Parents’ update – w/c Monday 9th Jan 2023

Dear Parents/Carers

We’ve had a great first week back and our students have quickly got back into ‘work mode’ after their Christmas break. Thank you for the part you played in this – our students were fully equipped, on time and ready to go.

SLC Preparation and focus on HoWLs

A big focus for students this term is acting on the pledges they made after their first information snapshots and getting prepared for their Student-Led Conference. G29 students have spent time in Crew this week looking at what a quality SLC looks like and how they work towards this. Leading a 20 minute SLC is a big challenge and our students will be working to get their portfolios and scripts ready supporting each other in Crew and beyond. Our Year 8 students who have experienced SLCs have already offered their time to support Year 7 students with this work. You will be receiving an SLC invitation email from your child and find out how to book your SLC slot this week.

Immersion for new expeditions

Last week our students were immersed in their new expeditions for this term and were working hard to find out what their new guiding questions are.

In STEAM, G29 students have been reading a text called Station 11, set in a post-apocalyptic world where daily life is dangerous and challenging. Even so, there are still people travelling in caravans performing Shakespeare. They have also been investigating a range of apparently different stimulus materials including Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free school meals during the pandemic, inter-community and intra-community behaviours in primates and access to potable water in low economic status countries.

In HUMAN, G29 students have been exploring the historical British Empire, analysing the poem Salt by Trinidadian poet Anthony Joseph about the call to arms across the Empire in WWI. They have also been taking part in a gallery walk with images from 1914-1918 as well as family artefacts brought in by Mrs Downson from over a hundred years ago.

G28 students have been studying a modern prose, abridged version of Macbeth as an introduction to the plot and characters. They have also been studying how natural hazards can become disasters and had to attempt to develop an area of land prior to a natural hazard to protect as much life and infrastructure as possible. They have also been studying chemical changes, paying particular attention to the characteristics of the products in comparison to the reactants, and observing the reaction closely. Across G28 they have agreed that this is the most difficult they have found it to agree on the connections between the disciplines and how they could cohere to become and guiding question and expedition. Some students are very close in their predictions though!

The immersion activities above are a launch for our new expeditions, which aim to develop curiosity and build background knowledge about the content to be studied during the expeditions.

The big reveals will take place tomorrow; students will learn their guiding questions along with the big picture of their expeditions including the case studies, final products and crew reads which will support the expedition.

This coming week:


Students will continue to collect evidence in sessions around their pledges they made after reflecting upon their snapshots last term. It would be great if you could talk to your child about their pledges and the progress they are making towards these.


As you know, as part of our reading strategy at XPG, we expect all students to read between 20 and 30 minutes every day. We do use some time in Crew at the start of the day for reading but students do need to be reading their AR (Accelerated Reader) book as part of their daily extended study too. Please encourage your child to read on a daily basis: talk to them about their current AR book and how they are progressing with it. Contact Crew Leaders if there are any issues or further support needed.

New ‘Crew Reads’ will be launched over the next two weeks. In the past students have read books that connect to their expeditions such as ‘Show us who you are’ last term in G28 which helped students to consider neurodiversity when thinking about what makes us human, and in G29 students read ‘Seedfolks’ – set in a community garden in Cleveland, Ohio – which showed how people from different walks of life can come together to form a community when they have a common goal or mission – just as the Dulais Miners in Wales and London’s lesbian and gay community did during the 1984 Miners’ Strike.


Our new Crew Reads  will be read and enjoyed by Crew during ‘Tranquil Tuesday’ morning sessions and will likewise support the new expeditions’ themes and build our students’ background knowledge and vocabulary. 

PE sessions

As usual G28 students (Y8) will need a PE kit for Tuesday, G29 students (Y7) will need a PE kit on Wednesday.

Dress code reminder

At XP we do not have a school uniform however we do have a dress code which asks students and staff to dress appropriately and modestly. See the link here for details on dress code from our website.

There is always going to be ambiguity with a dress code rather than a specific uniform,  so we do list items which we do not think it appropriate or recommend that students wear which included:

  • Noticeable make-up, including false eyelashes
  • Valuable, sentimental or impractical jewellery
  • False nails
  • Revealing clothing, i.e. crop tops, transparent leggings

I’ve included these items in particular here as we have had to give a few students reminders of appropriate dress this week.  I am sure that, as parents and carers, you will support us when we say that school clothing should be warm, comfortable and safe. If you have any questions about this please speak to your child’s Crew Leader.

Dates for your diary

Staff Days

A reminder that we have two staff development days this half term; Friday 20th and Monday 23rd January. 

Term Dates 2022/23

See link here for this year’s term dates. 

As usual, thank you for your ongoing support. Please get in touch with your child’s Crew Leader if you have any questions.


Julie Mosley


XP Gateshead