Head’s Blog 10th July 2019 Wednesday 10th July 2019

As the academic year hurtles to a close, it is almost time to take a step back and have a well-earned rest. We have, all of us, worked so hard this year.

Our last few days have been spectacularly enjoyable, complex to create but beautifully simple to enjoy.

The Prep Sports Day on Friday ran like clockwork, with stunning weather to match the superb organisation. The houses marched out in style and competed with ambition and mutual support and respect. It was exciting to see some new records set, equalled and old ones broken:

Year 7&8 1500m     P Parker-Swift – 6.2.8.21min (from 6.29.35)

Year 6 High Jump   S Newton – 1.49m (from 1.41m)

Year 5 High Jump   M Cameron – 1.38m (from 1.37m)

Year 5 100m              J Wiseman (=record 14.19)

Congratulations to all the winners and to all who pushed themselves to their own limits.

Thank you and congratulations too, to Cal Wade, whose immaculate organisation triumphed on the day and all staff who worked hard to make it happen and to be such a fun day.

The evening celebrations and the gorgeous weather led to a convivial evening of barbecue, sizzled and served by a strong staff team, time to play freely, chat, enjoy a drink and then the excitement of the all-night camp out. It was good to see children playing and laughing in mixed age groups, enjoying the space and the warm summer sun. An enormous debt of gratitude is owed to Fraser Wiseman, who masterminded the logistics and the practicalities of the camp out, plotting pitches, shopping for food and drink, cooking, cleaning and staying awake to look after everyone. A merry band of colleagues joined him to serve and clear and to each person involved a very warm and heartfelt thank you.

On Monday we were treated to the talents of Pre-Prep, when they performed their “Plastic Pirates” songs for us. I later very much enjoyed the whole environmentally on-message show, with not only plenty of opportunity for solo and ensemble work, but also the sea of underwater creatures colourfully bedecked. It was great that Zerrin Leech is fit to return to work to congratulate the pupils and staff on an excellent year in Pre-Prep. I’m proud of each and every one of them.

Alongside our super sports day, we held a magnificent Old Michaelians’ Day and met, for the first time in one case, some interesting former pupils who have lead very successful lives in different professions and regard the school with fondness and a deep connection, born of the fact that they boarded here. One of our Old Michaelian visitors explained that when he transferred to his fine independent senior school he struggled to not be boarding and felt that there was something missing.

Today’s struggle I think, for pupils, and particularly today, the last day of term, is to actually say goodbye. But of course this isn’t ultimately necessary because although they won’t be with us every day, all staff and pupils will always have a place at St Michael’s. We want to be in touch. We want to hear your news we want to engage on social media and we want to follow the careers of our spectacularly successful and varied cohort of leavers as they go out to make their mark on their next schools and the world beyond.

It was easy to detect how splendid our pupils are at last night’s Prize Giving. It was utterly delightful to welcome Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to the stage and he certainly showed us the art of feeling comfortable performing.

Laurence’s nephews attend St Michael’s and we were absolutely thrilled that he agreed to come and present the prizes to our lucky winners this year. From the moment he arrived, Laurence was bubbling with humour and quips that put the children on stage very much at their ease. Having declared that our marquee was quite retro and suggesting that perhaps we had too much fabric around the window apertures, he went on to talk with some passion about the charity MERU which his father set up to assist severely disabled children with the simple tasks of life by making and engineering tools to support their independence. Laurence kindly waived his appearance fee (phew!) and instead asked the school to make a donation to MERU to continue the good work. Laurence made us laugh and gave us food for thought about creativity and following your dreams, about being unconventional and passionate and he certainly demonstrated that being funny gets you places. If there are parents that would also like show the measure of their enjoyment of last night’s occasion they would be most welcome to do so at the following link https://fundraising.qef.org.uk/donate/donate-qef. Please be generous .

I shall be writing to you all towards the end of the summer to send you my Head’s Review of the year and update you on the progress of Stable Court and the Astroturf.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy summer holiday.

Jill Aisher

Latest News

As Y5 pupil, C Hunter, explained during Monday’s assembly, Sevenoaks School has organised weekly food/supply collections for those in need during these very uncertain times.  The collections have benefited local organisations such as One Big Family: Helping the Homeless, Friends for Families, The Hygiene Bank, Sevenoaks Food Bank: Loaves & Fishes, Community Cupboard, area primary schools and others.  Miss Cat Davison, the School’s Director of Service and Social Impact, updates its online social media feeds (@sevenoaksimpact on Twitter and Instagram) with the items needed each week.  We hope that you will consider helping with this effort.  Together we can make a huge difference for those living right here in our community!
The details of the collections are provided below.  If you do wish to participate, please ensure that items are unopened and handled with washed or sanitised hands, and that social distancing is strictly adhered to on delivery.
What: Food, Supplies (check social media links for current needs)
When:   Every Tuesday, 9am – 12pm
Where: Outside Claridge House, Sevenoaks School,TN13 1HU
(Claridge House is just to the right of the main entrance of Knole Park on High Street)
On Monday our community-minded pupil also discussed a book collection which took place earlier this year for children in Ghana.  Below are photos of EduSpots centres where the books are available for local communities throughout Ghana.

We’ve been amazed by the phenomenal success of the Art Department’s recent challenge “Painting without Paint”. Set as part of our remote learning programme, children were asked to select a work of art of their choice and to recreate it at home – but without using paint!

The Art Department has been overwhelmed by submissions, which Miss Rodwell, described as “creative, humorous and inventive”. She added “Staff have been impressed by submissions that showed how carefully the children have looked at their chosen artworks in order to create such brilliant responses.”

Posts on our Twitter account have received positive responses from prestigious art galleries, such as the Tate and the National Gallery, with The Lowry in Manchester commenting “Wow, we love this!!” on T Neville’s version of L S Lowry’s “Man Lying on a Wall”. But it’s not just art galleries in the UK, who have responded to the children’s art; their work has been liked by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden and the Mauritshuis in Den Haag. One Year 3 pupil, who was inspired by artist Aja Trier, even reached New York, as permission was sought to post an image of one of her paintings. She was delighted to allow us to feature her work and on seeing J Gagg’s interpretation commented “Oh my gosh that is precious! Please tell the artist I love it! I will post on my Instagram and Facebook. Thank you!” She went on to tell us “I am always so humbled when kids are inspired by my work, but this is next level!”

In order to show you all the wonderful work our pupils have done, we’ve put together an online gallery of the work. Talking about the project and the reaction, Mrs Barratt declared “This is wonderful!” and reactions from other schools included the comment “Excellent work St Michael’s Art Department this is a really fun activity”.

Mrs Bridges told us “I am absolutely delighted, and inspired, by the way that the children have responded to these challenges. Creativity is keeping us connected, not only within our own community but across the world too!”

We can’t wait to see what the department comes up with next. Miss Rodwell is keeping us in suspense “I’ve been working on a new one today …”. We’re sure that our pupils will have even more opportunity to excel!

Click here to view our online gallery of more ingenious images.

Some of our super St Michael’s Swimmers have won an array of silverware at recent events.

At the Sevenoaks Swimming Club presentation evening, I Pennington Legh was presented with the Kingsbury Cup for U10 girls; A Green was awarded the Kingsbury Cup for U10 boys; E Green received runner up plate for the best U9 boy; S. Taylor was awarded the Mike Radford Trophy for most improved U9 boy; A Ashton was presented with the U9 Individual Medley Cup and U9 trophy for most improved swimmer; B Tovey and J Taylor were both awarded plaques with their positions from the recent Sevenoaks Club Championships.

At the Black Lion Gala, Gillingham, at the start of March our swimmers again came away with medals. A Ashton won three gold, one bronze, one fourth and one sixth medal; A Green three gold and two silver medals; E Green four silver and one bronze medal; S Taylor one silver and one fourth medal and J Taylor a fourth position medal. V Medlen also came away with a medal from the gala.

Well done to all those swimmers; your hard work and dedication is certainly paying off!

Mrs Denton

Swim School Manager

Well done to our doubles girls, E Julio and S Savidge, who also played in last weekend’s Junior Orange Ball Tournament in Sevenoaks. They played four matches, won two, beating Sevenoaks Prep and Lady Boswell’s and lost two to the eventual finalists Amherst and Granville.

This was a great performance by the girls, particularly in the light of little experience of Orange Ball competition.

Well done!

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