A student’s final years of secondary school and the build up to GCSEs can be a challenging and difficult time in itself; not to mention having to do it after missing 6 months of school and in the middle of a global pandemic. But our students in Year 11 are here. They are showing up. Working hard, getting smart and being kind. I am unbelievably proud of the courage that they showing each day. It is a difficult time for all of us, but one thing that stands out is the sense of Crew in all if our young people and amongst our members of staff. Every day I see students looking out for each other and supporting each both in and out of session, and never has it been more apparent that ‘Courage, Compassion, Respect and Integrity are not just words written on the wall. But something that I see our young people living and breathing. They’ve also managed great Craftsmanship in their work despite the adjustments we’ve have had to make.


Whilst lessons are working almost as normal for now, we are introducing a number of additional layers of support for Years 10 and 11 which I’d like to share with you all.



D6 is our voluntary Saturday School planned and led by our XP alumni. Students in Year 11 at XP are welcome to join us each Saturday at the XP East site to access this wonderful provision where they can tailored and personalised study support from experts who have been through the process themselves and who are now continuing their studies at A level. Our first two sessions have been a tremendous success and have had lively and supportive atmosphere, and despite being an amazing start, its can only get better. Out Student Coaches will be working with Dr Pountney from Sheffield Hallam University to develop their mentoring and coaching skills to make this provision even more successful. Whilst D6 is currently only open to Y11, in the new Year we are looking to extend this offer to Y10 in both XP and XP East. Further details can be found on an earlier blog post here.


The GROW Project 

Building on the success of the pilot programme in the summer term, I am delighted to share that the GROW project facilitated and delivered by Sheffield Hallam University has begun this week. The GROW project sees 30 students in Year 10 and 11 access personalised 1:1 mentoring from accredited Post-graduate mentors for up to two hours per week for 7 weeks. The purpose of the GROW project to provide our young people with personalised support in dealing with the consequences of lockdown, helping to manage academic study and begin thinking about careers and next steps after XP. The pilot was a great success and received national attention in the media and I look forward to seeing how our students respond.


Learning Lab

Our teachers in Y11 are now running our Learning Lab sessions which are additional study and intervention sessions in each subject which take place both in school time and after school where students are given additional targeted support to help them to get exam ready.


Coffee with Cocliffe

One of our most important additional layers of support is ‘Coffee with Cocliffe’  where the wonderful Miss Cocliffe spends 1:1 time with any student who needs support with their health and wellbeing. Students can ask to meet Miss Cocliffe and she’ll make time to check in on them and help to develop strategies for managing emotions and relationships over the course of the year. Miss Cocliffe has already had an incredibly positive effect on a number of our students and I can’t thank her enough for the work that she does for us all.



All this, on top of our usual sessions and interventions, and of course our most powerful support mechanism; Crew.

D6 begins this Saturday for Year 11


D6 is our voluntary sixth day of school which will take place each Saturday during term time. D6 is led by ex-students of XP who are returning to provide our current students with peer to peer academic study support. There will be additional support from our school learning coaches and members of the Leadership Team. Existing students will be able to come into school on a voluntary basis on a Saturday morning from 10.00-12.00 each week to access this additional support.

The long-term plan is to open this up to students in all year groups, but in light of the recently announced lockdown, we are currently only extending this invitation to students in Year 11 as an additional layer off ‘catch-up’ support in response to the previous lockdown. Whilst we understand that there may be some concerns around coming into school on a weekend in the current lockdown, we feel it is justified in light of ensuring our students are able to access the education and additional support they deserve. Therefore, all Year 11 students are welcome at XP from this Saturday 7th November. Sessions will usually begin at 10.00 until 12.00 for the time being.

Appropriate risk assessments and protocols around safe and hygienic working have been prepared, and we will ensure that rooms used in the school have been sanitised before and after use. Refreshments will also be provided.

We hope students in Year 11 can join us this Saturday! If there are any questions or concerns please email Mr Voltaire  at mvoltaire@xpschool.org.

Y10 & 11: We Are Crew!

It’s been the most unusual starts to a year that we’ve ever had here at XP as it has been for most school across the country. But during this time of change and uncertainty, there has been one thing if which I am absolutely certain; the commitment and work ethic of students in our phase, Years 10 and 11. Walking around the school during Crew time I see the same thing everyday; our young people sitting in their circle speaking with compassion, maturity and usually with smiling faces. It’s been a big adjustment for some of us returning to school after such a ling break from routine. Some of us have struggled to slip straight back into the daily routine which has left some feeling tired, but still I’m delighted to see just how well our students are working. In lessons, I have seen students in years 10 and 11 working with focus, purpose and downright graft! Our ‘Crew Dashboards’ where we log all of the positive things we see are bursting at the seems with positive comments from out teachers and learning coaches which is wonderful to see. Here are a few excerpts:



Admiral have been on fire since they returned to School. It’s a pleasure to be in their sessions.

-Kyra and Alfie: PERFECT translation of a text, wow, well done.

-Max W: Max worked really well in Citizenship an History, completing work both in a group, shoulder buddies and independently. Well done Max.

-Jayden, JD, Ricki, Max, Jaggy: Brilliant team effort on their work around ACC plot. Worked together well as a team and proved me and RJO wrong!

-Sam and Milo: Students supporting each other in difficult tasks, well done! Wonderful to see!



-Charlotte: Absolutely fantastic work , attitude and student. Keep going.

-Abi: Brilliant attitude to come back with stronger than ever.

-Mills: Know you’re finding it tough but you’re awesome and a role model to others.

-Tyler and Levi: Working incredibly hard in session, with a positive attitude. Grappling with tricky concepts. Really pleased.

-Isaac: Issac was great in art, head down and on task throughout. I’ve been impressed the last few sessions how Issac has joined a smaller group with myself, found images, shared and expressed, constructively his thoughts.

-Liam: Brilliant effort. This is reflected in your grade, well deserved

-Jac, Alex, Jon: Brilliant work in history today. Detailed answers and very involved – absolutely on fire!!!

There are hundreds more!


What has been even more pleasing this term is the way that our young people seem to be looking out for watch other and supporting each other in their own unique way. I’m seeing people take the time to check in with others and see how they are doing, hearing people speaking up and reaching out and feeling great about the way that our young people see us all as in this together. Our community meeting in X24 was a wonderful thing to see today as every single student wrote a personal positive message of support to their peers in X23. It made me unbelievably proud to see the maturity and compassion being shown to other students in the school have a lot on their plate and a lot on their mind. X24 are shaping up to be a fine set of young adults and I look forward to seeing them develop throughout the rest of the year!