We are Crew!

After the exceptionally challenging year that our premises cleaner, Bev, has had in terms of helping to keep us safe through deep cleaning, regular wipe-downs of high contact points in school, and routinely replenishing hand and surface sanitisers, we were only too happy to lend her a hand to move products delivered to a local stockist yesterday.

We appreciate your efforts, Bev, for we are Crew!

 

We are super excited to be taking C24 out on fieldwork on Thursday, 1st July.

We have arranged to take the whole of Y10 to Shrewsbury Prison, to support our final expedition of the year: Karma Police – have we got justice right?

Shrewsbury Prison was decommissioned in 2013 and now provides an “interactive prison experience” for visitors. It was also recently used as the location for BBC’s drama ‘Time’, which gave a harrowing picture of prison life.

We’re not giving too much away about the activities we’ve got planned for students, but we promise not to leave any of them locked in the cells 😉

We are booked in at the prison at 9.30am meaning that we do have to set off between 6.45am-7am at the latest.  If this is a problem for anyone, please let your Crew Leader know as soon as possible.

We will be leaving the prison at approx 1pm, so hope to be back at school between 3.30-4pm, traffic dependant. We will update socials on the day.

Please make sure students wear comfortable clothes and take a jacket as it can become cold in the prison and sensible shoes. Students will also need a packed lunch and sufficient water for the day. Please don’t pack any products containing nuts in packed lunches as we are a nut-free school!  If your child is in receipt of free school meals, a packed lunch will be provided for them.

Some people may think that writing is merely putting words onto paper.

And in a way, that’s true. But to some, writing is so much more. Take a minute to really think about it; how much of our human expression is through our language? Our texts, our songs, our blogs, even things as small as our Instagram captions. So much of our lives are dedicated to these funny little letters and the things they create. When we owe so much to so little, can it really be said that words are just words?

It was this thought process that first inspired me to try my hand at writing. It began small – I’d scribble excerpts onto the back of my school homework, nonsensical pieces of writing based on imaginary places I’d made inside my young mind. At this time, as young as seven or eight, I dreamed of becoming an author. Of course, with age, you begin to realise that certain career prospects don’t hold up financially. That doesn’t mean the passion died along with the dream.

I continued to write, and continued to read, so enamoured by these vibrant words and the pictures they created. I wanted someone, one day, to read my work and feel the same way I had as a child opening a good book for the first time. I didn’t just want to create a picture with my words; I wanted to create a masterpiece.

It was only towards the beginning of this year I actually began to reach my goal.

At the beginning of 2021, with lockdown confining me to my room for hours on end, I picked up a laptop for what felt like the first time in eons; life had been hectic, and it had been a long time since I’d taken the time to write. I began to plan an entirely self-written, self-illustrated, self-published novel. The initial plan was seven chapters, each of around seven thousand words. This quickly became eleven chapters, with varying chapter length, and a strategically-hidden lesson of morality between the worded lines. I designed characters, I created Kingdoms, I wrote conflict into existence. And the best part? I discovered the beauty of words once more.

The novel is called SONDER, a word which is described as “the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.”

At four chapters and fifteen thousand words so far, alongside a live reading audience of (currently) 3,381, the novel itself is going places I couldn’t have even dreamed.

It follows the story of an orphan pick-pocket, forced to join the War effort after becoming entangled with an Imperial Officer. A story of love, of loss, and of the constant transitory state of our small world, I aim not only to prove that the smallest of things matter, but that life is what we make of it, not what it is perceived to be.

The cover was entirely illustrated by me using Ibis Paint X and PicsArt, and the entire novel so far has been written on a singular Google Document. I attached a small excerpt from the book, a brief introduction of the King of the Empire, though this alone does not truly give justice to the entire plot line . Someday soon, I will hopefully finish this novel, and be able to proudly present it here. But until then, I’ll continue to write like a madman, just as you should continue to remember the beauty of language and the weight of your words:

“Golden wings and a golden crown. Those were two things of which the Kingdom would grow to associate their King with. However, in his own eyes, Philip was worthy of neither of those.

The mellow ruler heaved a held-sigh, his aged skin crawling with a sense of perturbation. It had been fifteen years since the death of his late Father, after which he was crowned King within the week, and seven years since the death of his late wife. He knew the glacial touch of loss better than most. He’d shed few tears, and not once had he grieved to the extent of which he wished to. For  he was the King of an Empire, and Kings do not cry.

Kings do not cry, but they do bleed. Perhaps that was what unnerved him the most. After a lifetime of loss, was Death the true beast he was afraid to face? He could face the most highly-trained guards, he could face the notorious Corrival Empire cutting down both his people and country, but it was in the face of Death that he hesitated? Was that truly all that it took? Philip did not know himself and he did not care to find out. He straightened his crown.

He made his way up to his bedchambers, his wings a trail of vibrant aureate in his wake. His arrival was astute, akin to the setting sun, or the perpetual closure of his tired eyes. The weary King made way for his billet, pausing as he caught sight of himself in the mirror at the far end of the room.

Golden wings and a golden. Those were two things which he’d be known for long after his death. The craven King only hoped he’d live long enough to change that”.

Until next time! (Summer C, Crew Young)

Dom’s now a Second Dan!

We’re thrilled to hear that Dom has recently reached black belt Second Dan standard in martial arts, despite the significant limitations on training due to Covid. This is an AWESOME achievement, of which Dominic and his family and martial arts club should be justly proud!

I have never met anyone other than Dom who has reached black belt Second Dan, and this proves just what can be achieved when you work hard enough to reach your goals! Well done, Dominic!!

Anatomy of an examination room

As I sit here reflecting on the past week, Crew Young are in the middle of their last mock exam sitting a science paper based on hydrocarbons and electromagnetism. It’s been a very challenging week for Crew, and at times they’ve had to dig deep and support each other; whether it be through the vagaries of a GCSE Spanish speaking exam, the intricacies of communicable and non-communicable diseases, or the concept of living under Nazi rule, they’ve coped with everything in their stride and with consistently secure HOWLs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here they are inputting their penultimate self-assessed HOWLs grades, prepared to be cold-called and to share work that substantiates the grades that they are entering. A busy last week as we “wind up”, rather than “wind down” towards the end of their term. Well done Crew Young – you make me very proud of you all!

Crew Young…..getting to know you (again)!

Would you rather be really good looking, or super intelligent?“, “What is your ‘go to’ tea?“, and “What song always gets you on the dance floor?”. These were some of the prompt questions that Crew Young members fired at each other, in a 2 minute “blind date”, conducted in a Covid-friendly way recently. The aim was for our crew to reacquaint themselves with each other and strengthen the bonds that bind us together after such a long period of remote learning.

Today saw the day that we’ve all been looking forward to for so long – the full return to school of all our students. Like their peers, Crew Young were promptly tested and then they were able to join other E24 students in a Community Meeting and normal afternoon sessions. WELCOME BACK, YOUNGSTERS!

Crew Young – Beating Screen Fatigue!

As we reach the end of a very long and challenging term, we are increasingly seeking to beat “screen fatigue” in readiness for a full digital detox over the two week holiday. I’ve recently asked our Youngsters to share their photos as to how they spend the last 45 minutes of each day, away from the screen, being mindful of their wellbeing.

Yesterday, some students in Crew Young played extreme scrabble in pairs, against others and I’d like to appreciate Adam M and Amber from X24 for their winning partnership!

Louie decided to cook some brownies!

George took 2 hours to build a card tower FOUR STOREYS HIGH! Neat artwork too, George!

Keisha prefers to hone her sketching skills…..

……whilst Maclaren works on his common mission subject (computer coding)

Lewis continues to work on HIIT (High Impact Interval Training) on his indoors Peloton bike set-up…..

……whilst his Crew Leader (a bit of a has-bean!) trains for the next Gira Mondial. Wheelie hard to get a sponsorship deal with Heinz………..

Crew Young’s SLCs – a window into our world

Student-led conferences require and empower students to take the lead role in communicating their learning. The practice helps to build dispositions and skills—such as adapting speech to the appropriate context and organising and presenting information—that will be vital for students in college and careers…..” (Ron Berger).

When Ron Berger captured in his definitive EL book “Leaders of their Own Learning” the essence of Student-Led Conferences, he could not possibly have foreseen the challenges of delivering these remotely during a global pandemic!

I’ve been very pleased with and proud of Crew Young recently as they prepared and delivered their latest round of SLCs, this time to a remote audience, selecting examples of work that they were proud of, showed their mastery or indeed require improvement, all without physically having them to touch in their hands.

The depth of their reflections on their learning, the correlations that they articulated between their attendance, their HOWLs, and their Assessment Point 1 data, all self-assessed against their Minimum Expectations were thoughtful and well-considered throughout. I particularly like how Isabel invited and then acted on Eleanor’s critique to improve her first draft before then presenting this to her audience, and how both Aaron and Dominic chose to include photos of their HOWLs trackers to evidence demonstrable improvements in working hard and getting smart over time.

I would like to appreciate students and their parents for arriving promptly to these events, and especially those students who kindly agreed to having their SLCs video-recorded for critique and modelling purposes. Crew Young have consented to sharing some of their work, showcased in their SLCs, below.