Community Service – with great gusto!

This week was Crew Young’s turn to perform routine community service around the school site sporting colourful day-glow tabards and gloves, wielding litter pickers and plastic sacks. Needless to say with the strength of the wind this proved a very challenging task in itself, for no sooner having deposited a stray piece of litter in the plastic sack was it turned inside out or blown open and the contents left to blow away in the wind. Who would have thought that litter picking could be so much fun?

Still, it gave us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves, let off a little steam, and blow away a few metaphorical cobwebs of our own during a really challenging week of Passage Presentations. So far I have been hugely impressed with how our Crew have risen to the challenge, the sense of purpose with which they have approached this crucial entry into the next phase of their education. I am proud of each and every one of them. Well done, Youngsters!

Crew Young reaching out to Crew Rowling

This has been a short, but extremely positive week for Crew Young. Following my pride in no fewer than four successful Passage Presentations so far – from Summer, George, Adam and Maclaren – Crew Young returned to their DofE Volunteering role this morning, as they listened to members of Crew Rowling reading aloud, or practising their SLC presentations.

Crew Young were reminded to give their younger reading buddies some non-verbal feedback and encouragement, mindful of exhibiting positive body language such as maintaining eye contact, nodding and smiles, as well as checking for comprehension of the reading material. Awareness of body language and its effect on the audience is one of the four core aspects against which Passage standards are assessed.

Crew Rowling read with confidence and fluency and some seized the opportunity to practise their Student-Led Conference preparation with their more senior counterparts.

Well done everybody!

Crew Young and Crew Mercury work together.

During crew this morning Crew Young and Crew Mercury came together for student led conference prep (SLC). Students from Year 9 modelled what an SLC looks and sounds like. It was fantastic to see how our Year 9 responded to the challenge, finding out only 5 minutes before our Year 7s arrived.

In the closing circle students spoke about their experience, discussing the quality of questions asked and the respect shown by Year 7 during the presentations. Crew Mercury gave great critique to Crew Young about the quality of the presentations and thanked them for helping out. We are CREW ! A massive well done to all involved this morning.

Crew Young explore rites of passage

In an attempt to explore the social, moral, spiritual and cultural reasons behind rites of passage practised by communities throughout the world, we spent Crew time this morning studying the Apache and Fulani tribes. It quickly became apparent that Crew Young were largely ignorant of the term “rites of passage” and its significance in E24 Year 9 at XP East.

We watched Dashina, of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, prepare for the trials of womanhood, by enduring four days of ancient tests of strength, endurance, and character before taking her Apache woman name of “morning star feather”. We saw two adolescent boys of the Fulani tribes of Benin, Western Africa engaged in a whipping trial to prove their strength and courage before tribal elders.

We then considered the similarities and differences between these two cultures and made a connection between these rites of passage, and “passage” that is being planned for this term.

It was the French anthropologist and folklorist Arnold van Gennep, who coined the phrase rites of passage in 1909. In 2020 at XP East our students’ preparations for a more academic “passage” are well under way.


Above all, compassion, Crew Young

It’s fair to say that this week Crew Young have needed reminding of why the XP Trust sign: “above all, compassion” greets them as they enter the school premises. We decided to re-boot our concept of Crew as a result of recent issues involving relationships within our group. Starting with a focus on our character traits – courage, integrity, craftsmanship and quality, respect and compassion – we considered where students have exhibited these in sessions and around school, and, remaining with the latter we contemplated the guiding question: “what do we want compassion to look, feel and sound like in Crew?”.

Following a silent conversation protocol, we collated our ideas:

  • using kind words and empathy
  • being sensitive towards others
  • being able to feel comfortable in Crew
  • feeling that everyone is there for each other
  • supporting others when they need it, e.g. Crew can support someone subject to reflection

This is a work in progress, and it’s likely that we’ll need to return to this character trait and develop our ideas further after the Christmas break, but at least for now we’ve started the ball rolling.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

What a superb student-led Crew session!

This morning Ella kindly led a Crew session by sharing her experiences, skills and knowledge about being a St. John’s Ambulance Cadet. Although she might have received some sideways looks as she arrived in her official full green overalls, the quality of reflection, delivery of her presentation, and the way that she checked Crew Young’s understanding of her voluntary work with this organisation were all exemplary.

In great appreciation to Ella for volunteering to deliver her session, and to Crew Young for being a quality audience, showing respect, and for their intelligent and thoughtful questions about Ella’s work afterwards.

What a lass!

Crew Young begin their DofE gardening skills

Last Friday Crew Young started their bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award skill section with a spot of gardening – or rather seed propagation. The sowing of seeds and harvesting of crops is rather limited by the time of year, although we still aim to grow cress, parsley, basil and oregano. One of these plants, we learned, has strong medicinal uses in some parts of the world….and was even used as a cure for snake bites!

Crew Young’s fieldwork visit to Alton Towers

Crew Young recently joined the other E24/Y9 Crews on a fieldwork visit to Alton Towers, where they learned how forces and energy transfers apply on all of the iconic theme park rides. Following expert tuition in the physics of movement and motion taught in the on-site classroom, they then put the theory into practice on rides such as Oblivion and Smiler.

At XP East we continue to celebrate our students’ individual successes and achievements, and encourage the positive contributions that they routinely make to the wider community. In doing so, they demonstrate compassion, integrity, respect, courage and craftsmanship and quality often beyond their years.

I am delighted to hear that Ella has recently passed all of her assessments and is now a fully-fledged St John’s Ambulance Cadet.

A butcher, a baker, a candle-stick maker?

None of these noble professions made it to Crew Young’s current aspirations list when we explored future career pathways in Crew last week. Having studied how a year 11 / X22 student prepared a letter of introduction for passage, annotating her script with our own notices and wonders for follow-up work this week, we were encouraged to research our own career interests. This developed work covered during immersion week, when our Crew created an online profile on the startprofile portal.

Crew Young were most interested in the academic routes into their current career ambitions, starting salary and opportunities for promotion. Lewis now knows the average national starting salary, Adam is aware of what a level 1 qualification means, and Ella appreciates that a future in animal welfare could cover multiple occupations.

Amongst our current interests are careers in: animal welfare, railway engineering, forensic science / criminology, police dog-handling, architecture, airline pilot and the fashion industry.

Aim high, Crew Young, aim high!