Head’s Blog Friday 10th February 2017

Thank you to everyone who responded to our trial run survey. 139 respondents replied on behalf of the 187 families at the school. After half term I will write more about the information we received. Most scores were in the 90% agreed or more which is very pleasing!

As Internet safety awareness week has rolled on, pupils have been focussing on ways to keep safe online and have engaged in a number of e-safety activities which you can read about later in this newsletter.

Perhaps the highlight of my week was the amazing House Drama Duologue Competition. For anyone there it was a total treat. For the families of those performing and for the staff we had such joy and such pride in what was achieved by every pair on stage, whether the Year 3s flexing their dramatic muscles and revealing their “other side” or the humorous dialogues chosen by older students keen to entertain, or the challenging renditions of Dickens and Austen, delivered with assurance , maturity and genuine understanding, or the slightly surreal sketch where two wolves discussed the stereotyping they experience as they are portrayed  in literature. There could have been so many winners, our judge Anita Louise Combe , hotfoot from the West End stage picked some corkers but it was hard to select them from among so much talent. Congratulations to all who took part and thank you to the audience who buzzed with excitement. Drama is very much alive and kicking at St Michael’s

As we storm towards the half term lull I would like to thank all the children for working so hard this year so far and the staff who make the learning so enjoyable. Meeting some parents about to relocate to Europe this morning, they said “You must be very proud of all your teachers here”. I most certainly am.

Two special people are planning their retreat from St Michael’s and before I introduce you to their successors I would like to thank Sue Ringrose and Sally Worby for all that they have done and will continue to do until such time as they move on to their new lives.

Sue Ringrose leaves us at Easter for a part time maths leadership role at the lovely school at Skipper’s Hill and Sally Worby will retire and move to the West Country in the summer.

 Sue joined the staff in 1998 as a part-time head of ICT under Peter Roots and quickly established herself as a dedicated and able teacher, with a firm grasp on how IT should be developed and expanded and the drive to take IT at school forward. Her own children enjoyed being pupils at St Michael’s and when Sue leaves here a major chapter of her life will be closing. Sue is a high performing and dedicated member of staff, who in the latter part of her career here made a strong contribution to the School leadership team as well as taking on the maths department and securing, alongside her team,  fantastic results from students at CE. Over more than two decades at the school, Sue has given a great deal to St Michael’s, through her musical talents and gifts, through her passion for her charitable work for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and before she took over maths her management of IT was quite transformational. Many generations have much to be grateful for. Sue took on timetabling, and implemented the migration to SIMS, as well as leading training for staff and masterminding various roll outs of systems. Sue has prepared for handing over with exemplary dedication and we will be sorry to see her go. We hope that she will enjoy a more balanced working week and that we continue to see her here whenever she wishes to visit. 

Sally Worby came to us in September 2012 from Bethany School and has proved a capable, organised, enthusiastic and selfless member of the teaching team here. Under her leadership , the science department has been a “happening” department and broadened its work to include astronomy, competitions, and visiting senior school masterclasses for our pupils and those in other schools. We are indebted to Sally for the contact with Christopher Lloyd and our introduction of the Curiosity Curriculum in Year 7 and we were the first school in the world to adopt it.  Sally is committed not only to her subject and her team, but has also made a significant contribution to the wellbeing and success of the Year 7 & 8 pupils in her role as Head of Year and Form Tutor. Her wisdom and good sense  have enabled many pupils to meet challenges with excellent and practical support.  As she moves away from Kent in the summer, down to the West Country, we wish her every happiness in her new life.  

This weekend many of our Year 6s will be learning what offers they have from senior schools. After half term our own scholarship results will be published. We look forward to sharing with you the successes of our students in their exams.

I trust that each one of you will enjoy a restful half term.  If you are off to colder or warmer places, go safely, enjoy your time together and we look forward to welcoming you back on 20th February.

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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