eNews: Friday 15th May 2020

From the Acting Head

The unknown has always been a source of apprehension and anxiety to the majority of us and, although we are often told to embrace it and step outside our comfort zone it can be easier said than done. It’s doubtful that there has ever been a greater unknown in our lifetimes than the situation we currently find ourselves in. And now we begin preparations for some to return to school while some will remain at home.

Perhaps it is the perceived magnitude of it. I was once told that if we were to imagine the lifetime of Earth as the time on a 24-hour clock then the entire existence of man would be relegated to 1 second within 24 hours. And even within our own, hopefully long and enjoyable lives, this immediate situation will be measured in months rather than years. Life may not be the same after we emerge but humans are the most adaptable species ever to have existed. We will grow from this.

I have enjoyed seeing growth in our pupils and the community this week. Growth in the development of their independent work, mindsets, confidence and engagement with online learning. We have also seen growth in our offer following the valuable feedback we have received from staff and parents. Extra live clinics, study rooms for Years 7&8, a virtual concert and our first ever whole school silent disco! The number of interactions between staff and pupils on Seesaw and Tapestry is growing daily and, on my latest check, there were 6,703 comments added to Seesaw in the last 7 days!

I have been pleased to be in touch with parents this week, hearing your views and finding out how things are going at home. There will be an additional short survey coming this afternoon with the learning plans for next week, I ask that you all follow the link and take part. This situation requires all of the skills and knowledge we collectively have as a community to negotiate our way through. Fortunately, we are all working towards the same goal. At the root of this all is a strong, adaptive, malleable, insightful group of people co-operating together for the ultimate benefit of the pupils of St Michael’s. It’s not easy. But with open minds, dialogues and hearts we will continue to grow and emerge from that ‘comfort zone chrysalis’ as something new, bolder and hopefully better. But most importantly together.

I look forward to being ‘together’ with many of you at the P&F quiz night next Wednesday and thank the committee for creating this opportunity for us to have some fun.

Please look out for school communications early next week which will outline how we will implement the government advice and guidance for those children who are able to return to school in the first phase after half term.

I wish you all an enjoyable weekend

Mary Bridges

 

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Dear Parents,

Well, we have got some news about children returning to school. Nursery, Kindergarten, Reception and Year 1 (and Year 6) should be returning on Monday June 1st. This is dependent on the R rate being below 1 and the level of Covid 19 cases continuing to reduce. There is a thought that confirmation of the return to school is unlikely to be made until Friday 28th May.

If you have completed the questionnaire about returning to school, thank you. This has helped us to have an indication of how many of you intend to send your children back to school. I know several of you are awaiting more information before making a decision and I hope to have this out to you shortly.

Maintaining stringent hygiene rules and reducing contact of each class with another is going to be key for Pre-Prep where the children are less likely to understand or adhere to any social distancing measures. Playtimes and lunchtimes will be with friends from their own class. We will not be able to distance these children from their friends within the same class. We will be bringing in additional cleaning of classrooms and cloakrooms through the day.

Once again, this week I have seen a huge amount of incredible work that has been going on with home learning. The teachers would like to thank you for all the time and effort you are putting in following our plans and set work.

Overheard: “I want to be a bird so I can eat worms.”

Enjoy your weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Headteacher’s Stars

F Lindsay For an excellent music composition which was beautifully performed
A Saini For great effort and perseverance during online learning
G Gagg For great effort and perseverance during online learning
E Soper For great effort and perseverance during online learning
J McDonnell For great effort and perseverance during online learning
E Gage For a persuasive letter written in Latin! Excellent effort – going above and beyond the task set
T Carman For producing beautifully presented and superbly detailed work throughout the Life Cycles unit of work
S Andrade For a confident and engaging presentation about your caterpillars as part of our whole school Zoom assembly
W Sherry For contributing to a whole school online assembly by sharing some local happy news
E Shaw For a fantastic live presentation in our whole school Zoom assembly, sharing the happy news of your new cousins
L Clapham For a superb presentation in a whole school Zoom assembly, sharing your fantastic fundraising efforts for the NHS
E Ward For a beautiful piano performance, streamed live to the whole school in a Zoom assembly
R Landgrebe For an incredibly moving live performance in a whole school Zoom assembly
E Julio For confidently sharing the happy news of your chickens in our online assembly
F Rutherford For confidently sharing the happy news of your ducklings in our online assembly
AL El-Alami For a beautiful live piano performance in our online Zoom assembly
A Scott For a fantastic performance of your Grade 5 saxophone piece in our online assembly
A Stevens For producing “Green Garden”, a fantastic wildlife documentary as part of your Science remote learning
A Ogle For displaying an excellent growth mindset to remote learning, with superb extension work in Science
L Clapham For an excellent monologue, capturing the personality of the Hare and demonstrating good use of instructions and directions
A Ashton For superb hard work and creativity in music, taking ideas and developing them beyond what has been asked of her
S Taylor For an excellent watercolour sketch and a main canvas based on a Nigel Sharman painting

School News

The 2020 Charles Causley Young Person’s Poetry Competition

This competition is open to all children and young people aged 5-18. For full details please see our Message Board.

Sports News

Clap Catch Fixtures Results

Boys Years 3&4
1st Sutton Valence and St Michael’s S Taylor 13
3rd Hilden Oaks 12
Boys Years 5&6
1st St Michael’s G Kelly 15
2nd Sutton Valence and Radnor House 13
Boys Years 7&8
1st St Ronan’s and St Michael’s W Deacon & J Fryer 13
Girls Years 3&4
1st Sutton Valence 15
2nd St Ronan’s 12
3rd St Lawrence and St Michael’s S Savidge 10
Girls Years 5&6
1st St Michael’s E Harrison 16
2nd St Ronan’s and Radnor House 12
Girls Years 7&8
1st St Ronan’s 13
2nd St Michael’s O Crane 10

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

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

 

 

 

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