Churchill Clean Up Crew!

As students of XP East School we know that we have a key role to play in the stewardship of our school and its surrounding area.  To ensure that our school grounds, both inside and out, are kept in top condition, each crew takes part in ‘Clean Up Crew’.

Last week, it was Crew Churchill’s turn so, armed with grabbers and gloves and dressed in our high-vis vests, we tackled the rubbish in Car Park 3.

We collected five bin bags full of rubbish, ranging from McDonald’s packaging, to nappies to car parts!

Churchill always work hard during Clean Up Crew and feel proud that they have had a role in keeping our environment clean and tidy.

Well, I think so anyway!

Yes – it’s student-led conference time, where our students get to share their learning and targets with their family.

Crew will spend the next couple of weeks preparing for their SLC, which involves reflecting on their learning and selecting the work that:

  • they are most proud
  • they could improve on, and
  • shows mastery in a particular subject.

Crew will also reflect on and discuss their HOWLs, extended study record and general conduct.

I have set my Crew an extra challenge this year of setting a Year 9 Pledge, to get them focussed on the year ahead and their Passage Presentation.

SLCs will commence week beginning 24th June and will run on selected days over the following 2 weeks.  An email with the booking link will be sent to parents before the end of this week.  Hopefully there will be a convenient time slot for you to book but if not, please email me on to discuss.

See you soon!

Crew Parkinson Science, Space and SLCs!

Last week we started with a bang! We’ve been thrown straight into our expeditions after the holiday and Crew have certainly stepped up.

We began the week with check-ins from the 2 week holiday – it was lovely hearing the great activities, social events and relaxation that crew members took part in during their time off.

On Tuesday we didn’t have a crew session – but don’t despair we spent the day at Jodrell Bank! This fieldwork was part of the ‘Escape Earth’ expedition and was a brilliant way to spend time with crew in a different setting. I loved hearing how enthusiastic and curious crew members were when discussing physics and asking questions about space. We took part in a number of workshops which revolved around Newton’s laws of motion and gravity, an inflatable planetarium and the constellations.

What a wonderful day!

(All video credits to Miss Haughey – definitely not my area of expertise!)

When we returned to school our crew sessions were then directed around the upcoming Student Led Conferences – students began to choose the pieces of work they are most proud of, found challenging and would like to improve to showcase during their SLCs. This is a great way for crew to reflect on their learning and understand their academic strengths and areas to improve on as well as their HOWLs.

More information will be released about SLCs shortly, so watch this space!

Our final round of SLCs this year

Last week Crew Young began to prepare for their final round of Student-Led Conferences of the current academic year. Following the success of their recent Presentations of Learning for work completed in HUMS and the quality of their final products that are nearing completion in STEAM, it promises to be a very positive and comprehensive appraisal of their learning this term.

Further details will be circulated nearer the time, and as before, we are looking at the quality of students’ portfolios and the content and delivery of their presentations.





Yesterday during community meeting Mrs Poncia asked X25 about their highlight of the week, and I amongst other members of my crew struggled to pick! We have just six weeks left of this academic year, it is wild to think how quickly my crew’s first year at high school has passed and how much we’ve crammed into 2018-2019.

Both staff and students are winding up to the grand finale of the STEAM and Human expeditions, where they will be working on final products and preparing to share their learning in a presentation of learning. In STEAM, they are continuing on with ‘Escape Earth’ and yesterday their new Human expedition was announced.

On Tuesday X25 visited the Jodrell Bank Space Observatory, which is home to the UK’s largest radio telescope and the 3rd largest in Europe! Each student was immersed in workshops and classes that allowed them to discover elements of our universe, experience Newton’s Laws, and watch real accounts of the astronauts that visit the Space Station. I’ve uploaded the video file above, check out the incredible resources and facilities that we had access to!

We will be taking the lessons we learned from the specialists back into school to help answer the expeditions guiding question:

“Should humans leave Earth?”

With growing reports of the danger that climate change poses, and the scientific advancements in the technology that could allow us to potentially re-locate our species to another planet, X25 will be concluding what they think the future for our species and our home will be. I can’t wait to hear their responses.

I chose the backing track for the video from an album I really love by a band called Public Service Broadcasting, I was struck by this line that was originally part of a JFK speech from 1962:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things
Not because they are easy, but because they are hard”

I’m taking this particular message back to crew this week. We will be encountering difficulty over the next six weeks with deadlines. We will be setting up Student Led Conferences over the coming weeks, to reflect on and review this years work. We will be finalising products and developing our presentations of learning. It may be the last few weeks, but as per every other day we spend at XP East, I hope that each of my 12 crew members recognises that despite this work being hard, it is also extremely important, and that working hard, getting smart and being kind is fundamental if we are to achieve.

Student Led Crew: Hot Seat

An Amazing Crew Session.

Blog written by Tom & Mackenzie.

Today we led the crew session with an activity called ‘Hot Seat.’

The person in the hot seat had to listen to nice comments about them from their crew members. Once the crew had done the whip around, the person in the hot seat had to say how the comments made him/her feel. 

Most of crew agreed that even though it was nice to listen to the nice comments, it was a bit embarrassing!

Mackenzie said that it was “nice to know what people think about me” and Libby said that the activity made her feel more positive.

Here are some of the comments made about members of our crew:

Megan: “Hardworking and helpful.”

Libby: “Compassionate, perseveres and always kind.”

Ali: “Funny. Very determined.”

Noah: “Helps everyone.”

However a surprise the crew weren’t aware of was that at the end they had to sit back in the hot seat and list all the positive comments they’d received!  The reason we did this is so we could check if they were listening and taking them on board, as well as making the comments more ingrained in their memory so they don’t forget them as easily.

On the whole I really think the crew session was a blast owing to the fact that our crew managed to engage in the activity very well.  

Crew Parkinson’s Final Week of Term

Congratulations to everyone in Crew Parkinson who gave absolutely brilliant performances of their speeches during the Stand Up expedition’s Presentation of Learning. I’m so proud of Crew for showing courage, maturity, compassion and hard work when writing, rehearsing and presenting their speeches.

As we have our final term fast approaching, we finished our pledge butterflies ready for when we begin back at school. Each member of crew has made a pledge which they have based on their most recent data drop record. The pledges are focused around a subject, a specific HOWL or an academic grade/MEG. I know they will work hard to complete these and we will be checking in on the progress of these as the weeks progress.

Below are a selection of the Crew’s pledges:

Aaron: I pledge to achieve above my MEG in science, I will do this by asking for help from the teacher when I need it

Callum: I pledge to stop making silly comments in crew so that I can increase my Be Kind HOWL. My howl used to be a 3.5 and is now a 3 – I want to get it back to a 3.5

Harvey: I pledge to improve my Work Hard HOWL fro maths because I need to improve it since it is a 2.9 and the rest of my HOWLs are 3 and above.

On Thursday, Ava led her first crew session. The activities she prepared were games which revolved around practising drama techniques. Every member of crew really threw themselves into this session and it was enjoyed by all – it provided us all with lots of laughter, a lovely way to end the term. Thank you Ava for organising a wonderful crew session.

Finally – I hope Crew has a wonderful holiday, see you all next term!

Showcasing talent in Crew Ali

This week we were fortunate to see some of the artwork Junia has been doing at home, as drawing is a passion of hers.  She uses a range of styles and particularly enjoys drawing and painting her favourite anime characters.  We discussed the craftsmanship and quality in her work and invited her to to lead a Crew session on drawing skills with Lacey, who is also a keen artist.  It also takes courage to share your work with others; well done Junia!


 Crew Young were delighted with their first place position on the “work hard” HOWLs leaderboard that was shared with X24 and X25 / Year 7 and Year 8 students in Community Meeting last week! This is full vindication and recognition of all the collective effort that they are putting into their learning expeditions presently, and I am justly proud of each and every one of them. Great news Crew Young! As we “wind up” (as opposed to “wind down”) towards the end of term we are determined to push ourselves even harder…..for we’re convinced that we can exceed a 0.3 increase next time!

Towards the end of last week we explored the possible reasons why our position on the “be kind” leaderboard is not yet where we would wish it to be and – having identified the issues that may have influenced our current rating – Crew Young are making a collective effort and holding each other to account for ensuring that we raise our game in this area.

We spent one session on a “drawing twins” activity. This is a useful exercise that Crew Leaders themselves engaged with during the new staff induction programme. Essentially it is an opportunity to practise listening and develop oracy skills, to explore misinterpretations and frustrations when working on a task where you are allowed neither to give nor to receive feedback. We then compared our outline sketches with the original and then changed the rules to allow for deeper questioning and clarification opportunities in “round two”. The improvement in outcomes was self-evident! Effective and meaningful feedback, phrased with compassion and enacted upon, was the driving force and determining factor behind the success of Austin as he drafted and re-drafted his famous butterfly……

A Lilly Faith

A huge thank you to Faith and Lilly today for the student-led crew session. It was an excellent session, enjoyed by every one of us!

Read on below to find out what we did…


We were asked to think of a song that portrays how we feel, with an explanation if possible, to share to the rest of the group. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams was a popular choice, but there was an eclectic range within the crew.

Main Task

Everyone then took a piece of paper and some coloured pencils. Faith and Lilly had carefully selected a range of different styles of music, from classical to club classics, and played them to the crew. The objective: draw on your page whatever you feel inspired to draw from the different types of music.

Closing Circle

Finally, we were invited to to circle up around everyone’s artwork and do a Notice Wonder protocol. Lots of originality, including drawing images inspired by the music, such as a beach hut when listening to more tropical music; to a collection of shapes and squiggles that represented the feel and mood of the music.

It’s brilliant to the see the character growth of the students still in year 7 that have grown in confidence to be able to lead their own session and come up with such an excellent idea. Well done, Faith and Lilly.