Two weeks into Term 3 – and Lockdown 3 – already!

And it’s been a very busy 2 weeks of  getting settled into our new online learning schedule, engaging in new expedition immersion activities (which have been brilliant!) and Crew, of course, which has been very much ‘business as usual’ from 8.30am every morning.

Although, as the quote above says, I feel we need to come back better than business as usual this term.  It takes an extra boost of motivation, determination and integrity to show up online to Crew and daily lessons (especially on snow days!) and, even though we’ve had some very tired Crew members who’ve needed a virtual prod to get them fired-up on a morning, I’m really happy with the attendance and engagement from Crew across all lessons.

Crew Narrative Update

So, as we strive to be better than business as usual, we have spent quite a bit of time in Crew revisiting and refining our Crew Narratives, which now include students’ first Academic Progress grades of the school year.  You can read more about the work we’ve been doing around Crew Narratives in this previous blog post: A HOWL-ing end to the year

Crew are looking forward to discussing their Crew Narratives, academic progress and pledges in more detail with parents at the upcoming Student-Led Conferences.  More details and booking slots will be available soon.

Habits of Work and Learning

The latest HOWLs League Table has been released:

Coming second in all categories is certainly something to be celebrated but, as we pledge to be better than business as usual, we know we can all push ourselves to work harder, get smarter and be even more kind than we already are to maybe get us back to the top of the leader board.  Our work and reflections in our Crew Narrative will help us to achieve this goal.

Happiness check-ins

It hasn’t been all work and no play for Crew: I have introduced them to the delights of Blankety Blank (how could they not know what that was?!) and had a daily happiness check-in using our very own Happiness Calendar.

I am a big fan of Action for Happiness’ Monthly Action Calendars and have used them in Crew before but this month we decided to create our own.  Crew have come up with some absolutely smashing ideas, and we invite you all to use our calendar and commit to a daily happiness task yourselves:

And finally:

Happy New Year to you all 🙂

Stay Safe.

Crew Young – top the HOWLs leader board again!

This is the fourth occasion when I can proudly report that Crew Young top the E24 / Year 10 leader board following our Term 2 snapshot review of their Habits of Work and Learning! I was first able to recognise this achievement two years ago, when I noticed: “HOWLs about that? Crew Young hit the ground running” in January 2019.

Four months later I reflected on Crew Young’s HOWLs success in coming first place on the E24 and E25 leader board in May 2019, and then reiterated my pride in Crew Young at the end of that year.

Last term, in all three categories, they demonstrated the strength of their work hard, get smart and be kind HOWLs, and they will no doubt wish to reference this in their next Student-Led Conference, and improve further on their current ratings.

Great work from the Youngsters”!!!

Crew Young – charity donation

Today we received the certificate of appreciation, below, in respect of Crew Young’s recent donation to Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity – our chosen Crew charitable cause – in lieu of Secret Santa this year. Thanks, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.


Crew Young, compassion above all

To add to the plethora of appreciations made by E24 / Y10 students in our Community Meeting yesterday morning, is a very special appreciation that I would like to make to Crew Young. They decided that they would donate the money that they would have spent on Secret Santa this year to our Crew’s chosen charitable cause, which is Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, based in Sheffield.

Their kind donation of £40.00 in total will be used wisely by this very worthwhile charity, to offer some dignity, compassion and support to patients in South Yorkshire and beyond that suffer the physical and emotional consequences of this dreadful disease. It’s a cause that I regularly support, so I’m really grateful to my Crew for their generosity, and for thinking of others at this time of year.

Until a letter of appreciation can be compiled by the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity fundraising team, I’ve attached a receipt from their clerical staff in recognition of this gesture.

Thank you!




A HOWL-ing end to the year!

A quick Christmas message from me!

I’ve chosen this photo from Christmas Jumper day to be our Official Crew Christmas Card.

(Can I just point out that no students were harmed during the taking of this photo, despite the look on Ali’s face haha!!)

Before I update you all on what we’ve been up to in Crew, I just wanted to give my personal thanks to all my Crew Parents for your unwavering support of myself and the school.  I’ve really missed not being able to catch up with you face-to-face during SLCs or Presentations of Learning, but it’s so reassuring to know that whenever I phone you or send you an email, you’re always 100% behind what we do.

Thank you for being part of our Crew – I certainly couldn’t do this without you 🙂

I know Christmas is going to look and feel very different for a lot of us this year, but I’m sending you the sincerest of best wishes and hope you all have a restful break.

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A massive appreciation to our Y10 families who donated items and gifts for our Christmas Hampers.  Here are Silver DofE students Mackenzie and Thomas sorting out the boxes, which will be delivered to St John The Evangelist Church in Balby and The Trussell Trust at Christ Church next week.

We’re still accepting donations, but anything received after Monday 15th December will be donated to our school’s Kindness Boxes instead.

Thank you.

Mindful Monday meets some smashing snowflakes!

With thoughts turning to this festive time of year, and as we slowly wind up towards the end of term (next Friday 18th Nov) and dig out our Christmas jumpers for our charity event this Friday, Crew Young spent Mindful Monday  today making snowflakes, using resources and an instructional video provided by Miss Taylor courtesy of the National History Museum. Appreciations to Miss Taylor for her contribution to our Crew!

Crew Young on the steps to success!

A series of six at first perhaps seemingly disconnected words: thoughts, words, actions, habits, character and destiny should be read from bottom to top and not, as is convention, from top to bottom.

Just over three years ago Crew Young and their E24 / Y7 year group would join a weekly Community Meeting by sitting amongst their peers on the bottom row of steps in the heart of our school. As they then progressed through the year, and up the steps into Y8, they were encouraged to turn their thoughts into words, by making public apologies, appreciations and stands, and upwards and onto the Y9 step then their words became actions as they honoured their pledges, held each other to account, acted on kind, specific and helpful feedback, and strived not to be passengers in classes.

Due to Covid-19 we’ve not yet been able to meet as a whole school community, but if we were able to do so then Crew Young would now routinely occupy the fourth row of steps – habits – in our Community Meetings.

The focus of recent work in Academic Crew on “Thoughtful Thursdays” has been to support our students’ ownership of their first round of HOWLs “snapshot” data, and their analysis and interpretation of how their Habits of Work and Learning have been assessed by teaching and support staff. We began the process whilst in self-isolation, by completing a “HOWLs predictions” chart. This was then compared with students’ actual HOWLs grades data, and some of their reflections were captured on a Padlet wall.


The next steps will be to work collaboratively to collate student and Crew Leader pledges, that will then facilitate the creation of a Crew Narrative for success. As you can see, Crew Young averages out at around 75% OK or higher rating for work hard and get smart, and a really pleasing 81.8% rating for “be kind”. For Crew Young compassion remains above all.

We are now in a position to begin to ask: “what is the data telling us?” around the 27.3% rated concern in work hard and get smart, and to explore the correlation between Habits of Work and Learning and academic success, as we continue to grow in character and ultimately seek to fulfil our destiny. This process has begun……



Y10/E24 Christmas food hampers

Our Y10 Silver DofE students have been unable to undertake their usual charity fundraising activities this year, so they’ve decided to create food hampers for our local food banks.

We’re all very aware of the financial impact the various lockdown/tier 3 restrictions have had on our community, especially on those who have been furloughed or are self employed and unable to work.  So, in addition to the staple non-perishable items (cereals; tinned and packeted foods; tea/coffee/juice) we are specifically asking for donations of those ‘treat’ items that some families may have to go without this year.

For example:

  • nice biscuits
  • chocolates/selection boxes
  • Christmas crackers
  • mince pies, cakes, etc.
  • small gift sets (e.g. hand cream/deodorant)

If you are able to contribute, please can you send items in to be passed on to your child’s Crew Leader by Monday 15th December.

The hampers will be donated to St John The Evangelist Church in Balby and The Trussell Trust at Christ Church during the last week of term.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Kindness boxes:

The school are also collecting items for our kindness boxes, which we’ll be putting together to support families within our XP Trust. See this blog post for more information and, again, please donate if you can.

Thank you.


mens sana in corpore sano – Crew Young

Several centuries ago the Romans observed the connection between mental and physical health – “mens sana in corpore sano” translates from Latin as “a healthy mind in a healthy body” – and more recent research has shown that physical exercise can not only help arrest the decline in cognitive skills amongst older generations, but also boost memory, neurological networking, concentration and mood in younger learners.

Last Friday Crew Young and their E24/Year 10 group were given a choice of physical activities in Crew time, though limited by the need to maintain social distancing wherever possible, they were intended to promote team work and competition with their peers. Most opted for dodge-ball, whilst Lewis and Tom refined their basketball skills. Very impressive!!!!!