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. 

Nothing but Praise for Crew Rowling!

What a start!

I am super proud of the attitude and commitment to learning Crew Rowling have returned to school with! It has been great to get back together as a Crew following learning from home and the long summer break!

Our return… 

Crew sessions have had a revamp! Although we’re still checking in and catching up about what we have been up to over the weekend/ night before, we’re also getting down to the nitty gritty! Our week in Crew now looks like this:

Each day we have a different focus and it has been lovely to hear more of the quieter members of our Crew getting involved and voicing their opinions too!

Today we considered ‘Why is reading important?’ exploring the effects of illiteracy… none of us are there (thank goodness!) but we now know why we also need to make the most of our AR reading time in sessions. Some of the feedback gathered in our closing circle really highlighted the answer to our mini ‘Guiding Question’ and reflected just how much our Crew has grown (even literally!) over the Summer.

Proof is in the pudding…

It has been really refreshing opening the Dashboard and having supporting evidence that what i’m seeing in Crew is also happening in sessions. Two weeks in and we’ve all picked up at least one praise point, we’ve not missed any homework, we’ve not gained any conduct logs and most importantly… we’re top of the leaderboard! (not that we’re competitive!)

Year 7, who?

This year we’re determined to go bigger and better, making pledges to build on our success from Y7 and send us soaring into Y8… Please hold us to account!

(Due to iPad technical difficulties, please wait in anticipation for Shawn and Layton’s!)

Long may our success and good behaviour continue!

Stay safe, everyone!

After a few weeks off blogging, i couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to express how proud I am of Crew Rowling for their attitude, hard work and dedication to getting stuff done!

We decided to set up a new deadlines doc for this term, one whereby the students could project manage their own workload and track their progress. And WOW. I’ve been blown away… i can’t even count how many people i’ve bragged to already, and now i’m here to brag even more! Just look at all the completed tasks on here:

I mean LOOK AT IT!

A Crew average of 98% completion rate!!!

We’re working our socks off!!


So I know you want to know, how do we do it?!

Every Monday i sign on to my laptop with messages, which will usually have already been replied to:

Crew are keen to use Google Chat to check when hangouts are and send regular reminders which means no one can forget:

Sometimes we struggle and we need a helping hand, we know we can ask teachers but in our crew we have our own experts:











If we can’t resolve it over a chat, we take to a hangout:

I so wish i’d have recorded this so you could hear how well Harvey explained these tasks!

If we can’t solve the problem over a chat or a hangout, we leave it to the experts:

We continue to hold each other to account (they even catch me out!):





But most importantly, we recognise how hard people are working:

So as you can see, our fantastic outcomes are as a result of Crew continuing to maintain their fantastic HOWLS throughout lockdown, sticking together, supporting each other, holding one another to account and knowing there is no ‘i’ in team. It’s no good one of us being at the top of the mountain after all!

I couldn’t be any prouder as a Crew Leader.

To me this proves, ‘if we get crew right, we get everything right’. 

It doesn’t get much better than being blessed by these smiling faces twice a week (yes, we even get 100% attendance on those!) Keep going, we’re nearly there. I’m so proud of everything you have all achieved so far.

Thank you Crew Rowling, and your parents for all their support!

Rising to the Challenge!

I think it’s fair to say that, even though we’re not in school and have the challenge of working at home, our staff and students in E26 (Year7) and E25 (Year 8) are still Working Hard, Getting Smart and Being Kind.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen determination (when the work has been tricky), compassion (when helping our fellow crew members who have been stuck) and the completion of so much beautiful work, ranging from stand-out science assessments, amazing artwork, passionate speeches and marvellous maths!

Here are just a few appreciations for students and their beautiful achievements:

Oliver. S. (E26):

Jayden (E26):

Marcus (E25):

Cerrina (E26):

Raphael (E26):

Marshall (E25):


As the weeks go by homeschooling seems to becoming easier for Crew Rowling! We’ve had a much more productive week this week and i’d like to appreciate the parents for their support in us reaching this point!

At the end of the Crew Session on Monday, I asked Crew if by the end of this week they could share with me some work they are proud of and I have to say it has been extremely uplifting to see my inbox inundated with positivity and work which has well and truly blown me away! This blog post will highlight some of the fantastic work thats been going on!

Hums has proven difficult for many of us in Crew Rowling, many a hangout has been conducted in order to assist us all in reaching the ‘hand in’ button… but we’ve done it, and we’ve done it together! It gave me a real sense of achievement for all of the Crew members therefore when I looked through some of the work I had been sent, and it was Hums!

You go Crew Rowling!!

Faith had completed her DRC Speech:

I particularly liked how Faith has used persuasive techniques in order to capture the readers attention alongside our shared language of ‘making a stand’ in order to emphasise her points. Excellent job, Faith!

Rhys wanted to write something he was passionate about in order to change peoples viewpoints, therefore his speech surrounded the idea of children gaming:

Its great to see Rhys also including some presentational devices in his work, meaning his speech can be displayed for clarity! Great work Rhys, keep it up!

As Harvey is whizzing through the work that has been set for him, he spent some time this week completing tasks for the new Y7 Expedition:

This work clearly captures Harvey’s understanding of ‘The Lorax’ by Dr Seuss. I am impressed with the vocabulary Harvey has chosen to use! You are working so hard- i am really impressed with the progress you are making!

Layton had trouble completing his speech, but with a little help from his friends in Crew he was able to produce this belter:

A fantastic job showing clear understanding of the topic and implementing some persuasive and presentational devices, alongside a link to really get his point across! Fantastic! Well done Layton for persevering with this.

The stand out Crew member for me this week though, had to be Cerrina! Its no secret that Cerrina has struggled to settle into a new routine, working from home, managing her own timetable and deadlines and in the first few weeks we had to strip things back, take manageable chunks, and settle for getting done what we could, when we could! And that was fine! But this week we’ve seen a huge leap forward in Cerrina’s progress, she has met all her deadlines for this week, is happier, and has also been able to spend time doing things she enjoys! It was particularly uplifting for me to receive emails from other members of staff this week about Cerrina’s progress too. Check this out!
















The best part for me about all of this though, although the work is superb, has actually been to see the smile return to Cerrina’s face! Sometimes we all need to take a moment to remember that having an off day (or couple of days) is fine! We need to give ourselves time to rest and recuperate in order to return to our best!

Well done Cerrina, i am incredibly impressed with all that you have achieved this week. You have worked super hard and it has paid off! Keep it up!

It would be fair to say that Cerrina’s success has stemmed from having the support of Crew around her. Every day I am blown away by the support and compassion they show one another. I mean, just imagine stumbling across Crew messages like this.. using language like this!

To quote Cerrina’s Mum: “The support from Crew is great!” 

The commitment they show to helping each other ‘up the mountain’ in times of trouble, at such a young age is like nothing i’ve ever experienced. Thank you all for your time and patience, for not only each other but me too!


Rowling on for another 3 weeks… at least!

…another week down, and here we are with another Crew Rowling break down!

After a long weekend of rest, recuperation and sunbathing in the garden Crew Rowling were feeling refreshed and ready to attack the work set from a different angle, meet any outstanding deadlines and crack on to meet this weeks!

Our Crew Classroom has been busy with members of the Crew logging in and checking the ‘Crew Deadlines’ spreadsheet, supporting students to manage their time, meet deadlines and most importantly gaining the huge sense of achievement when you can tick something off your ‘to do’ list and say ‘I’VE DONE IT!’

The satisfaction of going from red to green. 

Each week I have been outlining the deadlines Crew have for each week. This has been shared with them in order to provide a visual aid of all the work outstanding alongside the due date and a colour code so you can say: Nope, i’m not onto that yet. OR Yes, smashed it!

In previous weeks much of our hangout has been spent with me going through each of the students individually and asking for a yes or no for each of the pieces of work outlined. As you can imagine, this has been gruelling for the likes of Faith who is superduper organised and even keeps her own second list to ensure she doesn’t let any go under her radar!

I’ve therefore been asking students to mark this off themselves once they complete the tasks and this will help them to manage their time and (hopefully) become more productive. I have to say this week they’ve amazed me!

Especially Charlotte! Having suffered some technical (and motivational) difficulties, we were gathering up a long list of work which was outstanding from previous weeks before even getting onto the current weeks deadlines in order to check them off. But she hasn’t let this stop her in her stride this week, piece after piece they’ve been submitted and crossed off the outstanding list and this week… WE EVEN SMASHED THE WEEKS DEADLINES IN!

This is a huge achievement if you consider that in previous weeks Charlotte had only completed 1 or 2 pieces of work! I have been so impressed with her perseverance and determination to catch up this week. We have also loved having you in Crew Hangouts more frequently!

Speaking of hanging out…  

After our Crew Check In where both Cerrina and Logan expressed some difficulty with the work they were completing, i caught them using the Hangouts feature in order to gain the support of whizzes Harvey and Ben!

Hearing the discussion from the students as they worked through tricky calculations and Spanish Lingo was incredible! Even I learnt a thing or two!

Well done guys!!

About those ‘challenges’! 

Well as you can see… Crew Rowling would stop at nothing in order to ensure they could meet the deadlines and would even work as a team to do so! No more problems here!

What we did find however, was that some Hangouts were more productive than others, through no fault of the students, but the use. We therefore got together and decided on the following protocol for gaining support from a friend via Google Hangout:

  1. Be polite and respectful. You must stay engaged throughout the call! (and remember to thank them for giving up their time at the end)
  2. Listen to the information given.
  3. Make notes- You may wish to ask clarifying questions during this process.
  4. Share your screen with the person you are speaking to, this will help them to support you further.
  5. Share any work you are currently working on so they can see where it is specifically you need further help.

We’re hoping that these 5 simple steps will help ensure that supporting a peer via Google Hangout isn’t an onerous task and stops you from making progress too!

Again, we’re going to review this next week to see if there are any amendments. So far, so good!

The Rowling Quiz  

In line with our Friday Challenge, this Friday I created a quiz for the Crew as a bit of fun and some downtime before the weekend commenced. The quiz consisted of 5 categories:

  1. TV/ Film
  2. School Subjects
  3. Sport
  4. Music
  5. General Knowledge

A mixed bag of questions, the win was anyones for the taking! But… it was GIRL POWER! Charlotte, Lily and Faith shared the winning score of 16 leaving the boys wallowing in self pity! As a consequence of being our lowest scorer of the week, totting up a total of 6, Layton was nominated to host next weeks quiz! I am looking forward to being able to take part this week!

Upcoming stars in Crew Rowling 

It all seems a very long time ago now, but this video from The Edge Foundation captures some unseen footage of Crew Rowling in action in Wales at the very start of the year! Crazy the changes that can be seen already!

The week ahead 

Lots to look forward to! More deadlines to work towards, more Crew Hangouts (Tuesday and Friday), more structured ways to receive support from peers, but most importantly… more staying home!

Look after yourself everyone, stay safe. 

This week has seen Crew Rowling settle into a routine with independently monitoring outstanding and completed work, Crew Hangouts and generally our new ‘normal’!

Crew Hangouts 

It has been great to see more and more of Crew joining the Hangout to Check In and let us know how they are getting on and what they have been up to.

  • Thomas was able to demonstrate the longest Lego building recorded yet (in Crew Rowling)
  • Shawn had been trying his hand at clay modelling in order to create some of his favourite Pokemon- Magikarp!
  • Ben continued to become the next superstar digital artist (I don’t know any famous ones!)
  • Rhys built a scalextric with the help of his dad in order to keep him entertained over our extended weekend!

Check out some of their handy work:

We also found out that all of us had enjoyed baking goodies with our families and with this in mind referred back to one of our favourite programmes in order to create…


Entries were sent in with an accompanying taste rating from a family member. The image was then entered into the competition where we individually scored the bakes for two things:

  1. How does it look?
  2. Difficulty

Each aspect was given a score out of 5. 1 being easy and not very mouth watering!

Members of the Crew did not know which entry belonged to which person which meant their could be no biased voting. Just to get you drooling, here are the entries:

And after all of the votes were taken in, counted and verified. The winner was

(not that she’s competitive AT ALL)


However, I was closely followed by Faith whose Easter brownies (which we decided looked like a picture taken from Pinterest) absolutely smashed ratings out of the park and we were all very upset they couldn’t be delivered electronically through the screen!

I was extremely proud of all of the Crew for taking part in the challenge, we even had a late entry from Logan who thought he would encourage his family to get into the baking spirit too!

We’e now decided that each Friday afternoon Check In will bring with it a new challenge which is to be decided at the end of each week. Next week we’re in for a real treat as we play the latest and upgraded version of a pub quiz; The Virtual Rowling Quiz!

Work does go on and on! 

School might not be open but Home Schooling is in full flow! Crew Rowling have been working extremely hard and I have been incredibly impressed when checking in that all students are prioritising work according to deadlines and managing their time to ensure they are still experiencing the full curriculum (even if they do their favourite subjects first!)

Special shoutout this week goes to Harvey who is yet to miss a deadline! Harvey has even asked for more work! His organisation has been admirable- he has even been able to provide some helpful hints and tips for other members of the Crew! Wicked work Harvey, keep it up!

I have also been astounded by Lydia and Logan’s efforts. Both of them have worked hard to ensure all the work has been completed as quickly as they can, even when faced with illness. You two are Champs and we’re glad you’re feeling better, Logan!

Challenges we’re facing:

Having spoken to Crew on a number of different occasions, aside from missing school itself, our family and friends, the one challenge we are facing which we know we can find a resolution to was:

Understanding some of the work!

We’ve discussed ways to support this as we feel that our parents are spending long periods of time trying to support us (which we really appreciate) but we know this isn’t sustainable- as most of them have their own work to do too! What we’ve decided is that we are going to use each other more! We have experts in each of the subjects within our Crew and we know that they will always be there to support us in getting up the mountain together!

We have therefore decided:

  • Crew Hangouts will be the place where students can express work they are struggling with and get instant support there and then (if it doesn’t require a long explanation).
  • Miss Johnson can set up hangouts for students to meet to support each other.
  • We can use the Hangout Chat function in order to ask for help whilst we are working on something and get an instant answer!

The students are going to trial this for the week and we’ll check in again next week to let you know how we are getting on!

Final message from us this week, we know its becoming a long hard slog, but…

‘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! 

SLC Success!

Crew NJO completed their first Student Led Conferences this week, sharing both their academic and personal progress with their families.

I was incredibly proud to see how much all of the Crew had grown in confidence and was blown away by their ability to articulate what they have learnt, what they have struggled with, where they need support and finally how their data looks after our second data drop.

It was incredible for me to see Cerrina explain HOWLs and MEGs to her mum and sister, making pledges to improve even further by creating an action plan. Data isn’t the be all and end all it is important to say, but it was moving for me to see students engaging with it in a positive way, highlighting their own strengths and weaknesses by making links to their experience in school.

Students in Crew Rowling worked tirelessly to ensure they were ready for the event, writing their own scripts, practicing to each other, providing kind, specific and helpful feedback in order to help everyone achieve.

Special mention to Summer, a Y9 student who stepped in to help a very nervous Layton at the last minute! Embracing the aspect of Crew, Summer gave up her Crew, Break and Lunch time to support Layton, not only allowing him to practice but also writing difficult words down phonetically to support his reading. She also helped him to further understand his data and praised his efforts so far!

Under all of the strain and pressure that already existed, some of the Crew were even faced with a camera too! Filming for the Edge Foundation has followed the students progress from Wales… it will be good to see how far we really have come!

I am in awe of the bravery and confidence of all of the Crew this past couple of weeks, they have worked tirelessly so ensure that they understood their role in an SLC and get everything prepped and ready. I am looking forward to seeing what you achieve in the next data drop!

Well done all! Keep up the hard work!

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATE FOR THIS EVENT (now on Tuesday 17th December, not Thursday 19th as previously stated)

E26 (Year 7) will be holding the Presentation of Learning for their current expedition ‘Over the Top!’ on Tuesday 17th December, 5.30-6:30pm at XP East.

Students have been working extremely hard throughout their expedition and have been working on answering the guiding question: ‘Does war unite or divide?’

This will be their first formal opportunity at XP East to share their learning with parents, carers and visitors and we very much look forward to seeing you there.