Weekly updatte for families – W/C Monday 13th May 2024

Dear Families

Another week of great work at XP Gateshead, even though we only had 4 days in school! 

Misconceptions continue around the work we do at XPG and, at times, there is a lack of understanding about the academic rigour of our work. Developing literacy is a key aspect of activism and empowerment for all learners. Students need to be great readers and communicators to become effective and positive agents for social change. Therefore, we provide lots of opportunities to read and understand difficult text, as well as to infer and interpret complex ideas and meanings in, and through engaging with texts.  All of our students read and write extensively and present their work publicly to a variety of audiences. Literacy unlocks learning and access to all areas of curriculum – reading, writing, speaking and listening.


XPGPHC – Healthy Food for All?

Our inaugural Public Health Conference last Friday hosted by our Year 9 students was entitled ‘Healthy Food for All?’ and was a great example of what our young people are capable of when supported and challenged to engage with rich texts in readiness to present their learning.


The conference was an in-depth look at inequality in health outcomes and life expectancy in Gateshead viewed through the specific lens of food inequality. This is just one aspect of what our Year 9 students have been studying as part of a longitudinal expedition looking at the people’s health since 1250 in the UK. To be ready for the conference students have had to read widely and internalise data to be able to defend propositions when quizzed by delegates. After keynote speeches and expert panel interviews written and presented by our students,  Year 9 then ran marketplace information stalls and important discussions around public health. As you can see from the examples unpacked below the image, students are grappling with big questions which require sophisticated knowledge which comes from their studies and wide reading:

Nutrition and Social Media: The Risks –  As the popularity of social media grows, who is moderating the advice that is shared? How do we know who to trust? In a world where anyone can present themselves as an expert, how can we make safe and healthy choices and where can we find reliable and professional nutritional advice? Explain how to identify reliable sources. Explain the risks of taking nutrition/diet advice from social media and how to keep yourself safe when using social media for guidance on nutrition. 
The Cost of Obesity – Estimates show that the current social annual cost of obesity in the UK at around £58 billion, equivalent to around 3% of the 2020 UK GDP. Use data to describe the scale of the problem, comment on what you think about this based upon what you research and suggest better ways to spend this money and improve the nation’s health
Food Policy: Free School Meals extension? – In the UK, anyone who receives government benefits or has a household income less than £16,190 per year, is entitled to free school meals. However, there are other countries in the world who offer universal free school meals until the age of 16. Should the Free School Meals programme be extended in the UK and what would the impact be on public health? Explain the current FSM guidance and the impacts of free school meals on nutrition and health. Give examples from other countries about possible benefits and summarise what the data you find suggests would have the best impact on public health.


Our students are challenges to present on complex topics, to an audience beyond the classroom and demonstrate presentation skills that will set them apart from their peers in the next stage of their education or training.

A special thanks to all of our experts from the day:

  • Councillor George Kasfikis – Felling Ward
  • Ruth Sharrock – Consultant respiratory physician and lung cancer lead at QE Gateshead.
  • Lesley Ann Watson – Gateshead Food Bank
  • Alice Wiseman – Director of Public Health for Gateshead


This week

Crew Day – Monday 13th May

On Monday, Crew Day takes place for G28, G29 and G30 to take time to reaffirm the importance of Crew building positive relationships through shared experiences and challenges. Students at XPG are ‘Crew not passengers’.

G30 (Year 7) will be carrying out a walk for water at Gateshead Stadium. As part of their studies for their Spring expedition ‘Staying Alive’ students learned about the processes by which water can be purified, and the lengths that many people in the world go to each day to get water to cook, drink and wash. Students will be raising funds to support Toilet Twinning by taking part in a challenge as a crew to collectively carry 5 litres of water as far as is possible around Gateshead athletics track. See website post for further details of how to sponsor your child and kit needed.

G29 (Year8) will be taking part in a carousel of activities including a design and coding challenge using our Lego robotics kits, a plan for raising awareness of their chosen crew charities and some stewardship around the green areas of our school site. See website post for further details and kit needed for the day.

G28 (Year 9) will be carrying out campcraft training in readiness for their DofE practice expedition. At the end of the day on Monday they will also be carrying out a full kit check and bag pack from 3.30pm – 4.30pm. See website post for further details and kit needed for the day.

G29 and G30 Student Led Conferences (SLCs)

SLCs start for our Year 7 and 8 students and their families this week. Students have worked hard to prepare for their conference, preparing to share their recent work, evidence of work around the pledges they have shared and responses to the questions parents and carers have asked to be addressed in the conference. Please can I remind all families that SLCs, like PoLs, are key moments in the development of our students and it is vital that parents, carers and families fully support SLCs. 

PE sessions this week

There are some changes to PE sessions this week due to Crew Day and G28’s DofE practice expedition . Please ensure that your child has their  full PE kit for sessions.

  • G30  students (Y7) have PE on Wednesday this week.
  • G29 students (Y8) have PE on Wednesday this week.
  • G28 students (Y9) have PE on Thursday this week

Extended Study and Clubs

Extended study and after school clubs will not be running over the next two weeks due to G29 and G30 Student led Conferences.

G28 DofE Practice Expedition – Friday 17th May 

Our Y9 students will be carrying out their DofE bronze practice expedition on Friday. This will take place offsite for most of the day with the final part taking place on our school site until 7pm. Students should arrive at school for the normal time, we will travel by Metro to the start of the circular practice hike near Callerton Parkway, then return to school by Metro in the afternoon where students will practise setting up camp and cooking an evening meal. We expect the day to conclude at around 7pm.

This is part of getting them ready for the final assessed expedition which will take place on Friday 5th July – Saturday the 6th July. Please see the recent letter for more details on the practice and final expeditions along with the kit needed. 

Supporting families with DofE kit – XPG Voluntary School Donation

As a school, we fully fund DofE and have allocated a significant budget for start-up costs (tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, etc). We would also like to add to this kit over time and be able to loan hiking boats, waterproof coats and trousers to support families who are not in the position to be able to buy these items for their children. 

We have been approached by several parents over time who have wanted to make voluntary financial contributions to the school to support XP Gateshead and the work we do in learning expeditions and other activities. We have decided to open up an option on Parent Pay ‘XPG Voluntary School Donation’ to allow for any parent/carer to be able to make a contribution if they would like to. At the moment, we will use contributions to build our DofE loan kit so that all students have access to the required kit and this will be in place for future generations of Year 9 students.

Thank you to those families who have offered to support our work and for their generosity.

…and to all families for doing what you can to support your children to produce beautiful work, develop character and see academic success.

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

Thank you as always for your ongoing support.

Julie Mosley