‘Free school’ bosses set to take over another Doncaster primary school

The trust set up to run Doncaster’s first ‘free school’ is set to take over a fourth primary school in the borough next year.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 1:42 pm

The XP School Trust will take over the running of Plover Primary School, at Coniston Road, Intake, from April, and links are already being set up between the schools ahead of the transfer.

Bosses at XP have confirmed the arragement plans. The trust has already taken over the running of Green Top Primary in Thorne, Norton Junior School, and Norton Infants School, in addition to its senior school, XP, and XP East, both at Middle Bank, near Doncaster Rovers’ football ground.

The XP trust teaches using what is describes as ‘expedition learning’, where children learn through taking part in high profile projects, usually resulting in a book which the school publishes.

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Kyri Andrews, ten and Lucas Roberts, ten, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-10-12-19-Plover Calendar 2-NMSY

Plover has already started using this sort of system, and launched its first ‘product’ at the end of the Christmas term.

It produced a project-based learning themed calendar.

Year five teacher Shannen Brogan said it was their first project of its kind.

She said: “The children have created a product based on their learning, and our topic has been ‘Our World – what are you going to do about it?’

Lexi-Bele Beardmore, ten, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-10-12-19-Plover Calendar 4-NMSY

“We have been looking at conservation and endangered species, both locally and around the world.

“Children have created art work, narrative, and QR codes that people can scan to access a school blog about the issue. Those have all been used to put together a calendar.

“In terms of international animals it looks at limas and polar bears, which you find at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) here in Doncaster, and money raised from the sale of the calendar will go towards the work being done by the YWP.

“It also looks at great crested newts and New Forest cicada insects, found in the UK. As a project, it has involved 106 pupils from year five and year six. They even launched the calendar at an event in front of their parents featuring a business pitch that they did.

XP Schools Trust is set to take over Plover Primary School. Jamie Portman, XP East Headteacher, Andy Sprakes, Executive Principal and Gywn ap Harri, CEO XP School Trust, pictured. Picture: NDFP XP East MC 1

“We think our children have done a really good job, and a lot of the calendars have already been sold. It has been a really good process for the school to go down.”

XP supported the scheme, with its graphic designer assisting in the project.

XP principal Andy Sprakes visited Plover as part of the project.

He said: “We have given them support, but they have done a really good job with the project.”

Tilly Lister, ten and Charlie Jackson, ten, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-10-12-19-Plover Calendar 3-NMSY

XP say the current plan is that Plover School joins the trust on April 1 2020.

XP School at Middle Bank was rated as ‘outstanding’ in 2017 after its first Ofsted inspection. And the school, which took its first set of public exams this summer, ranked second in the borough under the government’s Attainment 8 measure of performance – one of eight schools achieving positive scores in the Progress 8 measure of pupils’ improvement in the borough.

But the school was criticised earlier in 2019 after it failed to provide a place for a 15-year-old who had been excluded from his previous school, after he was allocated a space at XP by Doncaster Council.