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.

Frank Arrowsmith

We were very saddened to hear that Frank Arrowsmith, a great friend of the school, has passed away. Frank worked with us on our expeditions looking at Doncaster’s mining heritage.

We pass on our condolences to Brenda, Frank’s family and all who were lucky enough to know him.

There have been many tributes to Frank from across the community, we are posting our students words here to honour Frank.

Download (PDF, 314KB)

XP Lost property.

This is the lost property in XP School. It needs to be claimed by Thursday 19th November. please. If you recognise any of it please collect from XP office. The silver key ring has an inscription on it……..one that I can’t repeat on here!


Crew Thunberg Pizza Party!

As a child I was quite the fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This quartet of humanoid turtles, working together to fight evil, always celebrated victory by eating an inordinate volume of pizza. And never have I seen a better way of honouring triumph than the humble pizza party.

Way back before lockdown (if we can remember such a time), back when Crew Thunberg were in Y7, our attendance was so high, that we actually won the whole school attendance league. The result of this was that, as a crew, we were asked to decide on a reward to celebrate.

For months we have umm-ed and ahh-ed about what our reward could be. With another lockdown seemingly on the horizon, a few weeks before October half term, we decided to take the decision to have pizza and watch a film.

Crew Thunberg absolutely loved their Friday afternoon crew: pizza all round, loads of games, and the Simpsons Movie. It was a pizza party that Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello would have been proud of.

Very well deserved, Crew Thunberg! Keep up the excellent work, and let’s hope for some great attendance this year as well…

So, crew Kahlo is back to full strength. We have welcomed another new student to our crew…Alex. He has well and truly fit in with our crew

When speaking to his teachers, it has been lovely to hear such wonderful feedback about Alex and how he has hit the ground running at XP. He has been working really hard and getting smart in his sessions. Here are a few things that his teachers have said about him:

Mrs. Sprakes (Spanish) – Alex shows COURAGE, he’s never done Spanish before but he’s come into Y8 and he’s giving it a real go. Awesome!

Mrs. Ibbotson (Hums) – Alex is doing great in Hums. He is always getting involved and has lots to say and input to the sessions. 

We created a crew display with our name ‘Crew Kahlo’ by adding colour to mindful colouring pages and laminated them. I think it looks great! Every member of crew also wrote a pledge that they feel is important to them to work towards in the run up to Christmas. Some of the pledges were:

  • to concentrate in lessons (Tammy)
  • to be kind (Alex)
  • to use integrity all the time (Max)
  • to remember things (Arthur)
  • to remember to bring my water bottle and equipment (Bryan)
  • to be more organised and to concentrate more (Olivia)
  • to help other people (Kearan)
  • to speak more in class (Billie – Lou)
  • to get my homework in on time (Jessy)
  • to ask more questions in class (Harrison)
  • to be in school on time (Callum)
  • to answer and ask more questions in class (Nida)

We will be checking in on these pledges throughout the term to hold each other to account and make sure we fulfil them.

The crew has also started to analyse their HoWL’s data this week. Looking at the marks they have received for ‘Working Hard; Getting Smart and Being Kind’ for each subject

Next week, we will be making pledges on how to improve our HoWLs as the year progresses.

We will be looking at how we can support each other as a crew to do this by giving kind, specific, and helpful feedback to each other.

We also celebrated a birthday. Happy Birthday, Olivia! Now officially a teenager! (Oh dear. Haha)

Bronze and Silver DofE update

Here’s a quick update on how our Bronze and Silver students are progressing with their DofE award.


Both groups are well on their way to completing the skills section, and will be demonstrating their First Aid skills and knowledge at the end of term to their other year group bubble Crews at a mini Presentation of Learning event (hopefully they’ll not have to use their skills in ‘real life’ anytime soon!)


Students are also about to start work on their volunteering section, where they will be undertaking various school community service activities, such as litter picking.  In addition to this, all Crews have chosen a charity to support this year. There would usually be various fund raising activities planned across the year, but CV19 restrictions mean that this is going to be a bit of a challenge as they can’t do the usual things like bake sales, etc. But we’ll do what we can!

DofE aside, we as a school think it’s very important to support our wider community, so Silver students across both schools will be collecting items for Christmas Food Hampers, to be donated to our local food bank.  They’ll also be designing/sending Christmas cards to local care homes. These activities will be done during Crew’s Mindful Monday sessions.


We are more than aware that many out of school clubs that would usually count towards the physical section have been disrupted.  Students will still be able to submit evidence of what they’ve done so far, and we will support them by providing in-school activities so that everyone is able to complete this section.


We are hopeful that we will be able to run the outdoor expeditions next year, depending on the situation and national restrictions in place at the time.  The DofE have made changes to the qualifying criteria meaning that participants will be able to gain the full award without the need for overnight stays, and hikes will probably start and finish at school.  The Expedition Team are excited to start planning and exploring some local walking routes!

That’s all for now, but if you have any questions about the temporary adjustments to the Bronze and Silver awards please visit the DofE website or contact kapharri@xptrust.org (Outdoor Expeditions Lead) or aparker@xpeast.org (DofE Activities Coordinator)

Thank you.

This week in Crew Mac!

Crew Macmillan have had another cracking week this week! I am constantly blown away by how hard they work, how smart they get, and how kind they are.

Our Mindful Mondays this week focused around our weekends. We spent our crew session catching up, speaking about positives and negatives to our weekend. Most of Archie’s weekends now are taken up by his new puppy, Ralph – and Milo can’t go football training at the minute now we’re back in lockdown! What a funny old year!

Tranquil Tuesdays in Crew Mac saw students get to grips with our new E-Library. We explored the selection of books available, and we’re impressed with the new system! Hopefully this will allow us to expand our vocabulary, and our love of reading – some of crew struggle with this, but it’s something we are working on, together! I can’t wait to settle down to a good book from the library now!!!

In crew on Wednesday, we had the pleasure of Tristan and Loris joining us from Crew Webb! Our Wise Wednesday session focused on paying our respects to mark Remembrance Day. We spoke about the sacrifices made by the heroes of our country in the wars, and we also spoke about the sacrifices our key workers have made during this pandemic. We marked Remembrance Day by creating poppies with messages of remembrance on the back, and sorted these out to make our Crew door reflect the thanks we have for the servicemen and women who gave their lives for our freedom.











Our Thoughful Thursday Y10 community meeting was a great one facilitated by Mr V. We spoke about the characteristics we need to embed to be successful, and the ones that stood out were grit, determination, and being persistent! There are examples of Crew Mac doing this every day, and I’m absolutely sure that if we continue to work as a crew, this grit will definitely pay off in terms of GCSE results next year.

This morning we began to analyse our HoWLs for this term; I’m going to keep this short as it’s a work in progress, and there will be more to come on this next week… but for now, just check out how impressive this snapshot of Crew Mac’s HoWLs is!!!

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to Crew Macmillan this week. I didn’t have the best time on Tuesday and Wednesday and compassion and respect was shown in abundance. It’s unbelievable how lucky I am to be in the position of Crew Leader for such fantastic, kind hearted human beings. I’ll leave you with this gorgeous piece of artwork Courtney has created for our crew wall – she’s absolutely right, we really are crew!


Year 11 Spanish Working Hard

This week Year 11 GCSE worked on their short term memory in a running text protocol. This encourages students to memorise short extracts in Spanish, and reproduce it in written form. Students then read the same text about eco – housing for detail, showing their understanding. Well done Year 11, you are getting smart!

C25: Out here in the fields

Our year 9 students were lucky enough to get out on fieldwork on the final week of term to complete work relating to their ‘Welcome to the machine’ expedition. Over the next seven weeks of the winter term, they will be working on their answer to the guiding question:

‘Do the benefits of industrialisation outweigh the costs?’

For their first STEAM case studies, students have been looking at conservation data, learning about how data can be collected and displayed using multiple representations. They have also been learning about specialisation and ecosystem management.

They visited The Hatfield Moors, our local nature reserve, to examine the extent of the fire damage from earlier this year. Students have been learning about the protected species that can be found at the site, particularly the adder, and how Natural England and the fire service prioritised safeguarding these species during the clear up operation.

While at the site, students conducted a series of sampling techniques, as well as collecting data on the wildlife. Sadly, due to slight delays in being able to visit the site, we weren’t able to spot any adders as they have likely gone into hibernation for the winter, however, students were still able to find other species key to maintaining and supporting the ecosystem at the wetland.

Students also conducted a number of tests on the site, in accordance with their two daily learning targets for the day:

1. I can estimate the population density of a species using random sampling techniques.

Students engaged in data collection of various parts of the site, using quadrats to provide increasingly accurate estimations of species numbers in the areas we sampled. We created a set of axes, used a random number generator to find coordinates to sample, and collected the data from those coordinates.

After collecting data in teams of three, we used all the data collected to calculate the predicted species number, based on scaling up the measurements to accommodate the size of the field. In debrief, due to a large range in answers, we went on to calculate the mean for those estimations, to create a more accurate estimation. We also discussed why using the random number generator was fundamental in keeping our research free from bias.

2. I can investigate the effects of abiotic factors using systematic sampling techniques.

Students then went on to conduct a series of pH tests on the wetlands, again using their quadrats placed along a transect, to link changes in species to abiotic factors of the wetlands. In debrief, we examined the data, looking for patterns relating to the abundance of the plant species and the abiotic factor recorded.

I feel incredibly fortunate that we were able to make it out to the site given the current circumstances, and I really look forward to hear how the work the students have done on this series of case studies will inform their guiding question answers over the coming weeks.

X27 Community meeting

This morning X27, had a really good community meeting focusing on Poverty and what it means to live in Poverty.

As the pictures show, the students discussed quotes about poverty and expressed their viewpoints about what they were reading.

This Community meeting is getting ready or the launch of the Year 7 charity next week.

A great start to the term, well done X27!