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…


Stay Positive!

This week, Crew Shackleton has been very busy! 

I thought I’d share the positive take Crew Shackleton has taken from being at home with their families. I’ve been amazed by the emails I’ve received from the parents of our crew, sharing what they’ve been up to this week.

After school work in a morning, Jacob has been helping his mum do the chores, then he’s been in the kitchen cooking up a storm. Jacob and his sister made lots of treats this week, including home-made burgers and biscuits. Don’t they look delicious! And to top it off, Jacob has been on several walks and bike rides in the countryside with his family. 

Faith and her sister have been busy decorating their dad’s house with pretty chalked patterns, showing their thanks to the NHS. Faith has also been on many bike rides, keeping fit whilst scoping the local wildlife.

Nikodem has taken the opportunity to spend some time to enjoy this lovely weather, either on his bike or out exploring near his home. He has also enjoyed completing some of his work. As we can see, he’s in full concentration mode. Good job Nikodem!

This week, Zach has been on several nature walks along the river Don. On his journey, he learnt some new skills. Zach learnt how to forage for wild plants! He picked some wild garlic with his brother and sister. I wonder what he’ll make with that.

This week Zach has been in the kitchen, baking his mum a birthday cake. So sweet! To celebrate, Zach and his family had afternoon tea in the garden. They also had the pool up this week as it has been warm. Zach has been touring round his local canal on his family’s boat, looking for all kinds of wildlife.

This week, Lilly has really enjoyed baking cakes as well as helping her parents with meals, encouraging them to eat healthy. She has spent time with her family, having BBQs in the garden and playing on the new VR headset. Lilly has been keeping her fitness up too alongside her sister. And of course, she’s been watching lots of Netflix in bed. Lilly even cut her sister’s hair this week!!!

Each day this week, after a long day at school, Woody went home to spend some quality time with his pet cat, Sox.

It’s great to see everyone enjoying themselves at home, spending some much needed time with their families. I just had to share Crew Shackleton’s positive vibes during this trying time.

Can’t wait to see what you all do next week! 

Stay positive!

Rising to the Challenge!

I think it’s fair to say that, even though we’re not in school and have the challenge of working at home, our staff and students in E26 (Year7) and E25 (Year 8) are still Working Hard, Getting Smart and Being Kind.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen determination (when the work has been tricky), compassion (when helping our fellow crew members who have been stuck) and the completion of so much beautiful work, ranging from stand-out science assessments, amazing artwork, passionate speeches and marvellous maths!

Here are just a few appreciations for students and their beautiful achievements:

Oliver. S. (E26):

Jayden (E26):

Marcus (E25):

Cerrina (E26):

Raphael (E26):

Marshall (E25):


Shackleton Craftsmanship and Quality

It’s been an absolute pleasure to receive emails about some of the amazing things being done in Crew Shackleton while at home this week.

Special mention for April – what an amazingly gifted and caring young lady. Not only has she been working hard on school work, but she’s been using her sewing machine and old donated materials to make masks and headbands for NHS staff. i was clapping for April at 8pm this evening too.

If there was an exam for kindness, April would get a grade 9. Take a look at some of her handy work…

(Thank your mum for the photos!)


And it’s brilliant to get emails from teachers too showcasing the brilliant work being done in lesson at home. Mr Nixon emailed me today to share some of the amazing work completed by Lilly, celebrating the standards we’ve come to expect from her.

Take a look…

Outstanding craftsmanship and quality. I’m a HUMS teacher so I’m taking Mr Nixon’s word for it that the maths is good! Well done, Lilly.

And not forgetting other conversations I’ve had about James and his work ethic and beautiful work at home; Nikodem completing all the tasks each week on time and to a high standard; and all the students in Crew Shackleton who are showing great independance and resilience to keep going despite these challenging times.

You will all be sorely missed. Keep up the amazing work.

E25 Human Work During School Closure

It’s good to see some students already starting their online learning assignments. Here are the instructions on how to complete the work set. This was shared with students in lessons but those who were absent last week will have missed them. They must READ all the instructions on the slides/Google Classroom.

Submitting work 

  • Currently on Google Classroom, there are 2 assignments set. Students need to complete the Geography one FIRST and then the English slides. They should submit the doc on Google classroom once they have got to the end of each slide. 

What to complete and when

  • Each set of slides are broken down into ‘lessons’, students need to complete a minimum of a lesson a day or follow the ‘weekly planner’ timetable sent out my Mr Portman each week.
  • Whenever the students see a red ‘TASK’ symbol which looks like the one below they need to complete the activity on their doc.


  • On the docs, work needs to have the layout of:

           Subject: Geography/English/History

           Lesson Number:



Students need to write in Quicksand font, size 12.

If you have any questions, email me at I will be checking emails everyday and student work completion – if work is not being done, parents will be contacted.

Thank you!

E25 Sponsored Walk for the Conversation Club

On the 26/11/19, E25 will be taking part in a 5km sponsored walk or run. This will be part of their HUMAN expedition ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ and will take place during their PE session.

We will be raising money for the Conversation Club, a charity in Doncaster who supports asylum seekers and refugees. This charity is vital in creating a support network for people who have had to flee their country due to political and religious persecution.

Earlier in the expedition, we were lucky enough to be visited by a group of asylum seekers who are supported by the Conversation Club. It was lovely to see the students so engrossed in listening to the stories of each of the asylum seekers but also sharing a laugh with them too! The students were shocked by some of the reasons why our visitors had to flee, what would’ve happened to them if they had stayed and were moved by the stories of being separated from their family and the emotional impact this has. It was also interesting to hear how many misconceptions there are in society about asylum seekers and by speaking to our visitors we all learnt a lot about this.

We were pleased to hear our visitors enjoyed the experience of visiting our school as much as we enjoyed having them!

Asylum seekers have to live on only £37.75 a week and any support they receive from the Conversation Club is funded through charity and the kindness of volunteers. E25 and X25 will be taking part in this event (separately) so we have the potential to raise a lot for this charity.  We will be taking part in other fundraising activities throughout this term to raise more money towards this cause.  If each student can be sponsored £1 then it will be a massive help in reaching our target amount for the charity, but feel free give as little, or as much as you can.

Students were handed a sponsor form last week in crew but if they have lost it then they can ask myself or Miss Johnson for another one.

Without wanting to get political it is important to remember instead that these are people who just want to secure their safety. Our character traits of respect and compassion ring out in the students when they get involved with members of our community in this way and I am be proud to work with such mature and compassionate students at XP EAST.



Start the day with gratitude

So this week in Crew we’ve been focusing on gratitude and appreciation. How can we be more grateful for the things we take for granted? How can we remind ourselves of all the positivity around us when there are so many negative images forced upon us each day? How can we use gratitude to shift our feelings from negative to positive?

We started with some appreciations, then looked at this meme and discussed what resonated with each of us in Crew?

It was really interesting that our discussion took us into a way of realising that actually even in really difficult, sad, troubling or depressing situations, gratitude and spending a moment to think about either the positives in an apparently negative situation, or even looking for the things we are grateful for can help to lift us into better spirits: more contentment and happiness.

We explored the language of “cultivating a shift” – how can we take control of our emotions and feelings, to not ignore them (it’s ok to be sad, feel down, have a tough day!) – but we can choose whether we let those emotions control our mind, or whether we want to try and shift our minds into a more positive state.

We can dwell on situations out of our control. For instance, Fin showed courage and talked about his bad knee, and how it prevents him from doing activities and being as physical as he’d like to be, but he realises there is little he can do about the situation.

We discussed how this could be really frustrating or depressing. But with a shift in thinking about what good has come out of his injury – what he has to be grateful about – he could see that his friends really step up and look after him when he’s in pain, rallying around him; his friendships are strengthened by his injury!

We ended the session by writing down as many things as possible on a post-it note that we are grateful for.

Try it at home? What are you grateful for today? Can you acknowledge the things that make us depressed or sad or down, and “cultivate a shift” towards using out emotional energy to be grateful and feel positive about what we DO have?

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!

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.