Well, it’s fair to say that Crew Churchill have had one of our best weeks ever!

Throughout our first week back, we had to think about the guiding question:

‘How can I hit the ground running?’

After sharing our HoWL grades for Work Hard, Get Smart and Be Kind, we decided we wanted to do even better. We revised the pledges we had made following our SLCs as these are our foci as we move forward.

At the end of the week, we had a HoWLs check-in to see how we are getting on in our different classes.

Take a look:

How are Crew Turing getting smarter?

Crew Turing have focused this week on one particular HOWL- getting smart. We agreed that this was the most difficult HOWL to discuss, because some crew members saw this as a product of working hard. We thought about how we could go above and beyond as a crew to work on this, here are some of our ideas:

One focus that we’ve touched on quite a bit as a crew is how reading can positively impact our lives, making us smarter in the process. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s studies on the impact of education and reading shows that teenagers with a reading habit are more likely to get the top grades in GCSE exams. It has shown to improve vocabulary, spelling, and increase creativity in students. We spent a whole crew session recently making book recommendations, discussing our favourite books, and it was lovely to see how passionate everyone got about literature!

What really struck me was a genuine love for reading from each member of my crew. Mr Ryder covered my crew session on Tuesday during their accelerated reader session and he even felt that they were worthy of an entry on the praise form for being so engrossed in their books! While the research on reading and grades is a legitimate reason for me to promote it in crew, I’d hate to think that was the only reason we bothered reading. It does make us smart, but it is able to do so much more than that! A good book is a window into another world, it allows us to empathise and understand experiences that are beyond our own. I think the Harper Lee quote above summarises how transformational reading can be in terms of developing free thought. I can’t wait to do our next accelerated reader crew.

Another feature we’ve been looking at in crew to help us get smarter is having a bit of a handle on what’s going on in the news. This week has been monumental in our country’s history and whenever Brexit has been brought up in crew, there have been some really interesting insights on the matter. I left them with the following question, which again, Mr Ryder led on as I was out on training:

I was delighted to hear my crew had spent a whole 40 minutes deeply discussing issues such as the voting age, Brexit, what they thought about our leaders, and who deserved to have a say in such matters. Apparently there is consensus that the voting age needs lowering so that their voices can be heard. We’ll definitely be taking another look at major news stories next week and how they may affect us!

FXP Fashion Show

Friends of XP are hosting a Ladies Fashion Show, this is to be held at XP School on Friday 15th February.  Doors open from 6pm, with the show starting at 7pm.

Tickets are £5.00 each and are available from either the School Office or FXP Members (whom will be available in Car park over the next few weeks).

All funds raised goes to support opportunities available to all students.

Trainers Lost Property

We have 2 pairs of trainers that were left in XP East after the Tree Planting project just before the Christmas Holidays. Please ask your child to call at the XP School office if these trainers belong to them.

Many thanks

Crew Ali inspired to hit the ground running

Crew Ali have really hit the ground running in the first week of 2019, with a critique of our HOWLs grades and achievement against our MEGs in November’s data drop.  We congratulated four members of our Crew in particular who had ‘smashed it’ by meeting or even exceeding their MEG in three or more subjects: well done to Charlie, Cerys, Billy and Taylor!

We considered the link between attendance, HOWLs and academic achievement – every day in school of working hard, getting smart and being kind matters.

We also enjoyed the HUMAN fieldwork to the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool; one of my ‘notices’ of the day was that our Crew namesake, Muhammad Ali, was celebrated on the Black Achievers Wall in the Legacy section of the museum; this exhibit identified people who had ‘overcome difficulties to achieve great things’.


In Crew Ali and at XP East we really want to live by this, and we have worked together to overcome our fair share of difficulties as a Crew, whether that be carrying one another’s bags up a mountain, putting tents up in the dark, developing better working relationships with one another or sharing the load when there are issues we were coping with on our own.

It also happens that it would have been Muhammad Ali’s 77th birthday tomorrow, so we might just have a bit of a party for him later this week!

Crew Young are deservedly proud of their first place position on the HOWLs leaderboard, and following our first “data drop” of Year 8 it is clear that we continue to work hard, get smart and be kind. This week in Crew we are considering the merits of framing a weekly, year-based, or termly guiding question to focus our minds on our Habits of Work and Learning.

Crew Young have made a tremendous start to term three in 2019 and we’re delighted that we are well-represented on the weekly positive conduct log. Evidently, we have yet to break our academic resolutions of 2019…..


Lost Property

The following lost property items have been left at XP East.

Please ask your child to call at the office in XP School if they recognise anything that belongs to them.

Any item that hasn’t been claimed within 4 weeks will be redistributed.

Many thanks

Crew Parkinson Hit the Ground Running!

Crew Parkinson have certainly hit the ground running this term! They came back focussed, enthusiastic and ready for anything. The guiding question for the last week was ‘how can I hit the ground running during the first week back?’

We discussed this in Crew, thinking of examples, which revolved around our HOWLs of how we can hit the ground running. Students also nominated a person in Crew who they thought had hit the ground running – I’d like to give a special mention to Marcus who I personally thought had hit the ground running due to his conduct on the fieldwork to Liverpool.

As part of this discussion, we also looked at our Crew league table for the HOWLs. This is created from each student’s HOWLs grade which have been used to create the Crew average. Crew Parkinson are doing fantastically well in regards to working hard, getting smart and being kind. We identified some of the behaviours that Crew does which mean that we have high averages for the HOWLs, but also ways in which we could improve.

We are currently in second place so a massive well done Crew!

E25 have a Quizlet task to work through as pre-learning before our lesson on Thursday 17th January 2019.  Use the resources available to familiarise yourself with the 15 words and definitions in advance of our lesson.

We discussed good ways of doing this: it is better to spend 15 minutes each day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on the bus, at break or in Extended Study, than to cram it all into one session!

The link is on Google Classroom or you can click here.

Many thanks,

Mrs Townson

Crew Finch: Back with a Bang!

What an amazing first week back for Crew Finch, perfectly summed up in this photo… but more about this later!

I for one was happy to return to school after the Christmas break, ready to get back into a routine and eager to start our new expeditions.  There were a few tired faces in the circle during Monday morning’s check-in, which prompted a conversation about night-time routines and getting quality sleep.

Our students are used to hearing the staff telling them that we don’t wind down during the last week of term; we wind up! Equally, we are all expected to come back to school after every break fully prepared to start learning, from the very first session on the very first day.

This message was reinforced during the first community meeting of the term, where Mr Portman introduced the Guiding Question for Crew:

How can I hit the ground running during the first week back?

This GQ coincided with the release of the Habits of Work and Learning Crew league tables. Unfortunately, we were shocked (and a little bit embarrassed) to see that Crew Finch were at the bottom in every category!  On the flip side, we were very proud to see some of our Crew recognised for achieving or smashing their MEGs, so well done to Nicole, Tom, Thomas, Dakota, Noah, Alanis and Megan.

This got us thinking: if over half of our Crew achieved or surpassed their MEGs – which surely shows that they are working hard and getting smart – then why are we not performing as well as we should be in our HOWLs as a whole Crew?

We spent the rest of the week really focussing on the HOWLs and discussing not only how we can hit the ground running, but also what we need to do as a Crew to make sure that we are all working hard, getting smart and being kind. We have already made academic and HOWLs pledges after our latest SLCs so it was a good time to revisit and check-in with those, too.

We looked at the relationship between getting high grades on our HOWLs and achieving or smashing our subject specific MEGs.  We also broke down what the HOWLs actually mean and who in Crew were letting us down by not always being as focussed on these as they should be.  I think Dakota hit the nail on the head when she said:

We’re not just responsible for our own learning. We’re responsible for each other’s, too.

On Wednesday, Crew shared how they had hit the ground running so far.  For example, Tom told us how he was making an effort to get smarter by taking notes in Humanities, and Noah shared that he had been on the Get Smart board twice already for his focus, and that he’s making a concerted effort to manage his distractions in class.

I’m really pleased with how my Crew have reacted to the league tables and turned a negative into a positive challenge.  They have really pulled together this week to reflect on their performance, and I honestly believe we will see a vast improvement in their individual and combined HOWL scores at the next data drop. We’ll continue to check-in on performance and progress 🙂

So, back to the picture at the start of this post (and well done if you’ve got this far!)

On Thursday, we took part in the Inter Crew Basketball Competition, where we won all three of our games to be crowned champions – that’s another one for the trophy cabinet, after winning the Badminton competition last year! Just look at the skills and sportsmanship on display here:

A big appreciation to Mr Portman for recognising our Crew’s achievements on the praise form.  I’ll end this post with his lovely words which provide the perfect summary of our first week back:

Great to see Crew Finch win the basketball tournament as I know that they have taken their HOWLs league table performance very seriously.  However, I’ve been more impressed with their mature discussions about hitting the ground running this week, as apart from a few blips I’m delighted with their determination to put things right. What. A. Crew.