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?”

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 (https://www.haarkon.co.uk/portfolio-still-life/):

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!


Both 8 Pioneer and 8 Explorer have an extended writing task for which the deadline is next Thursday 18th October.  The question is How was XP East sustainably designed around the principle of…? – the students complete the title by including their personal area of interest following the visit from XP East’s architect, Leanne Stamp, last week. 

All the resources to support this task, including the assessment rubric, are available on Google Classroom and students have been given time in a number of sessions this week to begin their writing, with peer-critique of their work and class-critique of WAGOLLs to support their development of ideas.

The majority of students will type their final draft, but if they have limited access at home to devices they will be permitted to handwrite their work in their book.

Please do email me if you have any questions.

Mrs Townson

E24 Daily Routine in Spanish

Recently our E24 students have been creating a storyboard to describe their daily routine in Spanish. As well as using reflexive verbs, they have been developing and extending their responses by adding the time and/or room of the house where the actions take place – referring back to their Y7 notes and working both independently and productively. Bravo!

8 Pioneer let the pen do the talking!

8 Pioneer are well into their reading of ‘Of Mice and Men’ and have now been introduced to the characters of George, Lennie, Slim, Curley and Curley’s Wife.

Today we started to map out our ideas about the different characters, in preparation for a more in-depth character analysis.  We did this using a Silent Discussion protocol, where we use the pen rather than our voices to express our ideas.  This protocol allows for everyone’s “voices” to be heard within the group discussion.

A big well done to Callie who backed up her comments with quotes from the book.  Great stuff!

The digital pledges that C24 created during the Stand Up! expedition have been printed, curated and installed! We now have a first instance of beautiful work up on our walls.

Even the CEO of Doncaster Council, Jo Miller, has been tweeting about it.

Jo Miller’s pledge was: In everything I do, I want to ask ‘What do young people think about it? Have you engaged with them? Have you asked them what they think?’


Year 7 student Bob not only assisted with installing the curation, he also offered his insight on where the pledges could go. After discussing one pledge in particular, he said it should go in the centre as it was “like putting a candle in a corner of a darkened room”. Excellent work Bob, I think we have a future artist and curator!

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
— Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

C24 Expert visit from architect, Leanne Stamp

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming Leanne Stamp, the architect who designed our school, to XP East.  It was not the first time Leanne had visited the school, but she expressed her joy at finally seeing the school full of students, staff and furniture and being used just as she had envisaged!

Both 8Pioneer and 8Explorer demonstrated excellent focus during each of her two hour sessions, in which she detailed her role as an architect and explained where it fitted into a wider team; she also shared with our students the design principles behind developing a building from concept to actual use, before setting up a group activity for them to apply these principles to the design of XP East.

This week we have followed up Leanne’s visit by consolidating our notes, using marketplace activities to share our learning from the group work sessions.  8Pioneer students have each chosen an area of the design principles which interests them and 8Explorer will identify their own areas of interest next week.  Each student will use this area of interest as the focus for a piece of extended writing on how XP East was sustainably designed and how we could develop it in the future.

Many thanks to all of our students for their questions, keen interest and for demonstrating the Character Traits during Leanne’s visit, particularly those of Respect and Craftsmanship and Quality.  I really enjoyed the day and I know it was a turning point in the expedition for many of our students, as it really brought the importance of sustainability to the fore.

What does good annotation look like?

Today, 8 Pioneer have been developing their annotating skills!  This is a really useful skill to apply to texts.  In this instance, we’ve used it to take note of language choices and literary devices in a creative piece of writing.  We will use our notes (annotations) to analyse how the author has made deliberate language choices to create a specific effect or to symbolise something.

The students will be applying what they’ve learnt to their own piece of descriptive writing later this week.

Special mentions to Theone and Megan for their exceptional efforts!