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

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.”