Head’s Blog 9th March 2018 Friday 9th March 2018

After last week’s “snowmageddon” as it has been inventively called, came “fun in the sun” week. It has been glorious for all the trips and events planned this week and from Jersey we have been glad to receive photographs of our pupils enjoying all of the outside sporting and cultural treats that have been arranged for them, following their Common Entrance mocks week.

All our visiting parents and pupils this week have found Saint Michael’s in the midst of a creative burst. The presentations on Wednesday morning of this term’s challenge project had staff excitedly meeting in corridors to share what they had seen and heard.

Videos, PowerPoints, artefacts and performances are some of the many responses to this term’s challenge project and I have received some nominations already for Headteacher’s stars that lift the standards to yet another level.

Year 6 were quite stunned to meet Frances Osei, who visited on Wednesday morning and came to talk to them about making the right choices in life following his stint in prison for being involved in and not reporting gang crime. Some of the Year 6 were moved to think how changed Francis’s life was by this terrible experience.

Meanwhile the drama room was taken over by a bevy of beautiful Roman ladies (aka Year 4 parents), who came to support Year 4’s Roman Day and join in the hands-on learning in our History Off the Page workshop. Mosaics, wax tablets, oil lamps, jewellery and charms were created and, of course, the physicians learned how to mix their potions, all under the strict supervision of the mistresses in charge of their stalls.  The children thoroughly enjoyed their day – overheard in the corridors “I LOVED it!”  and from one of our parents “Super learning experience!”  Thank you to all the parents who joined us to make this day possible and to Mr Morgan for organising it.

The members of the orchestra who travelled to King’s Rochester enjoyed their rehearsals and performances of “In Dreams / The Black Rider” from Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore and “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter by John Williams.  Sophie said afterwards “We played really great pieces and it sounded cool with all the different orchestral instruments. I really liked the harp glissandi which added a special touch of magic!”

Year 7 were lucky enough to listen to Professor Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London, speaking at New Beacon and found his talk on studying science or medicine as a future career “inspiring”, other comments from the children included “success doesn’t come overnight” and “try and try again until you succeed”.

I’m sure many of you in your workplace are now overfamiliar with the letters GDPR; The General Data Protection Regulation. For those of you who have missed the imminent forthcoming change in data compliance arrangements, the new regulation gives everybody more control over data that organisations have about them. We are asking the very few remaining parents to complete our data check launched last September as a matter of urgency now as our responsibility to hold accurate data about our families is matched by your responsibility to give it to us.

There are still six families in the school who have not returned amended sheets to us. They are yellow to make them easier to spot in that very important pile that you have somewhere in your house.

These families have already received two reminders from the school. Please help our fantastic administration team to close this file.

The proposed new curriculum for next year’s Year 7 met with general excitement from the parents who kindly attended our launch meeting on Wednesday evening and it has been good to get such positive feedback about our plans from both Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. Mrs Shield is organising a small working party from among this year’s Year 6 parents and anyone interested in joining that should be in contact with her directly at lshield@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

I look forward to seeing some of you at the Pre-Prep Mother’s Day assembly next week and at the performance of Lord of the Flies which is coming soon.

Here’s hoping for a more spring-like weekend for you to enjoy.

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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