Head’s Blog 11th May Friday 11th May 2018

One of the highlights of my week is listening to my colleagues at our weekly staff briefing meetings, talking about something they would like to share that was special in the previous week. Sometimes it’s something that takes weeks to organise, like the Big Write which did take place at the end of last week, following its cancellation earlier in the term due to bad weather. At other times it’s a small, significant step taken by one child that we start with and this is equally important to each of us. If you have good stories to share about your children please do send them by email.

We all very much enjoyed our terrific Open Morning on Wednesday, seamlessly organised to ever higher standards by Jane Thornton and her marvellous team. What marked out this Open Morning was that we attracted and met so many parents whose views and values are keenly aligned with those of the school and I was very moved at the generous offer of one parent registering her child here to also support the bursary fund, so that others could enjoy time here alongside her own child. We will be revisiting the idea of how we can increase the diversity in our school as part of next year’s development plan and I look forward to sharing with you some projects which we will be launching to take this forward.

As swimming gala season is very much upon us, I’d like to draw attention to a new rule which is signposted in the swimming pool, but has not been well publicised amongst the parent body. It is now not permitted for parents to photograph children in the pool. With our safeguarding hats on and knowing that the school is vulnerable when many visitors are on site, this is the simplest way of preventing a voyeuristic approach to photographing children with very few clothes on. We do hope you can all see the reasons for this, sad though they may be.

Last week I was invited to an orchestral concert performed by choristers at the three London choir schools, St Paul’s, Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. It was delightful to meet Jonathan Milton, the Head of Westminster Abbey school, whose pupils are entirely choristers and who was a pupil at St Michael’s many years ago. I hope to do a feature and interview on him in this publication in due course, but it was delightful to hear his happy memories of times at St Michael’s and to learn that he, as I do now, had lived in Shoreham Village.

Today in Prep we raised money through wearing an item of purple for the Neville Centre, https://www.youngepilepsy.org.uk/news-and-events/news/uks-first-purpose-built-childhood-epilepsy-centre-opens.html?jjj=1526020136016; a research Centre named after Tristan N’s grandfather, Professor Brian Neville, for his life’s work in research into childhood epilepsy and its treatments.

Tristan made a wonderful film about his grandfather for his challenge homework project and we are delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile charity.

There is great excitement brewing amongst the parent body about this weekend’s spring ball and I congratulate everyone involved in this huge operation and thank all the estates team here, who have stopped what they normally do to help put up the splendid marquee.

I look forward to seeing many of you on the dance floor! Have a great weekend.

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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