Expeditions pave the way to learning

XP Schools
United Kingdom (Doncaster)

This is what happens when two punks from Doncaster decide to open a school, which becomes a beacon for social equity in education and beautiful work, welcoming visitors from all over the world…

High expectations, expeditions, experts, experience… There are numerous words that have the letters X and P in them. In this case, XP is a remarkable group of schools in northern England whose motto is: ‘Above all, compassion’.

Rather than being taught separate subjects in different classes, XP students complete term-long learning ‘expeditions’ designed around real-world issues and problems.

Although all the main subjects are covered, only Spanish is taught as a separate lesson. Everything else is taught through expeditions or projects, always with some external involvement. They do a whole range of projects which support their local community, and students also support each other to become the best version of themselves.

The school started in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England, where there was the collapse of the mining industry. There was the sense that somehow that history hadn’t been written, so the school kids wrote a book about the history of mining in Doncaster, and more importantly, about the people who worked in it. They’ve just made a 30-minute film to highlight the lack of understanding of what economic refugees have to put up with.

“I think the fact that Sam in Year 7 can come home and engage in discussions about DNA and chemical bonds with my 17-year-old daughter who is doing it at A level and hold his own, really shows what the curriculum is doing for students and the way in which it is taught.” – Ken, parent

XP don’t see this work as a division from academic achievement: all of their kids are going to university, and they are one of few schools to have been judged outstanding by the Ofsted (the UK schools inspections agency) in all 26 categories. They’re getting extraordinary academic results, while also putting education right at the heart of the revival of their community.

Watch ► Discover how they work:

AtlasAction: Learn how to XP!

Read more ► XP Schools was mapped by David Price in his AtlasChart Top 5 – a journey through five  schools doing things differently from Cambodia to Catalonia.

Submitted by

David Price

(09 October 2020)

Project leader

Gwyn ap Harri, CEO

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