Morning Youngsters! Make it count!

Crew Young are used to my cheery salutation of “morning, Youngsters!” to welcome them to Crew at 8.30 every morning, and also my daily “make it count!” reminder as they are dismissed at 9.15 to begin a day’s learning at XP East.

Incredibly, it is over four weeks since they last heard these greetings and reminders, as life as we know it was turned upside down by the effects of the Coronavirus restrictions. Simple routines such as this are very important to me, and to us, as they help to define our concept of “normality” in an increasingly abnormal world. Whilst we might be enjoying the extra time to ourselves, it is sometimes overwhelming to be suddenly given so much unstructured time.

I was really pleased to speak to nearly all of Crew Young and their parents today, to check in with them, recognise, celebrate and praise their work completion (and issue a few reminders) as we all come to terms with the new restrictions on our lives. I discovered that Louie recently achieved his NVQ Level 1 Fire Cadet and First Aid awards, Maclaren is managing to maintain his Tae-kwon-do skills using instructional video tutorials, and that Dominic is using lego for one of his distance learning task set. Summer was just one week away from completing the physical standard of her bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.

A special shout out must go to Summer and Lewis for being completely on top of all their studies – nice work you two! Most of Crew Young are not too far behind!

Cliff Young, the Australian farmer who was the inspiration behind our choice of Crew name, became famous for approaching things from a new angle, for doing things that nobody else had even considered, and from thinking “outside the box”. It is this approach that we must all embrace as we grapple with the practicalities of working and studying from home.


Crew Frank in lockdown!

Schooling from home is just the new norm as google hangout is for Crew Anne Frank.

Google hangout has been a brilliant tool to check in and keep an update with our Crew members. It as been vital for all crew members to check in with each other as much as possible during the lockdown period, keeping that crew spirit.

We have struggled and adapted to the new system of school and all crew members are doing fantastic. We communicate really well as a crew and this has been a big influence in the success of the continuity in HOWL’s and spirit as a crew.

By using the timetable provided and our own personalised timetable, this has given us the ability to get all our typical day to day lessons in. With deadlines for tasks and assignments, we have been trying our best to meet these. This wouldn’t be achievable without the motivation we give each other as a crew.

Away from the school work we have been working hard at, there as also been the struggle to keep yourself entertained during the downtime period. We would like to recommend some activities we have found for boosting our moral and boredom:

  • Biking, Running, Trampolining
  • Joe Wicks, Make your own workout
  • Netflix, Disney
  • Cleaning the house, DIY…with parents!

We hope everyone stays safe in these times we never thought we’d experience in our lifetime.

Crew Frank

‘Rowling’ on through isolation…

Who said technology was a bad thing? 

Crew Rowling took some time out of our new normal in order to catch up and reunite this week. It was lovely to see most of you and hear about what you had been upto!

We started off by asking “If you could be an expert in anything, what would it be?” A question which was posed to me by Mrs Poncia last week during our Google Hangout which really got me thinking. It was brilliant to hear the vast array of responses from Crew, varying from Criminology to Gaming, then some more touching ideas surrounding Science and being able to find a cure so we could end lockdown or languages so we could converse with other countries easily and share ideas! The selflessness of my Crew never fails to amaze me.


Keeping things ‘Rowling’:

This leads me to our catch up about what they had all been up to this week, again putting others before themselves for the better:

  • Faith had kindly looked after a friends dog and taken him for walks whilst they couldn’t (cue cute dog pics!)
  • Cerrina had created pictures with her sister to be displayed from her window to thank the NHS and key workers for the fantastic work they are doing.
  • Harvey had made the sacrifice of giving up his dog walks in order to protect others whilst one of the family members were ill. Now he’s keeping busy creating models,   which he knows we love to see in Crew!
  • Rhys had settled into a new exercise regime in order to allow his Mum to be able to crack on whilst working from home.
  • Lily had baked a cake to cheer those around her up (she forgot to take a picture of the cake though, so we settled for pictures of her cats as we know how mad she is about them!)





























Academic progress: 

Whilst we were all together we also had a look at what we have achieved over the last two weeks- I was blown away! Raising concerns last week which had been passed on I was worried about how we would match up against the deadlines this week, but, as always, we smashed it! I am so proud of the progress Crew Rowling are making independently! I have created a spreadsheet which logs all of the deadlines Y7 have to meet, there are specific tabs for Explorer and Pioneer. I have been encouraging Crew to use this in order to plan their days and their timetable and they seem to be doing just that! (Well, most!)

A massive well done to Ben, Harvey, Faith, Thomas, and Lydia who have managed to plan their time to ensure that they haven’t missed a deadline in these first two weeks! Also, a special well done to Logan who has been working really hard despite being ill! You’re doing a brilliant job- keep up the hard work!

Take the time to do what you enjoy!!

During our Crew Google Hangout we discussed how important it is to keep in touch with your friends and family around this time and I encouraged the students to take a step back from the work once they’d completed what they needed to for that day and have some time for self care! I demonstrated this by showing them that i’d taken an afternoon to go on a walk, find some head space, and chill out! (As much as i could, ending up in a farmers field full of sheep wasn’t on the agenda!)

I think its important that not only do we get some work done but we remember to look after each other, and most importantly ourselves.


Stay safe everyone, already looking forward to our next catch up! 

Crew check-ins and lockdown leisure!

Timetable and tracking progress

Mr Portman released the new timetable on Monday and feedback from students has been positive. This will be updated every week with specific task details, so make sure you sign-up for website alerts so that you don’t miss this and other important posts.

I’ve been keeping track of academic progress and went through this with Crew during Thursday’s hangout, reminding them all of what needed to be done and by when.  I’ve asked them to start using their Google calendar and to get into the habit of checking it everyday.  Work due dates and hangout invites will all appear automatically in the calendar.  Students can get to their calendar by logging onto the website and selecting it from the ‘other apps’ section:

Checking in 

It’s been a wonderful week of catch-ups, not just with Crew but with other staff, too.  The Y9 Phase Team (that’s Mr Smith, Mrs Poncia, Mr Pearson and myself) are meeting once a week just like we did when we were in school. We use this time to update on Crew, student progress, resolve any issues, make sure that every one is getting the support they need and plan for the week ahead. So yes, it’s business as usual – we’re just doing it in our living rooms instead!

I’ve also spent this week catching up with Crew individually.  I really enjoyed this 1:1 time. It was great just to chat outside of our whole Crew hangouts and to find out how everyone’s coping with the whole lockdown situation.  I’m also really pleased that most (not all!) are really focussed on their school work and are producing some beautiful work.

A massive well done to Thomas for working exceptionally hard on his maths and for smashing his MEG!

And well done to Kobe for working hard on his Art task.

Crew hangouts

Crew hangout time is my favourite time of the week!

Tuesday’s check-in was led by Ali, who asked us to choose three people we’d want to be stuck in a room with. We had to choose a celebrity, a family member and a friend.  I had to google some of the celebrities the young ‘uns came up with – never heard of them!  We then had a group discussion about the new timetable (which got a big thumbs up from Crew Finch!) and shared ideas on how we can strike the right balance between “school time” and “leisure time.”

Noah came up with Thursday’s check-in: If you could be any age, what would it be? The majority of Crew seem to think that 18 is the magic number: the age where they become an adult, leave school, buy cars and… go to the pub!  As mentioned above, we also had an academic check-in.  Just a couple of Crew members needed a gentle prod to get the work done (and we’ve had individual conversations about this, too), but other than that I’m really pleased with how everyone’s doing.

Every time I talk to Crew I mention the importance of self-care and why we must look after our mental wellbeing during this time.  I encourage them all to switch off their consoles, get off social media, leave their rooms, go outside (observing social distancing measures, of course), get active, try something new or just do something they love!

So, with that in mind, we’ve decided to launched a new weekly feature called Lockdown Leisure (I know, it’s terrible – if you’ve got a better name, let me know!) Here, we’ll be showcasing some of the things we’re getting up to with our new found spare time at home.

So, ladies and gents, Crew Finch present <<insert fanfare here!>>

Lockdown Leisure, Edition 1 – featuring Noah, Tom, Ali and Mrs Parker!

  • Tom isn’t able to go to the gym or play Basketball at the moment, so has taken up running.
  • Ali has been spending quality time with her cat, Thelma (cute pet pics are always welcome!)
  • I’ve been crocheting rainbows!

And finally, I’m going to leave you with these stunning photos of Noah who is still managing to practice his dance.

Stay safe, everyone.

Crew Ali checking-in from home

The school highlight of my week has definitely been our Crew Google Hangout on Monday morning; whenever we have had time away (even just for the weekend!) I always find seeing our Crew members in our morning sessions sets me up for the day and reminds me of why I work at XP.  The last few weeks of the ‘new normal’ have been anything but normal I think, but Crew Ali is doing well and I’m so proud to be their Crew Leader!

In our Google Hangout this week we just did a simple check-in to see how everyone was getting on with workload and the new ‘timetable’, as well as find out what they had been doing to fight the boredom that some of them were feeling, particularly with not being able to visit friends or family or leave the house for days out, etc.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us (me included) have found being away from the rhythm of daily Crew and carving out a routine at home a challenge.  Many of us have more distractions at home and the lack of structure can be stressful for some; conversely, for others, in the first week that school was closed, the high expectations and volume of structured work on the timetable were overwhelming!  We appreciate the work Mr Portman and the leadership team have put into taking student and parent concerns on board and creating a flexible but really clear and manageable overview to support students in engaging in their learning from home. I particularly love the scheduling of Common Mission time to enrich our students’ learning opportunities and give breadth to our existing offering.  Remember that across the XP Trust we take a 3-dimensional approach to learning, which incorporates Academic Success, Beautiful Work, and Character Growth.

This week, in response to our check-ins, I challenged Crew Ali to think about their personal as well as academic development, by reflecting on the question: What will you do with the time you have available in lockdown?  We had some ideas in the Crew session and they are spending this week planning goals for themselves and coming up with more ideas to make the most of their spare time around their academic studies.  Here are some of the things our Crew members have been getting up to so far – why not try a few out yourself?

  • Watching a new series on Netflix with other family members – Ruby recommends ‘Locke and Key’
  • Learning a new instrument – Lacey’s family brought their piano down from the loft and they have been learning to play it
  • Lots of us have been keeping in touch with friends on Facetime or Houseparty
  • Exercise – several of the Crew have been doing the Joe Wicks workout each morning; Caiden has been cycling; Leoni has been playing football in the garden; Ruben has been walking his new puppy!
  • Cooking – Caiden has been making bread and homemade lemonade
  • Crafting – Marshall has been making salt dough handprints, then baking them ready to paint; he has also been drawing and playing console games with his dad
  • Mrs Townson has been writing a list of goals I want to achieve before my new baby arrives in June – then putting a plan in place to action them!  One of these is to make time for myself each day – it can be difficult to do when you’re in a house with other people all the time, but is really important for your wellbeing.
  • Check out the resources on the XP Trust EMBRACE website to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.  Encourage More, Be Resilient And Consider Everyone

Keep safe and stay home everyone!

Crew online check-in with Mandela

It has been fantastic to have a Google Hangout from everyone in Crew Mandela. It seems a lifetime since we had to finish at school so abruptly, however all crew members are in  good spirits and we discussed some ways that people have been keeping busy!

Everyone in the crew commented on how the new timetable has made routines much more manageable learning to be a solid structure of the day.

Big shout out to Alfie and Chloe who have been completing STEAM work to an excellent standard. Check out the pictures below:


Also a huge shout out to Beth who has been going above and beyond in Spanish Plus and completed all tasks to an excellent standard! well done Beth!

Our next Check in online will be Tuesday at 11:30 am. Holly is going to lead the check in- with a pub quiz style competition to follow. See you then!


Check-Ins with Crew Churchill

It has been lovely to touch base with each member of crew Churchill since we finished school.

We have been liaising through regular email updates and today we held a Google Hangout.

It was wonderful to be able to talk to crew and find out what they have been up to.

So far, things are going well, with crew reporting that they have established good working routines, with many using the timetable to help them structure their days and they are successfully completing the work which is being set.

Check out some of the STEAM work Theone and Tyler have completed:

I’d also like to send a big ‘SHOUT OUT!’ to Tyler, Theone, Kyle, Ben, Aran, Rhys and Kaiden for completing all of their maths tasks and achieving high scores.  Super stuff!

We finished our crew session by checking out with the question: ‘If you could be an expert in anything at all, what would it be?’

There seemed to be a running theme as Adam, Rhys and Ruby wanted to be experts in business and make lots of money!  Kaiden said he’d like to be an expert in Space, along with Ben, who has the wonderful ambition of being an expert in all things Aeronautical and Space, too.  Theone would love to be an expert on how the brain works and Alyssa would like to be an expert in cooking.  When asked why, she said ‘because I can’t cook anything at all!

CBeebies - Big Cook Little Cook

So, see on you all on Friday, Crew Churchill, for our end-of-the-week check-in!

Remember: Stay Safe!



Welcome to our new normal!

The picture above captures what our new Crew room looks like – thanks to Bryn for the screenshot of us in action!

As you can see, we’re still checking in regularly via Google hangouts.  Just a couple of students missing from yesterday’s session – I can’t stress how important it is that you all log into these Crew hangouts, guys!!! I do expect 100% attendance wherever possible!

As well as the whole-Crew hangouts, I’ve been checking in with individual students too and will continue to regularly schedule these in with all of Crew while-ever we’re working from home.

A few have already told me that they’re struggling to adapt to working alone from home so we’ve booked in some timetabling sessions where we can create a personalised timetable that works for them.  And I’ll make sure that there are lots of wellbeing breaks scheduled in, too!

As I’ve said to Crew all week – I don’t really care what your day looks like or how you manage your time as long as work is handed in by the deadlines set by subject teachers!

On a personal level, at the beginning of the week I really wasn’t sure how we could continue to ‘be Crew’ during this time and it was making me quite anxious. That was on top of everything else we all have to be anxious about, like keeping ourselves and our families safe and the more personal one of “Will I ever be able to buy pasta again?!”

Well – I’m finishing the week feeling a lot more positive and reassured that we will continue to be Crew whatever the world throws at us. And it made me realise:

Crew isn’t just “something” that happens in a classroom in school. Crew is more than that. Crew is part of us. Crew adapts to be whatever it needs to be.

I, for one, have found great comfort in that.  Thank goodness for technology!


Your children have been absolutely amazing adapting to our new ways of working and most of them are managing to stay focussed on their classwork and submitting tasks on time.  I will continue to support them throughout this.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say that I’m also here for you.  If any of you ever want to chat about any worries or concerns you have about your child during this time, please don’t hesitate to email me to arrange a call or even a hangout – I’m getting quite used to seeing my face on the big screen!

Oh, and don’t forget about the Parent Support Centre that’s been set up to help you get your head around how work is being set and accessed online.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue with these weekly updates.  I can’t wait to see how our Crew sessions develop!

And finally, because it can’t be said enough:

Stay safe everyone.

Mrs Parker x



Still Smiling in Crew Parkinson!

We said goodbye to each other on Friday and we’re not sure when we will be back in school again. We’re in very uncertain times as a country right now but what really made me proud was how mature Crew has been over the last week. We had some very sincere discussions about how we were feeling about what is happening right now and it has been a pleasure to spend time with them.

 Despite the seriousness of the situation and the sombre tone in Crew this week we have still managed to look on the positive side and come together as a Crew. It’s been great hearing how we’re going to check in and support each other during the school closure.

We don’t know when we’ll all be back together again but I can honestly say I’m going to miss my Crew. They never fail to bring a smile to my face (even when they’re driving me mad) and it’s great to spend another year with them – it’s strange thinking these could be the last photos of year 8 – but who knows? While we are all social distancing at home, I wish Crew and their families the very best and if you have any worries or questions, I’m only an email away.

Please continue with all your hard work at home and take responsibility for your academic development. Whilst it is important to continue with your school work, in these challenging times, it’s also important to keep a positive mindset and look after your wellbeing so keep time free to do what you enjoy (as long as you’re social distancing!).

For now, keep being bonkers – huzzah and hurrah!

E25 Human Work During School Closure

It’s good to see some students already starting their online learning assignments. Here are the instructions on how to complete the work set. This was shared with students in lessons but those who were absent last week will have missed them. They must READ all the instructions on the slides/Google Classroom.

Submitting work 

  • Currently on Google Classroom, there are 2 assignments set. Students need to complete the Geography one FIRST and then the English slides. They should submit the doc on Google classroom once they have got to the end of each slide. 

What to complete and when

  • Each set of slides are broken down into ‘lessons’, students need to complete a minimum of a lesson a day or follow the ‘weekly planner’ timetable sent out my Mr Portman each week.
  • Whenever the students see a red ‘TASK’ symbol which looks like the one below they need to complete the activity on their doc.


  • On the docs, work needs to have the layout of:

           Subject: Geography/English/History

           Lesson Number:



Students need to write in Quicksand font, size 12.

If you have any questions, email me at I will be checking emails everyday and student work completion – if work is not being done, parents will be contacted.

Thank you!