Head’s Blog 29th March 2019 Friday 29th March 2019

As this Lent term draws to a close I wish you all an excellent and restful Easter holiday.

The pace of the final week of term certainly lends itself to being a great contrast to the upcoming period of rest.

The explosion of talent showcased in the school production of “Emil and the Detectives” met with universal acclaim from all those who were privileged to attend.

Our drama room, with its intimate, raked seating installed became a space transformed to take the audience back to Berlin pre-war.

Parents, siblings, friends of the school, governors and guests were all astonished by the standards achieved by all the children. The ensemble work, the theatricality, the physical techniques, the soundscape, choreography, lighting, set, music and direction were all of the highest quality. As I said to staff, one phenomenal imagination was at work to create this piece with the help of some phenomenally talented children. What was created revealed hours and hours of care, time and commitment from everyone involved and a huge amount of learning. The bringing together of the whole company of supporters and backstage assistants, costume changers, make up and hair artists, bar tenders, and backstage crew, reunited many old friends and we thank them for being part of the team that put on this extraordinary show.

The children were energised, focused, joyful, talented and very mature in their interpretations of their roles. Our pleasure in seeing what they achieved cannot be underestimated, whether in extended, sustained solo performances, such as the roles of Emil, Pony and Mr Snow, or part of the group of children or adults, whether creating movement in a crowd or on a tram, or creating a mood or emotion, the ensemble work was tight and extraordinarily accomplished. Particular thanks go to all those who built the set, designed the programme, procured props and clothes and a particular mention to Rachael Newton who assisted and prompted at all rehearsals, Ali Landgrebe, our wardrobe mistress, and her team, Mary Bridges who choreographed the dancing sequences and ably stood in for a pupil, Emily the producer and congratulations and thanks to Alan Powell for being the best Head of Drama anyone could wish to have and for achieving and enabling something so spectacularly special. Congratulations to every single person involved.

The Cast of Emil and the Detectives

Director Mr A Powell
Producer Miss E Aisher
Stage Manager Mrs R Newton
Assistant Stage Manager Mr J Sabin
Choreographer Mrs M Bridges
Sound Mr T Everett
Lighting Mr J Mitchell
Wardrobe Mistress Mrs A Landgrebe
Assistant Wardrobe Mistress Mrs G Dandeniya
Hair and Make-up Mistress Miss B Campbell
Hair and Make-up Miss H Campbell, Ms K Woods and Mrs O Begg
Set Design Mrs A Begbey
Set Construction Mr B Buggs and the School Estates Team
Props Mrs A Begbey
Programme Mrs L Andrade
Poster and Programme Art Mrs A Begbey
Front of House Manager Mrs L Shield
Bar Mr B Seath and Mr C Shield
The Cast
Ida Tischbein S Edwards-Matthews
Mrs Wirth A Moore
Mr Snow J Crossley
Grandma Tischbein E Ward
Miss Zeittel/Miss Closs T Elliott
Man from the 177 O Goodwin
Mrs Gans A Anglin
Mr Tuesday R Friis
Mrs Tuesday O Crane
Station Master T Sales
Emil Tischbein T Bulley
Pony I Davies
Toots H Soper
Professor R Landgrebe
Tuesday L Blincoe
Hilde E Collings
Helga E Jones
Arnie F Smith
Archie H Plank
Silent Isaac E Hudson
Petzold S Parker-Swift
Gerda S Friis
Berlin Street Kids
N Brown
S Andrade
N Dandeniya
M Lewis
S Ward
V Medlen
Mlle Dubois F Ashdown
Mme Mimi Miss E Balcombe
The Dancers
M Noorpuri
C Prongué
L Fraser
C Sinclair
K Fryer
A Ogle
G Schneider-Price
S Fraser
A Bowyer
L Summers
C Sturges
S Williamson
C M Pape
O Neave
F Arduino
I Gascoyne-Day
Mrs M Bridges
I Neave
L Shi
D El Angbawi
P Singh


Thank you to Mrs S Maltarp, Mrs R Winter, Miss H Darlington, Mrs R Baisch, Mrs J Poracchia and Mr O Chugg.

Thank you to Mr I Smith and the estates team, the office staff, the marketing department and all our parents and members of staff who gave up their time to help with the production of the show.

Last week I gave my last assembly on how to get rid of plastic and took as my theme the birthday party.

I’ve asked the team to put my assembly PowerPoint on the Parent Portal for anyone who would like to see it. Certainly there are some good ideas about recycling wrapping paper, using ribbon instead of Sellotape, so that re-use of the wrapping paper is possible, creating your own decorations, and some funky videos of people doing just that, considering using normal plates and glasses as opposed to themed plastic or waxed paper ones, making your own party bags and putting in them something small and environmentally friendly like a packet of seeds for the child to grow and finally specific advice for parents.

So parents could consider….

  • Getting together as a group to buy or make decorations that don’t use plastic and it could be shared by the year group on a loan basis
  • Abandoning party bags altogether or, if you do have them, making them out of recycled paper
  • Considering cupcakes to take home or something to plant in the garden that attracts insects
  • Asking some parents to come and help wash up your real plates and cups so that the end of the party is not the beginning of your nightmare!

It’s been nice to have such positive feedback from the parents who have taken the time to be in touch about my plastics theme and I know that the children take seriously some of the ideas and wish to incorporate them in your household routines. Later this year I intend to run a short survey about changing plastic use in your house so that I can gauge the impact of talking to children week by week about things that matter to me and to our world.

My theme in my final assembly will touch upon the miracle and the shock of Easter.

The virgin birth and the resurrection are two of the most astonishing stories of all time and in re-visiting them year after year we still can find something fresh to say and to think about from within the depths of these stories. For me, I think my sense of what Easter is about is the bringing of hope. In the depths of despair and at a time in which it seemed that everything had come to a final end, there arose such a miracle that brought new hope, new life and regeneration to the disciples learning from their great teacher.

I hope that Easter is a time for new hope for you and that you can rejoice in the time that you have together.

Our Salzburg trip sets off the day before term starts and I shall be away enjoying the music and culture of this beautiful city and the companionship of your talented offspring. In my absence, my deputies and my secretary Helen will be pleased to help anyone who needs it and I hope that many of you will follow our travels and adventures on my Twitter feed.

I wish you all a very happy Easter 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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