looking forward to working with families, students, the community and the local authority in the coming months and years, to make XP Gateshead a positive addition to the educational offer in the North East and a beacon for beautiful work and exceptional outcomes.”

More announcements about the school will follow in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your support

Find the template to write a letter of support for our application to the Secretary of State here:


As discussed in our live stream this evening, COVID-related delays mean that we are still waiting for approval.

We have a vacant school building, we have a great model, we have fantastic local community support, we are ready to go.

We will post a link to the recording of the live stream when it has been processed on Youtube.

Thank you again.


Admissions for September 2021

We are now taking details from parents that would like to apply for a Year 7 place for their child in September 2021.

More details can be found on our applications page here: https://xpgateshead.org/admissions-sep-2021/

We are awaiting final confirmation from the DfE about the opening of the school, and the guidance is that we should hear in the Autumn Term of 2020.

We are confident of a good outcome and so we are taking details from parents now so that we are in the best possible position to open in 2021.

Update on our application to open the school

Following our interview with the Department for Education it was hoped we would receive a decision on the success of our bid by the end of June.

We have been in contact with the DfE this week and they have confirmed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their interview process has understandably been delayed. They now hope to be able to inform us of their decision in September.

Our aim would still be to open in September 2021, however that would need to be agreed with the DfE should we be successful in our application.

We know that some parents of children currently in Year 5 were concerned that this would mean a tight deadline for applying for a place for their son or daughter to start with us in 2021 as this usually happens before the end of October.

There is precedent from our opening in Doncaster for a later admissions deadline in the first year of opening.

Whilst of course we cannot confirm anything until XP Gateshead is confirmed by the DfE, we have a strong relationship with the Local Authority.

To reassure parents, if we do get the go ahead to open in September 2021, we will work closely with the Local Authority in Gateshead to make sure that the admissions process is carried out in a fair way, both to applicants to our school and for the other secondary schools in the borough.

Thanks once again for all of your messages of support. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed until September. In the meantime, we remain focussed on the important work of preparing to bring XP’s education to Gateshead for your children.



This video was made by our current Year 8 students in both XP East and XP School in Doncaster. Every word was written by the students.

This film is the culmination of a learning expedition looking at migration which had had the guiding question “Why should we care about migration?”

Students learned about the dust bowl and the Great Depression. They read Of Mice and Men as their anchor text, looked at push and pull theories for migration and linked these to real case studies of migration in India.

Throughout the whole expedition students captured footage of all their experiences working alongside the Doncaster charity, Conversation Club in order to create a documentary for our final product. The aim of our documentary was to raise awareness of the realities of migration and to educate our audience in order to prevent the spread of negative stereotypes and ideas.

This documentary film was premiered at CAST Theatre in Doncaster, where it was screened to parents, guests and the migrants who had so kindly shared their personal journey with our students.