Happy July!  The month that will conclude what has been one of – if not THE – weirdest school year I’ve ever encountered (and my secondary school burnt down when I was in year 11!!!). Crew Macmillan have 2 weeks of year 9 left, and that blows my mind. 

Crew have done themselves – and me – proud during this school year. They’ve worked so hard, and adapted to our ‘new normal’ better than anyone could’ve hoped for.

I thought it’d be quite fitting to take a look at the past year, in which i’ve had the privilege of being Crew Macmillan’s crew leader – big shoes to fill, after Mrs Waterhouse!!

Take a look at our year in action… and Crew, let me know what your favourite memory has been of this year!


Not long to go now – keep up the hard work for the last 2 weeks!

Over & Out – Miss C! x

Crew Mac Gets a Guest Blogger!!!

Crew Macmillan have again impressed me this week. Most have been really consistent with academic work, and are hitting those deadlines.

A special mention to Archie, Alfie, Imogen, Joe, Heather, Harrison and Milo –  who have a 100% hand in work rate this week! Great stuff, guys, i’m impressed!


This week also saw our first Crew Hangout with 100% attendance. 16 people in one hangout! Amazing stuff. Our check in this week was “did you have a teddy/blanket when you were a baby that you still have now?’ Most of crew were actually able to show us their baby items, which was adorable – my favourite had to be Milo’s shark, or Ricki’s build-a-bear that talks – a message that Ricki recorded when he was 4!!!


Some of crew have also received mentions this week for their work in HUMS. A shout out to Ricki, Imogen, Alfie and Finn!

Heather has also been busy this week, baking again! After lockdown, it wouldn’t surprise me if Heather changed her mind about a future career, or entered GBBO!  Great work, Heather!

This week, after 1:1 academic check ins, I had a conversation with Alfie about how he’s been keeping himself busy. So without further ado, our guest blogger this week is Alfie. Here’s what he came up with:

With the current pandemic sweeping the world and forcing us to stay at home, most of us have found ways to keep busy and entertain ourselves. I have taken this time to start painting – something I have wanted to do for a long time, but could never find the opportunity.

The main medium I work with is watercolour paint. I like using them as they allow more room for abstract subjects, and it allows me to paint without worrying about getting it picture-perfect. Watercolour is also more natural in my opinion, which is why I chose to paint wildlife with them. 

I started off initially painting butterflies – I liked the symmetry and vibrant colours, which were easier to transfer to paint. I then expanded to other insects, such as moths and eventually hornets. I later experimented with other animals, mainly sea creatures such as the nautilus.

In future, I want to be able to paint flowers, and other animals such as lions or birds. Each type of animal needs the use of certain techniques to look realistic, for example I would have to practice painting feathers before I paint birds.

Painting is a very time consuming hobby, which, to be honest, is what makes it ideal for the current situation. However, it also teaches the importance of patience, and how taking your time when working on something can really pay off. 

I hope I am able to continue this hobby – even when things get back to normal – and encourage you to give it a try. It’s immensely rewarding, and with practice, you’ll only get better and better!

Alfie Lockey”


How have you been keeping yourself busy during lockdown? Let us know – this may become a permanent blog feature!

Have a fantastic week, guys  – keep working super hard!

DofE Bronze Award Update

In April we told you about changes to our DofE delivery in this blog post.

We now know that students won’t be able to complete the Outdoor Expedition within the original timescales set.

Unfortunately, this means that our Y9 students won’t be awarded the full Bronze Award this academic year.

However, DofE still want to recognise and celebrate participants’ achievements so far – and rightly so! – and will be awarding a Certificate of Achievement to all those who complete the Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections before the end of the year (31/12/20 is the official date but we will be setting our own school deadline, which is likely to be much earlier!)

Students will receive the full Bronze Award once they have completed the Outdoor Expedition, and we already have plans in place to get this done as soon as we can!

It is important to note that students will NOT receive the full Bronze Award if they don’t have the 2020 Certificate of Achievement before the end of the year.

We really hope you continue to support and encourage your child through their DofE journey.

Here’s the WHY:

Outdoor Education is a huge part of the XP experience; it starts with Outward Bound and carries on through fieldwork and the DofE Awards we offer from Y9.

DofE in particular helps students build key life skills – not least compassion, resilience, and teamwork – reinforcing what our CHARACTER TRAITS, HOWLS and CREW.  We want our students to be the best versions of themselves, and truly believe that DofE helps them to achieve this.

So, here’s a quick summary of where we’re at at XP:






Students have completed the Volunteering section.  This was done in school with Y9 students becoming Volunteer Reading Mentors for Y7.

We have asked all Y9 students to complete the St John Ambulance First Aid Course. Details have been uploaded onto Crew Classrooms.

I’d like to give a massive appreciation to the the following students who have been working through the weekly First Aid tasks that are being set for them:

Archie N, Imogen T, Alfie L, Freddi N.

Thank you all so much – I’m really impressed with what you’ve all done so far and would definitely feel safe being out on expedition with you guys!

There are still quite a few of students who need to join the classroom, or who have joined but have yet to start – it is really important that they make a start as soon as possible and get these tasks done!

Many students were using out of school activities as evidence for this section.  However, once we went into lockdown, these activities were stopped and some students haven’t been able to collect enough evidence to complete this section.

However, students still need to continue with evidencing some form of physical activity and we have made some suggestions of what they could easily be getting on with: walking, running, gardening, Joe Wicks’ daily PE lesson on YouTube to name a few.

These sessions can be added to any which were previously recorded before lockdown (so you don’t have to start the 12 hours again!) but you MUST agree this with your Crew Leader. New evidence sheets are on the DofE Classroom.

Submitting Evidence

All evidence will be submitted via the eDofE mobile app.  It’s really easy to use and I’ll be in touch with each Crew to talk them through the process.

Thank you. 

Welcome back, Crew Mac!

Welcome to the final term of Y9!

This week saw the beginning of a new term – a fresh start, in week 11 of lockdown. I don’t know about anyone else, but i’m so fed up of not being in school now – I miss crew so much!

This week i’d like to give a special shout-out to a number of members of Crew Macmillan, who have gotten straight back into the swing of work. I’d like to start off with those who have completed all of their maths work this week! Great work Frankie, Harrison, Archie & Ricki!

Other members of crew have shone in other subjects – Well done to our HUMS superstar, Heather; and super work Vinnie, Alfie and Imogen in Science!

Keep up the good work – i want to see lots of green boxes on subject trackers, not red! 

Crew should also be on with completing a First Aid course during common mission time, to boost their evidence for their Bronze DofE award. An extra special mention goes to Archie for this, as i am consistently receiving high quality work as evidence of completion. Well done Archie!

Check out Heather and Maddie’s cake, too – it’s lovely to see what Crew have been up to when they aren’t working hard on academic work! I’ve heard that Alfie has cracked Macarons, too – and even made his own pop tarts from scratch!!!

This week we had great attendance on our weekly crew hangout too. We discussed some important issues surrounding the protests and riots in America, and crew have pledged to spend some time at the weekend educating themselves more and doing some extra reading. We may never fully understand, but we can pledge to continue learning, and listening.


I’d like to end this week’s blog with something that I very rarely have to do in crew – by making a stand. I like to think that I support my crew (and all students) as much as I possibly can – so if this is the case, and you have asked for help, or we have organised a hangout – please have the courtesy to show up to the session. There have been a few instances this week where I’ve wasted a fair bit of time waiting for students who haven’t shown up, when i could have been supporting others elsewhere.

Have a great weekend – I’ll check in with you all next week – and i’ll see you again today at 2:45pm for STEAM Closing Circle!

Miss C x

YEAR 9: New birdwatching world record*

We have a new record in Year 9 for the most birds spotted in a single session.

Kyle in X24 spotted an incredible 60 birds from 14 different species, including a sparrow hawk and two herons.

Whilst we have not set any work for students in Year 9 to complete over the two week break we would love it if they continued with their birdwatching, bug hotels and bird boxes. Please remind them to send us lots of photos. We are in competition with XP East for the most birds spotted.

*not verified by Norris McWhirter

Beautiful work in STEAM

This week I would like to appreciate a number of students for all sorts of reasons in STEAM.

We have just had our closing circle in a hangout meeting and reminded the students that we appreciate their efforts in such challenging times.

There are a number of challenges that students have been working on, linked to the learning targets of our new expedition:

  • building bug hotels
  • building bird boxes
  • bird spotting
  • doing citizen science research in Zooniverse

We’d love to see more photos from these challenges over the two-week break. But most importantly we want students to stay safe, and where possible to enjoy nature.

Here are my appreciations for the week. More images of beautiful work can be found in our expedition gallery by clicking on this link.


Happy Birthday Harrison!

Firstly, a huge happy birthday to our newest member of crew – Harrison! We all hope you have a lovely day, even in lockdown! Also, a belated happy birthday to Courtney’s dad, Chris – check out the birthday cake Courtney made for him!

This week also saw the participation in Crew Quiz #2. The winner this week was….

*Drum Roll Please*…


Well done everyone! We stuck with the same categories, but Heather reigned supreme with general knowledge, her knowledge of films, music and capital cities!!! Well done Heather!

Imogen this week has blown us away. She has created the most extraordinary bug hotel, and in true Imogen fashion, has named it ‘Bugwarts: School of Wingcraft and Foragery’. Check out some of the amazing work – Imo even provided a step-by-step of how it magically came to life! Hopefully some of the local insects will pass their entrance exams and fly into Bugwarts. They’ll need to work hard to achieve their OWLs, though!







And the finished product….


Amazing! Great work, Imogen!

I also wanted to showcase something that makes me smile every time i get an email like it. It’s wonderful to receive recognition of crew’s achievements, and it demonstrates how hard they continue to work during these uncertain times!

Another big appreciation goes to Heather this week – you’ve been working really hard following your weekly work plan, and it’s paying off – i was so happy to hear you achieved 100% on one of your Hegarty Maths quizzes! Well done!

It feels weird to be signing off this week, because under normal circumstances, i’d be waving crew off for a 2 week break. Some of my crew still have some outstanding work, so unfortunately this does need to caught up on during your break. Those that need to do this already know who they are, and i’ll send an email to you with outstanding tasks that are compulsory. Please do ensure you are up to date with these, ready and prepared for next term. Staff won’t be setting additional work, so it’s a good opportunity to catch up. I’ll be checking in in a week or so to see where you’re at. 

Over & out for 2 weeks -have a rest, get some sunshine (hopefully), and be kind to yourselves and your family!

Miss C x

Hello Year 9

By now, you should be aware of the changes we’re making to DofE.  Here’s a link to the blog post, just in case you missed it:
These changes mean that you can carry on working towards your DofE Bronze Award.
Here’s what you need to do:
  • We have set up this DofE Google Classroom.
  • Join using this code: 5zzd72i

  • This is so we can easily keep track of your progress.
  • You will ALL be completing the new Skills activities, which is a First Aid course (yes, even if you’ve already done a first aid course elsewhere!)
  • Materials, instructions and the evidence tracker can be found in the Skills section of the classroom.
  • We will set tasks on a weekly basis.
**This course should be undertaken on a Wednesday afternoon during the allocated Common Mission time.**
  • Your Crew Leader will be in touch with those of you who haven’t completed the Physical Section to discuss how you’re going to move forward with this.
  • Or, if you know that you haven’t completed this, or were yet to start, there’s nothing stopping you getting in touch with your Crew Leader now so that you can get started asap!  You just need to let them know what you want to do from the options given in the classroom post.
  • Again, everything you need to get you started and the evidence tracker can be found under the Physical section in the classroom.
If you have any questions please get in touch with me or your Crew Leader.

It’s VE Day!

VE Day marks not only 75 years since Victory in Europe, but also a bank the end of another great week for Crew Macmillan.

I go on enough about how I couldn’t be more proud of my crew, but I really am so happy with how crew have adapted to working from home. There’s some fantastic work being submitted, which you must keep up with – it’s so important that we don’t fall behind, but we also remember these circumstances aren’t normal, and that we do what we can, when we can! Remember, if there are any issues, you need to let me know so we can resolve them together!

There are a few more appreciations this week, from Miss Cocliff & Crew Macmillan:






















This week, most of crew Macmillan have had 1:1 Google Hangouts with me, to review progress in each subject, find out where we are with the work set, and to get some support if it’s needed with any of the tricky tasks! There are just a couple pencilled in next week, but these honest conversations are really vital – and i’d like to appreciate all of you for having these conversations – i know sometimes it can be a bit tricky to admit you need some help. Being honest with what we find difficult opens up avenues for u sas learners – it might be that we have 1:1 hangouts every week, or group hangouts if there are more than one of us struggling with a particular task. You’d work together in school without question – that’s still possible virtually, too! 

I’d like to end this week by sharing a really lovely picture with you. Ricki’s little sister, Tiffany, has created some beautiful artwork for us, that I think is just incredible. She’s only 4 years old, but her use of different materials is fantastic. A proper little artist in the making! Thanks, Tiffany! 

Enjoy the (hopefully hot) bank holiday as much as you can. Don’t forget your sun cream, remember to hydrate yourselves, and spend some time in the garden if  you can (you might even spot some more birds, to beat XPE, too!)

Miss Cocliff x