From the Head
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.
Whole School News
The Great British Spring Clean at the Environmental Park
Saturday 4th March 10am till 1pm
Sevenoaks Town Council will be taking part in the national Great British Spring Clean 2017. A volunteer clean up day will take place at the Environmental Park on Saturday 4th March from 10am till 1pm.
We are looking for members of the public to help with litter picking and clearing to help make the area more attractive. Equipment will be provided but we recommend wearing old clothes and sensible shoes.
To register your interest please contact Bonnie Tarling, Committee Clerk, on 01732 459 953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re collecting Sainsbury’s Active Kids Vouchers
Sainsbury’s have now launched Active Kids 2017. You can collect vouchers with your purchases at Sainsbury’s supermarkets, Sainsbury’s local and online at sainsburys.co.uk. Collection boxes are available in both Pre-Prep and Prep offices.
Could we please bring to your attention the following notice about morning drop off at both Prep and Pre-Prep schools:
The drop off areas on the left side of the road leading to Pre-Prep and on the left of the drive up to the Prep school are for dropping off children only; there must be no parking in these areas at any time before 08.45. If you arrive at school earlier than 08.00 and your child needs to stay in the car until school opens, please park in one of the car parks. If you are accompanying your child into school or you need to see a member of staff, please leave your car in the car park and walk up to the school.
Cars parked in the drop off zones are causing problems with traffic flow.
World Book Day
World Book Day is on Thursday 2nd March. We will be celebrating, reading and enjoying books on this day in different ways. Children in Pre-Prep are invited to dress up as a character from a book of their choice. We will not be dressing up in Prep school, but instead will be hearing about teachers’ favourite books and enjoying a library cafe. There will also be lots of other book-focussed activities taking place in both buildings all day.
For the World Book Day competition this year, we would like to invite children in Prep and Pre-Prep to tell us about their favourite book. This could take the form of a book review, a poster or drawing, a self-produced book cover, or something more technological such as a video or podcast. Entries to this competition need to be handed to Miss Salmon, Mrs Andrade or Mrs Davies in the Prep library by Thursday 2nd March.
Head of English
St Michael’s News Stories on Independent Schools Council website
We’re delighted that our news features can now be seen on both the Independent Schools Council website – click here to take a look.
Dyslexia and Self-Esteem Event
St Michael’s honey
Mr Edwards, our catering manager, has donated a jar of St Michael’s honey to be raffled. This is from the beehive at the back of the school and, by all accounts, is absolutely delicious! Raffle tickets are 50p each and all proceeds will go to the School Council to purchase something to enhance the break time play for the children. Tickets can be purchased from Mr Wiseman between lessons.
Parents & Friends
Our popular comedy evening returns to St. Michael’s on Friday 17th March, 7.30pm. The event is hosted by Out of Bounds Comedy and will feature three great stand-up acts with a compère. Bring along friends and family for an excellent night out! (Not suitable for under 18s).
Tickets are priced at £20 per person which also includes light snacks. A pay bar will also be available.
Please buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment, available from both the Prep and Pre-Prep offices.
We look forward to seeing you there!
The St. Michael’s Parents & Friends Committee
Summer Music Festival 20th May 2017
Parents’ Badminton – all welcome
Anyone for badminton?
Come and join our mixed ability Badminton group of St Michael’s parents (past & present).
MONDAYS 8.30am – 10.30am
WEDNESDAYS 8.30am – 10.30am
in the Prep Sports Hall during term-time
All abilities welcome (even if you haven’t picked up a badminton racquet before!).
For further information please contact Liz Baker: 07703 393479 or Awn Rabe: 07765 371165
We had a lot of fun this week with our Lego workshop. I was amazed at the concentration shown by our Reception children in making Lego buildings. The town they built with Year 1s looked superb by the end of the morning. The Year 3s then joined our Year 2s for the afternoon and made the town into a city. This came complete with a prison and waves for surfing. I learnt where I had been going wrong with Lego roofing all these years (not enough roof trusses!).
Thank you to Parents and Friends who came into assembly to tell us all about the Music Festival we will be having on Saturday May 20th. Mrs Beesley is trying to get Pre-Prep staff involved in a song so you may need to bring ear plugs!
We have also seen Rampa the Guide Dog this week. He came for his last visit to school before he goes to his new owner to become a working dog. He has successfully completed all his training. Thank you to everyone who has supported Jules Walker and St Michael’s to make a contribution to Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Next week we have the first of the Pre-Prep parents’ evenings on Thursday 2nd March, so there will be no activities on this day. Please collect all Pre-Prep children at 3.20pm. If you need childcare beyond this time please contact Nicky Smith to book your children into the Hive.
World Book Day will be celebrated on Thursday March 2nd. Your child is welcome to come dressed as a story book character.
A reminder to all parents; when we have dismissed your children at the end of the day they are your responsibility. To save stress on the Pre-Prep staff if your child has forgotten something or needs to “be excused”, could you please accompany your child back into the building via the main doors.
Have a good weekend,
Gold Stars were awarded to:
Phoebe H for excellent reading / Sophie S for wonderful full stops and capital letters in writing
Emily J for super story writing / Sebastian M for always working hard especially in maths activities
All of 1S & 1W for amazing us with your knowledge of houses and your behaviour on our school trip
Annabelle S for comprehension work / Emily N for a newfound enthusiasm for reading
Holly H for always working hard, being enthusiastic and a great friend
Hugo H, Florence D & Oliver S for completing Level 1
Liza B for completing Level 2
Lincoln M & Bronwyn T for completing Level 3
Florence L, Skye C & Alexander S for completing Level 4
Eva V for completing Level 8
Ava M for completing Level 9
Times Tables Certificates
Ethan G – Silver
House Point Cup
Awarded to Windsor House with a total of 135 points.
Jaylen collected the Cup on behalf of the House.
100 House Points Certificate
Sophia J – Rochester
Judoka of the Week: Pearl M
Gamesmaster of the Week: Alex C
Rulesmaster of the Week: Nathan M
From Kindergarten to Year 3, construction techniques, basic maths, geometry and colour-coding were learned, culminating in the most fantastic Lego City during a one day Lego Workshop on Wednesday.
See our gallery of photos here.
Rampa pays a last visit to Pre-Prep
Our beautiful guide dog, Rampa paid his last visit to Pre-Prep this week, before he starts life as a working guide dog in a few weeks’ time.
Congratulations to H Madden, who won his slalom race in Kitzbuehel and won a gold snowflake award.
Year 4 Drama Mask Workshop – re-scheduled date
The Drama Mask Workshop for Year 4 will now take place on Monday 13th March.
House Music Competition
The House Music Competition has begun! On Wednesday morning the Heads of Houses met together with their teams to begin work on their house songs for the competition on 24th March. There are three parts to the competition:
- Solo Classes – junior, intermediate and senior (any instrument or voice)
- Ensemble Classes – junior intermediate & senior (any combination of instruments or voices)
- Whole House Song – compulsory song for the whole house
Pupils are invited put forward a proposal to their Head of House by Friday 3rd March if they would like to enter any of these classes, after which House Captains and Heads of House must narrow down their selections to juts two competitors per class. The competition will run during the school day and further details will be available once the list of competitors is finalised.
Director of Music
St Michael’s pupils triumphant in Chamber Music Competition!
As you will know from our last newsletter, three St Michael’s pupils, L Weir, L Edwards and E Ward put on an amazing performance in the Pro Corda Chamber Music Fesitval for Schools. Against competition of 16-17 year olds our trio more than held their own and are through to semi finals which take place on March 2nd at Sevenoaks School.
This remarkable achievement is even more notable when the fact that they have put 86 groups out of over 300 through to the semi finals and only 8 out of those 86 groups are in the U12 years category.
Mrs Dennett said “The children performed so well. The adjudicator was thrilled with their performance, it was polished and very exciting. I was so proud of them.”
National Children’s Orchestra achievement
Congratulations to our talented music scholar L Weir who continues to excel in her musical pursuits, having recently been offered Associate Membership of the NCO for this year. She has been offered a place to perform with the South Easterlies National Children’s Orchestra, which means she will perform in a number of exciting concerts including their summer concert at the beautiful Hever Castle. Well done!
Congratulations to bronze medal swimmer Jake
Jake made his county championship swimming debut and he certainly made a splash, winning a bronze medal! Read more here.
Year 6 link to Shanghai School
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
Click here to read our full article and to see photos of our skype session.
Players of the Match, Girls’ Games, 8th February
U13 A netball – A Griffiths
U13 B netball- K Edwards
U11 A netball- K Fry
U11 B netball – E Court
U10 A netball – G French
U10 B netball- E Botes
U10 C netball – S Stokes
Players of the match, Netball Tournaments, 24th February
U13 A M Handy & H Taylor
U13 B A Thompson & L Weir
U11A Player of the Tournament – A Faulstich
U11 B Players of the Tournament – the whole team.
U11 C Player of the Tournament – E Court as voted by her team mates
U10 A G Williams
U10 B S Ross
U10 C J van Slingelandt & K Davis
U9 A E Ward
U9 B T Elliott
U9 C E Potsepaeva
U8 A I Johnson & E Brewer
U8 B M Noorpuri and F Merrells
U8 C A Mottram
Players of the match, Boys’ Games, 21st and 22nd February
Men of the match for 21/2/17 & 22/2/17
U13A – entire team
U12 A – Z Hudson
3rd Team – D Williams
U11A – J Piller & G Schooley
U11B – L Handy
U10A – Entire team
U10B – O Goodwin
U9A HG – J Maloney
U9A HH – S Newton and G Rehbein
U9B HG – A Paizes
U9B HH – H Plank
U9C HG – H Halfacre
U9C HH – O Bowen
U9D HG – L Madgett
U8A – L Poracchia
U9B – T Smith
U8C – George Kelly
U8D – Nathan Dandeniya
U8 and U9 teams compete in Cross Country Event
Our Year 3 and 4 teams showed skill, stamina and sportsmanship in the event at Hilden Grange School this week.
We had some excellent performances in all categories, with all the children really trying to do their best.
Our best result of the day came in the U8 Girls, where V Kern finished in an outstanding third position, winning the bronze medal. Our other top finishers in this category were A Ogle (fifteenth) and A Bowyer (twenty-seventh).
Our top runner in the U8 Boys was T Neville in eighth place, followed by A Goodwin (seventeenth) and J Wiseman (twenty-first).
For the U9 Girls, E Jones was our first finisher in eleventh place, followed by E Collings (twenty-eighth) and B Welland (thirtieth). S Newton nearly took a medal in the U9 Boys, finishing just outside the top three in fourth position; he was followed by O Bowen (nineteenth) and H Plank (twenty-first).
Many congratulations to all the children who took part and a big thank you to all the parents for their excellent support.
Maths and PE Teacher
Mrs Voce would like to add her especial thanks to Mrs Soper, Mrs Cameron, Mrs Singh, Mr Bowen, Mrs Kern and Mrs Collings for their wonderful photos, which tell the story better than words! See all our photos in our gallery here.
We were particularly delighted to hear from Mrs Singh that “All the children did amazingly well and the comradeship between all the children is incredible. The Yr 3s cheering the Yr4s with gusto and vice versa!!! “
Well done indeed to everyone who took part.
St Michael’s hosts U11B Netball Tournment
Braving the elements, the St Michael’s U11B Team put on some superb performances in Wednesday’s tournament, when teams from ten schools competed hard against each other. We’re just waiting for final permissions from one of the participating schools before opening up our gallery of photos. In the meantime, click here to read our article.
Congratulations to St Michael’s U11C Netball Team on third place in tournament
Well done to our U11C netball team, who took part in a tournament at Sutton Valence on Wednesday. The tournament was a league format involving 7 teams all playing each other once. The girls played some fantastic netball winning 3 matches and drawing 3 matches; this meant the girls tied for 1st place on points but after the top three were placed on goal difference, the girls ended in 3rd place. A fantastic result. The girls voted E. Court as our player of the tournament.
Well done A. Demasure, E. Rozo, E. Court, S. Chugg, J. Allen, S. Powell, H. Roderick and M. Ulhaq.
Guys and Dolls Rehearsals Week commencing 27th February
Monday 27th February
After School 4-6pm
2 -3 B
ALL MEN (EXCEPT ARVIDE, BRANNIGAN AND ALL MISSION BAND MEN)
Tuesday 28th February
After School 4-6pm
2 – 3 C
ALL MEN (EXCEPT ARVIDE, BRANNIGAN AND ALL MISSION BAND MEN)
Wednesday 1st March
Thursday 2nd March
Song – The Oldest Established
ALL MEN (EXCEPT SKY, ARVIDE, BRANNIGAN AND ALL MISSION BAND MEN)
Friday 3rd March
After School 4-5pm
Lighter evenings have meant more football, running and jumping at The Hive this week, but that hasn’t stopped our creativity. See here for our article and photos of our amazing melted crayon picture.
Senior Schools Information
Beechwood Sacred Heart School Open Day
Beechwood’s next Open Day will take place on Tuesday 14th March. Interested families should register on the school website http://www.beechwood.org.uk/. Mr Aaron Lennon, Headmaster, will give a presentation about the school at 11.00am, after which he will be pleased to meet prospective parents and answer questions.
Their 13+ Entrance and Scholarship day is held every year in January and further details about scholarships are available from Mrs Sue Dyke, Registrar, on Open day or by contacting her on email@example.com.
Bethany School Academic Scholarships
Bethany School are offering an academic scholarship to pupils entering at Year 9 and who are aged 14 or under at the start of the academic year of entry. The scholarship can be worth up to 100% of school fees for the pupil’s senior school education. For more information please pick up a flyer by the St Michael’s white doors or contact Mrs Ginnie Corbett on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for enquiries is Friday 17th March and the Assessment will take place on Monday 27th March.
Bishop Challoner School
Bishop Challoner School in Bromley will hold an Open Morning on Saturday 11th March from 9.00am to 1.00pm. The morning offers the opportunity to have a tour of the school with a pupil as a guide and to speak with individual class teachers, who will be happy to answer any questions. Mrs Anderson, Head Teacher, will be speaking at 10.00am and 11.30am and will also be available to speak to families on the day.
The school ethos is one which nurtures individual talent, respects all faiths and creates a learning partnership.
Please contact Sue Long to pre-pregister: email@example.com
Christ’s Hospital School
A boarding and day school in Horsham, West Sussex, Christ’s Hospital School’s Open Morning is on Saturday 25th February 2017 and on Saturday 22nd April. Places are limited, families are asked to call the school on 01403 246555, email on firstname.lastname@example.org or complete one of the forms available in the wall stand opposite our white doors. For more information about the school, please look at their website www.christs-hospital.org.uk
Cobham Hall Taster Afternoon, Sleepover and Open Morning
Cobham Hall’s next Taster Afternoon & Sleepover and Open Morning will take place on Friday 17th/Saturday 18th March 2017. Parents are encouraged to contact Cobham Hall on 01474 825906 or email@example.com if they would like further information about these events or would like to make an appointment to visit.
Eastbourne College Open Morning
Eastbourne College will be holding their next Open Morning on Saturday 4th March.
Visitors should arrive between 9.00-9.30am at the main College building and attendance can be pre-booked via Eastbourne College’s website www.eastbourne-college.co.uk or by using the following link: www.eastbourne-college.co.uk/Visiting-the-College
Haileybury will be holding their Open Days on Saturday 18th March (for entry into Years 7, 9 and 12) and on Wednesday 10th May for entry into Year 7. for further information please contact the Registrar on 01992 706353 or firstname.lastname@example.org
King’s Rochester Open Morning
King’s Rochester will be holding an Open Day on Saturday 6th May 2017 from 9.15-12noon. There is no requirement to book, but if you have any questions, please contact the Registrar on 01634 888590 or email@example.com
Roedean will be holding an Open Day on Saturday 4th March 2017 at 10am and on Bank Holiday Monday, 1st May 2017 at 10am.
St Olave’s Grammar School
St Olave’s Parents’ Association are offering a programme of “Familiarisation Mock Tests” for children in Year 5, which may be of interest to parents planning on applying to grammar schools.
While the test is unrelated to the test administered by St Olave’s Grammar school, the test is deemed challenging and can be taken by both boys and girls. Detailed test results are aimed at enabling parents to identify whether their child needs assistance in one or more of the test sections: Comprehension, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.
The test costs £60 per candidate, but the St Olave’s Parents’ Association intends to offer free places to eligible candidates, who may otherwise be unable to afford a mock test.
Full details are available at www.saintolavespa.net
Sackville School’s Open Day will take place on Saturday 18th March from 10.00am to 2.00pm. The Headmaster’s welcome is at 10.15, followed by tours of the school.
Sevenoaks School Open Morning
Sevenoaks School Open Morning will take place on Saturday 18th March. Bookings can be made online at www.sevenoaksschool.org/openmornings. They also see parents on an individual basis every morning from Monday to Saturday during term time. Parents can book a visit via the Registrar, Mrs Fenella Cournane, on 01732 467703 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next full school Open Morning is on Saturday 17th June, for which bookings can also be made online now.
A special Open Morning for St Michael’s families will be held on Saturday 22nd April. The invitation to our parents is available here.
Open Morning postcards are available from our stand just inside the white doors.
Sevenoaks School Information Evening at the Royal Institution, London on Tuesday 7th March 2017
Tonbridge School Admissions 2019 entry
The entry lists for both day and boarding applicants remain OPEN but we anticipate that both lists will close soon and we therefore encourage any remaining applicants to register with us as soon as possible.
Walthamstow Hall’s Open Morning is on Thursday 9th March from 10.00am to 12.00 noon. Interested parents are advised to book their visit at http://www.walthamstow-hall.co.uk/ as demand is high. Parents unable to attend are welcome to go to their next Open Morning on Saturday 23rd September or to contact Registrar, Mrs Alex Knight, on 01732 468703, email@example.com, to arrange an individual visit.
Easter Cricket Camp 2017
Owing to popular demand, we have decided to open entries to our Cricket Academy earlier this year and look forward to seeing many new aspiring cricketers at our Cricket camp in the last week of Easter.
In order to secure a place for your son or daughter, please email Mr D van Schalkwyk : firstname.lastname@example.org. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
For many of our Year 3 boys, it is a new beginning to their cricketing experience and for Year 5 it is sometimes a daunting changeover to the hard ball, a transition which we aim make enjoyable and rewarding. We are fortunate enough to have the use of the pavilion for refreshments and changing areas, 3 new outdoor nets, the square and sports hall in the event of bad weather. Sessions will run from 11th April – 13th April and will consist of a morning session from 9am-12noon for Years 3-4 and afternoon session from 1pm – 4pm for Years 5,6, 7 and 8. With the limited amount of spaces available I would urge you to return your booking slip as soon as possible.
Letters are available from the office and cheques for £60 (payable to Mr D van Schalkwyk), together with the tear off slip, can be dropped into the Prep School office.
Mr van Schalkwyk
Hockey Camp – spaces still available
Mr Thomas and Richard Young will be running a four-day hockey camp at Easter on Thursday 6th, Friday 7th, Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th April at Hollybush. The course will run from 10.00am to 3.00pm and will run similarly to previous camps. For further information, please email Mr Thomas on email@example.com.
The Summer Camp will also run from 21st – 25th August.