Crew Parkinson’s week looked like this:

Monday – weekend check-ins, I love hearing what Crew gets up to during their weekends and they always have plenty of questions to ask each other about their activities

Tuesday – we did our Star reader test. Reading is so important for increasing vocabulary and academic progress, so as part of the accelerated reader programme, students complete a Star reader test multiple times a year to measure their reading age and progress. The next time we have an accelerated reader crew session we agreed we will begin a book recommendation chart to share great books and help crew find others which may be of interest.

Wednesday – students who were helping out at the open evening had a chance to speak to the member of staff they were helping out to organise what they would be doing that night – I’d like to appreciate all members of Crew Parkinson who helped out on either or both of the evenings, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Thursday – this was our activity day so we had a session on team building, students were in groups of 4 and had to build the tallest free-standing tower made of balloons and sellotape. The winning team was Shanna, Dylan, Rosie and Kris thanks to their speedy balloon blowing up skills and great design. Here’s how they did:

Friday – We looked at the praise sheet and poor conduct sheet this session. I’m thrilled to have 10 out of the 12 crew members on the praise sheet, many multiple times and across a variety of sessions. However, we also discussed the entries on the poor conduct form where 6 members of crew unfortunately appeared. We discussed how this made us feel and shared our thoughts on the reasons that these members were on – when we look next week we hope there will be no members of Crew Parkinson added to the poor conduct sheet!

But to end on a positive, here are some of the praise sheet entries for Crew Parkinson:

Callum : “Made a comment in Hums today about the work being hard, but was trying all throughout and made some great contributions! Keep up the hard work!”

Aaron : “Increased contribution in Hums – great to see Aaron putting his hand up more and offering answers, keep it up!”

Kristian : “A series of excellent maths lessons, mega impressed with Kristian’s focus and how he works with those around him – keep it up!”

Ava : “Consistently working hard in class [science], quick to start tasks and giving detailed answers.”

Bob : “Bob showed great resilience when learning an 8 Beat on the drums during Music.”

Lacey : “Lacey has been concentrating really well and working hard in her art lessons.”


Crew Turing’s 2019 Challenge

This year started on such a positive for Crew Turing after ending the year on a high. We are seeking to further our self improvement this coming year as my crew recognise they are no longer the youngest in the school and will be stepping up to the plate as role models for E26.

One student who had fantastic news to share with crew who I’d really like to spotlight in this post is our very own Lexi, who has made impressive amounts of progress in her gymnastics training since starting at XP East a year ago. She has continuously moved up into more advanced classes and is competing regularly. Check out her skills:

I love it when members of crew bring in items to crew for us to celebrate! Another member of crew whose achievements we’ve loved hearing about is Torran, who is currently top of his football league and who has scored in the past few games.

One item we really reflected on rebooting was reading now we’re all back from summer. It was heartening to hear that so many of my crew had enjoyed books over the holidays – Jessie deserves a special mention for reading 8+ during the break! We know there is a correlation between grades and reading, but more importantly, it’s so important to invest time in reading for your wellbeing.


My crew stated that they want to up the stakes for the reading challenge this year. I hoped all 13 of us would read 100 books be December 2019 – I personally have read 16 so far! They suggested various ideas for prizes or competitions for those who were reading. I have taken their ideas into account and have ordered these badges. Anyone in my crew, or beyond for that matter, who reads 8 books between now and Christmas break will earn themselves a Lifetime Book Lovers Club Member enamel pin. I will also take the book length into consideration, but I’d love to hand a few of these out come December time.

To track our progress some members of my crew have created goodreads accounts, where they can review books they have read, track their reading progress, and set themselves targets. This website is also fantastic for book recommendations, lots of students were able to find curated lists of books they’d like based on genres they enjoyed.

I’ve ordered 5 badges for now, let’s see how many I’ll be handing out!

What makes Crew Parkinson happy?

Each member of crew brought either a photo or an item in which either makes, or represents, something that makes them happy.

It was lovely hearing about the hobbies that Crew does. For example, Callum and his fishing to Marcus and Fortnite to Florence, Rosie and Dylan and their various types of dancing. There were also lots of lovely photos of crew member’s dogs – I always love a cute dog photo!

It was great for crew to share their interests and hobbies with the everyone, why they enjoy them and how it makes them feel. It acted as a great starting point which sparked some very interesting conversations!

Star Bakers in Crew Parkinson!

Last week we had a baking crew session, making chocolate muffins. Crew worked really well as a team, dividing out the different roles of mixing, measuring and washing up to name a few. They helped each other throughout with everyone getting stuck in and having no passengers. Eating muffins was a lovely addition to our weekly Monday check-in  – shame we can’t do it every week!

Crew Parkinson’s Fantastic First Week Back!

Wow! What a week. It was absolutely brilliant to be reunited with Crew after the Summer holidays. The guiding question for this week was ‘how crew are you?’

Here’s a summary of our wonderful week:

Tuesday: we had a check in where we shared the highlights of our summer holidays. It was wonderful to hear about the holidays, days out and family visits the crew had over the summer. We then discussed what we want from crew in year 8 and agreed to keep building crew over this new academic year, working on specific areas that need improving. Next, came the team building games – they ranged from activities revolving around construction to races to problem solving, it’s safe to say there was lots of laughter involved and communication skills being put into use.

Wednesday: we went on our Hike in the Yorkshire Wolds. Again, it was great to see crew chatting together and enjoying themselves in the beautiful surroundings. It was also tough at times with a few hills and a fair distance to walk – not to mention the rain (thanks to the Great British Summer). However, crew’s spirits were not dampened and there was a lively atmosphere amongst us as they were supporting each other, sharing food and checking in to see if they were all alright or if they needed a rest – that’s crew!

Thursday: this was by far the most challenging day for a lot of crew (me included!). We spent the day in Derbyshire completing outdoor activities such as orienteering and abseiling. It was great to see Crew working together to find the answers to the questions along the Monsal Trail – offering to go ahead to scout out different paths and helping Ava with the navigation, as well as double checking each others answers to make sure we got the right one. Needless to say this hard work paid off, we came first out of the Year 8 crews in orienteering, getting full marks! Next came the abseiling – get ready for nerves, tears and smiles. This was a real challenge for some members of Crew but it was lovely to see everyone supporting and encouraging each other. They truly showed courage and compassion when completing this activity. Dylan was a stand out student for me – he really faced a massive fear and with the help of Crew (particularly Rosie) he overcame that fear. What a massive achievement and we are all so proud. Feel the fear and do it anyway! 

Friday: Back to school! We reflected on the question ‘how crew are you?’. The students completed a solo where they reflected on and answered the questions:

  • what are your strengths as a crew?
  • what are your challenges as a crew?
  • how are you going to overcome those challenges in year 8, as a crew?

Once crew members returned from their solo, we discussed their answers and completed a silent conversation protocol to feedback ideas. Next, we had the remainder of the day to prepare and practice our Crew’s presentation of learning to answer the guiding question and share with the rest of the year and parents our strengths and areas to work on as a crew. This was a wonderful way to see how united we are as a crew and we had some fantastic discussions. We explored the idea that in our crew we have very different personalities but that brings different strengths. Shanna and Dylan thought of a lovely idea that crew is like a jigsaw puzzle – every puzzle piece brings something different but the image is only complete with all the pieces, just like crew.

So, after kicking year 8 off with a wonderful week, I am absolutely bursting with excitement for this new academic year with crew. We have identified our strengths and challenges as a crew and agreed that together we will work on these to make crew even stronger. I really do believe that this week we have become closer and made our relationships stronger and I am so proud of and thrilled to have Harvey, Aaron, Ava, Shanna, Dylan, Rosie, Florence, Kristian, Lacey, Marcus, Bob and Callum in my Crew.

It seems appropriate to end with some words from Harvey, which overtime has become our accidental crew catchphrase: huzzah and hurrah!


Crew Shackleton: that floating sensation!

What an amazing day abseiling in Monsal Dale, Derbyshire. Feeling a little sore from the 8 mile walk yesterday, Crew Shackleton tackled the short walk to the bridge we’d be abseiling from and then confronted their fears with courage and compassion for each other.

For many, this was a new experience, so hats off to everyone who gave it a go!

See the highlights from our morning…

Orienteering was excellent in the afternoon after a brief lunch stop. Unfortunately we were too busy dodging cyclists, checking out lime kilns, reading maps, looking for clues and attempting to trick Crew Ali with cunning decoys….that I forgot to take photos. But take my word for it, it was a great afternoon.

Well done, Crew Shackleton!

E25’s first day back

While students up and down the country will be returning back to classes next week, XP East’s E25 returned on Tuesday to embark on a week long expedition, allowing them to re-immerse themselves in our school’s culture. Mr Brown kicked off the day with a community meeting centred on the incredible achievements of X21’s GCSE results. The underlying theme we noticed in the reasons for their success was crew, so we moved on to our guiding question for the week:

How crew are you?

Five weeks is a long time off, we had a lot of catching up to do in morning check in. Spending the first day back is fundamental, it allows time for us to familiarise ourselves with the support network we have built last year. We reviewed what had worked so well in the first year, and what we were going to do this year moving forward.

In session 2, we got stuck in with a crew challenge, where we had to build a tower from straws and other materials that would stand unassisted for a whole minute. Sadly, no crew managed it (it is very tricky to execute!) but the conversations that were had afterwards were reflective and really allowed students to unpack their role in the activity.

We often use the phrase ‘no pilots, no passengers’ to ensure that every person in crew is guaranteed a role. Listening to my crew analyse points where they may have taken over too much or when they were passive shows how much they’ve grown since year 7. We took the reflections from the tower session into the inter-crew competitions.

We spent the afternoon in the sports hall completing mini challenges as crews. I noticed a real difference in how well my crew cooperated in this session from the tower session. Students were giving others pointers and tips. I saw students encouraging others, sharing water, offering help with degunge. This afternoon, while it was fun, was also really valuable in reestablishing what crew is all about.

Some admitted to feeling nervous or worried about what challenges might lie ahead in year 8, with them no longer being the youngest in the school. We’ll tackle them together this year as crew. What was pretty lovely about that first day though, is that during check out, every member of crew said they had a really great first day back. Can’t wait to hear their reflections on ‘how crew’ they are on Friday!

Shackleton Crew Day 1: Egg Drop Challenge

What a fantastic start to the academic year for Crew Shackleton today. It was great to be back and see everyone again, and most of all see how keen (if not a little tired) everyone was to be back at school again.

Guiding question for the week:

How Crew are you?

Yesterday, as our Crew Challenge to help us consider the guiding question, we split up into random groups of 3, and undertook the challenge of protecting an egg as it was dropped from the top balcony of the school. All the groups had was:

  • 3 marshmallows
  • 10 cocktail sticks
  • a small piece of pipe foam insulator
  • 3m of tissue paper
  • sticky tape
  • a plastic bag

Highlights below…

A really successful activity that allowed us to start to get back into working as a Crew and work towards answering out guiding question by the end of the week. We made some excellent observations and reflections on how well we managed to work together, or not so well in some cases, and promised to revisit the challenge later in the term with fewer materials and a harder set of rules for the challenge. To not only complete the challenge more successfully, but work better as Crew to do it.

School starts on Tuesday 27th August where we will be embarking on a week of crew.

Throughout the week students are required to be at school at normal time (8:30am) but finish times will be slightly different depending on the schedule for the day. Students will require a pen, pencil and ruler this week and a kit list has been sent out for Wednesday and Thursday.

The week’s schedule will be as follows:

Tuesday – In school with a normal finish time of 3:15. There is no extended study in school this week.

Wednesday – Out of school on crew activities so students will need a backpack with a packed lunch, a bottle of water, hiking boots and waterproofs.  Please check the kit list for further details of the required clothing.  Please can students come to school in trainers, not their walking boots.  We are expected to be back at school for around 5pm.

Thursday – Out of school on crew activities so students will need a backpack with a packed lunch, a bottle of water, hiking boots and waterproofs. Please check the kit list for further details of the required clothing.  Please can students come to school in trainers with their walking boots in their bag. We are expected to be back at school for around 5pm. 

Friday – Students will be in school all day. Their week will be completed with a Presentation of Learning commencing at 2:15pm which parents are invited to attend and support students as they answer their Guiding Question.

Please refer to these important docs and ensure you and your child are familiar with them.

Leave No Trace

The end of last week saw Crew Ali out in the sunshine doing Clean Up Crew, a weekly fixture which Crews sign up to do across XP and XP East.  One of our core values is Stewardship and the principle that we ‘leave no trace‘.  It’s really important to us that we all roll our sleeves up and get involved, and it’s amazing how much litter we found blowing in from outside the school grounds.  This is something Eco Crew have identified as one of their areas to work on as we prepare to apply for our Bronze Award and Eco Reps Keisha, Aaron, Sami and Alice are leading on this.

Click here to visit the Eco Crew website and find out more.