From the Acting Head
This time last year, I wrote an end of term newsletter reflecting on a challenging Michaelmas Term. I likened the Term to training for a marathon – which at the time, I was experiencing literally, for the first time. The challenges of 2020 have gone far beyond what we could have imagined this time last year. I have since run two marathons: one was a solo, virtual event, through a huge storm in headwinds of 40 miles per hour. Looking back, this is almost the perfect metaphor for some of the moments we’ve experienced in 2020!
I shared my experiences of the solo, virtual New York marathon with Prep children in assemblies this week. The event was a tough and gritty affair with no crowds or fellow runners to experience the moment with. The conditions were appalling. I battled through the rain, wind and hail, and wanted to quit both before and during the run. With sheer determination, a fair few tears and numerous doubts along the way, I managed to finish. It wasn’t my best time, but, I do genuinely feel that it was my greatest running achievement and one that I will be proud of forever.
This year has bought us all much change, challenge and adversity. However, as a school community, we should feel immensely proud of all that has been accomplished. In the face of adversity, we have worked together to ensure the very best for our incredible pupils. This week alone, I have witnessed children performing, singing, sharing, being brave, courageous, making mistakes and knowing that it’s OK and an important part of learning. As adults, we have also all stepped outside of our comfort zones, and for that, we know we have set a great example.
Special thanks this week must go to the whole community of teachers, support staff and Estates Team who have helped make our special Christmas celebrations happen. The nativities have been joyous, the carol service was beautiful, the end of term assessments focussed, and the coneball was commendable! Every single member of staff makes an enormous contribution, and I am truly grateful to work with such an excellent, committed team. I hope you enjoy experiencing the magic of a St Michael’s Christmas differently this year and that, as we look forward to a bright 2021, we will embrace the opportunities to join together when it’s safe to do so. If there’s one thing we now know, it’s that different does not mean any less special!
There will be one last newsletter, next Wednesday, to round up our end of term celebrations. I am looking forward to an exciting end to the term featuring a festive woodland walk organised by the P&F, dazzling Christmas jumpers and fundraising for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) on Tuesday. I am preparing for my final assemblies, accompanied by Lucy in Year 7, sharing her story of how she was saved by the TVAA. I hope that the children will come home inspired on Monday to make their own contributions to our fundraising efforts for this incredible cause on Tuesday.
Please check the Covid-19 notices in this newsletter regarding actions to take if your child becomes symptomatic after the term ends. We are almost there, but will continue to fight these challenges with caution, clean hands and open hearts.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you once again for your ongoing support.
From the Head of Pre-Prep
I have watched five Nativities this week, and all the children were at their best. Lines were delivered beautifully and songs sung sweetly or with gusto. I can’t remember a year when every teacher is completely happy with every performance, but this year it has happened. I have so many staff to thank. Perhaps I should say that not only am I proud of all of your children, but I am immensely proud of the talented, hard working team of adults at St Michael’s.
Next Monday and Tuesday, we will be going on a Winter Wonderland walk through our grounds to solve some clues for Santa. Thank you to the P&F, particularly Kerri and Kelly, who have put in so much effort to produce an exciting alternative to the Christmas Bazaar this year.
On Tuesday 15th December, we will all be wearing Christmas jumpers instead of school jumpers or cardigans. This year, we will be supporting the Thames Valley Air Ambulance charity who came to the aid of one of our own St Michael’s pupils last Christmas. Donations on the day will be appreciated.
Wednesday is a half day, so please pick your children up at 11.45am if they do not have any siblings at Prep school. If you have children at Prep, then please come onto the site at 12pm to pick up all your children from the Pre-Prep pick up points. Your Prep school children will be waiting with us. Parents with Prep only children will be coming at 12.15pm in order to stagger the pick-up, so it would be helpful if all Pre-Prep parents could be leaving by 12.15pm. I would like to thank you all for your forbearance over this last term with picking up at the end of the day.
After Christmas, I would like to see Reception children being able to walk down the bridge in the morning, without their parents. Many of them do already so it would be great if you could positively prepare your child for being very “grown up”.
Overheard in Pre-Prep:
Child: What’s that? (Pointing to fruit baked in the cake)
Teacher: “It’s rhubarb cake”
Child (turning to another child): “It’s Rudolf cake!”
Have a lovely weekend.
- Christmas jumpers on Tuesday 15th December
- ½ day on Wednesday 16th December
Susan Ward- Governor
Susan was a parent at St Michael’s for three years. Her daughter joined in Year 6, and left at the end of Year 8 with outstanding memories of St Michael’s. Because of this, Susan was keen to stay involved in the school and participate in its future growth.
Susan has over 25 years’ experience in financial services, having worked for both JPMorgan and UBS. Since leaving UBS last year, Susan has been building an advisory business in impact investing and pursuing various start-up opportunities.
Susan lives in Sevenoaks with her husband and two daughters. Together they enjoy cycling, walking and other outdoor activities in Kent.
Benjamin Charles – joining the Full Governing Body from 06.01.2021
Ben Charles has been the Principal of King’s School Rochester since April 2019.
Ben is a musician who trained at the Universities of Exeter and Durham before moving into a teaching career which began at another King’s School, this time the cathedral school in Peterborough. At the same time, he sang in the cathedral choir as a Lay Clerk. Ben then moved on to serve as the Director of Music in two HMC schools: Chigwell School in Essex and Millfield in Somerset.
Prior to moving to Kent, Ben was the Senior Deputy Head at The Portsmouth Grammar School where he oversaw pastoral care, safeguarding, school operations and staff welfare. He has a keen interest in sport and has represented County Durham at rugby as a schoolboy, and in music and drama. Ben is married to Helen, also a teacher, and they have four young children.
Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners
Silas C for playing ‘Happy Birthday’ beautifully on the piano in assembly
Leo H.B for a well presented and detailed ‘Missing’ poster
Isabel E for great enthusiasm and fantastic expression in our play
Viggo W for fabulous perseverance and concentration when learning to sew
Elizabeth W for a beautifully written and eye-catching dragon poster
Nathan H for using fantastic adjectives to describe the missing dragon
Myla B for carefully identifying halves and quarters of given quantities
J Pathiwill for a fantastic presentation on Kenya in geography
A MacRae for a wonderful piece of writing for English homework
Covid-19 Update – Christmas holidays Test and Trace
This week we have received guidance from the Department for Education regarding NHS Test and Trace following the end of term.
We need to inform you of the following:
- Where a pupil tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
- For the first 6 days after teaching ends (for St Michael’s this will be until 22nd December), if a pupil tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school (by lunchtime on Friday 18th December), the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school.
- School staff are not asked to remain on-call or conduct any contact tracing more than 6 days after the final day of teaching. This means that we will not be contactable after 22nd December.
If your child develops symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, please do let us know that you are arranging a test. This will enable us to be efficient and proactive in our response.
If you do need to contact us after the end of term, please contact the school office on firstname.lastname@example.org. The office will be open on weekdays between 9am and 3pm. If you have a concern or receive a positive test result over the weekend then please email Mary Bridges on email@example.com.
Thank you for your ongoing support in keeping us all safe.
Christmas at St Michael’s!
It’s been an action-packed week at St Michael’s, filled with Nativities, carol services, music concerts and an infinite amount of Christmas sparkle.
The week began with Kindergarten’s magical retelling of the Nativity story, followed by more glitz and glam from Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.
Commenting on the success of the Nativities, Head of Pre-Prep, Mrs Leech said: “I have watched five Nativities this week and all the children were at their best. Lines were delivered beautifully and songs sung sweetly or with gusto. I can’t remember a year when every teacher is totally happy with every performance, but it has happened this year. I have so many staff to thank. Perhaps I should say that not only am I proud of all of your children, but I am immensely proud of the talented, hard working team of adults at St Michael’s.”
Music Teacher Mrs Ravayeh added: “The children completely outperformed themselves and enjoyed every minute of the Nativities. I am bursting with pride.”
Head of Pre-School, Mrs Stibbons said: “This week it’s been lights, camera, action in Kindergarten as the children enjoyed dressing up and taking part in their first staged St Michael’s performance. Just getting onto the stage can be quite daunting for them, so we were very pleased that every child took part. We are all so very proud of the children.”
Reception teacher, Mrs Rose added: “The Reception nativity was nothing short of brilliant! The children spoke and sang so clearly and did themselves and us proud, we can’t wait for the parents to be able to see it too.”
Year 1 teacher, Mrs Williams said: “The Year 1 production went really well. After weeks of practise the children’s performance was a credit to their hard work. It was particularly lovely to see them all so excited when they were dressed up and ready for their performance. They sang beautifully and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did.”
KS1 lead, Miss Salmon also said: “We are so proud of the children and their performances in the production – their enthusiasm and excitement completely blew us all away and exceeded any expectations we had of them. Even without an audience to perform to, they gave it their all.”
Meanwhile, in the Prep school, pupils performed beautifully as part of the Carol Service.
Featuring music from Year 3 all the way through to Year 8, the children gave spectacular performances in both the Prep Chapel and Shoreham Church.
Although the pupils could not perform to an audience this year, a professional film company filmed the event and the recordings will be distributed to families soon.
Reflecting on the Carol Service, Director of Music, Mr Baird said: “The Carol Service was a wonderful display of our Prep pupils’ talent.
“Despite the service being very different to normal, the children rose to the challenge and displayed a lot of Christmas spirit.
“A special thank you must go to the Music Department, who have worked incredibly hard with the children, and Sally Beesley who produced spectacular flower arrangements for our Chapel.”
Help Lucy save lives this Christmas
Next Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s will host a fundraising day for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy.
Determined to help a cause very close to her heart, Lucy has organised a series of events aimed at raising money for the charity-based emergency service.
Throughout the day pupils will be invited to participate in a range of activities including wearing a Christmas jumper, doing a sponsored run, and completing brain teaser quizzes in exchange for donations to the TVAA which relies wholly on public contributions.
Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I’ve planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.
“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day will change that.
“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”
And Lucy’s charity day is driven by her own bond with the charity who saved her life following an accident last Christmas.
She said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”
Since her accident, Lucy has remained close with three of TVAA’s critical care paramedics, Jo, John and Clare.
Lucy said: “Not only did the team come and visit me in hospital during my recovery, but in February this year my family and I were invited to their base to see their helicopters and learn more about their work.
“Since then, we’ve kept in close contact with them and have been given the exciting opportunity to take part in their Christmas campaign.
“One morning, my mum received a phone call from the TVAA asking if we’d like to tell our story as part of their fundraising appeal.
“Despite the accident still being quite fresh, we were keen to get involved as it’s such an amazing charity.”
Earlier this year, Lucy and her family were invited to Oxfordshire to talk about their experience in front of the camera.
The filming day, which involved interviews with both Lucy and her parents, aimed to raise awareness of the charity’s impact.
Lucy said: “It was such a fun day and really made us feel part of the TVAA community.
“Afterwards, we were sent several cuts of the video, including a very cool animation of my story which was very realistic.
“They kept us in mind throughout the whole process and made us feel very special.”
A full breakdown of the fundraising events can be found below. For more information about the TVAA or to view Lucy’s video visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/appeal/.
Thames Valley Air Ambulance Fundraising Activities
- Christmas jumpers – In Prep and Pre-Prep, we are inviting the children and staff to sport their best Christmas jumper and make a donation for the privilege of wearing it! The 15th is the day of the school Christmas lunches, so this would be a good time to wear them. As with the last charity collection, the donations for Christmas jumpers can be deposited in the buckets at the doors into the buildings as the children arrive in the morning.
- Sponsored run (Prep) – we are going to be inviting the children to run in teams of (up to) 4 around the shortest XC route on the fields. They will have a set time to complete as many laps as possible in that time. The children can look to have their team sponsored per lap, or have a donation from their sponsor. Sponsorship money raised will need to be brought in the following day.
- Brain teaser quizzes – there are two quiz sheets that can be purchased for 50p each and you can take them home and try to solve the puzzles as a family. I’m afraid the only prize on offer is the glow of self-fulfilment upon having completed them. Answers will be shared on the last day of term. As parents cannot be in the school buildings at the moment, the quiz sheets can be purchased via homework diaries (please send the 50p/ £1, depending if you want one quiz sheet or both).
St Michael’s launches Christmas Reading Challenge
This Christmas, Prep pupils are invited to take part in the St Michael’s Reading Challenge. There are hard copies of the books in the Prep library for the children to take home with them.
Fun in French Clinic!
In French Clinic this week, Prep pupils have enjoyed solving clues in the French game S-Cape, designed by Marie Allirot.
The educational challenge, which sees pupils answer a series of questions before progressing to the next stage of the task, engaged the pupils which encouraging them to practise their French words and phrases.
French Clinic, which takes place weekly in the Prep school for individual year groups, also offers computer activities and 1-1 support to pupils.
Shoot for the Stars!
Congratulations to Elodie B who has been awarded her 9th Kup White Belt Yellow Stripe after taking her first grading in Taekwondo. Well done, Elodie!
Christmas cookies for charity!
Christmas is never complete without cookies, and three St Michael’s pupils have proven just that with a bake sale held last weekend.
Adam O, Olanna E and Luke S, who love baking in their free time, have raised an incredible £1113.70 for charity following the success of their cookie stall which attracted lots of attention on Saturday.
Keen to give back to their local community, the children sold the beautifully packaged treats to friends and neighbours in return for donations to the Kokun Foundation, a children’s charity based in Nigeria, and the Bromley Food Bank.
St Michael’s teacher, Miss Booth, was also one of the lucky customers to try the children’s delicious cookies.
Commenting on the trio’s triumph, Adam’s mum Mrs Ozigi said: “We cannot express how proud we are of our children! They have done an immense job and we wanted to share how St. Michael’s children are creating an impact despite these difficult times; because it’s still Christmas!”
Past pupil secures Honorary Academic Scholarship
A former St Michael’s pupil has been awarded an Honorary Academic Scholarship for her excellence across all subjects.
Grace Goodwin, who attended St Michael’s between 2014 and 2019, has received the honour from Sevenoaks School.
Commenting on Grace’s success, her mother Marianthe Goodwin said: “Grace joined Sevenoaks in Year 7 and has really thrived from day one.
“We all knew Grace was doing very well academically as she was awarded the Academic Prize in Year 7 and Year 8. However, just before half term we received a letter awarding Grace an Honorary Academic Scholarship, one of only four which was awarded.
“Grace was delighted and extremely surprised as she had absolutely no idea that she was going to receive it. As an Academic Scholar, Grace is invited to attend the Schickler Society with the other scholars in which they discuss lots of different world issues both current and past, such as gun control and the Cold War.”
Mrs Goodwin added: “Grace had a wonderful and very happy time at St Michael’s and the decision to leave was a hard one, but we felt it was the right time for Grace. At St Michael’s she enjoyed all her subjects, especially English and Science.
“She found all the teachers very encouraging and approachable, and felt the growth mindset attitude and community spirit of St Michael’s gave her the confidence to hit challenges head on and not give up.”
“Mrs Bridges among others was particularly encouraging of Grace during her time at St Michael’s and offered amazing pastoral support to pupils.”
And it isn’t just Sevenoaks School that spotted Grace’s academic potential. St Michael’s teacher Mrs Baisch, who taught Grace during her time at the school, said: “Grace is an incredibly creative pupil who loves reading and writing, and produced some beautiful work. The words flew off her pen.
“Grace was also a very good speaker which was shown by her victory in the poetry live senior competition which she won with her reading of Dulce et Decorum est. For a Year 6 pupil, her performance was very impressive.”
“Grace’s scholarship is of no surprise and is something she should be very proud of.”
Send us your stories!
Has your child won an award, passed an extra-curricular exam or accomplished something exciting recently?
We love celebrating our pupils’ amazing achievements and want to showcase them in our weekly newsletter.
International Club enjoy a chocolatey Christmas catch-up
On Friday 4th December, St Michael’s International Club enjoyed a virtual Chocolate Workshop hosted by St Michael’s parent, Naomi Buff from Nourish by Naomi.
The cosy online gathering brought together seven parents who were eager to learn about healthy, but delicious chocolate making techniques.
Throughout the workshop, participants absorbed fascinating information about the origins and health benefits of raw chocolate.
Organiser of the event and Co-Chair of the International Club, Yuliya Folland, said: “Naomi gave us a step-by-step guide to creating indulgent chocolates which are not only suitable for home consumption by chocaholic family members, but perfect Christmas gifts.
“We then learnt how to whip up a healthy, dairy free hot chocolate perfect for an afternoon pick me up. The hour and a half flew by!
“The workshop was very informative, meanwhile creating a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere enjoyed by all those that attended. One thing is for sure – we will never look at a Cadbury chocolate bar in the same way again!”
The Community Cupboard Christmas Appeal
The P & F’s Community Cupboard Christmas Appeal is closing today. It’s a great opportunity to help those most in need in our local community and spread a little festive cheer.
The P&F has set up a PayPal account where you can donate an amount of your choice. Once the appeal is closed, we will then discuss with the charity which items are most in need and we will arrange a bulk delivery to them for the hampers. Whether you give £1 or £100, all funds will be used to buy foods for those in need, with no administrative costs etc.
Thanks in advance.
Kerri & Kelly, P&F Co-Chairs
In the Community
Mr Thomas’ Christmas Hockey Camp
Mr Thomas will be holding his Christmas Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 17th December, Friday 18th December, Monday 21st December and Tuesday 22nd December. Monday and Tuesday are fully booked, however there is still limited space available on Thursday and Friday.
Please email Mr Thomas on firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space.
We will be following all England Hockey guidelines and may have to limit the numbers to less than previous camps. Please sign up early to avoid any disappointment.
Click here for the application form.
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