Head’s Blog 4th May Friday 4th May 2018

In chapel today we prayed for those starting exams or tests. For some children of all ages, being asked to show what they can do with no help can be daunting or stressful and for others it can be exciting and even fun.  For us the most important thing is that children feel confident that we only want to know what they can do on their own.

Keeping a rhythm and routine is an important way to support your children as they approach tests and exams. We wish everyone with impending tests the very best of luck.

Working with parents is an important part of what we do and it is delightful to get to know families really, really well. There are however, some formalities that need to be observed. Firstly attendance at school is compulsory unless you home educate your child. I remain concerned at the number of requests I receive for absence from school for non-essential reasons and whilst we do have a good relationship with parents and support you in bringing up your children, I would request that everybody tries to keep these absence requests to the absolute minimum. Can I please remind parents that a request for absence involves asking permission from the Headteacher and I do not expect, nor is it legal for me to allow, parents to email the form teacher instead of me  and inform us that a child will be off unless, of course, they are ill. An absence request at the very least involves a question and an answer.

The topic of selection for teams has featured a great deal this week and I would like to put some context on some of the conversations that have taken place between parents and the sports department. We are totally committed to sport for all, to learning through teamwork through winning and losing graciously, to experiencing competitive sport at all levels and through sport, growing healthy, happy, active and successful children.

Some parents have very strong views about what team they believe their child should be picked for and I must make it clear that these decisions are made at school by staff who teach the children, watch the children, set standards for the children and have expectations of the children.

The beauty of having so many teams is that children can experience success and win and lose at the appropriate level for their skills. Some children progress quickly up the teams as their skills are honed. Some remain faithful members of the teams into which they were first put.

We are just as proud of the children in our F teams as in our A teams and children have won house points and nominations as man or player of the match for great leadership, team play or sportsmanship in a number of different teams for both girls and boys.

I have complete faith in the department to pick the appropriate teams, playing children up or down according to the evidence from lessons and their attitude towards instruction and improvement.

As parents, please try hard to support your child and their teacher by your encouragement at the pitch side and by positive talk about how they performed in and for their team.

With the long and hopefully sunny bank holiday weekend ahead of us I wish you all a pleasant extra day of rest and family time. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday. Have a great bank holiday 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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