Year 9 will be going on fieldwork on 15th October as part of their ‘Welcome to the Machine’ expedition. We’ll be leaving school at 9:30AM and returning at 3:00PM, so this will not affect their drop off or pick up times, however, due to the pandemic, we ask that all students have guardian consent for them to attend.

We’ll be visiting Hatfield Moors, to collect species data and conduct scientific tests on the peatland during the day. We will be maintaining the bubbles, and wearing masks on the coaches to minimize risk of transmission, and we will be outside all day.

As part of the precautions, we ask that you fill in the following google forms, granting permission for students to attend the fieldwork on 15th October:

This outlines that if your child falls ill with covid symptoms on that day, they would need collecting from Hatfield Moors (about 40 minute drive from the school).

If you have any questions about the plans for the day or concerns, don’t hesitate to email me (

To Infinity, and Beyond!

This week, members of Crew Shackleton have truly gone above and beyond – helping staff without being asked, thinking ahead and showing kindness to others. They have demonstrated fantastic HOWLs (Work Hard, Get Smart and Be Kind). I am very proud to share some of the things they have been getting up to this week.

Thea Clarkson

Thea has been contributing in sessions left, right and centre. She has been highlighted for her engagement in sessions and for asking great questions – developing her knowledge and showing enthusiasm for the topic she is currently studying. This is great to hear. Fantastic work Thea!

Faith Farmery

As crew leader, I’ve not been there much this week due to an injury but Faith stepped up and took it upon herself to ensure the register was done, helping the staff who were covering the crew session – an important job that makes sure all of her crew are accounted for in case of a fire. Faith has also been brilliant in sessions, working very hard with her writing tasks and demonstrating great work ethic across the board. It’s lovely to see her doing so well. Well done Faith!

James Hudson

James has been forward thinking this week, ensuring he is ready for session – he has gone out of his way to email staff, asking them to help him with his work. James has also shown great maturity in session, as he got straight onto task without being asked more than once – he entered the room and began reading his book without being prompted. Great work James!

April Crawshaw

April has been helping staff by offering her assistance in sessions, either by clearing up or handing things out. Staff have really appreciated having her in sessions this week. April’s confidence has improved so much this year – and we’ve only been back a month! She has shown great resilience with her work and the results are showing. I can’t wait to see her confidence grow even more. Keep it up April!

These are just a few examples of Crew Shackleton going above and beyond, other members of the crew have also achieved great things this week. I’m so proud to be their crew leader. I can’t wait to see what they all do next week!

As Buzz Lightyear would say…


Crew Turing have made a start on the Duke of Edinburgh skills segment over the past couple of weeks. Each student is working towards their bronze award this year, comprising of a skill element, outdoor physical challenge as well as volunteer work. We’ve been completing the St John’s Ambulance first aid course, a skill that could make a difference to someone’s life in the future.

We started last week by learning about how to put people in the recovery position if they are unresponsive. Each crew member took it in turns in pairs to practice putting another crew members in the recovery position, while others gave kind, specific and helpful feedback. This week we’ve been working on what to do if someone is having an asthma attack.

Another highlight that I’d like to mention was the lovely art session I covered this week just passed. It was nice to see my crew members working hard towards their other subjects and improving their drawing skills. Above is Sami, Lewis, Reece and Lexi working on their graduated and blended colour work.

A couple of weeks back we collectively read this article in the Guardian, titled ‘At 31, I have just weeks to live. Here’s what I want to pass on‘. I was struck by the quality of reflection after reading Elliot Dallen’s life lessons, particularly this one on gratitude.

The importance of gratitude. During my worst moments – the shock of cancer diagnosis, the mental lows and debilitating symptoms of chemotherapy – it was difficult to picture any future moments of joy, closeness or love. Even so, at those times I found comfort in remembering what I have: an amazing family, the friends I’ve made and times I’ve shared with them, the privilege of the life I’ve had.

We did a whiparound on all the little things we were grateful for that we might not have had access to due to covid. Some spoke of missing hanging about with their friends at the weekend, missing gymnastics and other sporting training, or missing a hug from their grandparents. Over the past week, I’ve asked my crew to come up with some of the things they’re grateful for, here are some snippets:

Finally, I just want to congratulate my historically not-so-sporty crew on being announced as 2019-2020 Year 9 winners of the sporting competitions! Huge appreciations to Torran, Mollie and Lexi for putting on sport-related crew sessions for us to help improve stamina and skill prior to the matches. I have a feeling 2021 could be the year we don’t come last in every sport-related event….

Crew Mercury’s first teenager!


So this week we celebrated Ella becoming the first teenager in Crew Mercury!

Happy Birthday Ella!

We celebrated during Friday crew treating ourselves to some Angel Slices, Mini Battenburgs and Fondant Fancies while sharing our apologies, appreciations and stands for the week.

It looks like Kaylee and Jayden are enjoying their treat!

Crew ”Mindful” Frank

Over the past couple of Monday’s Crew Frank has been looking at ways to be ”Mindful”. We started this by exploring what mindful means to us and together as a crew, we defined our meaning of this as…

”a conscious or aware of something you’re sensing or feeling in moments of life. It opens up our thoughts to what extent something is cared for in ongoing surroundings” 

As a crew, we spent time thinking of being mindful and looking at where we fit this into life. It was really clear that when we think of being mindful, its an act of stepping back and thinking of others when we act, think, or say things to each other. With prompt to think about how we are mindful, charities became a topic of discussion, and it was clear when we think of donating and raising money for a charity, we are being mindful of others who may need our help.

As a crew task for the ongoing year, we will be working towards supporting local charities in our community. As an activity, the crew spent some time looking at ways of fundraising and different charities that are close to us personally and locally to Doncaster.

Brilliant focus and hard work on the research task from Crew Frank, some unique ways of fundraising for possible local charities we can support.

Crew Ibbotson

For the last two weeks we have been looking closely at diversity in crew, resulting in some fantastic and really mature discussion. We have looked at what diversity is, what ways people are different and why we should embrace these differences. This creates a culture at XP that is like no other!

I would like to thank a few crew members individually – Tammy, Alyssa, Brodie and Riley – for sharing some really personal and difficult things in crew, which I think brought us all closer together and really consolidated our bond. We have each other’s back in crew Ibbotson NO MATTER WHAT and that is evident from the courage and compassion shown in these sessions. We understand that whilst we may not all play in the playground together, WE ARE CREW, and that’s what matters.

It’s an honour to work with such wonderful young people. 

We have also been working on memory techniques in crew last week. We played some memory games and tried to figure out the best way we remember information as individuals. You can see Alex, Cam and Ben in the picture trying very hard to remember all the items they were shown (I promised the winner a sweet!). It was so much fun  and very insightful for us to figure out which way worked best for us, hopefully to help us in our sessions!

Improving Our Skills!

Crew have started their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. This is a really exciting opportunity and experience for year 9 and will help to develop their skills, character and relationships. The expedition is not until next year but I’m sure when we start it will remind us of our time in Wales when we walked with our massive rucksacks for a night of wild camping – I’m sure we’ll have just as much fun but hopefully it’ll be a little easier this time as they’ve grown so much!

But, for now we have started our Skills section journey – students are undertaking a 12 week course to learn all about how to deal with different first aid scenarios. This week was focused on how to cope in an emergency, the steps to take and how to put people in the recovery position. These are valuable skills that are needed not only to complete DofE but will potentially help students in the future if they ever need to give first aid. As you can see, the level of focus was fantastic in this session as students worked independently using their booklets, videos and specific websites to understand and develop their knowledge of the correct way to give First Aid.

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!

After a long weekend break, it was nice to get back into Crew and get down to business this morning.

Today we started by reflecting upon our Accelerated Reader results from the test we completed in last weeks Tranquil Tuesday. We were all pleased to see that we had all made progress from last year and we were keen to take this to the next level.

We spent some time thinking about a previous session, ‘Why is reading important?’ and reminded ourselves that GCSE papers are set using the reading age 15 years 7 months. We discussed how much more difficult we would make it for ourselves if we didn’t reach this goal… and although GCSE’s are a long way off, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day!’

During Crew this morning we started by looking at just how much we had improved, but also how far off we were from the target of 15 years 7 months. We discovered that many of us still had work to do, but some of us were ready:

Harvey                                                                                        Shawn








I’d like to personally appreciate both boys who showed compassion towards their peers in Crew today by not bragging about how much they had exceeded the target reading age, but offering support and advise to their peers about how they too can reach the same goal and exceed it.

We decided that you don’t stick to anything unless you pledge it. So in true XP style we cut out pictures of a reading book and wrote a pledge which we thought would support us in improving our reading ages. We then agreed to include a note of just how many years and months worth of improvement we wanted, so when it lives on the wall it will be a daily reminder of our goals.

I was proud of how Crew maturely dealt with their results and supported one another to make achievable pledges. I will be even prouder to see the result when we come to the next testing period!

It would be brilliant if Crew parents could discuss the pledge your son/ daughter has made with them, and ask about their reading age and what goals they have. In school we offer reading time for 15 minutes at the start of Sessions 1 and 4 in order to reach the advised 30 minutes a day but I know some pledges included home reading too!

Dashboard update: 

I have spoken to a number of Crew parents and agreed that the blog posts will also feature an update on the praise and conduct log. Students are aware that this will happen too so the stakes are high! This weeks praise log looks like this:

We remain on the highest average praises this week too! Great effort Crew Rowling- keep it up!

Stay safe, look after yourselves. 

Year 9 E25 Extended Study STEAM

Students in E25 Explorer and E25 Pioneer have three pieces of extended study, all due for Monday 28th Sep.

  1. Redraft answers to questions on adaptations in their Mastery eBooklet.
  2. Answer the comprehension and application questions on extremophiles, plant and animal adaptations in their Mastery eBooklet.
  3. Students have been set either: revision of keywords in Quizlet OR experimenting with a simulation demonstrating natural selection.

Full details can be found on Google Classroom.

Last week Crew Young blended the use of graphic organisers with academic study of other techniques used to help retention and recall of key facts and concepts. We started by pooling our ideas, using the “silent conversation” protocol, whereby in 2 groups we annotated ways and means of fixing knowledge in our long term memory, piggy-backed each other’s ideas before then swapping our notes with the other group so as to silently consider and build upon theirs.

Tried and tested techniques such as graphic organisers, flashcards, mnemonics, spider charts, colour coding were discussed and later we practised creating spider diagrams of things we enjoy doing to see how we might apply this in hums and steam sessions.

Last Friday we began our DofE Silver skills challenge with a full re-boot of the online St. John’s Ambulance First Aid Course, and my favourite photo of compassion so far from Louie shown towards Adam…..