Weekly Update for Families – W/C Monday 8th July 2024

Dear Families

We achieved so much last week with Transition Days, Fieldwork, Experts working in school, Educator Led Conferences and our DofE bronze final expedition. Community meetings on Friday were a real joy, both in school with G30, G29 and out in the field with G28. To hear staff and students talk with genuine care for each other, our culture and the school we are building together is unique. As you know we are a small staff at XPG (19 in total including several part time staff) and the quality curriculum and extra-curricular activities that we offer our students to support and challenge them to produce beautiful work, grow in character and see academic success is down to the hard work and commitment of our staff. Crew is as important to staff as it is to students and I feel grateful and privileged to be part of such a great staff crew. Huge thanks go out to all staff this week for their continued care and support of every student at XPG.

G31 Transition Days

We finally got to meet our new cohort of students last week and G31 got to know each other on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week. Transition Days were a huge success and it was great to see new friendships form, confidence grow and smiles on the faces of our new students. G31 enjoyed two full days in school which included crew along with sessions in Spanish, PE, Art, Human, Science and Maths. At the end of each day it was great to circle up for community meetings with all 50 students and hear their appreciations to each other and their answers to the guiding question we had set for transition days ‘What will it take for me to be the best version of myself at XP Gateshead?’

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The work of student leaders across transition days was exceptional from supporting sessions and end of day community circle  to running clubs at break and lunch time. The vast array of student-led social time sessions is a testament to our students and the warm welcome they gave to our new year group – board games, mindful arts, rounders, basketball, dance, book club, choir, music, robotics, arts and crafts, football.

G30 Fieldwork working with Durham University Biosciences Department

On Thursday, G30 enjoyed an amazing day at Durham University to further study aquatic food chains as part of their current expedition, “How does water shape our world?” Our students worked alongside scientists in the lab using microscopes to look at a variety of species and then also identified species  from the nearby pond. One of the many highlights of the day for G30 students was observing a leech give birth, a moment Caleb and others will never forget and one many of us will never be lucky enough to see!

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For Year 7, this was their first visit to a University Campus (with more to come) which was a really important moment for our students. As you know, university-readiness is part of our mission at XP Gateshead, to ensure that our students are on a path to university if that is what they choose for their future. Special thanks to Miss Jamison who organised this fieldwork opportunity for our students.

G29 Crew King and Crew Watson working in the kitchen 

As part of the preparation for their presentation of learning on 17th July, Crew King and Crew Watson worked in the kitchen last  week to prepare dishes from around the world for the event.

Crew King prepared samosas and spring rolls and Crew Watson prepared Lamington’s from Australian and Nigerian meat pies. Mrs Tatters, our expert who supported students was again blown away by the quality of work shown, some of which was of “shop-bought standard”.

This week, more Crews in G29 will take to the kitchen to prepare their dishes for the Celebration of Learning event where our students will be hosting and catering an evening to celebrate their learning through their expedition ‘Is Migration Worth the Risk?’. This celebration of learning will be held at XP Gateshead School on 17th July 2024. More information to come.

G29 Expert – Eira Hegarty

On Friday our G29 students met Eira Hegarty, a final year medical student who has spent time volunteering for Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais. This was a great opportunity for our students to get first-hand information about the scale and level of challenge around what is a very complex and emotive issue of our time. As always, our students were prepared with great questions. The session was really insightful and important to students’ current expedition, and will further help students to determine for themselves ‘Is Migration Worth the Risk?’.

G28 Assessed Duke of Edinburgh Expedition 

On Friday our G28 Pioneers embarked on their final assessed Duke of Edinburgh expedition. As you know, DofE (like our Year 7 Ullswater Outward Bound experience) is an important aspect of our curriculum in challenging students to develop their character and push them beyond their comfort zone and I’m delighted to say that G28 smashed it! 

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Students covered a huge distance of over 20 km across country, whilst being supervised remotely. All students that took part have now successfully completed the assessed expedition section of their award, and all that remains before they can be signed off to be awarded bronze is to complete the de-gunge in school tomorrow morning.

There were many highlights from across the two days. Seeing students support each other and battle through pain and the challenge of such distance with a significant amount of kit on their back reminds us of how important the Duke of Edinburgh scheme is – not just in terms of the accreditation of the bronze award but most importantly in showing students that there is more in them than they know, and that tackling challenges as a Crew is always more successful. We had a beautiful community meeting on Friday evening where the midges were able to listen to wonderful praises for character – our students really do notice each other’s brilliance.

Thank you to all staff who have supported our G28 students to successfully complete their bronze DofE qualification and the time they have invested in this (inside and outside of school hours) – Miss Tatters, Miss Jones, Miss Marshall, Mr Walters, Mr Mead, Mr Said, Mrs Dobson. A special thanks and congratulations to Mr Devitt for his leadership of our first DofE at XP Gateshead.

Educator Led Conferences

Think Student Led Conferences and then think SLCs for adults and that’s an Educator Led Conference (ELC). As you know, at XPG ‘if its good enough for our students, it’s good enough for the adults’. This starts with induction and an outward bound experience for staff looking at the importance of crew and then each year, every member of staff shares their learning to an audience of their peers as part of our professional engagement process. So far we have enjoyed ELCs from Mr Said, Miss Jamison, Mrs Donlan, Mrs Diamond, Mr Mead, Miss Jones, Mrs Ross and we are really looking forward to this week’s ELCs which include our new staff, Miss Simpson and Mr Azam who move towards the end of their induction.

This week

PE sessions this week

Our PE sessions this week are as follows. Please ensure that your child has their full PE kit.

  • G30 students (Y7) have PE on Monday this week
  • G29 students (Y8) 
    • 8-1 have PE on Tuesday this week
    • 8-2 have PE on Wednesday this week
  • G28 students (Y9) have PE on Friday this week 

Crew day – XPG Sports Day, Thursday 11th July

This week we have our final Crew Day of the year. As is always the case, this day will be about building crew but this time, the theme is sport and physical challenge.

Sports Day will involve a range of activities with healthy competition within each cohort between Crews. Students should come dressed in PE kit for the day. A reminder of PE kit can found by clicking here.

As part of their day G28 students will build on their excellence from DofE last week and do one last major physical exertion this year – because there is more in them than they know. As well as their sporting activities in the afternoon, the morning will be spent carrying out a walk for water, sharing the load between their Crew to complete 6km as a Crew

Our partners for this challenge are the Comfrey Project in Gateshead, who have supported us with our migration expedition in Year 8 for the last couple of years – the funds raised through the website timetohelp.org.uk will be passed to the organisation Walk for Water.

For each £2700 raised for the charity, a toilet block can be installed in a rural area of Africa. We realise G28 parents have supported crew charities a lot throughout year 9, please only give what you can. Anything we raise will be helpful in contributing towards installing important sanitation in a place of need.

On average, women and girls in developing countries walk 6 kilometres (approximately 3.5 miles) a day, carrying 20 litres (about 42 pounds/20 kgs) of water. It is common for this journey to take more than 15 hours a week in some areas. We want to build empathy in our students for people who don’t have access to clean water, and help them to understand the hardship that some people face just to be able to drink, clean and cook every day.

We hope you will support by clicking on this link to donate!

G31 Transition – Meet the Crew Leader, Tuesday 9th July 5pm

Our ‘Meet the Crew Leader’ will be hosted in school. This is an important opportunity for families to meet their child’s Crew Leader and begin forming the strong relationship that will be needed to support and challenge your child to become the best version of themselves. This event is for adults from families only, you should not bring your child to this event.

This event will start at 5pm on Tuesday evening and is expected to last for around 45 minutes.

XP Trust Festival of Culture and Arts

Our choir, dancers and rock school students will be travelling down to Doncaster on Friday to be part of the inaugural festival. They will be performing in a line up that includes performers from across all of our schools in the trust. Our students will perform twice throughout the day, once for an audience of our primary school children, and again later in the day for a wider audience of families and our older children from the secondary schools on Doncaster.

This is the first festival of its kind in the trust, and in future years we intend to expand the scale of the festival to include performances that will take place on our school site.

Good luck to our performers this week!

Extended Study and Clubs

Extended study and after school clubs will not be running this week due to staff Educator Led Conferences and Transition event ‘Meet your Crew Leader’. 

Extended study and after school clubs will not be running next week due to Presentations of Learning. 

Dress code

As you know, our dress code asks students and staff to:

Please dress appropriately and modestly.

I ask for your support again around dress code, especially in the warmer weather where a minority of students are not getting it right in terms of modesty and wearing clothes that are revealing.  While we understand that students prefer to wear shorts in the nicer weather of the Summer Term, it is important that these remain modest and not reveal the upper thigh. Shorts for both girls and boys should reach at least mid-thigh without having to be constantly pulled down. Additionally, cropped tops and vest tops that reveal the chest or midriff are not appropriate for school.

Thank you as always for your ongoing support. 

As usual if you have any questions please contact your child’s crew leader in the first instance. 

Julie Mosley