E26 are creating beautiful work in their art sessions

E26 pupils have been using watercolour paints to create beautiful sunsets and silhouettes inspired by African landscapes.

I am extremely impressed with E26 and their enthusiasm to create their artwork. We have some very talented young people at XP East! Well done!

XP East – General Election 2019

Last week was a monumental, for both our school and our country. General elections come round very rarely, and while our students are not able to vote currently in any national elections, the importance of being educated on why we vote and who we might vote for is still of utmost importance.

Students started engaging with politics the week prior to the election, they were given the following learning target in crew:

DLT: I can explain the importance of voting and engaging in political issues

Students were asked to digitally rank issues from least to most important, and express why they had chosen certain issues over others. The issues were the environment (which was very popular), mental health, affordable housing, employment and crime. My crew paired up with the Y10s, and it was excellent to hear them make links between all these issues and their interconnectedness.

The following crew sessions, crews were given broad overviews of the four main political parties standing in the general election, and their stances on the issues they’d discussed in previous crew sessions. Crews came together to write up questions for party leaders, if they had the opportunity to ask them about one of their policies or pledges. It was fascinating looking at the key similarities and differences on issues like Brexit.

On the Wednesday before polling day, my Y12 politics students held a hustings where students were able to put the questions they’d been working on in crew to my experts! Each party had prepared a short speech that was in response to my guiding question:

How can political parties bring about positive change for our community (XP East)?

They then welcomed questions from the students. There was lots of interest in the NHS, in environmental policies and pledges, and some great questions about Boris, Jeremy and Brexit. It showed how much students had engaged with the work that had been done in crew and I was delighted to see how passionate and thoughtful the debate was between both my sixth-formers and lower school.

The following day, XP East went to the polls. I collected all ballots in crew and we counted them in the politics session. We treated each crew like a constituency, so the first past the post voting system was used – just like the actual general election. Some members of my crew were still struggling to choose a party on the morning of the election, as all the speakers at the hustings had done so well!

The Green Party won a majority of seats (8) with a 38% of the vote, followed by the Labour Party with 3 seats and 25% of the vote, Lib Dems were close behind on 21% but with no seats due to the electoral system, and finally the Conservative Party won 2 seats despite gaining less votes than the Lib Dems, just 16%.

It’s been a really exciting couple of weeks at XP East, and I hope that although the voting is over and the election is through, that we keep revisiting what is going on in Parliament and how we can engage further with politics after learning how important it is to get your voice heard.

E26 and E25 have been learning about warm and cool colours in their X Block art sessions.

They have a really good understanding of this, as you can see from their work!

E24/Year 9 How to build a rollercoaster workshops

Year 9 have been lucky enough to experience another fantastic day of fieldwork, helping them build background knowledge for their STEAM expedition, ‘Slow Down’. In a few weeks time, their learning will culminate in a final product that answers the guiding question:

What does physics and maths have to with saving life?

This Thursday, the year group visited Alton Towers’ education department to learn about how they assess the safety and functionality of their roller coasters. Students were briefed on how they might want to design their own roller coasters using the principles of physics and mathematics.

They also applied their knowledge of algebraic substitution by calculating gravitational potential energy, as well as velocity at each hill of their roller coasters and centripetal acceleration. Students were then given a workbook to fill out as we travelled through the park – they were able to explain why they felt so weightless during the drop on oblivion, and were able to calculate GPE on the coasters across the theme park using the knowledge gained in the workshops. Plus, we all had a lot of fun on the rides!

We will be picking up this new physics and maths content once we get back into school this coming week and applying it across the STEAM sessions.


E24 Explorer and Pioneer

E24 started off their immersion for the expedition ‘Why do we still need Charity?’ Creating contextual studies from the artist: Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. What a great start to beautiful work! Some have been carefully using a craft knife to remove sections: creating contrast. Others have been using pen to block out areas. All students will do both pieces of work.

This is just some of the beautiful work they have produced. Keep up the hard work! Can’t wait to work on the final product with you (we are creating a product that runs alongside Hums).

Community Gardens Taking Shape

Our new staff crew have been today working on their final product for their Learning Expedition Slice. Having completed two case studies looking at social inequity in Doncaster and the wider socioeconomic impact of environmental breakdown, staff crew are now putting together a community garden in our school grounds. This garden will have a legacy in that food grown will be donated to the food bank in Thorne and Moorends which formed part of the fieldwork for our first case study. Staff crew will maintain the gardens, but they will also be a learning resource for their crews too in the next academic year and beyond.

Beautiful work!

A massive appreciation to our experts too:

  • Kate ap Harri
  • Peter Wyatt
  • Alfie L (Year 8 X24)

Decipher the Data Drop

I have been immensely impressed with my crew’s contribution to our school’s community during the week running up to the Easter bank holiday, considering lots of their friends and family are off! Here’s a snapshot of what’s gone on in crew over that period:

Abi brought in a phenomenal model of our solar system in to show us, that links in really nicely with the STEAM expedition, Escape Earth. Her craftsmanship and quality really blew me away, it’s great to see her going above and beyond to set an example of what a 4.0+ (in the excellence category) looks like! As part of our academic crew session and assessment prep for maths, we did a Kahoot competition, where quickfire questions were presented to crew as a race against the clock. They clearly knew their stuff, and I’d like to congratulate Jess for coming first in both rounds! On Thursday, we enjoyed a table tennis tournament with Crew Mandela. It was lovely to get appreciations from members of their crew at the end of the session on how respectful Crew Turing had been throughout.

I was also treated to many a culinary delights from numerous members of my crew, with Torran and Junia’s blueberry pancakes being very memorable.

The final activity we participated in as a crew before breaking up for almost a week off was an individual breakdown of their personal data. We spent a lot of time last week looking at our stats as a crew, but I thought it would be more meaningful if we assessed our progress against our HOWLs data from November to see if there had been gains or losses, and explore why that might be:

I gave them the following criteria for them to colour code their HOWLs, on whether they had gone up/down.

HOWL Progress Colour Codes:

  • – 1.0 or more = red
  • – 0.9 to – 0.5 = orange
  • – 0.4 to – 0.1 = yellow
  • stayed the same = no colour
  • + 0.1 to 0.4 = green
  • + 0.5 to 0.9 = blue
  • + 1.0 or above = purple

These codes match the criteria of how we colour code our spreadsheets and the charts we keep up across the school, to make it meaningful to my crew. We did this as a silent solo activity, some students noticed patterns and were able to decipher why their ‘work hard’ might have gone down ever so slightly, be it, they were contributing less in class, or maybe hadn’t been as diligent with their homework. There was also a lot of positives to take away from their stats too, such as Dylan’s, who had made huge progress in HUMAN after improving his productivity and concentration in session!

Each member of my crew annotated their thoughts on why they had been awarded the HoWLs they had received, while I floated around to discuss their progress individually. I was amazed to hear their thoughts about their learning and character development, and thought that we should seize this opportunity to set some further targets based on our findings.

I’ve left them with the task of over these next three days we have in crew, to set individualised targets which I will publish with next week’s blog post based on their data. Not only were they left with that to think about for extended study, they have also been sent home with these gorgeous easter bunnies that were kindly given to each member of crew by Torran, which he had handmade – what a great way to end the week!

Wow!  Well done E25! 

The STEAM Human Machine Presentations of Learning last week were a huge success and all students should be congratulated for the part they played, which began right back in January at the beginning of the expedition.  We want to take this opportunity to thank Jon Kelly at Sine FM for working with us closely on the Final Product, Emma Parke from Diabetes UK for being an expert in the Final Product process and Mark Green for his microbiology expertise in Case Study 1.

The learning journey our students have been on for the last three months resulted not only in two varied and exciting Presentations of Learning but also in two very polished products.  The Final Product brief was to produce an animation aimed at young people recently diagnosed with either diabetes (7 Explorer) or asthma (7 Pioneer).  Check them out below:

Explorer’s Final Product:

Pioneer’s Final Product:

I am so proud of all that our students have achieved in this expedition and encourage you to ask them more about it; they are a credit to themselves, the school and their families!

E25 Fieldwork next Wednesday 3rd April 2019

As we are starting a new STEAM expedition next week, Y7 students will be on immersion fieldwork on Wednesday 3rd April 2019 (please note the corrected date as the original post incorrectly said Wednesday 4th April)  The arrangements are as follows:

  • All students to arrive at school at the normal time as we will be departing from school at 9:15am after Crew.
  • Students will need to bring a packed lunch and bottle of water (no glass bottles or fizzy drinks or sweets.)
  • Please bring any prescribed medication required, clearly labelled in a plastic bag or envelope with your child’s name and required dosage.
  • Sensible clothing, coat and shoes need to be worn (we will be outside for part of the day)
  • Lunch will not be provided (with the exception of students who are eligible for Free School Meals).
  • Students will return to school at approximately 3pm – although we will post updates on the website and social media.
  • If any parents need to know the destination of our fieldwork, please contact me at jtownson@xpeast.org

We look forward to beginning our new expedition!