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

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

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!

With around 20 pairs competing, representing 9 schools, pupils S Taylor, D Booth, J Vanderlanh-McKeown and J McDonnell were proud to represent St Michael’s at the Sevenoaks Junior Orange Ball Doubles, held at the Sennock Centre in Sevenoaks on Saturday 7th March.

S Taylor and D Booth started their Orange Ball tournament well with a win against Lady Boswell’s, before losing to a very strong team from Sevenoaks Primary. They followed with a close match against Amhurst Primary which they lost 7-6 and needed two wins from their remaining games to make the final stage. They won the first quite easily against Russell House and then had a tight match against Sevenoaks Prep. It was neck and neck throughout, but they kept their cool and won 7-6.

Their tally of three wins to two losses saw our Year 4 pair through to the play-offs. They had two games against a Year 5 pair from Sevenoaks Prep and New Beacon. They lost both games narrowly, 7-6 and 7-5, finishing 6th overall, which was a good performance given they’re at the younger end of the Orange grouping and the standard of the competition was high.

J Vanderlanh-McKeown and J McDonnell both demonstrated strong teamwork, good sportsmanship and skills. They came up against some strong competition from the other schools but never gave up and kept competing to the end with some great saves, serves and volley. The boys also showed respect towards others and maintained a positive attitude at all times. Both boys really enjoyed the tournament and look forward to improving their position at the next one.
It was great to see both pairs supporting each other throughout the games! Very well done, keep up the good work!