‘Final word’ of the year + important updates

This morning during our final Community Meeting of the year I spoke to staff and to students about how well our young people have managed this incredibly challenging and unprecedented year. 

I will never forget having to break the news to individual students, parents, staff and whole year groups that they were being sent home because of positive Covid cases. Not once was the news met with a celebration or cheer. Instead, each and every student reacted with sadness and disbelief because they wanted and needed to be with their friends, teachers and crews here in school. 

This sense of belonging is an incredible feature of our schools. As a community we have been through so much together. Every member of staff is so proud of our kids, and as I write this ‘final word’ blog post I am incredibly moved by what we have achieved this year, and we have achieved it via a collective sense of togetherness: students, cleaners, teachers, admin support, executive team members, learning coaches, leadership, parents, cooks… everyone!

As we look to 2021/2022, we will move forward in the spirit of Crew, with the continued hope of getting everyone to the top of the mountain. 

We’ve got our kids’ backs every step of the way!


Important updates not to miss:


A personal update:

From September 2021, I will be joining XP Trust’s Instructional Leadership Team, working on Teaching and Learning across our secondary and primary schools including our new secondary, XP Gateshead, which opens in September. Andy Sprakes, the Co-Founder of XP and former XP Principal, will be the Executive Principal for both XP School and XP East. I will also support Andy Sprakes in my role as School Lead for XP East. 

It was a tough decision to say goodbye to the role of Principal of both schools but some people say that being a teacher and developing teachers is my superpower, and whilst I would never call myself a superhero (!) I have to admit that this is where my heart lies. 

Whilst I am taking on this new role, I would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents that I am not going anywhere! As mentioned, I will still be based at XP East in the role of School Lead, and still heavily involved with XP school but I will be broadening my role across the whole Trust of schools. Apart from being a Centre Midfielder for Barnsley FC, or playing guitar in the Foo Fighters, for me this new role has to be the best job in the world!

I’d like to thank the Executive Leadership Team for allowing me to pursue my passion. Their support for my new role reflects their determination to ensure that we have the best teachers, and the best learning experiences for students in all of our schools. It also exemplifies what XP is about: enabling everyone to become the best versions of themselves. 

See you in September!

Jamie Portman

Another year over!

I’m writing our end of year blog whilst self-isolating, which is not where I was expecting to be!  I know that members of Crew have also been told to self isolate, so it’s a very strange end to Y10 for Crew Finch.  Maybe not as strange as our last day of Y9, though… 

However, we were lucky enough to be at school for our end of term breakfast yesterday, where I did get to take our traditional end of term selfie! I can’t believe next year’s selfie will be our last one together as Crew… We’re already starting to think about what we can do to celebrate end of term next year, with a request to go back to Malham Cove to specifically recreate one of first ever Crew photos:

So, despite it being another year of lockdowns, restrictions, in-school bubbles and online learning, Crew Finch have so much to be proud of:

  • Smashing out over 800 collective miles for our Crew challenge and raising £130 for Firefly Cancer Awareness and Support.
  • Mock Exam results. Or, more accurately – Crew being able to reflect on their mock exam grades and HOWLs data and create some really mature, honest reflections and pledges to take them forward into Y11.  These have been shared with parents via the end of year reports.
  • Working together to identify areas of success and improvement from our Crew data:
  • Recognising already that Y11 is going to be hard, but having the motivation and ambition to achieve great things.
  • Starting to plan post-16 choices, with support from Mrs Burns.  Most have a real clear pathway mapped out of where they want to go and how they’re going to get there.
  • Showing resilience.
  • Welcoming Callie to Crew!
  • Showing compassion at all times when listening to how other Crew members are dealing with the ongoing restrictions.
  • …and so many more little wins that add up to bigger and brighter things!

As much as I’m looking forward to the summer holidays, I’m already excited for getting back together on Wednesday 1st September for 3 days of Crew activities.  Let’s get ready to smash Y11!

Wishing all of Crew and their families a Summer full of sunshine and smiles.

Mrs Parker 🙂


E26 (Year 9): First Week Back 

E26 (Year 9): First Week Back 


As this academic year ends, we’re already looking forward to our first week back!

School starts again on Wednesday 1st September when we will be embarking on a week of Crew.  Please take a look at the outline for the week so that students are fully prepared for each day.  


Students will be in school all day (normal school hours).  They will require their usual equipment (pen, pencil, ruler and device). Sensible footwear is required. School dinners will be provided as usual.


Students will need to be at school for 8am as they will be out of school on crew activities. Students will need a backpack with a packed lunch (provided for students on FSM), a bottle of water, hiking boots and waterproofs.  Please check the kit list for further details of the required clothing.  Please can students come to school in trainers, not their walking boots.  We are expected to be back at school between 4.30pm and 5.00pm.


Students will be out of school today for the morning (normal school hours).  They should wear the same clothes as required for Thursday (please refer to the kit list) and bring their bags and equipment (including their device). Sensible shoes and waterproofs will be needed so please make sure that students bring these, too.

Students will also need a packed lunch and a bottle of water (provided for students on FSM).

*We have been advised that students wear and bring insect repellent for our morning fieldwork.

Please refer to these important docs and ensure you and your child are familiar with them.

Have a wonderful summer break!



We are Crew!

After the exceptionally challenging year that our premises cleaner, Bev, has had in terms of helping to keep us safe through deep cleaning, regular wipe-downs of high contact points in school, and routinely replenishing hand and surface sanitisers, we were only too happy to lend her a hand to move products delivered to a local stockist yesterday.

We appreciate your efforts, Bev, for we are Crew!


Y10/E24 Student has tested positive for Covid

Unfortunately we received news late last night that a student in Y10/E24 has tested positive for Covid.

We have been in touch with the family concerned this morning, and we have contacted the parents of those students who have been identified as close contacts via text message or telephone conversation. They will need to isolate for 10 days, ending on Sunday 25th July at 23:59.

Due to circumstances in school we are not able to provide an online provision today.

From my conversation with Mum this morning, the student in question is absolutely fine.

Students who hold prescribed medication at school will be handed back their medication tomorrow. Students who require medication to be taken at school in the new term 2021/22 will be required to fill in the medication form.

The Google form is required to be filled in and then press send. This then gives staff consent to administer medication and for it to be kept on school premises.

Please ensure Inhalers, Epi-pens and other prescribed medications are sent into school with the child’s name and expiry date clearly visible.

Thank you!

Lost Property at XP East

These are the items we currently have stored in lost property at XP East.

If you spot anything belonging to your child please ask them to collect from reception before the end of school on Friday.

Please note that we still have items waiting to be claimed from our last lost property post here.

Uncollected items will be donated to charity.

Thank you!

I am writing to inform you that as a result of the ongoing situation with COVID and the lack of certainty for schools next term, we are proposing that Tuesday 31 August is an additional Staff Day for 2021.

This is so we can respond to any changes in government guidance after the lessening of restrictions from July 19 and the confirmation that we will move away from ‘Year Bubbles’. We will also need to plan to test all students when they return.

Therefore, so that we can guarantee the safe and smooth return of students, our first day of term for all year groups will be Wednesday 1 September 2021 which is a change from our published calendar.

Thank you for your understanding and support in what is still a challenging and unpredictable time.

Best wishes

Andy Sprakes

NJO Academic Crew in action!

Last Thursday I happened upon Miss Johnson and her Crew using Academic Crew time to consolidate Spanish language learning. As some students had previously studied town places, and others had focused on asking directions around town, Miss Johnson used the time to address misconceptions, e.g. “librería” means “bookshop” and not “library”, and to make literacy links, e.g. “carnicería’ = “butchers” – think “carnivore” and “carnivorous”.

What impressed me the most was the number of students that produced their completed Extended Study task for marking, that was only set last Tuesday and not due in till tomorrow. Bien hecho Señorita Johnson!