The final product for the Y8 expedition ‘A Place Of Our Own’ has culminated in a ‘Print Run’ where copies of students’ artwork will be exhibited in public buildings across Doncaster: CAST theatre, Civic Centre, Frenchgate shopping centre and Dreambakes.

This process was launched last Wednesday when Doncaster’s Mansion House hosted a group of our Y8s where we officially donated an A0 size print of the building. Check out the video below:

You can read more about the specific details concerning the expedition ‘A Place Of Our Own’ here, but I was immensely proud of the rigour that underpinned every aspect of its work: the anchor text that ran throughout the expedition was John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’, a historical enquiry revolved around studies of the causes and consequences of the 1930s Great Depression as well as the Suffragette movement in Doncaster, creative writing focused on prominent parts of Doncaster, renewable and non-renewable energy including an application for Eco School’s Bronze accreditation were explored in STEM, and the culmination of the artwork took place in X-Block where an expert from Sheffield’s Print Club taught students how to create prints of their work on local buildings.

Students also developed their scientific understanding even further by studying biodiversity and how humans can support healthy ecosystems and how to transfer energy in ecosystems, using food chains and webs, pyramids of number and biomass. Students accompanied their artwork with a first-person poem that embodied their vision of Doncaster and how to make it reflect their own aspirations – based upon Tony Walsh’s poem ‘This is the place’. In addition to this, students applied their knowledge of geometry and architecture in Maths to create blueprints of their own Eco-school, and used a computer aided design app called Room Sketcher to create specific designs.

Students, as always, then presented their work via the Presentation Of Learning to a wider audience of parents on 18th December. What an expedition!! Stay tuned for the curation of student work around school.


The next 73 seconds could change your life.

Its changed mine!

We are visited by teachers and school leaders from across the world. We have received 1000 applications for just 50 student places at XP, and 50 places at XP East for 2019/2012. Our 6th form provision opens in September 2019. We do things differently, we’re changing the world.

Clicked on the link below yet?

We are recruiting.

The litmus test is Friday afternoon!

Getting into classrooms, talking to students and supporting staff is the single most important aspect of my work at XP East, and one of the biggest litmus tests for looking at the quality of what’s going on is always the end of the week – Friday afternoons!

Yet again, this is what I have seen:

Students redrafting work, students responding to teacher feedback, students using rubrics to support their progress, exceptional levels of productivity, excellent student behaviour, staff working their socks off, students working their socks off, small targeted group work, Padlets being used to support student progress… Oh and did I mention students and staff working their socks off?

Remember, if the litmus test is Friday afternoon – this is working, and its working very well!

Hey, dear everyone else in the world – what does Friday afternoon look like where you work?

Like this?

Board of Director’s Meeting Update

I wanted to take an opportunity to highlight the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in our school. The Board of Directors of XP Trust met this morning as part of their role within our Governance structure. All governance at the Trust is focused on active and purposeful engagement of stakeholders to ensure each school is continually proving and improving their practice.

The specific role of the Directors however is to:
– Ensure our clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
– Hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its students
– Oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure its money is well spent
– Ensure the legal and financial responsibilities of XP are carried out.

Our directors are made up of parents and people from a range of professional backgrounds. You can read about the individual Directors here, but to illustrate: we have a prison Governor for HMYOI Moorland as Chair, two Principal Lecturers in Education for Sheffield Hallam University, the CEO for Lincoln City FC, an internal auditor for DMBC, a solicitor, and an experienced Governor of a Primary school from within the Trust.

The Directors all lead committees linked to safeguarding, curriculum, finance, premises (to name just a few) but I think you will agree, the experience and expertise of our Directors are of a very high calibre indeed!

Such meetings are tough because the level of detail required is precise, and the questions that arise from a committee’s findings are challenging. What particularly struck me however was the level of honesty in our discussions. Our work is so important, and the stakes are so high that conversations should not be fudged by not having the courage to speak up, or ask that particularly question to challenge the status quo.

No one in our Governance structures is trying to catch anyone out or embarrass anybody. What lies at the heart of their approach is a rock solid – cast iron authentic commitment to trying to create the best schools in the world.

Consequently, let it be said that we welcome this level of challenge.

Right, there’s work to do!

The Governance at XP website can be accessed here


That’s how I described today’s Remembrance Day service at our school this morning.

The event acted as the ‘final product’ for the expedition ‘Over the top!’ (for parents who are new to XP East, every expedition has a final product that culminates in a Presentation of Learning in front of a wider audience).

In my closing remarks I emphasised that our Y7s have been with us for just 9 weeks.

That’s. 9. Weeks.

The people who witnessed today’s event (including myself) were staggered by what they saw: 45 minutes of 11 and 12 year olds reading extracts of their creative writing, reciting poetry, explaining military links from WW1 to modern day Science and performing scenes related to their work in Drama – in front of 250 people. The transitions and movements between the 20 plus segments during the service were all conducted by students. There was no one hidden behind the curtain whispering ‘NEXT!’ or ‘GIRLS YOU’RE UP’. They pulled it off due to the hours of preparation that went on throughout the week.

The event embodied the work of expeditionary learning – drawing on disciplines from different subjects and linking them together via a guiding question, combined with developing the character of students.

What I saw today was nothing short of exceptional.

Well done Year 7s and what a start to life at XP East!

Day 4: Parents – please read before you watch the video!!

Here is the final video that highlights the daily activities and challenges that students were involved in at Aberdovery – Day 4.

Before watching, please read the following…

As I sat down and opened a nice cold bottle of shandy at home on Friday night, my thoughts quickly drifted to what I had witnessed over the previous 4 days. I was moved beyond belief to see first hand how students and staff overcame the struggles that they faced each day, and how it brought them together in the face of adversity. Whether it was walking for 8 miles with heavy rucksacks, immersing themselves in freezing water, camping overnight, canoeing or climbing mountains, I experienced a togetherness that centred around the concept of Crew.

Parents: please ask your children the question ‘What is Crew?’

I guarantee that you will be amazed at what it is beginning to mean to your son or daughter. Ask them for examples of how students acted as Crew, and give them the opportunity to express how they supported others, and how too they were supported.

In the following video, I stumbled into two Y8 Crews and as per the videos for Days 1, 2 and 3 none of the student interviews were scripted. I simply asked them some questions and recorded them on my iPhone. All students responses are sincere and authentic.

I’d like to thank our highly dedicated and committed staff for helping to facilitate such a memorable experience. Overall however, I think you will agree that what took place in a small coastal village in Wales between August 28th to August 31st 2018 was something very special indeed.



Day 3 – Morning update.

Morning parents, just a quick update.

As you can see from the video below, the environment surrounding the Outward Bound centre in Adberdovey is absolutely beautiful this morning. All is quiet and peaceful, and there have been no issues overnight. Students will have either woken up in their campsites or log cabins, and more activities are planned for today.

Stay tuned.


Day 2 at Outward Bound Aberdovey

Check out Day 2 everyone.

As you can imagine, it’s difficult to try and get 150 students into all of the photos and videos so apologies if your child hasn’t appeared yet. Nothing is planned, it’s simply point and shoot using my iPhone (or fly the DJI Spark drone somewhere).

All students are out on expedition and they are either camping out or staying in log cabins with Crews in areas around Aberdovey and beyond. I’m on call throughout the night and there have been no problems so far.