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:

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…..


Beautiful Work of Crew Mandela

The first week of E24 new expedition in STEAM highlighted the beautiful work of crew Mandela. Outstanding work came from Raven posing as his tables manikin to identify the location and name of the major bones in the body. Beth has consistently worked hard all week, with all teachers agreeing her conduct is above a 4.0! Well done Beth! Frida has also displayed fantastic presentation and improvement to work towards her MEG in her STEAM book! Keep it up Frida! In addition to these names, all students in crew Mandela were on the praise conduct form at least once last week. What a week crew Mandela, this week we go again.




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.

Crew Young’s Academic Resolutions


Crew Young got off to a blistering start to 2019, by tracing the origins of New Year’s Resolutions. We discovered this widely-held tradition dates back to Babylonian and Roman times, and has been linked to the reimbursement of monies owed to others and to promises made to Janus, the Roman God. On the left is an example of an early twentieth century New Year’s resolution postcard.


We have scrutinised Crew attendance data, and HOWLs grades to identify who gets smart, works hard and is kind to others. Whilst Crew Young were justly proud of their first place position in the Crew HOWLs comparison table, Lewis warned against the dangers of complacency, and pointed out that we could score even more highly.

This lead to a discussion about how we might answer our guiding question: “how can I hit the ground running in the first week back?”, and to the creation of a personal academic resolution that will be reviewed – and if necessary refined – and that we will need to consider when we appraise our performance in our next Student-Led Conference. Here are a selection of academic resolutions:

Merry Christmas from Crew Young!

This week started with Crew Young’s completion of their “Earth, Wind and Fire” tree plaques, jointly with Crew Churchill, in our well-equipped technology workshop. The week ended with the official planting of the trees, together with the students’ plaques, in the grassed area adjacent to the perimeter fence. A very special appreciation for Mrs Duffield who not only gave master classes in the production of the plaques, but who also braved the elements this morning to help our students to curate their final product.

Between Monday and Friday we also dedicated time to silent reading and spent yesterday’s Crew session reviewing the reasons why we adopted “Crew Young” as our moniker. Crew Young lived up to the expectation that we do indeed think differently!

As Crew Leader I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our Crew Young parents for their continued support of the school, to wish them a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year.

We start all over again at 8.30 a.m. on Monday 7th January 2019.

Champions in action!

To some, this might seem like a casual game of basketball.  But this is so much more. This is Crew Finch putting in the practice to make sure we hold on to our title as Inter-Crew Sports Challenge Champions!

We currently hold the title for our badminton prowess, but we’re pretty confident that we can have basketball in the bag – or should that be, hoop! – too, thanks to our secret weapon: Hatfield Flyers player, Tom!

Despite being split into two opposing teams, there was a great sense of teamwork and crew throughout session.  We circled up at the end, where Crew had the opportunity to appreciate one another.

The biggest appreciation went to Tom for his excellent coaching skills, top tips and sportsmanship.  Mackenzie was also appreciated for being an excellent team captain and for making sure everyone on his team were involved.

Inter-Crew Basketball comp: Bring. It. On!

If you can’t do it, don’t pledge to do it!

A massive well done to Crew Finch for completing their SLCs, and an even bigger thank-you to all the parents who came and supported their child through the process.  It’s always such a privilege to listen to our students’ learning journey and I’m constantly amazed at the progress they’re making.

That’s not to say the journey is easy, and part of the SLC was to reflect on their learning.  I have listened to some really honest and mature accounts of how each student thinks they can improve, and what they’re going to achieve their goals.

We often say that pledges aren’t just words, we expect our students to act on them!  So, we’ve recorded our academic and HOWL pledges and displayed them on our crew wall.

Some fantastic pledges have been made, but my favourite by far is Libby’s who pledges to…

“Bring all of my excitement every day!”

We will have regular check-ins during our academic crew sessions, and each student will be expected to update their parents on progress at their next SLC.

Well done, Crew!

Update from Crew Young

Last week was a real mixed bag for Crew Young. As well as our weekly weekend check-in we spent time preparing tree plaques, completing our latest Accelerated Reader assessment, and constructing our own stories using improvisation and Mr Pearson’s Story Cubes.

Earth and Air Reboot

Expedition Earth and Air has taken a backseat in recent months due to other expeditions being completed by E24. Crew Mandela have been the first students in XPE to use the brilliant new workshop facility to complete their final product plaques. The plaques will be put into the ground to commemorate the tree planting in the school grounds. The crew worked extremely well and showed great care and craftsmanship and quality when using potentially dangerous equipment.