Head’s Blog 15th September 2017 Friday 15th September 2017

Head's Blog 15th September 2017

It has been fabulous to see so many smiling faces as the new school year starts. We welcome all new children to the school and very much look forward to getting to know their talents and interests. There has certainly been some excellent feedback from new children, two of whom told me on Thursday morning in the playground that this school was “much better” than their old ones! I’m grateful to all my colleagues who have spent a lot of time thinking about managing the transition and welcome of everyone new.
As a staff we have been focusing on the developments that lie ahead:
1. Ensure every lesson meets the needs of every pupil
2. Review the curriculum for Year 7&8
3. Develop well-being and mental health provision and understanding throughout the school
4. Consider ways to expand provision at the school.
Our newest recruits to the school, Dr Dodd in science, Dr Tuck in classics, Mrs Petzsch in Year 4 and Mr Brightman (Junior) are settling well and make great additions to the team in Prep, while down in Pre-Prep Mrs Spierenburg and Miss Collier have made a great start to their work in Kindergarten.
Thank you to the children who sent me postcards from their interesting holiday locations. Any child is welcome to write to me at any time on any issue. They may enjoy posting their letters in the red postboxes in either school or in the High Street!
Often the best ideas come from children and it is really important that everybody understands that their voice is central to our process at St Michael’s.
As I write this we are gearing up for our first welcome evening for Year 3 parents. If you are challenged to attend things in the evening please do try to make this event for your year group a priority as there is so much to be gained from meeting the staff who look after your children, as well as hearing the key information about how to support them and what is new in your child’s year group. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other parents of children in your child’s class.
We are pleased to share photographs of Miss Shaw’s wedding to Daniel and Mrs Bent’s new granddaughter Arianna Lily, born in China this summer.  We also congratulate Rachael Newton on completing her TEFL course and look forward to the ways in which this qualification will support work with our children who have English as an additional language.
As part of our work on well-being, the school is applying for a Well-Being at Schools Award, which launches on 15th September. Through audits, improvements, additional provision and changing our focus in certain parts of the curriculum, we as a community will be working towards making well-being more central in everything we do.
I shared with staff a touching poem by Natasha who at the time of writing was in Year 2 and wrote;
When the sadness rises and the happiness falls all the colours turn black and grey
When the happiness rises and the sadness falls everything is rainbow… your heart too
We’re thinking about that rainbow and making sure we have rainbow every day at St Michael’s by focussing with staff and children on behaviour and language that makes other people feel good. We look forward to sharing with you the ways in which you can get involved in this project.
I hope many of you have found the time since your children came back to school to sit down and read my review of 2016 to 17. I certainly felt proud when I read it and I look forward to working hard with the team here to take all our plans forward. I was sorry to realise that I had omitted the section provided for IT and therefore, with apologies to Miss Booth, have included it on the following page.
It was terrific last Friday to meet so many Old Michaelians, many of whom were delightfully young. All of them were drawn back by the immense sense of warmth and inclusion that they felt when they were pupils here and by many experiences that drew them together. I certainly met some very influential and talented individuals and we are proud that they are part of the St Michael’s story.
As we think of people in parts of the world where Mother Nature has wrought havoc on their lives, we look forward to a weekend of family time, with little in the way of issues to deal with.
I look forward to seeing some of you at the football tournament on Saturday and many others at the welcome events in the coming weeks.
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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