Return to work for Crew Young

After a two week break we return (metaphorically) to school in what is incredibly the fifth and final term of this academic year, and the end of another Key Stage for Crew Young. As we move inexorably towards GCSE in Year 10 it’s clear that some of us are finding time to research common mission options and subjects; Maclaren is keen on computer science, Summer is interested in media and geography for a possible career in journalism, Eleanor favours business studies and Keisha prefers psychology, but Louie is still undecided.

It’s also great to receive praise shared by colleagues for the hard work that is going on at home by students that are engaging with assignments being set. This week Mrs Sprakes was full of praise for Eleanor and her progress in Spanish+, whilst Miss Batty really appreciated the effort that Louie is putting into his Empire task and the Indian Wars of Independence. Well done everybody!

There’s still lots more for us to get through:
– This term we begin a new STEM expedition entitled “here comes the sun”.
– We are now aiming to complete TWO DofE First Aid course sessions per week (Chest Pains and Low Blood Sugar both this week) to ensure full completion of the course.
– We’ve also been invited to Go Wild for 30 days (and beyond!) by Mr Said here:

YEAR 9: New birdwatching world record*

We have a new record in Year 9 for the most birds spotted in a single session.

Kyle in X24 spotted an incredible 60 birds from 14 different species, including a sparrow hawk and two herons.

Whilst we have not set any work for students in Year 9 to complete over the two week break we would love it if they continued with their birdwatching, bug hotels and bird boxes. Please remind them to send us lots of photos. We are in competition with XP for the most birds spotted. This means we need to up our game, as E24 are currently behind X24 in the leaderboard.

*not verified by Norris McWhirter

Highlights and lowlights

I received this card in a parcel this week (another wool delivery to feed my out-of-control crochet habit – don’t tell Mr Parker!) and when I first read it I thought “Yeah, right! No such thing as a happy day at the moment!”  popped it on the table and forgot about it.

And then, Crew happened.

Today we checked-out for half-term with our Lockdown Highlights and Lowlights.

The lowlights were the same for most of us: not being able to see friends/family and a flurry of uneventful lockdown birthdays.  Other lowlights included eating too much cake (never a lowlight, in my eyes!), annoying siblings and, that good old lockdown classic, ending up with a wonky home haircut.

The highlights made us appreciate that, despite the lowlights, we’ve actually had lots of Happy Days during lockdown, too:

  • We’re spending more time with immediate family
  • We’re spending more time outside
  • We’ve switched off gaming consoles and gone out on family walks
  • We’ve had more time to do new things, like gardening and baking
  • Some of us have taken up running
  • We’ve found that we’re eating together as a family more

It’s fair to say that half term hasn’t been met with the usual enthusiasm.  Crew haven’t been buzzing with the thought of having two weeks off: no meeting up with friends in the park or in town, the novelty of having late nights and lazy lie-ins has worn off and we have no holidays or day trips with family to look forward to!  In fact, some of them have admitted that they’re going to miss having school work set because – let’s face it – there’s nothing else to do!*

However, having heard how Crew are enjoying the extra time with family, spending time doing things they wouldn’t normally do, I think there will be more ‘oh, happy day’ moments to look forward to.

So, before we check out for a well deserved break, I just want to say this:

Crew – it’s been a tough 8 weeks, getting used to our new normal.

You’ve all dealt with it in your own way. And that’s OK.  There is no right or wrong way to deal with this situation.

Some of you have adapted really well and have embraced the challenges of home learning.

Some of you have struggled with the changes and have had to withdraw from us for a while.  And that’s OK. Crew have been right here waiting for you. It was lovely to welcome you back today.

What you’re doing – right here, right now – is good enough.

Enjoy the break and stay safe,
Mrs Parker x

*I have suggested to those who are behind on work to use these 2 weeks to catch-up and I’ll be available to help!  I’ll be sending emails out to those this applies to.

A bit of birding!

It was great to see most of Crew at the Y9 STEAM hangout on Tuesday where Mr Smith and Mr Said set them off with the immersion task, which was to go outdoors, do a bit of bird watching and take pictures of nature.

I’m lucky to live in quite a rural spot and do spend a lot of time outdoors either walking the dogs, running, or just pottering around my back garden.  But, as much as I enjoy being outside, I can’t say that I ever really stop, look or listen to my surroundings; I kinda take it all for granted.  So the immersion task to record how many birds we see has really made me take notice and appreciate what’s in my own back yard.  I’ve spotted sparrows, robins, blue tits, pigeons and goldfinches.  And those birds in the picture above flying over the fields behind my house aren’t actually called “them flipping noisy screechy things” like I thought, they’re actually black headed gulls!

But what I like the most about this immersion activity is that it’s something you can all together at home whilst out on your daily walks or just from your kitchen window (I never knew there were so many different birds visiting my garden!) Crew have access to the birding sheet via the STEAM google classroom, or contact me and I’ll send you one.  I’d love to see pictures of what you find on your walks or of the birds you’re spotting, so please share!

Note of caution: although this sounds like a lovely family bonding session I feel like I should give you a bit of a warning: Mr P and I have daily arguments over what some of the birds we spot are; we can’t agree if we’ve got thrushes or blackbirds nesting in our roof!!

There are also a couple of optional challenges you could all work on together: build a bird house or build a bug box.  Send in pictures if you make anything!

You can find out more about the STEAM expedition – including what the guiding question is – on the ‘Here Comes the Sun’ expedition website.


I couldn’t keep up with the amount of praise postcards that have been sent out to Crew this week!  Super proud of those who are continuing to work hard and produce high quality work, but special mentions go to Thomas, Tom, Aden, Ali and Noah.

I’ll share some of their beautiful work in a future blog post, but for now I’ll share what could quite possibly be my favourite praise card ever sent (from Miss Wilmot to Ali)

A huge well done to Thomas from me, too for sending in these pictures of him practicing his DofE first aid skills on his brother.  Great work, Thomas (and Lewis!)

Have a lovely weekend, all.  Stay safe.

Mrs Parker


Cracking week from Crew Young!

This week I’ve received countless positive comments from Crew Young students and our staff that work with them, and it’s been a great end to a shorter working week than usual. I also asked them to identify a celebrity who they would like to share a Google Hangout with and why, and these were their thoughts:

Lewis would probably choose last year’s NBA league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo or the iconic Lebron James due to his passions around basketball, whilst Maclaren would prefer to share a Hangout with family members that live in Australia.

Summer would host So Hyang, a South Korean singer who is often classified as the best Vocalist of modern day. She has survived cervical cancer and can no longer have children, and uses this story as her power when singing.

Keisha would interview Kylie Cantrall because she’s a really good actress and singer; she’s only 14.

Here are some of the appreciations and recognition from staff this week:

Crew Young have also been busy working on their Duke of Edinburgh bronze award skills challenge. Here are Lewis and Summer placing family members into the recovery position:

I’m really impressed with how versatile and creative Crew Young members are being whilst subject to the lockdown measures. Great work everybody!

E24 – Closing circle hangout meeting

This afternoon at 3.00pm we will be hosting a hangout for all of Year 9 across both schools to find out how they have been getting on with their STEAM immersion challenges.

Students can join the meeting by logging into their school account and going to:

Attendance for the launch hangout was fantastic. Thanks to all of our families for your continuing support.


The one with the guest blogger

As we come to the end of Week 6, I asked Crew to draw the 3 things that’ve made lockdown a little but more bearable for them.  Here’s a snippet of some of the …erm… better drawings we had:

Some form of technology featured on most of the pictures (there were some very strange looking phones drawn!) Technology is certainly making the lockdown restrictions more bearable and it’s great that we can use it to “see” friends, family and Crew on a regular basis.

Technology also connects us to the world beyond our own little circle and, earlier in the week, our very own Noah was invited by our friends at EL Education to choreograph and perform a dance. They had spotted his talent when he featured in this previous blog post.

Noah’s dance will be featured as part of a wider celebration from EL Education for their #BetterWorldDay – this year’s focus is on expressing gratitude for those working on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis and I think Noah’s performance is a perfect and emotional tribute.

You can watch Noah’s full performance here in our weekly ‘This Week in the Trust’ update, along with catching up on all the other wonderful things happening across the trust:

Another highlight of the week was seeing members of Crew receiving praise from Miss Haughey and Mrs Sprakes for their efforts: Bryn, Kobe, Dakota and Aden have all be recognised for working hard in Maths and Spanish.

My appreciation cards went to Thomas and Tom for their consistent hard work across all subjects, and to Ali for always stepping up to Crew challenges, be it contributing to blog posts (see below) or leading Crew check-ins (she makes a cracking Deputy Crew Leader!)

Looking ahead to Week 7, we’re  kicking off a new STEAM expedition.  Kobe has already tried (and failed) to guess what it’s going to be about. Here’s a teaser for you – any ideas?

That’s all from me – I’m handing over to Ali!

Mrs Parker

And now please welcome our Guest Blogger, the fabulous Ali, giving her account of her experience of living in lockdown:

Hello! This is Ali, updating you all during this quarantine period. 

Honestly during this time I have been working hard and breaking this up by doing fun activities such as SFX makeup, that my crew saw during a check-in because I didn’t notice that it was earlier than usual. 

I have been keeping in contact with my close friends everyday and having frequent exercise (while of course staying a safe distance from people, which I would do anyway). 

Of course at these very unusual and difficult times it’s impossible to stay positive all the time so to increase these times I have been doing activities I enjoy such as: baking, writing, reading and watching great movies (mainly Marvel and Jurassic Park). During this time I somehow managed to make a cake that was supposed to take 15 minutes to bake and took 50 minutes to bake. Clearly I’m a magician. I also managed to fill an entire piece of paper with badly drawn fish, I’m running out of ideas for things to keep me occupied.

Brief update from Crew Young

This week I’ve heard back from most Crew members, the majority of whom appear to be busily working their way through distance learning tasks that staff have been setting, as well as re-considering how they might now achieve the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award.

I was delighted to hear about Lewis D’s nomination as one of the few “Hegarty Heroes”, and this is timely recognition for all the hard work he puts into his mathematics tasks. He’s still training with resistance bands and going for a few runs to balance the academic with the athletic.

Maclaren continues to stay on top of his work, with a 100% work completion score in every subject area – well done Maclaren! He’s also keeping up with his online Tae-kwon-do training, and has bought himself a computer science book.

George reports that: “This week I’ve been going for walks in the woods with my family, such as Cantley Park and Kingswood. I have also been walking my dog Frequently” (strange name for a dog!).

Glad to hear that Keisha is still able to continue her voluntary work with horses whilst observing social distance measures, and has made a start on the St. John’s First Aid course in Common Mission.

Summer has swapped ice skating for dog walking for her DofE physical challenge, and her father is helping her with the First Aid training in Common Mission.

Isabel is catching up with Hegarty maths and Tassomai science, but missed the deadline this week for posting photos of her work.

Sounds like we’re on it!


Checking in with Crew Churchill

It was lovely to check-in with members of Crew Churchill this afternoon to chat about how the week has gone.

Everyone was extremely positive, having now settled into regular routines for school work and free time.

It was also good to check-in with crew’s pledges which were made last week.

Here’s what Crew said:

Adam has tried to up his HUMs completion rate and this is improving.  He’s pledged to join a hangout on Monday morning during which Mrs. Parker will go through any tasks students are finding tricky.

Kyle has been ticking along nicely and kept his pledge by emailing Mr. Portman to find out what he needed to do for Citizenship.  Nice work, Kyle!

Rhys is just cracking on with his work and has completed everything he has been set!

Ruby has shared work she previously couldn’t hand in because of technical issues.

Theone has continued to work hard (as she always does) and feels really chilled!

Take a look at some of the work Theone has been completing:

As a crew, we also pledged to check out the Duke of Edinburgh classroom and make sure we’re having a go at the First Aid challenge and completing our physical section even though we’re not in school.

A great week, Crew!  Really proud of you all 😉

On the 4th of May- all year E24 and X24 at XP Trust will be starting their new expedition for STEAM. This will be starting with a week of immersion, adapted for the current lockdown home learning. Including experts, fieldwork and whole school Google Hangout quiz challenge!

All students in year 9 in both schools will receive a Google Hangout invitation hosted by Mr Smith and Mr Said and learning coaches. This will have key information and challenges for the week to come. 

The Hangout will be 1pm Tuesday 5th of May. 

Below is a Teaser Trailer to the new expedition- Here Comes the Sun!