Crew Ali: seeing through each others’ eyes

Last week Crew Ali spent time really thinking about our conduct norms in Crew and dug down into what we expect from one another in Crew sessions; we asked, how do others see us and how might our conduct affect others?   This is particularly the case where jokes are concerned, as we don’t all share the same sense of humour!  Our discussions encompassed the HOWLs and tied in closely with what we see in lessons.

On Friday we really had to focus on our Crew conduct principles, playing a challenge game with blindfolds on, which required trust, clear communication and organisation.  Some challenges were harder than others, including getting into yoga poses, writing the answers to mathematical equations and drawing a route for a ship through shark infested waters – all with a blindfold on and only your Crew mates to guide and instruct you!

Earlier in the week, some Crew members had been courageous in sharing some personal experiences; in response, the Crew really rallied together and worked to see the situation through the eyes of their Crew mate.  They decided to support their Crew member by putting together a fundraising proposal for charities supporting a cause close to their heart.  Keep an eye out for more news in the future as to charity events we are planning.

I am also pleased to announce that Leoni and Taylor will be training to be Crew Bloggers tomorrow morning; we look forward to seeing their first published posts, viewing Crew through their eyes, in the coming weeks!

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 Ali SLC Preparation: Peer critique

Crew Ali are halfway through their SLCs now; congratulations to Cerys, Charlie, Tom, Leoni and Marshall for completing theirs to such a high standard.  I feel privileged to be included in this process and have been really impressed at the attention to detail our students have put into preparing for what is a challenging, nerve-wracking but also empowering process.  Feedback from parents has been positive and the critique the students are giving one another in Crew and outside of sessions is absolutely crucial in improving their delivery.  Charlie said the ‘fishbowl’ activity he had done with Leoni and Kristian (Crew Parkinson) in Extended Study had provided him with “great feedback” to help him prepare for his SLC at the end of last week.


Crew Ali: Look beyond instead of backwards

This week in Crew Ali, we have been preparing for our Student-Led Conferences by sending formal emails to our parents and planning which three pieces of work we will share with them: one to demonstrate mastery in our learning, one which we are proud of and one which needs improvement.

Mrs Townson quoted Kyle from last week’s Community Meeting, when he said we should “look beyond instead of backwards”.  Yes, our SLCs will involve a great deal of reflection on how we have been working since we began our XP East journey, but they also focus on the future beyond the SLC and how we will continue to improve.  We are definitely not looking backwards at the types of Parents’ Evenings we had in Primary School; we are looking forward to sharing with our parents how we can be accountable for our own learning and facilitate a formal event which illustrates the depth of our learning journey so far.


Climbing our Everests in Crew Ali

Last week, Crew Ali focussed on climbing their personal and academic mountains.  Some we had discussed at the beginning of the week, some were more unexpected.  We dealt with our emotions, physical and mental challenges and worked as a Crew to get through the week.

Ruby’s mountain was to “think about what I say before I say it”; being more mindful of her mountain really helped her to begin to achieve her aims.

Lacey said “my mountain was to stop cracking my fingers and I still do it a bit but not all the time”

Leoni chose to “try to use grammar correctly in class” and she feels she has improved in HUMAN this week in her poetry writing as a result of focussing on this mountain.

Charlie’s mountain was to “work hard in every lesson because I really enjoy HUMAN but I want to show my determination in other subjects too”; he’s getting there, but still has a way to go!

Cerys said she wanted to “put my hand up in HUMAN more often” and she is improving here.

Tom’s mountain was to “get the best poem possible in HUMAN”; he’s on his third draft this week and is feeling really positive about it.

Marshall’s mountain was “not to laugh in lessons unless it is appropriate” and his Crew have reported that he has worked really hard on this area.  He appreciated the Crew this morning for keeping him on track.

Well done Crew Ali!  Now to get further up the mountain or tackle the next!

What mountain will you climb this week?

When Crew Ali circled up for the first time, it was on the first of four days at Outward Bound in Wales.  Now four weeks into the academic term at XP East, we spent this morning’s Crew answering the question ‘What mountain will you climb this week?’  Our answers were both personal and academic, but what we can be sure of is that the mountain we climbed in Wales was the first of many mountains we will climb as a Crew, supporting one another, holding each other accountable and making sure we reflect on how we got to the top.

Here is another taste of what we got up to in Wales, at the start of our journey together:

Crew Ali step into the ring

There were several candidates for our Crew name, but Ruben’s nomination of the boxer, activist and philanthropist, Muhammad Ali, was a clear winner when the votes were cast in a secret ballot.

He demonstrated relentless courage to keep going, even against huge odds; he was compassionate, being named one of the first United Nations Messengers of Peace for his humanitarian work and campaigns against apartheid, illustrating his respect for people around the world; he trained and fought with such craftsmanship and quality that he was widely considered to be the greatest boxer in his heavyweight class; his integrity was such that even though he stood to lose his titles, he held true to his beliefs and refused to fight in the Vietnam war, even when he was drafted by the US government.

In response to the question, “What would you like people to think of you when you’re gone?“, Muhammad Ali said: “I’d like for them to say he took a few cups of love. He took one tablespoon of patience, one teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness; he took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern. And then, he mixed willingness with happiness, he added lots of faith and he stirred it up well. Then he spread it over a span of a life time and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.

Just like Muhammad Ali, our Crew have already demonstrated huge amounts of courage by stepping out of their Familiar Zones and into the Learning Zone at XP East.  Our Outward Bound adventures built a strong foundation for us and we will continue to be courageous together as Crew Ali.