eNews: Friday 14th February 2020

From Graham Malcolm, Interim Executive Head

Half term may be edging closer, but there’s no let up in the wonderful breadth of activities on offer to the children.

We started the week with the Konflux Theatre online safety workshops, which had Years 3-6 totally engaged in a very important subject.

This was followed by the showcasing of some extraordinary talent in both the Prep Musical Soirées and the Pre-Prep Valentine’s Concert.

Thankfully, the weather was kind enough to allow us to host our netball tournament on Wednesday and we were delighted to welcome number of schools to our wonderful grounds. It was a pleasure to see the competitive edge of our U11 players, combined with fairness and friendship towards the visiting teams.

With more rugby matches and the rehearsals for Little Shop of Horrors, it’s been a week was full of fun and of striving for the best – a true St Michael’s week!

I wish you all a happy and restful half-term.

Graham Malcolm

BEd, MA (IAPS)

From the Acting Co-Heads

Today is an important day for many as the results of school offers will be arriving in the post. Following the recent assessments for our own St Michael’s Scholarships for entry into Year 7, we will also be sending out the results of our recent scholarship assessments next week. The standard of performance from all the applicants has been truly outstanding this year and we have been nothing but impressed with the efforts and skill level shown across the board. Inevitably, there will be a mixture of emotions depending on the letter that arrives at your door. If you asked most children (and even adults) what they thought the opposite of success was they’ll most likely tell you it’s failure. But if we dig down a little then we can see that the logic here is flawed. Have any of the most successful people in the world got to that level by cruising along disappointment free, avoiding failure, never really pushed? Did James Dyson create his hoover on the first attempt or did it take over 5,000 failures? Was the lightbulb invented overnight or did Edison actually first find “10,000 ways that did not work”? Michael Jordan, the most famous basketballer to ever have lived, credits his multiple failures in important matches as making him the player he was. So did any of the myriad “successful” people we hear about see failure and link it with disappointment? It would appear, if they did, they would be in the minority.

The argument here is that experiencing moments of ‘failure’ is absolutely essential for eventual success. It’s ok to be disappointed when we fail. But to be disappointed to the point of quitting is the ultimate disservice to ourselves. We are depriving ourselves from our highest heights. From fulfilling our full potential. After all disappointment is just an emotion that we get to choose whether to feel or not. Or how strong the feeling is. If we can weaken the emotional attachment of disappointment to failure we may just see that failure is more a partner of success and should be celebrated as such. The opposite, in reality, being never trying at all.

As the numerous ‘results days’ arrive, we are reminded of Kipling’s famous advice: that to reach adulthood we must “meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same”. Neither our successes nor our failures define us – rather both are external events which provide experiences from which we can grow. It will be important to support our children whether they have achieved their goal or not. And perhaps the experience of results day doesn’t have to be binary. History has shown that early disappointments can spur us to greatness far more than early successes.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

News from Pre-Prep

• Return to school Monday 24th February
• Fri 28th Feb Reception parents’ Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Parents’ Evenings Tuesday 17th March and Thursday 19th March; sign up on Parents’ Evening System from 21.00 on Monday 2nd March.
• Thursday March 5th World Book Day

I would like to say a big thank you to Mrs Ravayeh for organising a lovely Valentine’s Concert. The children really excelled themselves and it is wonderful to witness the musical progress being made. Thank you too to the team of music staff who tutor your children, Jacob Garside, Debbie Mumford, Tatyana Stratford and Sarah Harris. If your child did not perform at this concert but plays an instrument, then there will be another opportunity at our Easter concert.
You will have received an invitation to book for Parents’ Evenings on Tuesday 17th or Thursday 19th March. Please make sure you have your login and sign up any time from Monday 2nd March at 21.00.

I would like to give you advance warning that World Book day is on Thursday 5th March and children will be welcome to dress up as story book characters. I thought you’d like time over the holidays to think through suitable characters and costumes.

Some parents have requested that I ask parents who are collecting children at 3.20pm to please leave the site before 3.50pm when the next wave of parents is trying to find a parking space. Once our Astro is completed more parents should be able to park in the car park by the zebra crossing.
I hope you all have a lovely half term holiday and I will look forward to seeing you back on Monday 24th February.

Zerrin Leech

In Memoriam

Lindsey Marchant Deadman

We were sorry to hear that Lindsey sadly lost her fight against cancer and passed away peacefully on Monday 10th February with her partner and children by her side.
Lindsey worked at St Michael’s as the Assistant to the Bursar for several years in the early 2000’s.

She was a very special, caring, funny lady, who could light up a room. Her laughter could always be heard through the corridors of St Michael’s. She was passionate about football and her beloved team Charlton Athletic, and would always have banter with the PE staff about the most recent matches. She lived life with energy and humour, such a larger than life personality.

She will be deeply missed by everyone whose hearts she touched.

5-Star Award for our Catering Team

Congratulations to Mark Edwards and his team in our kitchen on receiving a 5 Star Award following an Environmental Health inspection.

Mark received a bottle of champagne from Clare Piggott, Client Services Director of Accent Catering.

Gush Gush Charity

We are delighted to be sending a grand total of £709.65 to Gush Gush, to help with the provision of clean water to people in Africa.

Grateful thanks to everyone in the Prep and Pre-Prep schools for their support.

On this week’s Message Board

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Message Board to see new important information as follows:

  • Internet Safety Week – advice and tips
  • Sports Uniform requirements updated
  • St Michael’s Story Writing Competition
  • Kitchen roll cardboard tubes required for Prep Science Department
  • Mr Thomas’ Half-Term Hockey Camp – places still available

On this week’s Community Events page

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Community Events page to see important community information.

News stories

Our news stories can be found by clicking “News” and “Latest News” on our website. To see our latest articles please click here

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Mona Swan for having excellent manners and always saying ‘thank you’
Espen for wonderful writing while learning about Meerkats
Bram for his concentration and focus when using watercolours to paint an African Savanna
Oliver for being such a kind and loving friend to others
Edward for excellent ball skills in PE
Walter for amazing enthusiasm in our work about birds
William M for excellent independent writing about birds
Scarlett for great use of adjectives in your writing
Lana for consistent effort in Maths
Olanna for great use of adjectives in your writing
Ruaridh for working hard in our printing activity
Nathan for asking interesting questions about what you are reading and showing such an interest in non-fiction texts
William P for always being so helpful around the classroom and to others
Finlay for carefully completing a timeline of events from Neil Armstrong’s life
Clara for excellent work solving problems involving time
Herbie L for enthusiasm and hard work with your writing
George W for excellent work on telling the time

House Point Cup

Leeds House with a total of 198 points
Clara H collected the Cup on behalf of House

Times Tables Certificate

Platinum: Elisa F and Jake S

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup:
Music Practice Award: Silas for Piano
Star Violinist Cup: Nia

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

F Griffin For having art work displayed at school
C West For having art work displayed at school
S Davis For having art work displayed at school
L Summers For having art work displayed at school
A Mourgue d’Algue For having art work displayed at school
N Staples For having art work displayed at school

Players of the Match, week commencing 10th February 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Rugby J Fryer For showing steely determination in tackling
U12 The whole team For an amazing performance and a great win
U11 A T Neville & L Selvey-Clinton For great attacking play
U11 B D Little For powerful play and scoring 2 tries
U10 A L Lattimer & E Short For fearsome tackling against strong runners
U10 B J Pathiwill

C Hunter

For scoring 6 tries

For scoring 8 tries

U9 A Matches Cancelled
U9 B Matches Cancelled
U8 A Matches Cancelled
U8 B Matches Cancelled
U8 C Matches Cancelled
U13 A Netball P Parker-Swift Voted for by the opposition for great play in both hockey and netball
U13 B L Griffiths For great all-round play
U13 C E Jones Voted for by the opposition for good all-round play
U11 A A Ogle For being Player of the Tournament
U11 B E Harrison For being Player of the Tournament
U11 C R MacIntosh For brilliant defending
U10 A I Pennington Legh

A Ulens

Voted for by the opposition

For good defending

U10 B M Amure

A Ravalli

Voted for by the opposition

For good attacking play

U10 C T Ward

A Madgett

Voted for by the opposition

 

U9 A Matches Cancelled
U9 B Matches Cancelled
U9 C Matches Cancelled
U8 A Matches Cancelled
U8 B No Matches
U8 C No Matches

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Oakwood Park Grammar School, Roedean School and Skinners’ School.

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