Head’s Blog 26th January 2018 Friday 26th January 2018

At last this week has held some sunshine for us and as I write this, the grounds will have the chance to dry out and recover from the battering of the wind and rain. Whatever the weather on the outside, on the inside of the building it’s always sunny at St Michael’s and I’m still enjoying the pleasure of this morning’s performance platform for our beginner musicians in Prep. All of us present took pleasure from the performances themselves, from the standards achieved and personalities shining through.

We were lucky to have assemblies and workshops from the NSPCC this week exploring children’s right to be safe and well-cared for and teaching children how to understand if adults behave inappropriately and how to access support and help. I commend the links sent by Mr Baird and look forward to being able to fundraise to support the teaching of the safeguarding curriculum in more schools. The wellbeing group had an excellent meeting yesterday I understand and are moving forward with their action plan.

It was good to see such large numbers of interested parents at our meeting in Pre-Prep on Wednesday, to discuss our plans for adding a third reception class and developing Stable Court and I’m grateful to all the colleagues who were present and for all the parents who came and were eloquent and thoughtful in their questioning. We were asked if we could hold a daytime meeting for parents unable to come in the evening and would like to invite any of you who prefer this option to attend a meeting on Thursday 1st February at 11:30, when we will set aside an hour and a half to present to you and take your questions. Do let us know if you’re able to come by email to Jane Gray jgray@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

I enjoyed meeting and talking to pupils representing Year 3 over lunch in my office and they provided refreshingly honest feedback on things that made them happy and things that I could do to make them even happier! Hard on the heels of that, I was able to be better informed for my coffee morning with Year 3 parents and it was good to be able to iron out the important issues that bother parents and catch up and clarify information that has been missed or needs better explanation.  Thank you to the Year 3 reps who collated and collected questions and were able to take back, I hope, useful answers.

Following the P & F AGM last week, I would like formally to reiterate the thanks of the P & F to Anna Smith, who has been an outstanding treasurer for them for the last two years. Cheerful, efficient, a magician with pie charts, she brings a great deal of wisdom and commitment to the whole endeavour of the P & F and although she is stepping down from her role and should be congratulated for doing it so successfully, I know we will all benefit from her continuing presence in support of the P & F. It is particularly delightful to report that Anna’s elder son Kobi has been playing at national level tennis recently and, having reached the semi-finals, is now ranked number four in Great Britain for his age. With one more competition to go we join his parents’ excitement at what lies ahead. Congratulations, Kobi.

Next week I shall enjoy interviewing scholars for Years 7 and 8. The standard of their applications is extremely impressive and I particularly enjoy the clear evidence that the vast majority of them have been done unaided by the children and are clearly written from the heart.

I hope this weekend that the sun will continue to shine that you will be able to enjoy some outside time and some time together. 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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