Year 9 will be going on fieldwork on 15th October as part of their ‘Welcome to the Machine’ expedition. We’ll be leaving school at 9:30AM and returning at 3:00PM, so this will not affect their drop off or pick up times, however, due to the pandemic, we ask that all students have guardian consent for them to attend.

We’ll be visiting Hatfield Moors, to collect species data and conduct scientific tests on the peatland during the day. We will be maintaining the bubbles, and wearing masks on the coaches to minimize risk of transmission, and we will be outside all day.

As part of the precautions, we ask that you fill in the following google forms, granting permission for students to attend the fieldwork on 15th October:

This outlines that if your child falls ill with covid symptoms on that day, they would need collecting from Hatfield Moors (about 40 minute drive from the school).

If you have any questions about the plans for the day or concerns, don’t hesitate to email me (

To Infinity, and Beyond!

This week, members of Crew Shackleton have truly gone above and beyond – helping staff without being asked, thinking ahead and showing kindness to others. They have demonstrated fantastic HOWLs (Work Hard, Get Smart and Be Kind). I am very proud to share some of the things they have been getting up to this week.

Thea Clarkson

Thea has been contributing in sessions left, right and centre. She has been highlighted for her engagement in sessions and for asking great questions – developing her knowledge and showing enthusiasm for the topic she is currently studying. This is great to hear. Fantastic work Thea!

Faith Farmery

As crew leader, I’ve not been there much this week due to an injury but Faith stepped up and took it upon herself to ensure the register was done, helping the staff who were covering the crew session – an important job that makes sure all of her crew are accounted for in case of a fire. Faith has also been brilliant in sessions, working very hard with her writing tasks and demonstrating great work ethic across the board. It’s lovely to see her doing so well. Well done Faith!

James Hudson

James has been forward thinking this week, ensuring he is ready for session – he has gone out of his way to email staff, asking them to help him with his work. James has also shown great maturity in session, as he got straight onto task without being asked more than once – he entered the room and began reading his book without being prompted. Great work James!

April Crawshaw

April has been helping staff by offering her assistance in sessions, either by clearing up or handing things out. Staff have really appreciated having her in sessions this week. April’s confidence has improved so much this year – and we’ve only been back a month! She has shown great resilience with her work and the results are showing. I can’t wait to see her confidence grow even more. Keep it up April!

These are just a few examples of Crew Shackleton going above and beyond, other members of the crew have also achieved great things this week. I’m so proud to be their crew leader. I can’t wait to see what they all do next week!

As Buzz Lightyear would say…


Crew Turing have made a start on the Duke of Edinburgh skills segment over the past couple of weeks. Each student is working towards their bronze award this year, comprising of a skill element, outdoor physical challenge as well as volunteer work. We’ve been completing the St John’s Ambulance first aid course, a skill that could make a difference to someone’s life in the future.

We started last week by learning about how to put people in the recovery position if they are unresponsive. Each crew member took it in turns in pairs to practice putting another crew members in the recovery position, while others gave kind, specific and helpful feedback. This week we’ve been working on what to do if someone is having an asthma attack.

Another highlight that I’d like to mention was the lovely art session I covered this week just passed. It was nice to see my crew members working hard towards their other subjects and improving their drawing skills. Above is Sami, Lewis, Reece and Lexi working on their graduated and blended colour work.

A couple of weeks back we collectively read this article in the Guardian, titled ‘At 31, I have just weeks to live. Here’s what I want to pass on‘. I was struck by the quality of reflection after reading Elliot Dallen’s life lessons, particularly this one on gratitude.

The importance of gratitude. During my worst moments – the shock of cancer diagnosis, the mental lows and debilitating symptoms of chemotherapy – it was difficult to picture any future moments of joy, closeness or love. Even so, at those times I found comfort in remembering what I have: an amazing family, the friends I’ve made and times I’ve shared with them, the privilege of the life I’ve had.

We did a whiparound on all the little things we were grateful for that we might not have had access to due to covid. Some spoke of missing hanging about with their friends at the weekend, missing gymnastics and other sporting training, or missing a hug from their grandparents. Over the past week, I’ve asked my crew to come up with some of the things they’re grateful for, here are some snippets:

Finally, I just want to congratulate my historically not-so-sporty crew on being announced as 2019-2020 Year 9 winners of the sporting competitions! Huge appreciations to Torran, Mollie and Lexi for putting on sport-related crew sessions for us to help improve stamina and skill prior to the matches. I have a feeling 2021 could be the year we don’t come last in every sport-related event….

Improving Our Skills!

Crew have started their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. This is a really exciting opportunity and experience for year 9 and will help to develop their skills, character and relationships. The expedition is not until next year but I’m sure when we start it will remind us of our time in Wales when we walked with our massive rucksacks for a night of wild camping – I’m sure we’ll have just as much fun but hopefully it’ll be a little easier this time as they’ve grown so much!

But, for now we have started our Skills section journey – students are undertaking a 12 week course to learn all about how to deal with different first aid scenarios. This week was focused on how to cope in an emergency, the steps to take and how to put people in the recovery position. These are valuable skills that are needed not only to complete DofE but will potentially help students in the future if they ever need to give first aid. As you can see, the level of focus was fantastic in this session as students worked independently using their booklets, videos and specific websites to understand and develop their knowledge of the correct way to give First Aid.

Year 9 E25 Extended Study STEAM

Students in E25 Explorer and E25 Pioneer have three pieces of extended study, all due for Monday 28th Sep.

  1. Redraft answers to questions on adaptations in their Mastery eBooklet.
  2. Answer the comprehension and application questions on extremophiles, plant and animal adaptations in their Mastery eBooklet.
  3. Students have been set either: revision of keywords in Quizlet OR experimenting with a simulation demonstrating natural selection.

Full details can be found on Google Classroom.

Welcome Back Crew!


Crew have been fantastic in the way they have conducted themselves around school and in their lessons since returning from lockdown/summer. I’m proud of how they have matured, grown in their characters and come back stronger!

I was so happy when we all returned on our Crew Day on the first day back to discuss our experiences over summer and lockdown, have a catch up and explore the impacts the pandemic has had on our lives and society.

Since then it’s been full on back into lessons. It’s lovely to see Crew building relationships with their new teachers and hearing all the exciting expeditions that they are starting. From what I’ve seen and heard they have been working so hard during their sessions and have really stepped it up now they’re in Year 9 – I can’t wait for all the exciting new experiences they will have this year, from Passage, to Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and their GCSE choice option. We’ve got a great year ahead!

Here they all are looking so much more grown up!  (and thrilled at having their photo taken)


Glad to be back

I was absolutely delighted to welcome my crew back this week after a long few months of distance learning and the summer break. The change in all thirteen members of my crew that I’ve picked up on over the past week and a half has been astonishing – and I don’t just mean the fact that they’ve all shot up and I don’t recognise their broken voices!

We started back a couple of weeks ago sharing what we’d been up to during the break and making pledges about the sort of person we want to be in year 9. This is a really important year with passage and the Duke of Edinburgh award, so getting our priorities right in these first few weeks is vital. Everyone is excited about doing the outdoor element of the DofE award, as am I. We’ll be working on their first aid skills in coming Friday crew sessions.

Academic crew

We held our first academic crew of the year on Thursday this week. We fetched all workbooks from the short-lived year 8 year, and had a flick through them to discuss what we felt proud of and what elements of our work we wished to improve. There were a few comments about craftmanship and quality that we will be holding each other to account over the coming months, and a few people who noticed that they’d not put as much detail as others in certain activities, so pledged to be productive in their session time.

On the whole I was incredibly impressed with the quality of their work, and am excited to see what they’re capable of producing this year.

Notting Hill Carnival – Why’s it important we celebrate different cultures?

I’d like to appreciate Mrs Hannam for sharing the work she did on Notting Hill Carnival that should have taken place over the August bank holiday weekend. We learnt about the history of Carnival and discussed why these sorts of events and customs we celebrate that are similar. We also discussed historical issues surrounding the press and police involvement in Carnival celebrations, and how that may have influenced people’s perceptions of the celebration.

Birthday celebrations!

We ended crew this Friday with cake and co-op activities, to celebrate the many crew members birthdays that are in late August / early September. We reflected on the arrival of a new year 7 cohort and comparing it with our crew in year 7. We laughed about how sweet all the year 7 friendship-based appreciations were in the community meeting and how during the first few community meetings, I had to limit them to one appreciation each. If only they were still so keen!

It feels strange ending rounding the school year off with a google hangout before we break up for summer, but it’s been a very strange year for my crew. Having spent the last few months apart, aside from hangouts, I am really looking forward to my crew returning in September so we can properly celebrate the incredible work that they have completed in lockdown.

I know that technically we’re not tracking HOWLs this term, but if we were there would definitely be a few members of my crew that would be on track for a 4.5 for their ‘work hard’ habit. Shout out to Lewis and Reece for maintaining a work rate above 95%, and a huge congratulations to Mollie and Dylan for reaching 100% across their core subjects. I am so proud of how hard you’ve worked, and am excited to see this effort you’ve put into lockdown pay off in y11.

For this week’s crew session, I’d like to have a think about what my crew would like to achieve in Y9. I have recently been organising my google drive and came across this picture of my crew tackling their first mountain. Year nine is a monumental year, my crew will be starting their Duke of Edinburgh award, as well as selecting their option subject, and completing passage to prove their readiness for their GCSE exams. I’m going to be discussing what they might like to take for common mission, as well as asking they come up with a pledge to help them tackle the many mountains that this upcoming academic year will present.

Finally, academic crew stuff aside, I look forward to checking in on hangout this week with my crew and wishing them a lovely summer break. I hope they are able to enjoy some of the great outdoors, like we did in Wales, and reflect on how much they’ve grown as people since our first crew activity, pictured above.

I guess I’m checked out!

Over the past fortnight, I have been meeting on hangouts with my crew to discuss their academic progress, their take on what’s going on in the news, and to check in with what they’ve been up to!

Black lives matter

Last week, I spoke with Alice, Dylan and Lewis about the protests that had been taking place and their purpose. We spoke about the blackout Tuesday on social media, and whether or not posting a black square to social media was an effective way of campaigning for equality or whether there were more impactful ways of doing so. It was lovely to hear how thoughtfully they considered the issue and it was nice to gain their insights on the matter.

Working hard in lockdown

I’m immensely proud of the work record that members of my crew have maintained over these first 3 weeks back after the break. Reece, Lewis, Dylan Mollie and Abi have managed to keep their hand in rate above 90%, which is really impressive!

Another highlight worth mentioning, is the graft that Torran, Callum and Lexi have put in this week with academic crew check-ins. I’ve loved discussing electron configuration and getting my head around ions and atoms.

Green thumb

I’ve also loved seeing the work Torran has been putting into their allotment while we’ve been in lockdown, many members of my crew have been helping out in their gardens (including myself!) He’s been enjoying getting to train with his football team again, similarly Lexi was able to do a gymnastics training in an empty car park!

Last week, we also had a fun crew session where crew members had to draw a Pixar movie that we had to each guess, here’s Charlotte’s example of ‘Inside out’. Congrats to Dylan who won the game. I have wished my crew a nice long weekend (due to staff days) and told them to go and get some sun this weekend!