HUMAN Superstars!

7 Pioneer are just over half way through their first expedition at XP East. Time is flying by, but I would like to take a moment to pause and appreciate the students in 7 Pioneer who have consistently worked hard throughout their time at XP East in Hums.

These pupils show our Habits of Work and Learning (HOWLs) to an excellent level. They always Work Hard, stay focused, and put their best effort into every piece of work they do. They Get Smart by responding to all critique and feedback given to their work, whether that’s from myself or their peers, so they can improve. They are always a pleasure to have in the classroom, they Be Kind to their peers and staff, and are always respectful and compassionate.

The other students in Pioneer are also close to this superstar status – let’s get the whole class there!

Here’s our Hums superstars: Thomas, Charlotte, Junia, Abi, Jess, Ava, Charlie, Alice, Dylan, Torran, Callum and Cerys, with their drafts and final draft of their First World War Letters. I would like to appreciate them for their fantastic conduct in Hums since being at XP East.  Keep it up!

Letters, Peer Critique and Tea!

This week, 7 Pioneer have been busy drafting and re-drafting their letters from the perspective of soldiers in the trenches of the Great War. Each letter was inspired by a Doncaster soldier who is buried at Hyde Park Cemetery, whose life and death we explored during our fieldwork there.

The pupils have finished draft 2 and gave each other peer critique, making sure they were kind, specific and helpful in their feedback. A particular mention to Dylan S, Ava and Marcus who gave superb feedback that was kind, specific and helpful. Pupils get smart by responding to this feedback and using it to improve their work – it’s great to see the progression between each draft!

Before the final write up, there was one very important job for us to do! Pioneer stained paper with tea, ready for their final draft write up tomorrow. This will create beautiful work and give their letters a more authentic appearance, almost as if they’ve come straight out of the trenches on the Western Front!

Here’s Pioneer in action today:


A Letter from the Trenches: Draft 2

Students in 7Explorer are working hard writing draft two of their letter from the trenches.

After reading teacher critique, listening to Callum read aloud draft one of his letter (which is amazing) and watching clips from Peter Jackson’s moving film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ to inspire us even more, we are purple polishing to make our letters even better!

What is an Eco-School?

Today in STEAM 8 Pioneer have begun to explore what it means to be an Eco School.  We have done some research to find out what we have to do to gain accreditation, focussing particularly on what an Eco School looks, sounds and feels like.

This afternoon we’ll be carrying out an environmental review of our school, to help us evaluate to what extent we meet the criteria to become an Eco School.


Our Rebel Daughters

As E24 continue to explore how we can create a place of our own, 8 Pioneer have been looking at Women’s Suffrage and how it is related to Doncaster.

We have been analysing historical sources, exploring a woman’s place in society during the Victorian Era and examining why some women decided to fight for the right for them to have the vote, just like men!

We were fascinated to learn that Doncaster was actually a very important based for key Suffragettes, such as Lilian Lenton and Violet Key-Jones, due to its location and ease of movement offered by the railways.

This learning target has generated lots of discussion in class, including tackling the key question: “is violence ever justified?”


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!

Taking inspiration from the everyday

In X-Block this week the year 8 classes have taken advantage of the seasonal transition and how this can inspire our art practices.

We did a session on creating a still life composition, firstly by looking at how some professional artists create flat lay photographs using inspiration from the everyday (

The class were given 5 minutes in small groups to select their autumnal artifacts to create an aesthetically pleasing flat lay, and I have got to say, I think that they are christmas card worthy!

The classes were also given some time to work on a still life in lesson, they each selected a leaf and were allowed 5 minutes with a drawing pen to complete a short sketch, followed by a further 10 minutes to do a second draft in pencil. The discussions that arose from working with the two media (pen and pencil) were really interesting, and the focus and attention to detail in what was produced was fantastic, great job year 8!

Here’s an example of how, in just a short space of time, Theone was able to produce some really proportionally accurate and well shaded pieces of work. I can’t wait to move onto using colours next week so we can capture what truly makes autumn so magnificent!


E25 Explorer and Pioneer using ICT in Spanish

This week our E25 students started working on their second expedition in Spanish – my school. Eventually they will be able to express and justify positive and negative opinions about their subjects and teachers, and understand and give information about their school. Here they are using ICT to work independently and to self-assess against the session rubric.

We’ve hit the ground running!

7 Pioneer have made a great start back at school.

They are busy preparing for the Remembrance Day service they will be holding with 7 Explorer on Friday, which all parents are invited to.

They also handed in their first drafts of their letter from the trenches. I look forward to marking them, giving praise and critique, so improvements can be made next week when we continue the drafting process.

A special mention to Aaron for his beautiful work and superb craftsmanship and quality. He had the initiative to stain his paper and add an envelope to make his letter look authentic!