Friday 24th February 2017

Apart from whirlwind Doris, there has been a veritable whirl of activity at St Michael’s. If you had been here on Wednesday you would have seen the wonderful collaborative workshop in which classes from Reception to Year 3, contributed Lego houses to create a whole town, whilst up in Prep we ran a huge sports tournament involving ten schools which went well and in which our girls played stylishly.

 

On Wednesday morning pupils arrived early at school to be ready for their link up to the school we have partnered with in China. There was much excitement in the room and the benefits of genuine sharing across the continents will be far reaching over the years to come I am sure. I’m delighted to have the link with YK Pao, Shanghai, a bilingual school founded in 2007 and we look forward to sharing some of the children’s work drawn from their first Skype lesson.

 

On Friday, had you been here, you would have met a veritable legion of soldiers, emperors, noble women and the odd slave as Year 4s got to grips first hand with Roman history. The parent helpers honestly looked as though they had travelled across the millennia, such was the quality of their costume creations!

 

This week I enjoyed PE and snack time down in Nursery and some great table conversations taking place between children and adults, a super science investigation lesson from a visiting teacher and my time with Pre-Prep in assembly looking at the shocking reality of segregation in America in the time of Martin Luther King.   

 

It’s been good to meet visiting parents wanting places for September or sooner and to have had the chance to get feedback from parents in Year 6 over coffee and in Year 5 at the Parents’ Evening. The Governors’ Finance committee met on Monday evening and worked hard to review all the projects being undertaken, the policies they oversee and the accounts and expenditure.  

 

You will perhaps notice on the website that we have put a new Complaints policy which we hope is clearer and more streamlined. Our consultancy policy review in September suggested that the table publishing the complaints received and actions taken, whilst transparent, might make people less inclined to raise an issue formally and we agree that it is important that parents should always be confident that we will listen and respond to matters raised. We have therefore, in reviewing this, taken the decision to make the records available only to Governors and the Inspectorate and report the number, not the nature of formal complaints received which is what we are required to do. I hope that this will increase the confidence of parents to raise issues, if they need to and of course what I really hope is that nobody actually has any!

 

We are beginning to look at the questions and answers in the trial survey and I invite further communication from anyone who feels they would like to enhance our understanding on the issues on which you were questioned.

Two questions asked produced an almost unanimous “I agree” (in that no one disagreed).

Teaching enables my child to make good progress and develop skills for the future with 95.5 % of people agreeing and 4.5 saying they didn’t know or had no view.

The school actively promotes values of democracy, respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, with which again 95.5% of people agreed with 4.5% not knowing or having no view.

 

Any parent who would like to tour the school with me and see more of what is happening in a day is most welcome to do so. I’d really like everyone to have a sense of the work going on here.

The statement which received the highest level of disagreement was

I receive helpful information about my child’s performance and progress. The number of people who agreed was only 87% and those who disagreed stood at 10.8% with 1.8 % not knowing or having a view.

It would be extremely helpful if some or all of that 10 percent would engage with us to help us to understand the reasons for their perspective on this. My sense is that a few parents might expect daily updates which would not be possible beyond early years, whilst a few would like us to modify the timing and nature of what we do offer. Following feedback last year from parent reps, we have modified the feedback in Years 1 and 2 to mirror the quantity and timing of feedback in Reception and we hope parents in Years 1 and 2 are happy with this.

I’m sure parents will be as excited as I am that we are to launch a Parent app later this year which will give personalised access to data held in our system on your children and be able to check it, correct it if need be and keep on top of your child’s homework as well as receiving reports through it.

The trial for this will be launching soon. I hope that the increased connectivity will address the current perceived shortfall in adequate information. Please be confident that if you are one of the people who have views about what we should do I would be delighted to hear from you and meet to talk further.

 

Next week is the start of Fairtrade Fortnight so do look out in the shops this weekend for products with the badge of Fairtrade on them. Year 8 are going into their mocks next week and then will be away in Jersey to enjoy some down time before they go over their papers in the final push towards the summer exams.

 

A steady stream of excellent senior school results is coming through and I look forward in due course to sharing with you the successes of our students. Our own Scholarship offers went out today and we hope that children will be pleased to find out how they did in their applications.

 

I look forward to seeing some of you tomorrow at our Community Netball tournament. May the best team win!

 

Have a great weekend.

Jill Aisher

Latest News

In geography the Year 6 children have been learning about China. As part of this unit of work we are excited to have created a link with a bilingual, international school in Shanghai, YK Pao School: http://www.ykpaoschool.cn/primary The G5 (Y6) children at YKPao and our Year 6 children are in the process of exchanging introductory emails and over the next few weeks they will share elements of their school life, interests and hobbies, while reflecting on similarities and differences between the two countries.

 

As part of this link our Year 6 Digital Leaders skyped YK Pao on Wednesday morning. There were a few initial technical hitches but once these were resolved we had a half hour Q and A session, with children both ends asking and answering questions that had been prepared by the whole year group. The children shared information about subjects, break and lunch time, food, sports and hobbies. There was a great sense of excitement both ends. The session culminated in the YKPao children teaching us how to say good-bye ‘zai jian’ in Mandarin.

Mrs Chugg

Head of Geography

 

As the evenings are beginning to stay slightly lighter for longer, we have taken the opportunity to go outside and play in our new under cover area at The Hive. It’s the first time since moving into our new room that some of the children have had a chance to go outside and play football, run and jump.

Everyone has been fascinated by our new group artwork this week. The children have been patiently peeling off crayon wrappers and colour sequencing them, before gluing the crayons onto a blank canvas.  They then used a hairdryer to melt the crayons, before adding some Disney silhouette characters to make an awesome unique melted crayon picture.  Well done to everyone who took part in our creative artwork this week, your picture looks truly amazing!

Our models have included some wonderful Lego creations from robots to lobsters, and we’ve built towers from playing cards.

In cookery the children have made their own pizzas and some yummy, bubbly honeycomb treats, Mmmm tasty!

Mrs N Smith

We were delighted to hear that Year 7 pupil Jake has made a fantastic debut in county championship swimming.  At the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre he delighted everyone with a brilliant swim in the 100m Breaststroke, earning himself a place in the finals (seeded 7th).  He improved his performance in the final to finish an excellent 5th place with a time of 1min 23.64 seconds.  He also finished 8th (out of 16) in the 200m Breaststroke later in the day.

 

The final week of the county championships were held at the London Aquatic Centre (the Olympic pool) and Jacob came second in the 50m Breaststroke heats.  In the finals he earned a bronze medal in a time of 36.85 seconds

Jake’s coach at Sevenoaks Swimming Club said “Congratulations to Jake – a brilliant start to his career as a county swimmer!”

Mrs Aisher added “Another fantastic performance from one of our pupils. Jake was awarded both an Academic and All-Rounder Scholarship into Year 7 and he can now add another medal to his achievements.  We’re very proud of him.”

After a week of pretty awful weather, hopes were not high for conditions where open, running rugby could be played. Thankfully, these fears were unfounded and we had a glorious day, both in terms of the weather and the rugby.

We started the day with a match against our (it would seem) permanent opposition, Yardley Ct. This was the third time we had played them in a week. Alas, we went down 2-0, but this was most definitely our best performance against them of the week. Our second match against St Ronan’s was a more evenly matched affair, with the final score 0-0. This is something of a rarity now in rugby with the emphasis on scoring tries and the rules allowing this to happen more. Both teams should be applauded for staunch, unyielding defence throughout.

The third match against Sevenoaks Prep saw St Michael’s start to get into their stride and use the game plan of inter-passing coupled with solid support play from depth. This match was won 25-5, with some well-worked tries.

Our third match was against Hilden Grange, a well-drilled side. Against the run of play, they went into the break 1-0 up. Our half time talk was simple and to the point; score two tries and don’t let them score any more. The boys came through and won 10-5.

Our fifth match was against the strong, fast and large Marlborough House, who had run Yardley Ct very close earlier in the day. After an outstanding display from the boys, we went into the last play 15-10 up, hoping for the final whistle. Alas, they managed to sneak through in the final seconds to level the match. Our final match against Rose Hill saw the boys play some of their best rugby and move the ball around the pitch with growing fluidity. We ran out the eventual winners, 30-5.

A great day from all the boys, with improvements coming in every match. Well done.

Mr Wiseman

Deputy Head, Pastoral