This last week has been a very busy and productive one again, even with four days due to the staff day on Friday.
On Thursday we welcomed the North East Creativity Collaboratives Network into school. Part of the conference agenda included an ambassador tour from our students, who were able to articulate how creativity is central to our rigorous 3-dimensional curriculum focussing on Beautiful Work, Character Growth and Academic Success.
In preparing for this visit it has reminded us of just what a special place our school is, and the breadth and depth of experiences that our students get in service to their mission of ensuring that they and their Crew are successful.
G30 – What do the communities of NE England owe to the miners?
Just this week we have had G30 preparing to interview Joe Solo, a folk musician and our songwriting expert in preparation for our students taking stories of members of the mining community and immortalising them in song.
Year 7 have also visited Beamish to carry out fieldwork which focussed on the working conditions of mines in the 19th and early 20th century. This fieldwork included demonstrations of what caused the tragedy at Felling pit (literally underneath our school) in 1812, as well as carrying out an investigation into the death of a young miner and going down the drift mine for a visceral understanding of what it feels like to spend your day under the ground.
Students will share their music and wider learning from this expedition with you in a presentation of learning at St Mary’s Church in Heworth at the Year 7 Presentation of Learning on the evening of Monday 18th December.
G29 – What does it mean to be Human?
G29 have this week been grappling with challenging text, including their anchor text ‘The Body’ by Bill Bryson to help them to make connections between the structure and function of the lungs and the evolutionary path of humans, the smart ape. In Human students welcomed Reverend Lucy into school to ask her about her views on the sanctity of human life. Reverend Lucy was very impressed with the level of questions from Year 8, commenting that they were “University-level questions”. In arts students have been continuing to learn to capture the most expressive object in the known universe – the human face. The connections students make between these disciplines will come together in a speech, excerpts from which you will be able to hear at the Year 8 Presentation of Learning on Tuesday 19th December.
G28 – How can structures help us to explain the world around us?
This week G28 visited the Byker Wall to learn from experts in the Byker Community Trust and Ryder Architecture about the influence that physical structures and our social environment can have on the way that we live our lives. Students toured the community, sketched the building in preparation for their own sculpture design and paid particular attention to a building that had been suffering from decline and anti-social behaviour, but after renovation and reconfiguration is now an award winning part of the Byker community.
In the coming weeks students will start to make more connections between structures of habitations, structures of government and structures of the physical world – down to the atom, to help them to answer their guiding question.
Year 9 will share their learning in a Presentation of Learning on the evening of Thursday 14th December.
Our week ahead
Ron Berger – EL Education
This week we are honoured to welcome Ron Berger from EL Education to our school. Ron Berger is the Senior Advisor for Teaching & Learning at EL Education in America. Ron is a well-known educator nationally and internationally and will talk to our students about a commitment to quality, character and citizenship.
More than this though Ron is a friend of XP; in fact without Ron there would be no XP. Ron has been with EL Education in the US since the very beginning and was gracious enough to guide us in setting up XP in Doncaster. When we talk about Outward Bound and Kurt Hahn being the start of our story at XP, Ron is the person who helped us to fill in the gaps when the idea of XP was first developed by Andy Sprakes and Gwyn ap Harri – for that we will be forever grateful.
Some of our staff have been lucky enough to listen to Ron talk before. Our students are in for a treat, as Ron brings with him more than the stories of his experience as an educator over the last 25 years, but also a portfolio of beautiful work from students across the EL community – work of quality, work of character and work of active citizenship. We can’t wait!
External School Review on Thursday
Building on the really positive external review that we had in the Summer Term, we have asked for another review to look specifically at Personal Development of our students and also to look in more depth at more subjects. We will update you with feedback from this review but we know that our students and staff will do us proud. Here is a reminder of some of the wonderful comments from the previous review.
‘Staff are committed and relentless in their pursuit for culture to be right’
‘Crew is an effective system for ensuring that primarily students are known very well to adults, and that students exist in a safe place to talk with confidence about many issues’
‘The curriculum model, is being implemented successfully, thanks to experienced leaders, as well as collaboration with other experienced leaders across the trust, which is positive’
‘Interpersonal skills are being well developed – students are skilled at listening to others, being respectful and sensitive, as well as in offering advice, critiquing others, and in offering their own opinions and thinking’
PE sessions this week
Due to our staff day tomorrow, there is no PE for G30 students (Year 7) this week
G29 students (Year 8) have PE on Wednesday this week.
G28 Class 1 students have PE on Thursday this week.
G28 Class 2 students have PE on Friday this week.
We will offer extended study sessions, from 3:15pm – 4:30pm each day this week Monday-Thursday.
On staff days like tomorrow, our students do not attend school and there is no expectation that they complete work beyond their regularly set extended study (homework). Students will find this work on Google classroom.
Students are expected back to school on Tuesday 26th September by 8:25am at the latest.
As usual if you have any questions about your son or daughter please get in touch with your child’s Crew Leader in the first instance or email general enquiries to [email protected].
Thank you as always for your ongoing support. There is more in us than we know #WeAreCrew.