May I show our appreciation and gratitude to Miss Robinson, Mrs Smith and students from XP who took part in our third and final ‘fine tuning’ of our Y7 expedition today.
‘Fine tuning’ is an approach that is used by a group of people to critique the Expedition planning process. It has specific protocols which begins with a 10 minute presentation by the Lead facilitator – in this instance, Mrs Poncia (ably assisted by Mr Smith) from XP East.
Mr Campbell (new XP STEM teacher) introduced everyone and explained that ‘fine tuning’ was all about being ‘soft on the people, but hard on the content’ and then facilitated the session which initially explored ‘warm praise’ for what the XP teachers and students liked. The panel then asked enquiring questions, and made suggestions about how we could improve our plans.
Mrs Poncia with the ‘Fine Tuning’ panel
The process encourages the people who are presenting to have a burning question that they would like the panel to consider providing answers to. Ours was ‘When should we introduce the all important guiding question?’ Existing experienced XP staff were able to offer advice based upon what they had learned from previous expeditions. Students then followed and provided us with several superb examples of when its introduction had worked well, and not so well during their time at XP. They then went on to provide us with some further suggestions which gave us many options to consider when returning back to our plans
The fine tuning session helped our XP East team to reassess our overall Expedition calendar, leading to a much better placed introduction of when we will introduce our guiding question. It has also led to establishing a greater sense of clarity with regards to our next steps, and reaffirmed in our minds that we are definitely on the right track.
We are pleased to inform you that XP School Trust has signed up to the Love to Ride September cycling award scheme. In the interests of growing fitter and healthier staff and students we are encouraging each member of our XP community to create an individual online profile (user name and password) and to log their cycling miles – either to school, or recreationally during the summer holiday and throughout September -under the XP School Trust account. Cycling miles can also be logged quickly and easily on an iOS Love to Ride App, and via others such as Strava.
This relies on our staff and students’ courage to push themselves harder, and on their integrity to log cycling miles accurately and truthfully. Miles are turned into points, and bonus points are awarded to participants for encouraging others – a key principle of Crew. In return, we understand that discounts, vouchers and freebies may become available for those who choose to log their cumulative cycling miles. I’ve started off our XP School Trust account with a 42 mile ride from Sheffield to Bakewell and back that I did last week.
For further info please see the Love to Ride website:
XP East’s Teachers and Learning Coaches have been really busy planning our first learning expedition. As you will be aware, we don’t have a traditional Secondary school curriculum of separate lessons. Instead, XP School and XP East have lessons incorporated into Humanities (RE, Geography, History, and English) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Whilst we do have some distinctive lessons for Spanish and PE, other subjects like Art, Drama, Music and Computer Science appear within ‘XBlock’.
Whilst we don’t want to spoil some of the surprises that we have planned for our first expedition, I wanted to explain some of the processes involved.
Last week, the team visited the site of our first immersion which is in a city somewhere in the North of England. This stimulated lots of great ideas for Humanities and STEM. In fact our first expedition will be a blend of both disciplines with aspects adapted from 2 of XP’s existing expeditions, and with new ideas taken from the expertise of staff from XP East. The product from our first expedition will be a published book made from every Y7 student’s work around different aspects of their learning. In addition to this, all students will read extracts of their work in a presentation of learning evening on a date to be confirmed.
The expedition will also have an anchor text (a book which is studied throughout the expedition), and students’ learning will revolve around 3 different in depth case studies. Teachers and Learning Coaches have made contact with several experts who will wither visit us at XP, or we will visit them on mini immersion trips.
Other teachers from XP have been fine-tuning our expedition plans around strict protocols which have been designed to answer any burning questions that we may have, and offer advice and expertise. We have had 2 rounds of this, and a final fine tuning process will take place next week by a panel of Year 9 students from XP.
As you can see, all of this is very exciting and I’d like to thank the staff and students from XP school for their fantastic welcome and support so far.
We had a fantastic day during the recent Y6 induction event at XP school. I was personally very excited to meet everyone as our soon to be Year 7s will be the first ever students of XP East!
The students took part in several activities that revolved around our character traits of courage, respect, craftsmanship and quality, compassion and integrity, getting to know our temporary school at XP via a treasure hunt, and artwork. Products from throughout the day were exhibited in the main area of the school.
Check out some of the photos from the day below, and watch the video that I created for students to watch again when they’re in Y11 in 2022!
Shot with iPhone 7. Edited using the iOS Quik app. Shot by Crew.
Thank you to all parents and carers who attended our presentation of learning evening on the first 2 weeks of our staff induction. This acted as an opportunity to introduce ourselves to students and parents of both XP and XP East, and to showcase our professional learning over recent weeks.
The evening was also used to highlight the importance of such presentation events to both students and parents, as a central aspect of our curriculum includes the notion of ‘authentic audience’. This is where students celebrate and showcase their learning to real life audiences which may involve publicly reading extracts of their written work and exhibiting products of their learning. Parents and carers will be invited to several presentation evenings throughout the school year, as students will communicate their learning via the formality of exhibitions and other events.
We believe that an authentic wider audience encourages students to reflect upon the quality of their work, and to help our schools to forge strong links with the community. Moreover, presentation evenings also act as an opportunity for parents and carers to become involved and informed about their child’s development and progress.
In addition to our first week of induction (click here for the video) the new staff teams embarked on a 2 week expedition Slice which focused on the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Throughout this period, Dr Anna Switzer acted as our ‘teacher’ and we were her students. Learning targets were given to us via a guiding question, and our ‘product’ was to present our findings to parents on the presentation evening via the creation of so called ‘Found Poems’.
Acting with our ‘student hats’ on allowed us to participate within the learning expedition process from the perspective of students, and this led to a much deeper understanding of the protocols involved.
We are really looking forward to our first Y7 presentation of learning in our first school year at XP East. You can find the slides from our presentation below:
Imagine this: you spend your first day of your new job being whisked away to Derbyshire and told that you would be spending the next 3 nights sharing a tent with new members of staff who in some cases had never even met before. Well that was the case for 12 teachers and learning coaches from XP, and XP East.
You can read more about our induction here from the recent presentation evening, but this was our first week on the job and do you know what? It affected all of us both professionally and personally. We are Crew!
Watch our video below for a summary of our first ever expedition.
Shot with iPhone 7. Edited using iMovie. Made by Crew.
Just a reminder that transition day for all new students is next Tuesday (Tuesday 27th June). All students should arrive to be ready to start at 9am. They should enter through the student entrance accessible through Rovers Car Park 3. On arrival they should hand in their emergency contact form (if they have not already) and sign in at the sign in desk just inside the student entrance.
If your child has any medical issues or dietary requirements please ensure the school knows about these before the day.
The new portal for ordering student devices through Freedom Tech Ltd is now live and can be accessed on this link. This is a separate link to the XP portal so please make sure you are using the correct login.
Please log in using the following details:
The deadline for placing orders is Sunday 6th August 2017 to ensure delivery early September 2017.
We recently attended a meeting with the Department for Education (DfE) in Sheffield in order for them to assess our ‘readiness to open’ as part of their review of new schools. The DfE panel consisted of 9 officials who represented areas related to main priorities linked to new schools: ‘Outcomes for children and learners’, ‘Quality of Teaching and Learning’, ‘Behaviour and Safety’, ‘Quality of Leadership and Management’, ‘Pupil recruitment and financial viability’, and ‘Site and buildings’.
The following also attended in order to answer various questions from the panel: Gwyn Ap Harri (Chief Executive of the Organisation), Andy Sprakes (Executive Principal) Stephen Bielby (Chair of the XP Trust) and Liam Scully (Chair of Governors for XP East).
I’ll be honest and say that this was a rigorous and testing process, but we were confident that we had everything in place in readiness for opening. The meeting ended with a very positive summary from the presiding DfE official, and explained that we would be ‘RAG-rated’ (red – concern, amber – some progress , green – positive) on the aspects that were being scrutinised and that a report would be sent to us in due course.
The video below shows a brief overview of the events that took place.
UPDATE: We are delighted to announced that we were RAG-rated as Green in every single category! This means that the DfE have no concerns about XP East’s opening for September 2017.