‘Final word’ of the year + important updates

This morning during our final Community Meeting of the year I spoke to staff and to students about how well our young people have managed this incredibly challenging and unprecedented year. 

I will never forget having to break the news to individual students, parents, staff and whole year groups that they were being sent home because of positive Covid cases. Not once was the news met with a celebration or cheer. Instead, each and every student reacted with sadness and disbelief because they wanted and needed to be with their friends, teachers and crews here in school. 

This sense of belonging is an incredible feature of our schools. As a community we have been through so much together. Every member of staff is so proud of our kids, and as I write this ‘final word’ blog post I am incredibly moved by what we have achieved this year, and we have achieved it via a collective sense of togetherness: students, cleaners, teachers, admin support, executive team members, learning coaches, leadership, parents, cooks… everyone!

As we look to 2021/2022, we will move forward in the spirit of Crew, with the continued hope of getting everyone to the top of the mountain. 

We’ve got our kids’ backs every step of the way!

Important updates not to miss:


A personal update:

From September 2021, I will be joining XP Trust’s Instructional Leadership Team, working on Teaching and Learning across our secondary and primary schools including our new secondary, XP Gateshead, which opens in September. Andy Sprakes, the Co-Founder of XP and former XP Principal, will be the Executive Principal for both XP School and XP East. I will also support Andy Sprakes in my role as School Lead for XP East. 

It was a tough decision to say goodbye to the role of Principal of both schools but some people say that being a teacher and developing teachers is my superpower, and whilst I would never call myself a superhero (!) I have to admit that this is where my heart lies. 

Whilst I am taking on this new role, I would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents that I am not going anywhere! As mentioned, I will still be based at XP East in the role of School Lead, and still heavily involved with XP school but I will be broadening my role across the whole Trust of schools. Apart from being a Centre Midfielder for Barnsley FC, or playing guitar in the Foo Fighters, for me this new role has to be the best job in the world!

I’d like to thank the Executive Leadership Team for allowing me to pursue my passion. Their support for my new role reflects their determination to ensure that we have the best teachers, and the best learning experiences for students in all of our schools. It also exemplifies what XP is about: enabling everyone to become the best versions of themselves. 

Have a restful Summer. We go again in 6 weeks!

Jamie Portman

Our Y11 (X23) and Post 16 students have worked tremendously hard during their time at XP and have developed into incredible young adults who are confident and full of compassion.  Whatever the outcomes are in August, we know our students have placed themselves in a position to succeed in their next steps in spite of the extreme and unprecedented challenges they have faced over the past eighteen months. This is testament to their character growth and maturity.

In short, they have been a credit to our crew, their families and themselves.

Below is information concerning the A Level Results Day on Tuesday 10 August, and the GCSE Result Day on Thursday 12 August.

A Level/Level 3 Results Day – Tuesday 10 August

The school will be open and A Level/Level 3 results will be available to collect from 9am on Tuesday 10 August for all students and parents.

Results will be issued by Kate apHarri and Andy Sprakes followed by students completing a ‘destinations’ form and handing this into Kathryn Burns before they leave. Any support for next steps, including the university clearing system, will be available for students, if required.

GCSE Results Day – Thursday 12 August

The school will be open and GCSE results will be available to collect from 10am on Thursday 12 August for all students and parents.

Results will be issued by Crew Leaders followed by students completing a ‘destinations’ form and handing this into Kathryn Burns before they leave. 

I am extremely proud of X21, our pioneering students, X23, our Year 11 students, and the students who joined us, from other schools, at the start of Post 16. It has been an extremely challenging time but students and staff have shown great resilience, courage and integrity which has been both humbling and remarkable to see. 

I look forward to seeing you all in August and celebrating success!

My very best wishes

Andy Sprakes

Good news!

A recent positive Covid case in Y8/X26 (as identified on Tuesday 6th July) has come back negative via a confirmed PCR test. This means that those students no longer need to isolate.

However, we will not be reopening the Y8/X26 year bubble until Tuesday 13th July due to managing the significant number of students and staff who are still isolating due to the case identified on the 4th July.

To confirm, all Y8/X26 will be taught online on Monday 12th July but should return to school as normal on Tuesday 13th July.

Thank you for your understanding and ongoing support.

Jamie Portman.

X26 (Year 9): First Week Back

As this academic year ends, we’re already looking forward to our first week back!
School starts again on Wednesday 1st September when we will be embarking on a week of Crew. Please take a look at the outline for the week so that students are fully prepared for each day.

Students will need to be at school for 8am as they will be out of school on crew activities. Students will need a backpack with a packed lunch (provided for students on FSM), a bottle of water, hiking boots and waterproofs. Please check the kit list for further details of the required clothing. Please can students come to school in trainers, not their walking boots. We are expected to be back at school between 4.30pm and 5.00pm.
*Please ensure that students arrive promptly at school as they will be required to have a COVID test before we leave.

Students will be in school all day (normal school hours). They will require their usual equipment (pen, pencil, ruler and device). Sensible footwear is required. School dinners will be provided as usual.

Students will be out of school today for the morning (normal school hours). They should wear the same clothes as required for Wednesday (please refer to the kit list) and bring their bags and equipment (including their device). Sensible shoes and waterproofs will be needed so please make sure that students bring these, too.
Students will also need a packed lunch and a bottle of water (provided for students on FSM).
*We have been advised that students wear and bring insect repellent for our morning fieldwork.

X26 (Year 9): First Week Back

Students today and tomorrow who hold prescribed medication at school will be handed back their medication.  Students who require medication to be taken at school in the new term 2021/22 will be required to fill in the medication form.

The Google form is required to be filled in and then press send.  This then gives staff consent to administer medication and for it to be kept on school premises.

Please ensure Inhalers, Epi-pens and other prescribed medications are sent into school with the child’s name and expiry date clearly visible.

Year 8 X26 in school and working hard!

It was a pleasure to teach Year 8 Spanish again this week when they returned. In spite of everything, they have achieved the no – mean feat of completing every single session planned for this year, and finalised their learning on Barcelona this week. Here they are in class, producing beautiful postcards about a visit to Barcelona in three tenses.


I am writing to inform you that as a result of the ongoing situation with COVID and the lack of certainty for schools next term, we are proposing that Tuesday 31 August is an additional Staff Day for 2021.

This is so we can respond to any changes in government guidance after the lessening of restrictions from July 19 and the confirmation that we will move away from ‘Year Bubbles’. We will also need to plan to test all students when they return.

Therefore, so that we can guarantee the safe and smooth return of students, our first day of term for Year 7, 9, 10, 11 and Post 16 will be Wednesday 1 September 2021 which is a change from our published calendar.

Year 8, who are going on Outward Bound, will attend school on Tuesday 31 August as they will be travelling down to Wales.

Thank you for your understanding and support in what is still a challenging and unpredictable time.

Best wishes

Andy Sprakes


C24 Virtual Work Experience

Thank you so much to https://nybep.org.uk/work-experience   and Opportunities Doncaster for the opportunity to interact with local employers and have an introduction to the world of work and business. At the end of a challenging year I was privileged to listen to mature conversations about careers and am really proud of the thought and effort that went into creating the posters for the NHS. This also gave them a taste of how an interview workshop could work, looking for teamwork and leadership skills, project management and collaboration as employers now use inventive ways to look for transferable skills. Well done C24 let’s hope we can look forward to experiences in the workplace in 2021/22

Thank you to all staff who supported with special thanks to our wonderful learning coaches.


C24 Virtual Work Experience

I am excited to say we are having our first Virtual Work Experience day at XP and XP East tomorrow 8th July. This will be for all our year 10 students at both school including the ones unable to attend at the moment, so a fully inclusive event. We have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to have a full day of employer based presentations and workshops. Students from XP East who are at home will be sent a link and Miss Parker and myself will support them through the day and the students in school will be supported by staff. This is an amazing opportunity to look through the lens of work with some key sectors onboard for the experience. As Careers Lead for both schools, I am super excited to be planning a range of Further Education and Careers opportunities for the next academic year so please watch this space for updates.