eNews: Wednesday 16th December 2020

From the Acting Head

We made it! What an excellent end to the term the last few days have been. As well as final lessons, the children have enjoyed a wealth of activities and committed to fundraising with vim and vigour! I would like to extend my thanks to Kerri and Kelly, our P&F Co-Chairs, who created a magical winter woodland walk for all pupils, which included a treasure hunt and many other surprises along the way. It was a fantastic way to utilise the grounds and the sense of freedom expressed by the children will, I hope, continue into a restful and relaxing Christmas break!
On Tuesday, we pulled out all the stops to raise funds for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. The commitment to the cause was awe-inspiring, and I was delighted to witness the children leaving nothing behind as they battled to secure maximum laps in their sponsored run. Thank you to all of the staff for running the final events of the term, and for making them so special and fun for the children. I am confident that both children and staff will have slept well last night! The purpose of the day stayed firmly in our minds thanks to Lucy’s assemblies in both Prep and Pre-Prep on Monday where she shared her story of how the TVAA saved her life last New Year’s Eve. I am delighted to share that our fundraising total is currently at £2556.60! Thank you all for supporting this community effort which will help to save the lives of others and support the incredible work of the TVAA.
We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas lunch on Tuesday, and it was a joy to dine in style (and Christmas jumpers!). A big thanks must go to Mark Edwards and his dedicated team for working so hard to keep our dining both safe and delicious all term! It was a joy to enjoy a special lunch and mark the end of a memorable Michaelmas Term with a fabulous feast.
We ended our term with celebrations assemblies; in bubbles of course! A huge amount has been achieved and, as always, it has been a big team effort! Thank you to the children for making our jobs so fun and worthwhile; we wish them all a happy and relaxing time with families over the coming weeks. The celebration assemblies also give us the chance to show our gratitude to the key people who play a vitally important, but often unsung impact on the running of the school each day. To the support staff, the estates, catering and cleaning teams; thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your hard work, commitment and professionalism in all that you do.

All that is left for me to say is a huge thank you for your support over what has been a quite remarkable year. It has been a pleasure to lead this amazing school and an experience that has taught me a huge amount. I look forward to seeing you all in 2021 and wish you a happy and healthy Christmas break.

Mary Bridges

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep 

The last newsletter of 2020. What a year! I am sure many people will write some very interesting observations of this most peculiar time in our History. I feel this has been a most difficult year because there have been so few celebrations, so few events to look forward to. Your children have helped us all get through. No matter what we as adults are experiencing, working with children is the best tonic. They make us smile and laugh, be realistic and protective and above all give us hope.

The Winter Wonderland walk was fabulous, thank you again to the P&F team who worked so hard in the rain on Sunday to get it all set up for us. I hear they are still up for repeating it next year! The children loved solving the Christmas clues and finding Father Christmas at the end of a very muddy walk.

Christmas lunch on Tuesday was delicious. Thank you to Mark Edwards and his team for keeping us all well fed. “Its like a giant Christmas party” I hasten to add this was just one bubble of children who would normally be having lunch together, but with music, orange squash, decorations, crackers and everyone in Christmas jumpers, it did feel like a party!

After Christmas I would like to see Reception children being able to walk down the bridge in the morning, without their parents. Many of them do already so it would be great if you could positively prepare your child for being very “grown up”.

As we look forward to 2021 and our new Headmaster Nik Pears joining us, I would like to say thank you to Mary Bridges who stepped into the Acting Head role at a very difficult time and who kept us all feeling positive through lockdown!

 

Overheard in Pre-Prep:

Teacher: “Look it’s the Christmas nativity, that’s baby Jesus.”

Child: “That’s not Jesus, it’s a goat!”

 

“There is no gunpowder in crackers”

 

Have a wonderful Christmas holiday and Happy New Year.

 

Zerrin Leech   

 

 

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

 

Grace L for trying hard with her handwriting

Isaac O for reading with lovely expression

Henry W for working hard on his reading at home

Cian C.O for deciding which coins are needed to make amounts to 10p

Sophia E for excellent problem solving, finding different ways to make money totals to 30p

Stanley H for writing a lovely letter to Father Christmas and using such neat handwriting

Thomas S for excellent effort with his reading

Sebastian C for persevering with learning the new sounds in phonics

Amy H for consistent addition and subtraction skills

Olivia B for great diligence whilst adding and subtracting

Ben C for brilliant effort with his writing

Emma B for trying her best in all our activities

All of 2B, 2M & 2S for an incredible performance of ‘It’s A Miracle’

Marianne B for trying really hard with her reading

Edward Z for good number work

Walter M for a very expressive performance in our show

Bonham B for great effort and creativity during art activities

Arthur N for being a brilliant shepherd in our production and saying his lines so clearly

Beatrix T for showing such enthusiasm with her reading- keep up the hard work

Edward H for excellent, confident reading in front of the class

Olivia D for excellent, careful phonics work

Daniel B for saying lines loudly and clearly in our Nativity performance

James H for writing beautifully neat letters in phonics

Herbert W for great addition skills during our maths lessons

Evelyn T for great participation and spelling during our phonics lessons

Headteacher’s Stars

L Andrade for a fantastic video of her Christmas Candy Cane Science Challenge

D Singh for a beautiful piece of writing in response to an English homework task

J Vanderlanh-Mckeown for a superb story and comprehension exercise for his English homework

School News

The Big Write

Years 3 and 4 put their magnifying glasses to the test this week as they worked hard to solve a Santa-themed crime scene.

The Big Write challenge saw pupils investigate a section of the St Michael’s woods in an attempt to uncover Santa’s mischievous ways.

Once identifying the clues, Years 3 returned to the classroom to write their stories about the event, whilst Year 4 wrote and performed news reports of the crime scene.

All pupils rose to the task and, once more, helped their teachers solve a tricky challenge.

 

 

St Michael’s runs the extra mile for Thames Valley Air Ambulance

On Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s hosted a 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.”

Lucy, whose story recently featured in the TVAA’s Christmas appeal, added: “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.

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!”

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!”

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.”

For more information about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance or to donate visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/support-us/donate/

 

 

Pupils take a magical walk through Winter Wonderland 

This week, pupils enjoyed a magical Winter Wonderland walk organised by the P & F Association.
Set in the beautiful setting of our woodlands, pupils followed a festive trail laden with Christmas decorations, sparkling lights and scattered pieces of Father Christmas’ clothing.
While Pre-Prep pupils helped save Christmas after a naughty elf tried to scupper Father Christmas’ plans, Nursery and Kindergarten had to try and find all the items Father Christmas would need, from his belt, to carrots for the reindeers. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 also had to solve some fun festive riddles.
Meanwhile, Prep pupils used all their skills to find hidden boxes from a map grid and solve maths problems as they raced around St Michael’s grounds.
Commenting on the hugely popular event, the P & F said: “We really wanted to do something special for the children, especially at a time when many of our normal festive activities can’t happen.
“Mrs Bridges had the wonderful idea of a festive walk in the woods and with the advantage of St Michael’s incredible grounds and some wonderful parents and staff volunteering their time we were able to create something, we think, quite magical!”

Christmas lunch!

Yesterday, staff and pupils enjoyed a delicious Christmas lunch prepared by our wonderful Catering Team. Hats off to the chefs!
.

Michaelmas Term House Results

 

Girls Hockey

 

Year 3&4

1st – Windsor

2nd – Dover

3rd – Leeds

4th – Rochester

 

Year 5&6

1st – Leeds

2nd – Dover & Windsor

4th – Rochester

 

Year 7&8

1st – Leeds

2nd – Dover & Rochester

4th – Windsor

 

Boys Football

 

Year 3&4

1st – Windsor

2nd – Leeds

3rd – Dover

4th – Rochester

 

Year 5&6

1st – Leeds

2nd – Windsor

3rd – Dover

4th – Rochester

 

Year 7&8

1st – Dover

2nd – Leeds

3rd – Windsor

4th – Rochester

 

Cross Country

 

Year 3&4

1st – Leeds

2nd – Windsor

3rd – Rochester

4th – Dover

 

Year 5&6

1st – Leeds

2nd – Dover

3rd – Windsor

4th – Rochester

 

Year 7&8

1st – Windsor

2nd – Leeds

3rd – Dover

4th – Rochester

 

Cross Country Overall

1st – Leeds

2nd – Windsor

3rd – Dover

4th – Rochester

Music Exam Results

We are pleased to share another great set of results from the ABRSM exam session that we hosted in school on Friday 4thDecember:

 

R. Landgrebe Piano 6 Pass
T. Neville Singing 5 Merit
S.Bendle Singing 4 Distinction
S. Ward Singing 4 Distinction
J. Pathiwill Singing 4 Merit
O. Scott Clarinet 4 Merit
L. Shi Singing 4 Merit
N. Staples Singing 3 Merit
B. Tovey Singing 3 Pass
O. Scott Singing 2 Distinction
M. Elliott Piano 2 Merit
A. Clapham Singing 2 Pass
H. Palmer Singing 2 Pass
T. Warren Singing 2 Pass
A. Hughes Piano 1 Distinction
M. Macedo Piano 1 Distinction
S. Mottram Piano 1 Distinction
A. Paizes Alto Saxophone 1 Distinction
E. Schwark Alto Saxophone 1 Merit
E. Abueita Violin 1 Pass
P. Palmer Singing 1 Pass
A. Sharp Singing 1 Pass

 

Well done to all the above children and to O. Maltarp who passed his Trinity grade 3 guitar exam which was examined by submission of a continuous non-edited recording of three

From the P & F

The P & F are delighted to announce that St Michael’s has raised a fantastic £945 for the Community Cupboard Christmas Appeal. Thank you to all of those who donated to this very important cause.

Staying safe online this Christmas

Some useful information for parents and students on Online Safety over Christmas from the Thinkuknow website can be found via the below link. This site is run by CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection).

https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/parents-guide-being-social-online/

 

Shoot for the stars!

Congratulations to L Lattimer has qualified for the Kent U11 Northern Warriors Cricket team and will join its main squad for the 2021 cricket season.
L. Selvey-Clinton must also be congratulated for being selected for the U13 elite pathway in cricket despite being an U12. This achievement will see Leo become one of the top 12 boys in Kent.

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. Monday and Tuesday are fully booked, however there is still limited space available on Thursday and Friday.

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