eNews: Friday 12th June 2020

From the Acting Head

One of my favourite feelings is the excitement and buzz of a St Michael’s school day.  I know that our teachers feel the same, and there is nothing we want more than a return to school for all of our pupils. Following the recent government announcement, we know that you will all be very keen for news about our plans to bring the children back to St Michael’s. Please rest assured that all staff are working towards this goal but, with the current government guidelines, this is not an easy task. Our aim is for all children to be back in school before our final day of term on the 7th July and we are now able to plan to welcome children in Years 2-5 back on the 22nd June. We will write to families with children in those year groups early next week to explain how this will work and, in the meantime it would be helpful for us to gauge your initial thoughts as to whether you will be planning to send your child into school. Please click here to complete the following survey to support us in our planning. The survey closes at 9.00pm on Tuesday 16th June.

On Tuesday, in the statement by Gavin Williamson, we found out more about the potential options for our pupils but, to say it was ambiguous could be described as an understatement. For the record, he said: ‘While we are not able to welcome all primary children back for a full month before the summer, we continue to work with the sector on the next steps where we’d like to see schools who have the capacity to bring back more children in those smaller class sizes to do so if they are able to before the summer holidays.’

Our biggest challenge with this information is enabling our Year 7 & 8 pupils to return, as the government guidelines refer to primary aged children. We are communicating with our advisory bodies and insurers daily to see what we are able to achieve for our senior pupils, and we hope to see them soon. As it currently stands, we are unable to invite Year 7 & 8 children back on site as it would be in contravention of the guidelines. We expect further guidance to be released early next week and, as soon as we are able, we will share our plans for those pupils.

An exciting aspect of emerging from this time is to learn what the positive impact on us all will be. We have been absolutely delighted with the growth and development that we have seen in our returning pupils, and it is exciting to see how much they have progressed. We are confident that, despite losing many of the co-curricular opportunities that the summer term brings, we have made superb progress through the curriculum and our children will be well placed for their next steps come September.

As a school, we are also looking ahead, thinking about the lessons that we have learnt through this process and how we can use them to make what we do even better. From the logistical elements of our new rolling pick up to the ‘flipped learning’ approach that has been extremely powerful in developing independence in our learners, we know that there are many ways to enhance further what we do. As Dr Seuss said, “sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” and our job now is to make all these moments bring value to our future.

As we think about a brighter future and learning from our experiences, the St Michael’s ethos of encouraging our pupils to challenge the way we think about things and to not be afraid to talk about it is increasingly relevant. As a school, we aim for every member of our community to value the power of learning. Our children can, and will, make this world a better place.

Mary Bridges

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Pre-Prep Parent Newsletter 12th June 2020

Dear Parents,

Our bubbles are working well and the children seem to be enjoying their lunch in a box or a bag. The novelty factor certainly works. With the handover from the Government to Head Teachers to sort the return to school, I am proposing to bring the Year 2 children back from the 22nd June. This will be entirely optional as it is for the other Pre-Prep year groups. Year 2 children will be in their class bubbles with their friends and teachers and will not impact on the existing bubbles. We are so lucky to have opened Stable Court last September; it is a wonderful self-contained unit.

Our usual end of term celebrations will be hugely different this year. Miss Rawlinson is making plans for a sports day in a bubble, where each class bubble takes part in a mini sports day watched by the teacher and teaching assistant. We’ll take lots of photos! Our traditional end of year Prize Giving will probably be a bubble awards ceremony just for Year 2’s. Again, we will post photographs for you.

Could I remind you to try and stick to the drop off and collection times as we begin to get more cars back on site? Thank you again for displaying your family name in your cars at pick up.

Overheard: If I were Queen for the day, I would turn Boris into a frog!

 

Best wishes to you all,

Zerrin Leech

 

Staff News

We’re delighted to welcome Kate Perkins to St Michael’s as part-time English teacher in the Prep School from September.

 

Kate has worked in education in Kent for over 20 years in various roles including class teacher, phase leader, university lecturer, English lead and gifted and talented co-ordinator.

 

She is married with 3 children – 2 teenagers and one still in primary school and enjoys a range of outdoor activities as well as reading, theatre and travel. Although Kate enjoys life in and around Sevenoaks, her preferred environment is the coast where you will find her during most holidays.

 

Kate is very keen to meet the St Michael’s team in person and she is looking forward to inspiring the children to share her love of the English language through exciting and thought provoking lessons.

 

 

Congratulations to Kâren Stibbons, who has spent the last few years as our Nursery Manager and is now going to become our Pre-School Manager incorporating Kindergarten. She is excited to take on this new role from September and is looking forward to some new challenges.

A warm welcome to one of our new gap students, Oliver Jones, who’ll be joining us in September.

Oliver is an ex-pupil of St Michael’s and spent over 9 years at the school. He enjoyed sport, especially football, and made countless happy memories at the school.

He loves a variety of outdoor activities. Travelling is also a large part of his life as he has been lucky enough to see so much of the world and all its different cultures. IT is another hobby of Oliver’s as he is very interested in the future of technology and how important it is. He cannot wait to meet the staff at St Michael’s, hoping also to inspire the children and help each of them find something they truly enjoy.

Our second gap student is Zoe Trinder.

Zoe is from Sydney in Australia, has three siblings and is 20 years old. She loves playing sports, with football being her favourite, having played for both school and club over the past 14 years. Zoe has recently finished working as an Au Pair in London and is looking forward to being able to explore Europe as soon as possible. She has spent lockdown practising her new hobbies – skateboarding and table tennis. Zoe’s cousins went to St Michael’s and she is looking forward to experiencing an English school.

 

School News

School Fees 2020-2021

We are pleased to let you know that there will be no increase in fees for St Michael’s Prep School for the next academic year.

 

Full details, including the discount for paying one year’s fees in advance plus the deadline for applying to do so, are available on our Fees Page 

Headteacher’s Stars

N Staples For working with commitment and sharing your skills in the Art Scholars’ “Teach the Teach” sessions on zoom
A Ashton For building an amazing Bug Hotel
J Fryer For an excellent music performance in our online assembly
F Merralls For a confident presentation about your entry to the Junior Bake Off in our online assembly
G Wall For a confident presentation about your entry to the Junior Bake Off in our online assembly
R Thornhill For a superb poem about Break Time
E Schwark For a beautifully written free verse poem
D Macedo For an excellent poem, using a variety of techniques, to describe your dog, Prince
C Buff For an amazing marble run
L Winter For excellent effort and perseverance during online learning

Year 5 Poetry

This term Year 5 pupils have been learning about and experimenting with writing all kinds of poetry inspired by Malorie Blackman’s Cloud Busting. Children wrote haikus, kennings and limericks this week.
D Macedo’s kenning about Lockdown was too good not to share. It encapsulates all the complicated feelings many of us have had about the last two and a half months – emotional ups and downs, so many pros and cons but his final line – virus-breaker – reminds us why we are doing this.
Thanks to all the Year 5s for their beautiful poems, which their English teachers have loved reading this week and thank you to D Macedo for this important reminder.
Year 5 English team

 

A civilisation-locker

A family-warmer

A house-policy

A human-trapper

A homework-breaker

An independence-grower

A massive-barrier

A world-shield

A time-out

An exercise-shrinker

A movement-blocker

A tech-introducer

A frustration-bringer

An online-launcher

A home-worker

A virus-stopper

D Macedo

Art and DT Galleries 

We have some new galleries on our website. Pupils across the Prep School have taken up the DT challenge of making Bug Hotels and they’ve exceeded expectations. From simple B&Bs to 5-star hotels with suites, click here to take a look at their creations!

Year 4 have been responding to an art project to recreate a head in the style of Arcimboldo. Carrot, anyone? Click here to see their colourful creations.

 

Follow our day to day news on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Sports News

Results from Wall Ball matches

Year 3 & 4 Girls
St Michael’s 45 E Mackay
Sutton Valence 41
St Lawrence 30
Year 3 & 4 Boys
Sutton Valence 45
St Michael’s 38 J West and D Booth
St Lawrence 35
Year 5 & 6 Girls
Sutton Valence 48
Dulwich Prep 41
St Michael’s 40 A Stevens
Year 5 & 6 Boys
Dulwich Prep 42
St Michael’s 39 S Bendle and N Brown
Sutton Valence 31
Year 7 & 8 Girls
St Michael’s 30 D Stephens
Year 7 & 8 Boys
St Michael’s 44 H Soper

Senior School Virtual Tours and Open Days

Many Senior Schools are offering virtual tours and Open Days at the moment. We’ll be updating our Senior Schools Information page as we hear about them. Most of the schools are offering traditional Open Days from September and booking forms for both traditional and virtual open events are available on their websites. Links to the schools are available on our Senior Schools Information page.

The following schools are currently offering virtual Open Days or Tours:

Ardingly

Bethany School

Brighton College

Caterham School

Christ’s Hospital

Cobham Hall

Dover College

Eastbourne College

Haileybury

King’s Canterbury

King’s Rochester

Lingfield College

Radnor House

Sevenoaks School

Tonbridge School

Wellington College

Whitgift School – click here for your Virtual Open Event Invitation

In addition, a new school has been added to our page:

St Catherine’s School, Bramley is a GSA Day and Boarding School near Guildford. They will be holding Open Mornings throughout the autumn.

Latest News

Mr Bridges is on a mission to keep St Michael’s motivated with his latest exercise plan designed to make exercise fun.

The Director of Sport at St Michael’s, who is a very keen runner himself, has created a beginner to 5k plan for anyone wanting to keep fit this lockdown.

The six-week plan, featuring workouts, running challenges and rest days, covers a range of exercises aimed at strengthening all parts of the body.

Mr Bridges said: “I have created this training programme for the St Michael’s community to help anyone who wants to have a go at running during lockdown and safely get to 5k by the time we return to school. The plan is suitable for Prep-aged pupils, parents and staff, including absolute beginners.”

The teacher, who has 15 years’ training as a running and triathlon coach, added: “The programme is designed to build a body capable of running 5k at the end of the six weeks, and what better time to have a go than during lockdown.”

The detailed plan, organised into weeks and week days, follows a key where the letters W (walk) and R (run) appear alongside the number of minutes the activity should take place for. For example, 6 x 1:30w/2:30r represents a 1 minute 30 seconds of walking followed by 2 minutes 30 seconds of running, repeated six times.

Mr Bridges said: “The programme includes progressive long runs from week 3 onwards, the only day where the running is based on distance rather than time.

“On Mondays I will also be sharing a different workout on the St Michael’s PE YouTube channel which pupils can take part in.”

To share your experience of the programme, including photos please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. By sharing this information you give consent to it being shared on St Michael’s social media channels and publications.

 

On Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s hosted a fun-filled charity day for Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA).

Organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy, whose life who saved by the emergency team last Christmas, the school partook in a range of fundraising activities including a fun run, Christmas jumper day, and brain-teaser quizzes.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I 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 has changed 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.”

Amanda McLean, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: “A big thank you to the staff and pupils of St Michael’s for coming up with creative ways to involve everyone in fundraising. In sharing her story, Lucy has helped us spread awareness of what Thames Valley Air Ambulance does. We can only do what we do because of the imagination and generosity of our wonderful fundraisers. We hope you had a lot of fun on your fundraising day!”

Lucy, whose story recently featured in the TVAA’s Christmas appeal, 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.”

“It means so much to me that St Michael’s have come together to support this cause.”

The highly successful events saw pupils spread festive joy while raising an impressive £2556.60 for the charity which relies wholly of public donations.

Mrs Bridges, St Michael’s Acting Head, added: “Yesterday was amazing! The whole school had such a great time, and pupils were very excited to take part in a different fundraiser which meant they could enjoy the outdoors, whilst raising money for such an important charity. Everyone gave their all in the sponsored run and it was a brilliant event to watch.”

 

Mrs Wade, Head of Girls’ Games also said: “The children did remarkably well considering the conditions, and ran superbly for Lucy’s cause.”

 

 

And Lucy’s family echoed this gratitude for St Michael’s support. They said: “We wanted to say a huge thank to the St Michael’s community for supporting Lucy’s appeal for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance this Christmas. We’re so grateful to you for getting behind this amazing charity to whom we owe so much. We know from experience that your donations really do save lives. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021!”

For more information about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance or to donate visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/support-us/donate

 

 

This 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).

 

 

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.”