Crew Finch mock-ing about

Mock exams are in full flow and Crew Finch have been working so very hard!  We’ve been trying to keep our Crew time quite relaxed this week but it has, of course, been dominated with exam talk – be it comparing answers or discussing how easy or hard the previous days exams were.

We’re always up for finding ways to make revision a bit more fun, so today we played History Hangman.  The usual rules applied but with an added twist: whoever chose the word had to end their turn by explaining how that word or phrase linked in with either of our two History exam topics: The People’s Health or Living under Nazi Rule.

Top Marks to Kenzie for ‘hanging’ the rest of Crew with his choice, John Snow.  Kenzie then went on to remind us that Snow was responsible for identifying the water source responsible for a major Cholera outbreak in Broad Street in 1854, by plotting cases on a map of the area.  The water pump was removed and cholera infections immediately dropped.

Crew have been absolutely amazing throughout this first week of mock exams.  This is their first experience of sitting in an exam room and having to work under exam conditions. Having to stay still and quiet for up to 1 hour 45 minutes at a time is probably more difficult for them to manage than the exam content itself!  As ever, they are making me proud 🙂

Here’s an update on Crew Finch’s 500 Mile Challenge for Firefly.

We have pledged to walk, run or cycle a total of 500 miles over a 3 month period – find out more in this previous blog post.

We’ve totted up the miles for March and I’m delighted to announce that we have already smashed our target with a combined total of 509 miles done in the first month of the challenge!  

Massive shout out to Noah for clocking up the most mileage, by walking and cycling a total of 167 miles – that’s the same distance from Doncaster to Cardiff (although Noah stuck to walking around the lake and woods near his house 😉 )

When we first spoke about setting the mileage target we thought 500 miles was going to be tough for us.  But Crew have really pulled together here to reach the target and to raise much needed funds for our Crew charity, Firefly.

Even though we’ve reached our target, we’re going to carry on walking until the end of the challenge to see just how far we can go together.

Thank you for the donations so far.  We are still a little way off our £100 target so all donations are gratefully received and will really push us to put a few extra miles in.

Here’s the link to our Virgin Money Fundraising Page.

Thank you 🙂

Reconnecting in Crew

I’ve lost count of the number of ‘Crew Finch are back!’ style blogs I’ve written, but here’s another one!  We are (finally) back together in Crew for – can you believe it – the first time in 2021!! Fingers crossed that this time, we are back for good…

What’s struck me this time round are the good vibes coming from Crew who seem genuinely happy to be back at school with their friends and are even, dare I say it, enjoying being back in ‘proper’ lessons.  Although I can’t praise the quality of our online provision and our students’ engagement during these challenging times enough, there’s nothing like the real thing!

Understandably, some of our Crew were anxious about being back in school so we spent the first couple of days together just doing what we do best: pulling together to help alleviate some of those worries, giving each other a safe space in Crew to talk about how we feel about things (with no judgement) and just generally helping each other settle back in to our new school routine.

We also reconnected with some speed dating! After not seeing each other for over 3 months, it was good to spend 1:1 time with everyone, finding out more about what makes us tick by asking deep, probing, philosophical questions 😉 such as:

  • If you had a warning label… what would it say? (most were spot on!)
  • Who is the most intelligent person you know (Kobe was outraged that nobody named him!)
  • What’s your favourite fizzy drink? (Dr Pepper caused some controversy…)
  • Would you rather be really good looking, or super intelligent? (always a tough one to answer, that one!)

I won’t be looking at some of our Crew in quite the same way after the answers they gave to some of the questions!

I enjoyed taking a step back and just watching them all interact during this speed dating activity.  It made me smile to see them laughing with – or, in some cases, at –  each other and I feel reassured that, whatever life throws at us, we always find our way back to Crew.

Crew Charity Challenge

Crew Finch are embarking on an epic virtual journey to raise funds for our Crew Charity, Firefly Cancer Awareness and Support.  This physical activity will also go towards the DofE Silver Award.

We are aiming to walk, run or cycle a collective total of 500 miles over the next 3 months (1st March – 30th June.)

Firefly provide free community transport for Cancer patients in our area to and from hospital for treatment and appointments. It is a vital service for these patients.

Firefly are currently operating 10 vehicles. I have spoken to Ian (Chewie) from the charity who tells me that they will use the money raised to put towards the cost of keeping these vehicles on the road. It currently costs the charity approx £1100 a week in fuel costs alone! They will also use the money to buy essential PPE for the volunteer drivers.

All charities have been hit really hard during the pandemic as they can’t rely on their usual fundraising activities so we would really, really appreciate it if you would contribute what you can to this wonderful cause.

Every little helps and it will motivate us all to go that extra mile (or 500!)

Here’s our fundraising link (donations go direct to Firefly):

Crew Finch’s Virgin Money Giving Page

You can read more about Firefly Cancer Awareness and Support here:

Firefly Cancer Awareness and Support

Big Thanks from Crew Finch x


E24 Community Meeting- Week 6


We are entering into the 7th week of online learning at XPE- with seemingly, no end in sight, and so our community meeting was focused around strategies to beat the screen fatigue, and a challenge to to get us all out of the house this weekend!

We started off with a brilliant check in of superhero names, based on dates of birth- some absolute, moving then onto apologies, appreciation and stands. Some fantastic work going on- as shown by the appreciation from staff and students within crew Churchill, for the work around student led crew sessions.

See all E24 apologies, appreciations and Stands made below on the Padlet

Made with Padlet

Scan this QR code or see applications here

Community meeting Photography Challenge

To encourage us as staff and students to get time away from the screen, a challenge was set for students to over the weekend take photos whilst out on walks out of the house, to be entered in the following categories, entries must be original, and be taken over the weekend whilst out of the house- see some of the entries posted on the challenge by students in E24-
Voting for category winners will take place in week 7 community meeting.

The categories…

1) Architecture

2) Near and Far

3) Nature

4) Food

5) Frozen

6) Technology


E24 Original photos, submitted by Alfie C, Chloe T, Summer, Keisha 

Crew Finch: my Valentines message to you!

Dear Crew Finch,

After almost a year of bubbles, online learning, lockdowns, tiers – and tears! – I just wanted to send you this Valentine’s Day message to tell you how much I admire you all.

I admire your resilience.

I admire your courage.

I admire your motivation.

I admire your positivity.

I admire your humour (or at least humouring me!)

I admire your hard work.

I admire your compassion.

I admire that you are still working hard to become the best versions of yourselves.

I admire you for checking in every morning in Crew.

I admire that even through the toughest of times (or should that be especially through the toughest of times?) we are, first and foremost, Crew.

So, this Valentine’s Day I want you to take some time to send some love to the most important person in your life: YOU.

Love yourself. Appreciate yourself. Do something that makes you feel good. 

(You definitely deserve chocolates and flowers, too.)

Because, as me and my mate RuPaul always like to remind you:






Every day at (online) school matters

This week has seen the start of Crew Finch’s Y10 Student-Led Conferences.  A massive well done to this week’s presenters – Ali, Noah, Mackenzie, Tom and Bryn – for the hard work and integrity evident in all their presentations, which went ahead online with only a few technical glitches!  I am one very proud Crew Leader this week (even more so than usual!)

I’m looking forward to more of the same next week.  I did email all Crew parents last week with the link to the booking form so if you haven’t already booked, please can I politely remind you to do so before next Thursday (11th Feb) – just email me if you’ve lost the link.

The first SLCs of Y10 are also the first time since the Y9 Passage Presentations that students have had chance to reflect on their academic progress and character growth, as well as presenting examples of their beautiful work. This process has been made easier by the information analysis sheets provided by Mr Allen (thank you, Sir!) They have really made our discussions and reflections much more meaningful, and have helped Crew to come up with some really pertinent pledges and targets.

(ICYMI: I spoke about how we’re using the information analysis and crew narratives to help us frame our pledges for the academic year in this post.)

There has been a new addition to our SLC agenda this time round.  Crew have been asked to reflect on their work from home experience, including their online attendance, engagement and  productivity.  This has meant that we have had some difficult conversations (with more to come during next week’s conferences) but Crew’s self-awareness and honesty around the challenges they are overcoming have been truly humbling.  Although I am a little bit heartbroken that one of my Crew thinks that the lockdown period will cause a ‘hinderance’ to his future prospects, despite his absolutely outstanding work ethic and attendance at every single session…

On the subject of attendance…

I’m disappointed to report that I’ve only had 50% attendance at Crew sessions this week.  Even more disappointing is the fact that our Crew also have the lowest attendance and engagement levels in online sessions across the whole year group.

However, I don’t want this to overshadow how immensely proud I am of those who are turning up on time to Crew and daily lessons every single day: Tom, Thomas, Ali, Noah, Dakota and Kobe deserve a special mention and we’ll have to think about how we can celebrate your lockdown learning achievements once we’re back in school 🙂

So, I’ll just let Noah have the final word with his perfect explanation of why every day at school matters:

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.

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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