Climbing our Everests in Crew Ali

Last week, Crew Ali focussed on climbing their personal and academic mountains.  Some we had discussed at the beginning of the week, some were more unexpected.  We dealt with our emotions, physical and mental challenges and worked as a Crew to get through the week.

Ruby’s mountain was to “think about what I say before I say it”; being more mindful of her mountain really helped her to begin to achieve her aims.

Lacey said “my mountain was to stop cracking my fingers and I still do it a bit but not all the time”

Leoni chose to “try to use grammar correctly in class” and she feels she has improved in HUMAN this week in her poetry writing as a result of focussing on this mountain.

Charlie’s mountain was to “work hard in every lesson because I really enjoy HUMAN but I want to show my determination in other subjects too”; he’s getting there, but still has a way to go!

Cerys said she wanted to “put my hand up in HUMAN more often” and she is improving here.

Tom’s mountain was to “get the best poem possible in HUMAN”; he’s on his third draft this week and is feeling really positive about it.

Marshall’s mountain was “not to laugh in lessons unless it is appropriate” and his Crew have reported that he has worked really hard on this area.  He appreciated the Crew this morning for keeping him on track.

Well done Crew Ali!  Now to get further up the mountain or tackle the next!

Checking in with Crew Turing

Firstly, I’d like to state a massive thank you to all members of Crew Turing that helped out with our Y6 Open Evening, you were fantastic! I was so impressed to see Sammi’s, Jess’, Callum’s, Dylan’s and Charlotte’s confidence in talking to parents and year 6s about their expedition. They have grown so much in their maturity and character just 6 weeks into school and I really appreciate them taking time out their evenings to help us out!

This week during crew we’ve had three separate focuses, one being stewardship, another being their WW1 expedition, and the final being a personal focus on their life so far.

Whilst at Outward Bound, we came across the protocols of “de-gunge” and “leave no trace”. We spoke this week about how important it is that we respect our environment and how we can adopt these same protocols in school, especially after our busy open evenings. This is why stewardship has been our first focus, we spent half a session clearing up after we had the year 6s visit. We discussed the value we felt in keeping our school tidy, and how it should not be left to other staff to sort it.

Another highlight from our sessions has been the time we spent dedicating to show and tell. Lewis brought in some real ammunition which we passed round and some members of the crew were able to identify. Callum and Alice showed us pictures from their weekend trips to War Museums, which was insightful and really interesting! Finally, Reece brought in his family’s medals and historical documentation, as well as some pictures, which we really enjoyed looking through. I love to see how engrossed we all are in our expeditions, and how we’re taking time at the weekends and evenings to do additional research!

Finally, this week we’re working on a piece of art work in our crew, where the students will create a ‘river of their life’. We discussed pivotal events in their lives, such as starting school, siblings being born, getting pets etc., which they have all been encouraged to add to their rivers. It’s opened up some really amazing discussions about where our crew members have lived (Oman and South Africa!) and what fantastic achievements they have made, be it sporting, academic, with their friendships or families.

Jess’ piece showed just how incredibly creative she is, she added a beautiful drawing of herself kayaking, which she also competes in during the weekends – I loved this little touch that made her river so personal.

I look forward to updating you with our final products!

Accelerated Reader

Crew have started Accelerated Reader now. They have taken their STAR reader test and now Tuesdays in Crew are dedicated to reading and taking the AR quizzes.

Reading is so important for building vocabulary and stretching the imagination – as well as reading in Crew and during school hours, pupils should also be reading for 2 hours at home over the course of a week.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…the man who never reads lives only one.”

George R. R. Martin

What mountain will you climb this week?

When Crew Ali circled up for the first time, it was on the first of four days at Outward Bound in Wales.  Now four weeks into the academic term at XP East, we spent this morning’s Crew answering the question ‘What mountain will you climb this week?’  Our answers were both personal and academic, but what we can be sure of is that the mountain we climbed in Wales was the first of many mountains we will climb as a Crew, supporting one another, holding each other accountable and making sure we reflect on how we got to the top.

Here is another taste of what we got up to in Wales, at the start of our journey together:

Praise for Crew Parkinson!

Today in Crew we had our ‘check-ins’ where the pupils spoke about what they had done at the weekend. It’s lovely to hear what an exciting and relaxing time crew had!

We then reflected on the last week – most importantly, looking at the praise sheet. I was filled with pride to see so many of Crew Parkinson being praised for the wonderful hard work they have done and the compassion they have shown in their lessons and around school.

Here’s some examples of how fantastic the pupils in Crew Parkinson are:

Kristian – “Kristian has been a superstar this week. I am forever catching him being kind, asking if I need little jobs doing, or for extra work in extended study. He tries really hard in maths which is what I like to see. Keep it up Kristian!”

Marcus – “Marcus has shown mature conduct when performing practicals in STEAM”

Dylan – “Dylan was nominated and voted for by his class to be put onto the praise sheet for consistently working hard in HUMs lessons and being kind”

Shanna – “Shanna has been nominated by her peers for her hard work in Drama”

Rosie – “Rosie stepped up to the role of Director for her role play group in X Block Drama, enhancing the flow of the piece and using thought tracking to add depth to the narrative”

Keep it up Crew!



Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!

Miss Hickson and I would like to say a huge thank you to our crew members for such an exciting game of dodgeball this morning during crew!

We spoke about the importance of showing the character trait of integrity during friendly games. Our crew members gave us specific examples of when what integrity looked like, for instance, if you were hit, you had to be honest about it.

Not only was it a lot of fun, it was a great way to start our day and get our 30 minutes of exercise! We can’t wait for the rematch…


An ‘Ernest’ decision…

An update from the newly christened Crew Shackleton!

I am delighted to announce the new name of our crew, as nominated, researched and voted upon by each member of our crew.

There were some brilliant nominations: Crew Hamilton (Lewis Hamilton), Crew Columbus (Christoper Columbus), Crew Spencer (Princess Diana), and Crew Edison (Thomas Edison). Presentations were carefully planned, and confidently delivered to the rest of the crew, but in the end, Crew Shackleton won!

Sir Ernest Shackleton was a courageous and bold adventurer who was famed for his dramatically failed expedition to the Antarctic. His vessel, The Endurance, became stuck in thick ice, and eventually gave way to the immense pressure of the shifting ice packs and sank.

Shackleton, The Boss, was credited for his determination, leadership and positivity in the face of adversity, which enabled him to launch a daring a treacherous rescue mission to save all 22 members of his crew.

There’s more to that story, but anyone from Crew Shackleton can fill you in with the amazing details…

I was delighted for the reasons our crew voted for this individual. As it was the name of our crew given to use during our Outward Bounds expedition, we felt it would be a great opportunity to forever remember the challenges we faced and the mountains we climbed on our first week of school together. And what a week!

Also, his courage, respect and compassion shown before his crew embodies everything we believe here at XP East.

We’ve already spent a little bit of time looking at a famous advert he placed in the newspaper to understand about the type of man he was:

Our new name marks the beginning of what has already been a fantastic start to XP East. We’ve tackled our challenges head on every day from day 1, and long may it continue!

“By endurance, we conquer.”

Great work, Crew Shackleton.

The votes are in…

Update from Crew Turing, formerly known as Crew Haughey (KHA)

This week, our crew voted on the name that we would be adopting for the next 5 years. We had a very large selection of inspirational people’s names (over 50!), for instance: Obama, Henry Ford, Anne frank, Aneurin Bevan, J. K. Rowling, Alan Sugar, JFK, Churchill, George Washington, Steve Jobs, Lincoln, MLK, Mary Shelley, Queen Elizabeth, Bob Marley, Frida Kahlo, Ben Parkinson, Newton, Edison….

Firstly, we did some research at home for our own choice that we were to present to crew in the morning sessions. We each found out key facts, quotes and prepared a piece on how they had embodied the character traits during their lifetimes.

Once we had all presented, we all voted to see who would be our crew name. After one round of voting we ended up with a tie, so we did a second vote of our top two selections, Enid Blyton and Alan Turing, and Alan Turing was chosen in the 2nd round of votes.

Alan Turing was a very gifted mathematician, some even argue that he was a math genius, who studied at Cambridge University where he made some amazing breakthroughs.

We chose Alan Turing because he showed the character traits of courage for telling people he was gay in a time when being gay was illegal. He showed craftsmanship and quality for managing to crack the Nazi’s enigma code using his invention, ‘the Bombe’ (if he didn’t it is predicted that World War 2 would have lasted 2 more years!) as well as building the first machine that is considered to be the first modern computer – Turing’s machine. He showed commitment to working hard and getting smart (the HOWLs), by riding his bike 60 miles just to get to the first day of school!

He also was the father of the modern computer science. Sadly, Turing committed suicide after his employers found out about his homosexuality, he was prescribed a hormone treatment and was sent to prison. He inspired Steve jobs so much he used the icon of the apple laced with cyanide as the Apple logo. He was awarded the Smiths prize and an OBE for cracking the enigma code and decoding the messages the Nazis were sending, but this remained a secret until 50 years after his death.

Alan Turing played a crucial role in winning the Second World War, he was a pioneer of modern computing and mathematics. Despite being a war hero and revolutionary, his life had a tragic ending.

We felt that Turing was not given the dignity and respect for his achievements during his lifetime, and this is why we’d like to acknowledge his greatness by honouring his name as our crew name. We know that at XP East, we will always reward hard work, efforts in getting smart, and kindness and compassion, as well as make stands against all forms of prejudice, such as the homophobia Turing faced, and the way he brought down the Nazis.

We’d like to finish our blog post with a quote from The Imitation Game (a biopic made about Turing’s life):

Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine

We are Crew Turing, and we will continue on our journey through education, doing the things that no one could imagine we are capable of.

Introducing Crew Parkinson…

Crew HHI (as we were known until now) have been busy deciding on our Crew name over the last week.

We started with about 25 suggestions of inspirational people, before narrowing it down to Charles Darwin, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg and Ben Parkinson.

The pupils then researched these 4 people and presented their argument for why we should vote for the person they wanted our Crew to be named after. Well done to all crew members who presented with confidence and clarity.

Then came our confidential vote – the moment of truth!

It was very close, with Parkinson winning by 1 vote.

So, why Ben Parkinson?

Paratrooper Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson is regarded as one of the most injured soldiers to survive the war in Afghanistan. In 2006 the vehicle he was in detonated an anti-tank mine, which caused Ben to have over 40 injuries. He suffered brain damage, which impacted his speech, and needed both legs amputated due to his injuries. It was thought he wouldn’t walk, talk or even survive his injuries but the sheer determination shown by Ben has meant that he has achieved this. Ben has been awarded an MBE and has taken part in a variety of challenges and charity work to raise awareness and gain support for other injured service personnel.

Our Crew have been learning about WW1 in their expedition ‘Over the Top’ and they have explored the qualities and characteristics associated with soldiers.  Courage, determination, defying all odds, loyalty and compassion are all qualities shown by Ben and are characteristics valued by XP East. Therefore, the majority of the Crew felt Ben was the best inspirational person to name our Crew after, as he embodies the characteristics that we value as individuals and as a school.

He really is an inspiration to us all – and also a Donny lad!