We thought it was time that we let you know we have finally chosen our crew name. The students worked long and hard deliberating over who would best represent us and how we felt about crew, ourselves and each other.

There were many names researched and presented but we finally settled on ….

Harriet Tubman

This was Darcy’s suggestion and we all felt that she perfectly captured what we as a crew were about through Harriets legacy.


Here are the important values that we felt we as a crew, shared with Harriet, and if we did’t have theses values, we would aspire to them.

“We chose this name because we can relate to her because she was brave, She showed integrity, she stood for honour, she stood for truth, she stood for equality, she didn’t give up and she stood up for the right to do amazing things.” Evie

“We chose this person because she is independent and she escaped slavery at the age of thirteen which was a big accomplishment – proving that we can accomplish whatever we put our hearts and minds to. She showed our character traits and we felt she represents our crew.” Nenna

“We think she is a good role model because she showed integrity and courage by standing up for what was right and the courage to stand by her beliefs even though she could have lost her life. She took responsibility for her family and went back to save them from being slaves.” Riley

Snow Day

Very proud of my crew as they have continued to turn up for crew and lessons regardless. They really are showing perseverance and commitment to their learning.

Special mention

One person who I am particularly proud of this week is Jasmin. She has also been made this weeks honorary Vice President, (in honour of the recent Inauguration). As she has supported our crew not only in session but has given up her own time to do a little hang out with a small group of crew members, to support them with their understanding of an extended study maths task. I was impressed with her leadership and supportive skills. Not only did she guide but she checked with them for understanding. Asking relevant open questions to gather whether they had understood what they had done. Truly inspiring. Fantastic integrity and compassion Jaz!


Winning Formula

We are currently top of the leaderboard in our howls across the board! This is a great start to the year, but it doesn’t mean we can rest on that achievement. We now have to work at maintaining and improving that! Watch this space I know they will smash it.


“Stay safe and take care”

From Crew Tubman

— Its all in a name…


We have spent this week grappling with not only the idea of what is a student led conference, but more importantly how this will shape up during online learning.

Working through we are getting prepped, recapping on our first expedition, checking our HOWLs, setting our targets and making some really person reflections.

Onwards and upwards!

A Great Attitude

Welcome back crew!

The last two weeks have been a challenge for us all adjusting to a new way of learning. I’m so glad we are still able to get together as a crew every morning virtually and it’s been so important to support each other through new challenges and share our successes. On Friday, our crew check-in was ‘What are you proud of from the last two weeks?’. I want to share a few highlights:

  • Alysia was proud of herself for getting all her work done on time and not leaving her homework too late.
  • Nadia was proud to achieve 100% in a Hegarty task for maths – woohoo that’s amazing!
  • George was proud that he is improving in maths. I’ve noticed he has worked so hard in his lessons and has asked some brilliant questions that show how deeply he’s thinking about the work.

I shared this quote with crew on Friday:

A positive attitude is important now more than ever. Personally, I really believe in the power of our thoughts. There’s so much in life we can’t control and this last year has brought that home. But a change in your mindset can transform what feels like scary change into an opportunity for growth. In crew we develop a positive attitude by celebrating what we are proud of and expressing gratitude for one another. These twelve young people have brought to crew so much kindness, resilience and lots of laughs. I hope you can recognise how brave and brilliant you all are – you continue to inspire me every day.

Little things make a big difference!

Our crew have been working together this term and we have produced this blog as a crew.

This Christmas we are helping the French-gate centre support the Trussell Trust Foundation which is the largest food bank in the UK. Each of us are doing our bit by donating either socks or chocolate (if you’re feeling generous then both). These gifts are going to people in poverty who don’t have these luxuries, and they will receive these gifts every time they go to a food bank in the coming festive weeks.

It is important to give chocolate and socks to the people that aren’t as fortunate as us. During Christmas time children will not feel as left out around their friends, it would also put a smile on their face and that makes us happy. People who need the gifts will go to the food-bank during Christmas time and get a gift to open. It will help the food bank provide more for those who are in poverty this year.

What we are doing is giving people who aren’t as fortunate as ourselves items like chocolate and socks. We are doing this because we want people to be happy on Christmas day and so they have items under their tree on that delightful day. Thanks to charities like food banks these people can get the items they need to make them happy. 


It’s important because it helps people in poverty or people who can’t afford good things like socks or chocolate. We ask people to help out that little bit for Christmas just because a lot of kids and people don’t have any presents under the tree so we ask you to help out just that little bit for everyone else who deserves a Christmas. The littlest gifts we give mean the world to some adults and children living in poverty or that are less fortunate, that’s why at Christmas we give gifts

We have learnt that poverty is a lot more common in places like Glasgow, London and even Doncaster. We found that Poverty was more common than we initially thought. It’s not just homeless people but that is not the case even people with a job can be in poverty, not able to pay all their bills or buy enough food. It is very difficult to get out of but easy to get into and will change a lot of things in our lives, it can change your relationships, friends, people in your life. Although benefits help they are not enough to live comfortably. Many people still have no where near enough and with people limited to a few food bank vouchers a month, this becomes quite difficult.

At this time of year helping charities and people less fortunate than ourselves helps us to remember to be grateful for the things we have and that gifts need to come from the heart, that you think about the gift you are giving and how it can benefit that person.

Many thanks for reading our Blog.

Have a lovely Christmas see you all again in the new year.

Embracing the unknown!

Well what can i say?

I am so proud of our Y7s! They have adjusted to the change brilliantly, at a time where there is so much uncertainty, they have got themselves set up, found out what they needed to do and cracked on!


Online learning isn’t the easiest, but I have been seeing their happy little faces every morning on time (for the most part) and ready to learn. we’ve had the odd onesie but on the whole i’m really impressed with the maturity and punctuality of our students at a time when its easier to give up and stay in bed. A HUGE well done to you all. I’m really looking forward to seeing you back in school.


During isolation we have looked at our Habits Of Working and Learning (HOWLs) and we have made our pledges to make these better, but to be fair i am really impressed with my crew, great HOWLs all round.



In fundraising news:

Staff have been working extra hard to support Save the Children Charity, by selling home made gifts raising a whopping £339! we hope to increase this when the children wear their Christmas jumpers on the 11th December…

So don’t forget your £1 and your Christmas jumper, but don’t worry if you don’t have a jumper, you can wear anything christmasy and still bring a £1, its all for a great cause.

Reviewing Our HoWLs

Students received their first HoWLs grades recently. HoWLs are our Habits of Work and Learning: Work Hard, Get Smart, Be Kind. It’s been a great chance to celebrate students and overall everyone found something to be proud about when they saw their grades. However, it doesn’t stop there…

Firstly, we analysed these grades to find patterns in the data.

We reflected on what each student could do to improve and everyone made pledges so these improvements could be put into action. We will be checking in on those pledges regularly to ensure students don’t forget.

X27 students have had to self-isolate and have been able to continue their education online through Google Classroom and Google Meet hangouts. In our hangouts, crew continued our HoWLs analysis from the comfort of their own homes!

We worked on our crew narrative, identifying the key areas we need to improve on as a crew and focussed on the students who might need a bit of extra support to raise their grades. We decided that as a crew we should all focus on improving ‘Get Smart’ grades. ‘Get Smart’ is all about taking responsibility for your learning by asking questions, seeking help and improving your work. In our hangout this morning we discussed ideas for what they could do to ‘Get Smart’ in all the different subjects when they are at home…

  • Spanish: George told us all about Duolingo which is an app to help you learn languages and Oscar told us he has been using Linguascope which is a similar idea.
  • Maths: Students can go on Hegarty Maths and watch videos and take quizzes on any topic that they need extra help with. Oscar showed us how he using the ‘Memri’ quiz which quizzes you on questions that you have already done before to help you remember old topics.
  • Hums: We spoke about how you could read around the topics to find out more – could be articles from newspapers or books that are relevant. Another idea was talking to our family and friends about what you are learning to find out their ideas and experiences, particularly as students are currently learning about Doncaster’s history and the history of the mining and the miners’ strikes. Ruby told us that her grandad was a miner so he would be a fantastic person to ask!
  • Science: Someone suggested searching the internet to learn more about topics in science. Youtube and Clickview videos would also be a good resource for this.
  • Art: Practicing at home! Alysia spoke about how some people say they ‘can’t do art’ but all they would need to do is practice and try out the different techniques they learned at school. I really agree with this and I believe that every student has the ability to create beautiful art.


I am challenging crew this week to try out one of these ideas for ‘Get Smart’ and they will feedback next week on ‘Thoughtful Thursday’ to discuss what they tried out and how it helped them. I’m looking forward to seeing them all in person again tomorrow!

Simple Gifts Campaign

As a crew we have been looking into why food banks are important, what they do, how they support people and families and most importantly how we can help. Here some of my crew have discussed why the simple gifts campaign helping to donate some small non essential gifts is important at this time of year.

“It helps other people  and if there are lots of presents it can make them happy and more joyful about this festive holiday. There are lots of people without a gift at Christmas so we can help them. Even if it’s just a little present it can help other people. It makes them feel appreciated and respected” Noah.

it’s a nice gift just to help someone cope” Jaxon

“It helps people because they can have a gift from a food bank, it doesn’t matter to us when we get chocolate but it might matter to them because they might not have had chocolate in a long time. It would be nice to give someone a gift and it would make them feel better about themselves for Christmas.” Brooke

“its important because some people might not have the money to buy presents and buy food and heating and they can’t give anyone else any presents.” Sienna

“Because it helps people have things for family at Christmas because many people under poverty can’t afford presents, toys and treats for others, which can make the family feel let down. It also helps because it shows that people actually care”  Elanore

 “It is important because some people don’t have the money to eat or even have heat. This is especially important at Christmas because it gets colder and people might want to get presents for their kids or other family. And if youdonate people might get the essential things they need” Isabelle

“It’s important since this Christmas people could have covid over Christmas. They can be really ill and spend Christmas alone in a ward or something with no presents. It’s also important to give people joy over Christmas, rich or poor. It’s nice giving people presents on such a special time of year. Also with covid-19 you can feel lonely and isolated, which presents it lifts their joy!” Alfie

“it’s a kind thing to do for someone and people can get the essentials they need as well as something nice.” Faith

“it makes people feel special and makes them feel loved and that people care about them. Another reason i Think is important is so they can get the basic needs you need to live” Ruben

“It helps because they can have a special Xmas” Collin

Hopefully by gifting chocolates and socks we will be able to bring some of this joy, love and happiness a lot of us take for granted over Christmas, sharing it with others less fortunate.

It’s great to see Everyone back this week and we are full steam ahead. I’m really impressed with everyones’ commitment to learning and crew NML (soon to be renamed, watch this space…) are really settling in well. The involvement level of our crew sessions are developing, with richer conversation as we grow to trust and respect each other, in the safe environment we have nurtured during our first half term. Already I have seen them grow emotionally in this short time. I’m very excited to see how we will develop further.

One of the topics we have been investigating has been poverty. The students have asked lots of questions and have been able to empathise with the situations many people find themselves in. Some discussion turned, driven by the children, to problem solving and looking at ways in which they could make the lives of people in poverty better and what they thought they could do instead. From batch cooking meals to up-cycling, free-cycling and food banks.

During our community meeting we discussed this further with other crews, using a silent conversation. This is where the students were able to read, question, discuss and annotate other students written responses to a text. The text detailed someones (an adult) personal experience of poverty. After unpicking the information the students made their own contributions before passing it on to the next group for their input. It was really encouraging to see that this was also where students gained a good understanding of what it was to be in poverty, as some students were unable to connect to this subject before this activity.

I have also been really impressed by how the students are taking all this, uncertainty and change, in their stride, having to wear face-masks around school and in the corridors. Many students holding others accountable showing fantastic integrity and respect, by reminding fellow students to wear their masks. If we all do the right thing then everyone will be safe. Definitely a community minded bunch. Well done guys, keep going you are doing amazing.



Howls Reflection

During this half term we will begin to understand how engaging in and taking ownership of our own learning can really make a difference. Being mindful of our choices and using the people and resources around us to help when we find things difficult and be a kind and considerate community member by helping others when we know what we are doing. Making sure we are the leaders of our own learning.


And finally this week we have seen the launch of our eagerly awaited reading scheme. Students have downloaded the App and now have access to a wide range of reading material based on their reading ability. ask them to give you a tour.

See you soon…

— Welcome Back!

Single Stories…

Hi All!

great to see you all here again! One of the many things we have been looking at during our crew, is what it means to have a single story. Stories matter, they help us to understand the world. But all too often we have little information and form opinions that give us a single story… a viewpoint that isn’t quite accurate. This can become unintentionally damaging. We watched a TED talk (click on the link to see) about a successful author, but that her early writing had been from a single point of view. It had been from one perspective and with a small amount of information. She identified the problem with having single stories, how it can prevent us from truly connecting to the world around us and each other and how this can link to stereotypes, racism and unintentional damage from ill informed opinions.

I was so proud of our crew, we had fantastic thought provoking conversations, where we discussed at length our opinions, how these were formed, whether we had challenged these and sought other information to back this up, or if we had just taken things on face value. It was literally a light bulb moment for most of us and I am truly humbled at the thoughtfulness, mindfulness, courage and integrity of some of the wonderfully talented pupils that I get to work with.

Beautiful work

In Art, one of our newest crew members, Ben, produced this fantastic observational drawing. We are so proud of it and it is now hanging in pride of place on our crew wall. 

It’s hard to tell which one is the copy 🙂

Fantastic Work


It’s nice to be appreciated.


And finally for now, we have been taking time during our crew sessions to appreciate each other for our HOWLs (Habits of Working and Learning) and our character traits, by writing them a sticky note and popping it on our crew appreciation wall for all to see. At the end of the week pupils collect them up, read them and hand them out. We’ve started to collect some lovely thoughts on there already; Jasmin shared her amazing friends duck picture, which is also now on our crew wall.











Crew PBO make a pledge

We’ve been busy as ever this week in crew. Harry has been joining us on Google Hangouts from home for crew sessions in the morning!

As we come to the end of their first ever term at XP, I thought it would be good to reflect on their progress. We spoke about our HoWLs (Habits of Work and Learning) which are Work hard, Get smart and Be kind. It’s important for the students to reflect on these themselves so they can celebrate their successes as well as think about what they can do to improve. The students rated their HoWLs and we discussed our strengths and areas for improvement. Then they all wrote a pledge and we stuck them up on the wall. Being visible will help them stay accountable to their pledges and we can check their progress. Here they are on our crew wall:

As crew, we support each other because we can always go further together than alone. We spoke about what we can do to help each other with our pledges and HoWLs.

I think one of the most important things they can do to help each other is to be a good role model for others. We all have different strengths and this is great because it means they can all inspire each other in different ways!