eNews: Friday 11th September 2020

From the Acting Head

The magic of a new school year! It has been an absolute joy to welcome the children back this week and, in our new bubbles, I had the pleasure of delivering my opening assembly three times in the Prep School! The assembly explored the advice that famous Headteachers from literature would give at the start of a new school year. The children agreed that Miss Trunchbull and The Demon Headmaster would not reflect the values of St Michael’s in their approach. However, when we looked at Albus Dumbledore we found some inspiration in his words:

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. Your choices have the power to take you wherever you want to go, just don’t forget to take a snapshot of those moments along the way.”

My Dumbledore-inspired message was about trying new things this year. Some things are different for safety reasons, but we will embrace the change and do our best. We won’t be afraid to fail. Not only is it essential to our learning that we accept we may not succeed straight away, but through failure, we learn and grow.

My final piece of advice was that it’s important for us to celebrate the small stuff: making someone’s day by holding the door open, spreading smiles and acts of kindness and finding joy in the wonder of learning. And a Dumbledore-inspired assembly would not have been complete without some magic, so I also performed a new trick that I mastered last weekend (through trying and initially failing, of course!). One child from each bubble pulled a magic invitation from what was an empty bag and will bring two friends to join me for tea and cake in the coming weeks.

This week we held the first of our welcome evenings for Year 3 and 4 parents via Zoom. We were grateful to receive questions in advance to inform our presentations and look forward to hosting our Year 5 and 6 welcome evenings next week. Key dates for upcoming events can be found later in this newsletter.

Within this newsletter, you will find some helpful advice about the new systems in place. Please take care to digest all relevant sections, and I hope that the Covid-19 symptom action list will be a useful tool should anyone in your household experience symptoms over the coming weeks.

Have a magical weekend!

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

I am at my happiest when St Michael’s is full of smiling and enthusiastic children. I have been amazed at how well your children have been coming into school. Starting school is such a big step and changes family life as your child widens their circle of friends and familiar adults; your children seem to have embraced this change seamlessly.  

The Nursery familiarisation sessions have been going well with all the children being able to play without mum or dad by their side. It has been lovely to see them exploring the Nursery garden. It was also good to eavesdrop on the Nursery staff the other morning as they swapped joyful stories of how well the Nursery children were playing. 

I am looking forward to having coffee mornings via Zoom next week for those of you who wish to join me. If you have any questions for me that you would like me to pass onto your form representative, then I can answer them during the meeting.  

At the start of term, we usually begin to prepare for an Open Class event where we can invite parents into the classroom to see what the children have been doing. As this will not be possible this year due to Covid-19, the children will be trying to put together a class video that they can share with parents.  

Each week I will also be sharing my Overheard in Pre-Prep quote which I hope brings as bigger smile to your face as it does mine. This week we heard the following from one our children:

“If I keep playing, I stop missing my mummy.”

Have a lovely weekend, 

Zerrin Leech 

 

From the Deputy Head

Talking to staff who are helping you

 

I was disappointed to hear from two of the hard working Estates team helping with the directing of traffic this week, that some parents were rude to them and on two occasions ignored their request to turn left and not right when heading to Pre-Prep. All of the staff in the car parks and pick up areas are there to get your child to you safely and as quickly as possible. Deliberately ignoring a request from a member of staff, who are there to help, is not acceptable and could potentially be dangerous. I know we all lead busy lives, but there is no room for unkind words to any of our staff. We would not expect or accept this behaviour from your children.

 

Early arrival for Pick Up

 

Can I please remind parents of the importance of sticking to your allocated time slot for both drop off and collection of children. We have found that some parents are starting to arrive earlier and earlier as they found on the previous day they were held up. Unfortunately, this early arrival is what is often causing the delay because the flow of traffic is then curtailed due to early parents waiting in the car park for their slot, then more delays occur when the parents with children waiting at the collection points can’t get there. To allow the traffic to flow more freely, please stick to the time you have been allocated.

Fraser Wiseman

 

Staff News

 

Hello

 

Tracey Scott –  Music Administrator

 

Tracey graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Geology, before pursuing a long career as a pensions partner in an actuarial consultancy.

She has undertaken a number of voluntary roles at St Michael’s, particularly in the Music Department where she has enjoyed organising trips to Young Voices at the O2 and the ABRSM exam visits.

Tracey enjoys pilates, swimming and exercising outdoors. She especially loves cycling with her family which she discovered as another way to enjoy the wonderful countryside during lockdown.

Tracey is really excited to be working at St Michael’s to provide administrative support to the music team.

Rest In Peace Reverend Gerald Reddington

This week we received the sad news that one of our Old Michaelians, Reverend Gerald Reddington, passed away on Wednesday 17th June 2020 at the age of 85.

Reverend Reddington attended St Michael’s during the 1940s, followed by his son who attended the school during the 1960s.

Upon leaving St Michael’s, Gerald pursued a 28-year career as a stockbroker in the City, before joining the Anglican ministry where he was appointed parish priest of the Anglo-Catholic church St Barnabas Ealing in 1990 at the age of 55. There he committed himself to attracting many young families to the church community.

And although his two careers had many differences, the Reverend found innovative ways to merge his skill sets from both. Notably, he led the building of a new £1 million church hall using a grant from the Millennium Lottery Fund.

In 1958 Reverend Reddington married the actress Valerie Gaunt, best known for her appearances in the 1957 and 1958 Hammer Horror films The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula.

The couple were members of the Anglo-Catholic Church of All Saints, Margaret Street, and their shared faith helped them to cope with the death of their nine-year-old son Adam who suffered from a congenital heart disease.

While working in the City Reverend Reddington also carried out social work at the homeless charity Centrepoint which he chaired for 11 years.

On retirement in 1999 he moved to the Isle of Wight where he and his brother Bruce share many family holidays and were once evacuated to during the Blitz. During his later years Gerald continued to preach, help out at local churches, conduct retreats to the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield, West Yorkshire, and serve as a psychotherapist and counsellor.

The Reverend lost his wife Valerie to Parkinsons in 2016.

We send our warmest condolences to his three surviving children who, along with Reverend Reddington and his wife Valerie, will always be valued members of the St Michael’s family.

Reverend Gerald Reddington: August 8 1934- June 17 2020

Sports Update

 

How will After School Sports Clubs work?

 

Pupils will need to come to school on the day of their clubs in normal school uniform (unless they also have games on that day). We will get them changed into their games kit at break or lunch ready for the club after school. At the end of the club we will not ask them to get changed back into school uniform, so they will need to take their kit bags home with them on a club day and bring it back in the next morning. Whilst I appreciate this is not an ideal scenario, it is the best way to ensure maximum time in club as I do not believe a full school uniform will fit into their smaller school bags.

 

 

What is the difference between a PE kit and Games kit?

 

PE kit is their coloured house polo top, white shorts and white socks with indoor trainers. Games Kit for boys is either their long or short sleeved green tops, green shorts and green socks (they will either wear outdoor trainers or boots when in a games lesson). Games kit for girls is their white tops, green skort, green socks, shin pads, mouth guard and indoor trainers for use on the Astro. They will need a match top when matches start.

PE is a curriculum lesson taught before lunch, and Games is an afternoon lesson involving whichever sport they are doing that season (currently boys’ football and girls’ hockey).

Pick Up after Games

 

Thank you for bearing with us this week whilst we trial ways of getting your children to their pickup points on time with all of their equipment and kit whilst avoiding mixing with other bubbles. We are trying our very best but sometimes a little trial and error is needed with new routines.

Our current thinking is that we will minimise their time in changing rooms by removing their trainers/boots and equipment from their sports bag at the start of games lessons but not returning them at the end of games. Instead, we are asking them to take their school bags with them to the games lessons and, at the end of the lesson, put these items in to their school bags to take home and bring back the next day. This is all fine until the weather turns so please stay tuned…

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

 

Ben Bridges, Director of Sports

What to do if your child is displaying symptoms of Covid-19

As we head into our annual cold and flu season, we understand that it is going to be difficult for parents to differentiate between the symptoms associated with Covid-19 and a cold or flu. We thought it would be helpful to share the direct link to the action list that we will follow if a pupil is displaying symptoms of Covid-19. This document is aimed at educational settings but we felt it useful for you, as parents, to understand our actions and the advice that we will give and follow.

It is important that you contact the school as well as arranging a test if your child displays any of the symptoms as follows:
• A new, continuous cough
• A high temperature
• A loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell

If you have problems arranging a test please contact the school office. We fully expect that we will have a large number of children over the coming days and weeks who will fall into the above category of symptoms. It is important that parents follow the advice regarding self-isolation as a family until you have the results of the test. It would not be appropriate for us to email the wider community every time a child is being tested as this is often just a precautionary measure. If we have any confirmed cases of Covid-19 at St Michael’s, it is our duty to inform Public Health England and to follow their advice at that point.

We are grateful for your support and we will continue to keep you updated regarding procedures as necessary.

Birthday Cake Announcement

We would like pupils to celebrate their birthdays at school, but understand that parents may be hesitant for their children to eat food brought in from another home. If you would rather your child not have birthday cake brought in by another child, please can you email the school office on office@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk to confirm this.

Please also remember that we are a nut-free school.

Welcome from the Parents and Friends Association…

On behalf of St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P&F) we would like to offer a very warm welcome to the new joiners to the School.

The P&F are a group of volunteer parents committed to supporting the school and its children through fundraising and community building activities. We arrange a range of social activities including the Christmas Bazaar, the Charity Ball (next one to be held in May 2021), Circus, quiz nights and movie nights. Such events are a great opportunity to meet other parents, carers and staff and have some fun.  We raise funds for additional resources and equipment to enrich the children’s experiences at the School and also raise funds for external charities.

We also coordinate with the volunteer parent representatives (the Reps) to keep you informed of school activities and specific class/year communications. The P&F and the Reps use Classlist (an external app) as an efficient way to connect with you and keep you updated on upcoming events in a GDPR compliant way.  We have over 98% of our families on Classlist.  We’d therefore very much like you to join us on Classlist by clicking this link.

For more information, to find out how to get involved in the P&F or if you have any queries re our use of Classlist please contact stmichaelspreppf@gmail.com. Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday 1st October and further details will be posted on Classlist nearer the time.

Key Dates

 

Pre-Prep

Monday 14th September: 10am Coffee morning via Zoom (Year 2 parents)
Tuesday 15th September: 10am Coffee morning via Zoom (Year 1 parents)
Wednesday 16th September: 10am Coffee morning via Zoom (Reception parents)
Thursday 17th September: 10am Coffee morning via Zoom (Kindergarten parents)

 

Prep

Prep School Welcome Evenings

Thursday 17th September: Year 5 & 6 parents
Monday 21st September: Year 7 & 8 parents

 

ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term

Friday 9th October
Friday 6th November
Friday 27th November

 

Pupils enjoy new Astro Turf pitch for the first time!

This week our children had the joy of using our new Astro Turf pitch for the first time.

 

 

 

 

Completed over the Summer, this new space will provide hundreds of opportunities for new sports, tournaments and community events.

 

 

 

 

Mr Bridges, Director of Sports, said: “We’re really excited to use the Astro Turf for the first time this month.

 

 

 

 

“We feel extremely lucky to be able to offer this to our pupils in both Prep and Pre-prep and are thrilled about the benefits it will bring to our sporting curriculum.

 

 

 

 

“As well as hockey, the new pitch will allow us to offer many other sports to pupils and will prevent the children from missing lessons due to inclement weather.

 

 

 

 

“Although it was a slightly delayed start due to the poor weather we faced, this feels like the perfect time to put the incredible space to good use.

 

 

 

 

“This is really going to move sport at St Michael’s to the next level, as well as providing us with opportunities to engage with the local community. We’re excited all round.”

Shoot for the Stars!

 

Isabelle. D (Year 2) receives green Blue Peter Badge

A huge well done to Isabelle.D in Year 2 who received her green Blue Peter Badge on Thursday. She built a bug house during lockdown and encouraged her family to use glass milk bottles instead of plastic. We’re very proud of Isabelle’s eco-friendly initiative!

 

 

 

A. Scott (Year 7) wins Young Singer of the Year competition

Many congratulations to A.Scott, Year 7 music scholar, who has had a very successful summer. He won the final of the Bromley Youth Music Trust (BYMT) Young Singer of the Year competition singing “The Lord Bless You And Keep You” by John Rutter. The performance videos for the final were selected from over 200 entries and were live streamed on YouTube.

He has also won a place to study music on Saturdays at the Junior Conservatoire of Trinity Laban School of Music and Dance In Greenwich. He will be kept busy with a full day of choral and chamber music ensembles, as well as sax, clarinet and musicianship lessons.

Gordon Baird, Director of Music, said “We are thrilled for A. Scott and look forward to seeing the musical opportunities that studying at Trinity will bring. I’d like to thank our brilliant team of peripatetic teachers and in particular Emily Balcombe, Jack Bennett and Jo Fooks who have taught and encouraged him since he started individual lessons back in Pre-Prep.”

 

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.

Please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk with your child’s name, a summary of their achievement and a relevant photo. Please also give consent for the use of their name and photo on our website and social media.

 

Latest News

 

 

 

Sunsets and sizzling sausages set the tone for the new term last Friday as Year 7 pupils celebrated the start of their senior education journey.

The annual event, traditionally held as a Camp Out, was delivered as a fun-filled barbecue night which the children enjoyed with teachers including St Michael’s Acting Head, Mrs Bridges.

Throughout the evening pupils tucked into dinner cooked by Deputy Head Mr Wiseman, and toasted marshmallows on an open fire.

And to make use of their new term energy, games and group bonding activites were carried out, followed by a walk up the school’s famous Warren where the sunset was relished in all of its glory.

Reflecting on the sucess of the event, Head of Year 7 and 8, Mrs Shield, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to camp this year, but that did not dampen anybody’s spirits.

“One of the highlights of the evening was our twilight walk to the top of the Warren where we marvelled at the beautiful site that our school occupies.

“We viewed the bats swirling the skies in the dusk of late summer and ended the evening with a well-deserved hot chocolate – not forgetting the squirty cream and yet more marshmallows.

“Life-long friendships were made and re-established after the long summer break.”

This month St Michael’s Prep is celebrating the opening of its new Astro Turf pitch.

Completed during Summer 2020, the state-of-the-art facility will provide a huge boost to the school’s sporting facilities and allow it to offer a broader range of activities including boys hockey and football to its pupils.

Its floodlights will also enable St Michael’s to host sports matches during evenings, as well as inviting external schools and clubs to enjoy the new pitch throughout the year.

Ben Bridges, Director of Sports at St Michael’s, said: “We’re really excited to use the Astro Turf for the first time this month.

“We feel extremely lucky to be able to offer this to our pupils in both Prep and Pre-prep and are thrilled about the benefits it will bring to our sporting curriculum.

“As well as hockey, the new pitch will allow us to offer many other sports to pupils and will prevent the children from missing lessons due to inclement weather.”

Planning for the Astro Turf began in 2014 and has seen St Michael’s grounds undergo a significant transformation since construction began last summer. During this time pupils were fascinated by the diggers, dumpers and bulldozers which visited the school, while nursery and kindergarten children were treated to close-up views of the machinery.

Mr Bridges added: “Although it was a slightly delayed start due to the poor weather we faced, this feels like the perfect time to put the incredible space to good use.

“This is really going to move sport at St Michael’s to the next level, as well as providing us with opportunities to engage with the local community. We’re excited all round.”

 

The Governors of St. Michael’s Prep School take pleasure in announcing the appointment of Nik Pears as our new Head Teacher with effect from January 2021.

Nik was educated at St Dunstan’s College, London and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He is currently Head of Prep at Kent College Pembury, a post he has held since 2016. Prior to that, he was Headmaster of the Junior School at Sevenoaks Prep for 5 years. Nik is also an ISI inspector and a governor at Dulwich Prep, Cranbrook. We believe that he has the experience and qualities required to lead St Michael’s into the next chapter of its history.

Nik represented Kent U18 group at rugby and has a love of all sports. He is an accomplished musician and has performed at The O2 and Wembley Arenas. He is an Ambassador for “We See Hope”, a charity working with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa. Nik devised The Social Entrepreneurs Project an initiative that challenges young people to turn £10 seed capital into £100 or more with their profits going to support the work of the charity.

We feel very fortunate to have secured Nik’s headship and welcome him and his wife Emma and two children, Jessica and Josiah into the St. Michael’s family from the start of next year. Nik has said

“I am delighted to have been appointed the next Head of St Michael’s Prep. Having lived in the area for the past twenty years, it is a school I have known and long admired for its ambitious and child-centred approach to learning. There is a very special atmosphere in the school and I am excited to become a part of the community, getting to know the children, parents and staff over the months and years ahead. St Michael’s is privileged to have an experienced and committed Senior Leadership Team and I very much look forward to working together with them as we embark on an exciting future for the school.” 

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