eNews: Friday 13th November 2020

From the Acting Head

It has been a wonderful week at school, helped by the bright November sunshine which warmed us up as we enjoyed time outside. I was out of school for a few days on a training course which was a superb opportunity to reflect on our practice. I relished the chance to be back in the (virtual) classroom and have returned to school feeling refreshed and inspired to move forwards and think about new developments for the pupils at St Michael’s.

 

One event that I was extremely sorry to miss whilst on my training this week, was our remembrance service held on Wednesday. It is always such a special event, and I know that this year was no different. The children and staff experienced a moving commemoration as well as comradeship in remembering those who gave so much for our freedom today. As I cannot share my own personal reflection of the service, I have recruited two guest writers from Year 5. Please enjoy their reflection of the service below. I would like to thank Mr Wiseman for his efforts in organising the event with careful attention to detail, Reverend Adie for her thoughtful words and prayer, Mr Baird and Miss Balcombe for the beautiful music, and to Miss Booth for her moving reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’.

 

Whilst the school was in full flow, I was expanding my knowledge of motivation and people; what drives us and the children we teach. Our ultimate aim is to foster intrinsic motivation. We want our pupils to fall in love with the process; that’s the essence of intrinsic motivation, the “doing”. Rather than doing it for a pat on the back, a medal or some other outcome, just applying themselves to a task, and enjoying that process is enough. Whether it be solving a particularly challenging maths problem or participating in the bleep test, we try to encourage our pupils to believe that how they do anything is how they do everything. You can’t just apply yourselves to the things you’re already good at! Where’s the fun in that? The drive has to come from within. The more we foster this type of motivation, the more the pupils are, without even realising it, building a certain kind of person and a certain kind of character. One whose default is effort and passion over outcomes. Because the secret is, when you focus on the process, the outcomes take care of themselves.

 

We ended the week dressed head to toe in spots to mark Children in Need today. There has been much excitement about dressing up, and it was a delight to see the incredible array of colours, onesies and huge smiles at drop off this morning! Thank you for your support; we raised an incredible £1178.32 across the school.

 

I wish you a fabulous weekend!

 

Mary Bridges

 

Our Remembrance Service

by Elodie G and Matilda M

As you all know, we had our remembrance service on Wednesday at 10:45am. We thank Mr Wiseman for organising this and allowing us to remember important people from our school that made a difference to this world. Mr Wiseman told us all about Flying Officer Edgar Ernest Vincent Barwood who was born in India and later attended St Michael’s Prep School. At the age of 17 he joined the RAFVR as a pilot. During a night training flight on the 6th August 1994, Edgar was attempting a turn to re-join his squadron formation over Cheshire, flying an Oxford Airspeed AS.10 aircraft. Tragically, his aircraft hit the ground at speed, killing him instantly. He was just 19 years old.

Reverend Adie shared a prayer about how lucky we are to be here at this time. This made us feel grateful for our lives. Miss Booth shared an emotional reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’ filled with lots of expression. Her poppy dress was amazing and she even had a poppy mask to go with it. We really enjoyed the Chamber Choir’s performance. It started with a solo performed by Sam W followed by the group singing in separate bubbles. It was sorrowful yet moving, and nice to have a song to lift our spirits.

We had two minutes silence when we remembered the Old Michaelians that fought in the war. The bell chimed 11 times, representing the time that the war ended.

The Head Girl, Head Boy and Mr Wiseman were the first to lay their poppy wreaths at the foot of the Tommy solider and then everyone else was called to lay their poppies. It was a really special remembrance service as it reminded us to be grateful for life, despite the challenges that it brings.

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Thank you for your generous donations to Children in Need. Pre-Prep is awash with bears, unicorns, superheroes and spots! Miss Rawlinson has kept all the children entertained with games and circuits in the hall.

Parents’ Evenings are next Tuesday 17th and Thursday 19th November. I hope you have all managed to sign-up via the Parents’ Evening System. Meetings will be 10 minutes long and will cut off at this time so that your child’s teacher can move onto the next meeting. You will see a countdown clock on the screen. If you need to speak to your class teacher at greater length, please email them separately after the meeting to arrange another appointment.

Just a gentle reminder that there should be no smoking on the school grounds, including e-cigarettes.

Thank you all for wearing masks once you get out of your cars and drop-off or collect your children. Some of the staff do have health concerns or are supporting family members who are vulnerable, so it is hugely helpful that they feel any risks are minimised. Staff have been alarmed when hearing tales from children of parties and sleepovers, but we are hopeful that these are from imaginative children who are still learning the difference between days, weeks and months!

It has been so helpful to see family names clearly displayed in your cars at pick up. This is helping me to radio staff to get your children ready for collection. I’m afraid I am car blind so I don’t remember which car belongs to which family. You are welcome to start filling up the spaces in the car park if you are arriving on site before we have brought the children out but please be aware that these are just spaces for quick collections.

Overheard in Pre-Prep: “I once saw Pluto in Disneyland but I was a bit confused because he was standing up and dogs don’t stand up!”

Zerrin Leech

 

 

 

Headteacher’s Stars

 

Xander S (Year 4) was awarded a Headteacher’s Star for achieving 100% in a Science test on Teeth and Digestion.

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

Emma R for great work during our Number of the Week lesson

Teddy T for working hard during our phonics lessons

Saskia E for working hard to write sentences with smaller letters, with wonderful finger spaces

William T for fantastic counting whilst adding two numbers together

Leo C for fantastic writing

Arian S for excellent effort with her reading

Mia Y for super effort to increase length and detail of her writing

Espen A for consistently working hard in every lesson and giving 100% effort

Aadhya S for super effort in all subjects, particularly in spelling Word Wall words

Nina T for an enthusiastic presentation about the Netherlands

Uma S for working hard on her reading

Sylvie Fittall for lovely ideas for her story map

Iris L for carefully using arrays to show multiplication

William P for using fantastic expression when reciting a poem

Kim V for excellent recall of The Owl and the Pussy Cat

Zi Chen G for brilliant maths work on multiplication arrays

Zack E.A for fantastic maths work on multiplication arrays

Lottie E for always being enthusiastic about learning and participating in whole class discussions

School News

In memory of the fallen 

On Wednesday 11th November Prep and Pre-Prep took part in remembrance events to honour those who gave their lives for our country. In Pre-Prep, the pupils took part in a minute’s silence as well as other remembrance activities such as poppy paintings, while the Prep school took part in a remembrance service led by Mr Wiseman.

During the service, which featured prayers read by Reverend Adie, a reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Miss Booth, and a performance by the Chamber Choir, Mr Wiseman shared the story of an Old Michaelian who lost his life in World War 2.

Mr Wiseman read:

“We remember all of the men and women who have fallen in defence of their country, but today, at St Michael’s, among all of our Old Michaelians, we remember Edgar Ernest Vincent Barwood. Edgar was known as Marc to his friends and indeed, many of the memories shared about him refer to him as Marc. He was born to Vincent and Ellen Barwood in India in 1924. Upon the families return to England, Marc was enrolled at St Michael’s, starting in Year 3 in 1931. He spent the next six years working his way up through the school, taking advantage of all that St Michael’s had to offer, much of these benefits being the same then as they are for you now; outdoor space and sport. Marc was a keen sportsman and enjoyed his time on the sports field, but was also a keen mathematician.  

When he left Year 8 in 1937, the world was moving quickly towards conflict. Marc left St Michael’s and took up a place at Christ’s Hospital school with an Open Scholarship. The outbreak of the second world war in 1939, was in Marc’s second year at Christ’s hospital and when he left there in 1942, as a 17 year old, Britain was a besieged island. Along with thousands of other young men and women, Marc joined the war effort to defend Britain and trained to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves.  

Marc qualified as a pilot and was attached to a squadron based in the north of England. Two months after the D-day landings and while allied forces were gaining a foothold in mainland Europe, Marc was operating within a training squadron, developing their night flying skills in preparation for sorties over Europe.  

On the 6th of August, 1944, while carry out a turning manoeuvre in his Oxford Airspeed aircraft over Cheshire, Marc lost control of his plane and it hit the ground at speed, killing him instantly. He was 19 years old.”

 

 

 

 

 

Pupils wear spots for Pudsey!

Kaleidoscopes of colour filled our corridors today as pupils dressed in their best spots and onesies for Children In Need. The annual event, which typically sees St Michael’s raise hundreds of pounds for charity, brought joy and colour to a grey November day. Pre-Prep also enjoyed a fun, Children in Need-themed obstacle course organised by Miss Rawlinson where dinosaurs, uniforms and even koala bears did their best jumping, climbing and crawling.

 

P & F News

Stonepitts donate to P & F for every tree bought by St Michael’s

 

From Saturday 21st November Stonepitts Farm will be selling Christmas Trees from its Farm Shop in the yard, as well as its online channels: www.stonepitts.com.

 

For every Christmas tree sold to a St Michael’s parent or staff member, a £2 contribution will be made to the P & F. This donation equally applies if you buy from Stonepitts Farm Shop or online site. Stonepitts’ friendly staff will be following careful precautions and Government Guidelines at all times.

 

Additionally, while Stonepitts for Help for Heroes is ongoing, (which raised £1,350 for the charity in 2019), the team will be donating to the Stag Theatre Charity this year who is need of their support.

 

We hope you enjoy participating in Stonepitts’ 15th year of the scheme.

 

For more information contact Stonepitts Farm.

 

Community Curry night

Last Saturday St Michael’s families united via Zoom for a curry masterclass led by local cooking school, The Cooking Apple.

The event, organised by the P & F, saw participants create a delicious Punjabi Curry bursting with delicious rich spices and flavours.

And guided by Pip from The Cooking Apple, families followed a step by step demonstration, while tailoring the dish to their preferred heat.

Reflecting on the success of the event, co-chair of the P & F, Kerri O’Dwyer said: “It was wonderful to have Pip bring parents together from across the school and to do something different. It was fun, relaxed and everyone had a laugh. But most importantly Pip managed to get us to create something delicious!”

 

Wellbeing for Parents

As we come to the end of 2020, we have been reflecting on how many challenges St. Michael’s staff, parents and pupils have had to face this year. We are aware that many of these challenges are ongoing and in order to meet them it is important that we offer as much support to St. Michael’s families as possible. Earlier in the year, staff at St. Michael’s received a session on staff wellbeing from our counsellor Elizabeth Baughan. We have now asked Elizabeth to  provide two sessions for parents which will be accessed via the Parents’ Portal.  The first session, which will be available early in December, will be on parent wellbeing – recognising that for parents to be able to support their children, they must also look after themselves.  The session will focus on self-care, relationship balance, work-life balance and management of stress and anxiety.  The second session, to be released in January, will look at ways in which parents can help their children with emotional wellbeing, stress management, behavioural challenges and developing resilience in the face of uncertainty.

At the end of both sessions Elizabeth will provide links to sources of support and helpful websites.

Key Dates

Prep

 

ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:

Friday 27th November

Shoot for the Stars!

 

Amelie is star of the pitch

During the October half term break Amelie. G (Year 1) received a trophy for her contribution to the Chipstead Football Club Wildcats. Amelie was awarded The Star of the Week trophy during her first week with the club and was commended for getting stuck in with confidence and making an excellent effort. Congratulations, Amelie!

 

Blue Peter Badge for Katie

Katie from Year 7 has been awarded a Blue Peter Music badge for her commitment to playing the clarinet, piano and recorder. Having  submitted her application to Blue Peter over the summer, she was delighted to receive a badge in the post this week. Well done, Katie!

Music Exam Results 

The following pupils have recently received the results of various music exams, some of which were taken as performance exams.  A performance exam is a new format that many of the examining boards are now offering where video footage is submitted of the children playing their piece, as opposed to there being an examiner in the room. We are delighted that all the children coped so well with the various challenges that taking exams in lockdown brings.

 

S. Friis                    Violin                       Grade 3               Merit

P. Mahil                  Violin                      Grade 3               Pass

S. Taylor               Jazz sax                     Grade 3               Merit

W. Deacon              Guitar                     Grade 2                Distinction

S. Taylor                 Piano                       Grade 2                Merit

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.

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

Please email Mr Thomas on jnthomas88@outlook.com 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. 

Follow us on social media!

Love seeing your children’s smiley faces on our social media pages?

Make sure you’re following all four of our channels to ensure you don’t miss any precious photos and videos. This also includes our new YouTube page featuring videos about St Michael’s and speeches from the pupils.

Latest News

A Sevenoaks food bank is 318 kilos heavier following a donation from St Michael’s.

 

The school surprised charity The Community Cupboard with the generous donation on Monday, February 1 following a Christmas collection for the cause.

 

In total, £965 was raised from parent and staff donations throughout December, which St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P & F) used to organise a Sainsbury’s shop of food and toiletries for the charity.

 

Commenting on the school’s motivation to help the food bank, Co-Chair of St Michael’s P & F, Kelly Downey, said: “Delivering our donation to The Community Cupboard was an amazing and uplifting moment. Being able to bring the school together to contribute to a cause which plays such an important role in our community during this time was very rewarding.”

 

Greeted with three car loads of canned foods, long-life products and toiletries, Kelly also describes how delighted the charity were with the school’s generosity. She added: “The team were really blown away by our donation and thankful for the time we’d taken to raise the money and organise a delivery.

 

“It was a great feeling to be able to put an initial idea from a St Michael’s parent into action, and to see the impact we would be having on the local community.”

 

Kelly added: “We recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to put food on the table for their families. We hope that our donation can be a small step in making a difference for those people.”

 

Since the start of January alone, an additional 22 local families have registered for The Community Cupboard’s support, reflecting the increased pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic across the country. And it is only thanks to generous donations that the charity can continue to provide help to those who need it most.

 

Trustee at The Community Cupboard, David Carter said: “We would like to express our extreme gratitude to St Michael’s for their wonderful donation. We are very lucky to receive regular donations from local groups, but they are rarely to this scale.

 

“The food and toiletries kindly given to us by St Michael’s have allowed us to fully restock our shelves as well as putting plenty of stock on standby for new referrals. The size of this donation will allow us to give substantial food packages to the 22 new families who were referred to us in January. St Michael’s help is invaluable to us and will make a huge difference.”

 

Since its launch in January 2020, The Community Cupboard has continued to help families in Sevenoaks, and has extended its help to cover a 20 mile radius including Edenbridge, Westerham, Surrey, Sidcup, Rochester and Ashford, due to the pandemic.

 

The Trustee added: “We began as a small group of people determined to make a difference locally in an area where food banks were lacking. Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way and our efforts would be needed tenfold. To say we hit the ground running would be an understatement.”

 

Run by four members and six volunteers, The Community Cupboard works tirelessly to deliver parcels to families, and in January alone distributed 3.1 tonnes of food, toiletries and essential items.

 

David said: “We began the charity on the foundation that ‘if we can help, we will’, and with the community’s help, I’m proud to say we are doing just that. We see a lot of hardship and sadness in doing what we do, but it really opens our eyes to the incredible hard work various organisations and charities do in our community. Thanks to generous groups like St Michael’s, we can confidently say ‘yes, we can help you’.”

 

The Community Cupboard are currently taking donations of tinned and long-life food products, as well as toiletries and essential items. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be put towards bulk orders for the charity.

 

The charity is based at The Garage, Gamcock meadow, West Kingdown where a covid secure donation drop off process has been put in place.

 

For more information about The Community Cupboard, or to donate to the charity visit www.thecommunitycupboard.co.uk.

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.

 

 

Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head describes the school.

“I’ve always liked St Michael’s and have been visiting it for several years as part of sports fixtures with my previous schools”, Nik Pears said.

“Something that has always impressed me about St Michael’s is the atmosphere and people that belong to it.

“The sense of community you feel when walking through the doors of the school is extraordinary”, he added.

An avid sportsman, experienced leader, and family man, Mr Pears brings with him a wealth of ideas for St Michael’s, including his core value of equipping pupils for life.

Nik , who joined St Michael’s in January 2021, explained: “I am very keen on developing a growth mindset in my pupils. In this ever-changing world, our children need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom.

“Pupils need to be adaptable, resilient and perseverant, and learn to accept their failure and mistakes as important parts of their personal development.

“By equipping children with the right interpersonal skills during their school years, we can set them up for a future in which they may have to fight for their place in the world.”

Nik’s concept of growth mindset can also be applied to his broader vision for the school.

Coming to St Michael’s from his headship at Kent College, Pembury, Nik believes the challenges posed by Covid-19 can teach schools a lot about the importance of flexibility and community.

Mr Pears said: “These unprecedented times have been a huge learning curve for schools.

“Navigating a school through a global crisis was never going to be easy, but it has shown just how necessary it is to put pupils at the heart of every decision.

“As someone who has experienced the period as both a teacher and parent, it is very clear that we are all battling the same storm in different boats.

“It is incredible how people have found new and creative ways to deal with the circumstances. From Zoom concerts, to helping food banks, to keeping each other’s spirits high with funny videos, this period has shown us a lot about community which we will learn from and remember.”

Having belonged to multiple Prep schools himself throughout his education and as a teacher, Nik is excited to be entering this new stage in his career at St Michael’s.

Reflecting on his own school years which saw him attend schools in London, Devon and Dublin, he said: “I always enjoyed school as a child and made the most of every opportunity I was given.

“I particularly enjoyed subjects like music, drama and history and was fascinated by the things that we learnt.

“I was also heavily involved in sports and belonged to the Kent U18 rugby group. Even now you’ll find me in a pair of wellies at the side of the pitch cheering on my pupils and own children.”

Nik added: “I was one of those children who wanted to get stuck into everything, even the things that I found difficult.

“As well as my sports clubs, I belonged to multiple choirs, as well as orchestras where I played the drums, trumpet, piano and guitar.”

Mr Pears also spoke about the impact his own teachers had on his time at school and the person that he is today.

He said: “I had some amazing teachers which taught me a lot of things about life and leadership.

“Sir Anthony Seldon, one of my history teachers, was particularly inspiring and sparked my passion for the subject.

“The Head of my Prep school in Dublin also gave her pupils a lot of time. She was a hero.”

And Nik’s teachers aren’t his only role models in life.

He said: “A man called Phil Wall is also a huge inspiration of mine. Phil is the founder of the charity We See Hope which works with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa.

“Phil’s selflessness and passion for the cause inspired me to become an ambassador for the charity.

“His exceptional leadership, authenticity and integrity is just inspiring.”

Mr Pears also explained how his love of people has guided him to the many leadership roles he has held.

Nik said: “I very much enjoy being with people and having a good laugh. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing family including my wife, Emma and our two children, Jessica and Josiah. Our pet hamster Charlie is also a valued member of the family who kept us well entertained during the first lockdown.”

He added: “Being a leader brings so many opportunities to show warmth, empathy and understanding to others, and I can’t wait to become a member of the St Michael’s community.

“When pupils leave St Michael’s to pursue their senior education, I hope they remember me as someone who was kind, knew them well and valued their opinion.”

 

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