And now we’re checked out!

What a way to end our Y8 journey: cakes, memories and a good old sing song!

Here’s our Soundtrack to Year 8, along with our proudest moments of Y8. We hope you enjoy… Thank you to Ali for introducing me to Twenty One Pilots, but the tune of this soundtrack is definitely ‘Eye of the Tiger’ picked by Mackenzie!

Perfect – Ed Sheeran
I feel like I have had the perfect year compared to Y7! I work hard in class, I haven’t been getting into trouble, and I am managing my anger.

Jumpsuit – Twenty Øne Piløts 
I’m most proud of my last SLC.  I have grown in confidence and I’m getting great grades!

I’ll be there – Jess Glyn
I chose this song because Crew is always there for me. This year I’m proud of  overcoming my challenges, like my dyslexia.

When I See You Again – Charlie Puth 
I’m proud of Sports Day because we had a genuine feeling of Crew. I’m looking forward to seeing you all next year!

Centuries – Fall Out Boy
I’m proud because I have been able to cope with situations better than I did in Y7.

Try Everything – Shakira 
I didn’t believe in myself at the beginning of the year.  I made a pledge to “bring my enthusiasm to school every day” which I have done and I now try my hardest in all lessons.  Thank you to Mr Ryder for encouraging me. 

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
I chose his song because it reminds me of Sports Day – it was playing as I ran the last 100m of the 1200m. I’m proud because I won!

Thursday – Jess Glynne
My proudest moment was Outward Bound, climbing up the mountain.  In the song it says “Who I am is enough” which reminds me that Crew are accepting of eachother despite our differences. 

Shotgun – George Ezra
My proudest moment was my last SLC.  I got great feedback and am proud of my progress.

3 nights – Dominic Fike 
I chose this song because we spent 3 nights in Wales! This was my proudest moment because we all came together as a Crew.  We had never been through a scenario like that and it tested our ability to get on together in tough times!

Mrs Parker:
You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Randy Newman
I chose this song because it captures what Crew is! My proudest moment was seeing how Crew pulled together after the DD1 results, and how they supported one another to improve their overall HOWLs grades for DD2.

It is such a privilege to share every school day with this lot and I can’t wait to see what Y9 brings for us all.  Crew isn’t just for the 12 young people who sit with me in our circle every morning; it’s for me, too.  I learn so much from them every day (including some new dance moves!) They inspire me to work harder and be kinder every day and, because of Crew, I am a better person.

And now I’m checked out.

As this academic year ends, we’re already looking forward to our first week back!

School starts again on Tuesday 27th August, 8.30am.  Students will require a PE kit for Tuesday and Wednesday, along with their usual stationery (pen, pencil and ruler) A kit list has been provided for Friday’s activity.

**There is no extended study during the first week back**

Tuesday: In school with a normal finish time of 3:15.

Wednesday: In school with a normal finish time of 3:15. 

Thursday: Students are out of school today, within normal school hours.  They should wear their usual everyday clothes and bring their bags and stationery. They will also need a packed lunch and a bottle of water (provided for students on FSM).

Friday: Students need to be at school for 7.45am.  We will be out of school all day so students will need a backpack with a packed lunch, a bottle of water, hiking boots and waterproofs. Students on FSM will be provided with a pack lunch.

Please check the kit list below 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 (to be confirmed during our first week back.)

Please refer to these important docs and ensure you and your child are familiar with them.  A medical form will be sent home on Tuesday 27th; please return this to us on Wednesday 28th.

Have a wonderful summer break!


We have recently welcomed a new student to Crew Finch – welcome, Kobe!

Kobe joined us at a time when we’ve been busy preparing for SLCs, so I was conscious that – three weeks on – he doesn’t really understand the concept of crew, or why it’s so crucial to us as a school.  This was confirmed to me when I asked him if he felt like he was part of crew yet, and he answered: “Almost.”

Now, I know it’s a difficult transition for any student joining a new school and making new friends, but to join an already formed, tight-knit crew, who have literally and metaphorically climbed mountains together for 2 years, must be doubly difficult.

“Almost” made we realise that we haven’t done enough over the past 3 weeks to make sure that Kobe is Crew and gets Crew.

We took Kobe right back to the beginning of Crew Finch by showing him this video (cue goosebumps!)

It made us all remember what it was like on that very first day, and the feelings we had about joining a new school and making new friends: anxiousness, worried, scared, excited…  But by the end of that day, we had become crew.

It’s true that our shared experiences have made us crew, but we’re excited that Kobe has now joined us just in time for the next stage of our journey: Year 9!  And I hope that when I ask him at the end of term if he feels like crew yet, he will reply with a resounding “Yes!”

One last thing (well done if you’ve got this far!)

A few weeks ago I had the absolute privilege and pleasure of facilitating a workshop for the Trusts’ annual XPosé conference, looking at the power of relationships in crew.  This session was led by Y7 and Y8 students who spoke confidently and passionately about what crew means to them.  As part of this, the workshop participants had been asked to do a mind mapping activity where they had to write down what they thought crew was and I thought these were worth reviewing with crew today.

They looked at the sheets and picked out the words/phrases which really illustrated or reminded them what crew was about.  I was worried that we have forgotten – or become complacent about – the power of crew.  Maybe an “outsiders” perspective would remind us, and give Kobe a better understanding, too.

We had a really interesting conversation afterwards about the impressions of crew from these sheets, and we made a list of the ones that were most important to us.

The most powerful one being this:

XP wouldn’t be XP without Crew.

Say no more 🙂

Data drops and highs!

We’ve been analysing and discussing our DD3 (data drop) grades and, whilst I’m pleased with Crew’s progress, there have been a few slight drops in grades which unfortunately will see us slipping down the HOWLs league table.

Having said that, I’d just like to take a moment to celebrate Bryn’s progress.  It’s fair to say that he didn’t display the best learning behaviours at the beginning of the year, and this was reflected in DD2’s habits of work and learning grades.

This was discussed during his last SLC and, since then, we’ve been having regular check-ins to make sure he has been working hard, getting smart and being kind in all lessons.

Just take a look at the difference between DD2 and DD3 (in bold):

Work Hard Get Smart Be Kind Work Hard Get Smart Be Kind Work Hard Get Smart Be Kind
DD2 2.8 2.5 3.0 3.0 2.9 3.5 2.3 1.8 2.5
DD3 3.2 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0

I’m sure you’ll agree that Bryn’s improvement in his HOWLs are outstanding. Jaw dropping, in fact!

He knows that he still has to put more effort in towards working hard and getting smart, particularly in relation to extended study and he discussed this during his SLC.

Crew would like to say a massive “Well Done” to Bryn for responding to feedback after his last SLC and DD2, getting his head down and working exceptionally hard.  His class members tell me that he has been showing perseverance and resilience in all classes, particularly in Maths.  I’d also like to thank his teaching staff, especially Mr Ryder, for always pushing him, supporting him and making Bryn realise his own potential.

Keep it up, Bryn.  You’re absolutely flying into Year 9!

But don’t forget to do your homework 😉

Kicking off our SLCs!

A big well done to Noah and Mackenzie for kicking off Crew Finch’s last Student Led Conferences of Year 8!

Both boys spoke articulately and with confidence about their learning and progress to their guests, as well as reflecting openly and honestly about the areas they need to improve on.

For example, Noah said that he needed to try harder to manage his distractions in class and stay 100% focused at all times.

Mackenzie acknowledged that he needs to get better at doing his homework.  He has therefore pledged to stay for extended study at least once a week, either to complete his homework or just to extend his learning by using the resources on the Expedition website.  He recognised that this would help him improve his grades moving forward into Year 9.

We’ll be checking-in weekly to make sure that both boys are sticking to these pledges!

I’m really looking forward to attending the rest of my Crews SLCs over the next couple of weeks.  If any Crew Finch parents haven’t yet booked a slot, you can book here:  Crew Finch SLC Booking (June 2019)


Taking responsibility for our own learning

As Crew prepare for their SLCs, they have been given their new HOWLs grades.  I’ve encouraged them to compare their Data Drop 3 grades to their Date Drop 2 grades, and reflect on why they may have scored lower or higher than last time.

One member of my Crew has respectfully challenged the grades given to her here, and it shows how students at our school feel comfortable and confident enough to approach teaching staff to talk about elements of their learning and behaviour.

This message is a good example of how much our students care about their learning and grades – they’re not just numbers in a spreadsheet.

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!

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.  

That’s the question I posed to Crew on Friday afternoon (and no, I didn’t sing it ‘Miranda’ style!)

Apart from a few exceptions – for instance, Brendan being proud of scoring a goal with his left foot and Aden being proud of exceeding his MEG in his latest Math’s assessment – Crew were mostly proud of their completed propaganda posters.

And so they should be!  Take a look at the craftsmanship and quality on display here:

Year 8 have been working on these posters as their final product for their current HUMS expedition, ‘Making Your Mind Up.’  The aim of the poster is to highlight how we can avoid being manipulated by all the information we’re bombarded with everyday, whether that’s from the media or from posts shared on social networking sites.

Noah said that he was really proud of the hard work he’d put into his poster to have it completed on time, especially as he’d missed a couple of the planning lessons because he was taking part in a dancing competition.

Tom said he was proud of his work because he doesn’t really like art but feels he has produced a quality poster (I agree!) He persevered when he faced problems, particularly when it came to the detailing on his social network logos.

Mackenzie, Bryn and Thomas all said that they were proud of their posters because they listened to and acted on feedback from their peers to improve their first drafts.

Amazing work, Crew Finch! I’m particularly proud of the craftsmanship and quality evident in all your work and can’t wait to see them on display.You have every right to be proud of yourselves and the progress you’re making across all subjects.

Is no news good news?

Inspired by Crew Mandela’s “What is going on the world?” session, we took the idea and made it our own!

We spent Wednesday morning exploring the BBC News website and reporting back on the stories that caught our eyes, as well as exploring how each story made us think and feel.

We noticed that the all but one of the stories we read and discussed were definitely bad news stories, the only exception being Noah’s excellent story choice about a determined African boy’s journey to the Artic.

We explored how the news stories and general headlines made us feel: Crew used words like ‘depressed’, ‘anxious’, ‘sad’, and ‘scared’. We left Crew thinking that only bad things were happening in the world and, whilst it’s important that we recognise that, we really needed to look for some good in the world!

So, for today, I set Crew the challenge of finding some good news stories to see what a difference it makes to read and discuss solely positive news articles.

Here’s a selection of our feel good stories, including our favourite about the Waving Granny!

After 12 Years of Waving to Students From Her Window, Watch Her Reaction to 400 Kids Saying Goodbye

The people who are trying to reunite a divided island

Dog receives 500 tennis balls for his birthday

Russia agrees to free 100 captive whales

Protesting climate change in Preston

Beavers are now protected in Scotland

Girl with backwards legs walks for the first time thanks to generosity of strangers

Louis Tomlinson helps Widower with his bucket list

Snow Leopards

World’s first plastic free supermarket opens in The Netherlands

We noticed that all these stories had several features in common, such as resilience, kindness and determination. They all inspired us in some way.

So, how did we feel after reporting back on today’s happy news? Happy, hopeful, and, as Brendan said, “optimistic for the future!”

I’m not saying that we should avoid or ignore everything bad that’s happening in the world. In fact, we discussed how keeping up-to-date with current affairs makes us more aware of the world around us allowing us to form our own opinions and engage in well-informed conversations.  Thomas made a good point when he said that reading the bad news stories should actually make us think about how we could stop “things like that” happening again.

The purpose of this session was to experience what a difference it makes to see and read solely positive articles (which are a lot harder to find on mainstream media sites). We certainly left Crew in a more upbeat mood than the day before, eager to share our happy news!

Finally, I’m a big fan of The Happy Newspaper – a quarterly publication that celebrates all that’s good in the world.  I can’t wait to share the next edition with Crew.