From the Acting Head
Every Friday I give thanks for another week of school completed with your children, and now we’ve made it to the end of a busy half term!
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your patience and support with regard to the Covid-19 restrictions we have put in place for the whole school community. We know all too keenly how other areas of the country are being affected at the moment and the longer we can keep our St Michael’s bubble safe, the greater benefit this will bring to our young people.
This week I have enjoyed seeing and finding out about some superb learning in the Prep School. I got to listen to some very creative but extremely revolting recipes shared beautifully by Year 3. I was honoured to judge some fabulous models inspired by learning about Hindu Gods in Year 5, and was wowed by the beautiful glasswork created by our Year 8 artists. Learning at St Michael’s is thriving! The most enjoyable part for me is witnessing the children’s excitement when they talk about what they have discovered or created, and I hope that you have been experiencing that after pick-up too.
Some of our Year 6 children faced the Kent Test yesterday, and they demonstrated a healthy mixture of calmness and excitement to put their hard work and preparation to play. The whole school showed support for those children as they trod quietly around the school so as not to disrupt the Year 6s in their focus and flow. I hope that those that went through the assessment enjoyed a well-deserved evening of relaxation after it was completed!
As we look ahead to the next half term and beyond, the most challenging thing is possibly not knowing when the end of the Covid-19 restrictions will be. In life, there’s a lot to be said for pacing yourself, knowing how long you need to sustain your energy and efforts to reach a goal or the light at the end of the tunnel. There is no question that the restrictions in place are hard for everyone and the most straightforward school routines are no longer habitual and require extra effort, attention and usually many more steps! To sustain ourselves to get to the finish line, wherever that may be, we must take extra care to look after ourselves and each other. I am truly grateful to all of the staff, in every quarter, for continually going the extra mile to make each day seem familiar and joyful for the children.
Here’s to the opportunity we now have to switch off and reset ready for another action-packed half term. Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? Absolutely!
From the Head of Pre-Prep
This half term has flown by! I know things haven’t been quite as we would like at the moment, but your children have kept the staff sane! Young children cut through the depressing news and the red tape regulations and remind us of the love and joy we get from laughing together.
Thank you to Kelli and Kerri from the P&F for organising the spiders in the jar Halloween competition. The children have loved this. Every child who entered the competition thought they were going to win, so you may have to deal with some disappointment this evening!
For the time being we are going to continue the rolling drop off and pick up. Can I urge you to not arrive on site too early? In the morning please do not come on to the school site before 8.15am unless you have Prep school children. The front row spaces in the car park are now for immediate dropping or picking up so please use the middle spaces for parking if you need to be on site for a longer time.
I would like to express my thanks to you all for your forbearance as you have endured traffic delays with a run of accidents, incidents, extreme rain and large lorries over the last few weeks. We recognise that the roads leading to St Michael’s are narrow and therefore require considerable patience on your part. I would also like to thank our Estates Team who deal daily with the traffic challenges.
I hope you have a lovely half term and I look forward to seeing you all again on Monday 2nd November.
Overheard in Pre-Prep:
Teacher: How many spiders do you think are in the jar?
Teacher: Twenty Eight
Child: No, Twenny-ate!
Pastures new for Miss Cook
We congratulate Lucinda Cook, our Head of Learning Development and Designated Safeguarding Lead, on securing a wonderful new role at Ardingly College. Lucinda will be moving to Ardingly in January to take up a whole school position as Assistant Director of Learning Support. This will enable her to impact the educational journey for children with learning differences from Pre-Prep right through to the senior school. Lucinda will be moving with her two boys, Teddy and Henry, and they all hope to maintain the fantastic friendships that they have built at St Michael’s.
Lucinda joined us in 2015 as a part time teacher in Year 4 working alongside Karen Boreham and, later, Louise Medd. Lucinda’s passion for supporting all children academically, socially and emotionally shines through in all that she does and it was a natural progression for her to take on the leadership of the AEN department in 2018 at which time she also joined the Senior Leadership Team. Lucinda has transformed the intervention programme at St Michael’s by enabling children to access a superb range of helpful interventions in order to support their learning. She also took on the Lead Safeguarding role in May this year and her commitment to the leadership and management of the school, always working with the needs of the children first, has been huge.
We wish Lucinda great happiness and success in her new role at Ardingly and look forward to continued work with her for the St Michael’s children that progress there.
Dr Julie Speers – Head of Learning Development
With over 30 years’ teaching experience, Julie has taught in comprehensive, grammar and independent prep schools in Kent. She is currently Head of Design Technology and SENCO at Marlborough House School in Hawkhurst.
As well as enthusing others to learn, Julie has completed a Masters in the Leadership of Teaching and recently gained a Doctorate in Education. The focus of this was understanding the life-stories of people with dyslexia and how it impacts their childhood experiences as well as their adult life.
Julie is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys wild camping, overnight stays in remote bothies and gentle kayaking. These activities are all encouraged and accompanied by her son and husband, as Julie freely admits map reading skills are not a strength of hers.
Julie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an award gained for her work developing project-based learning in comprehensive schools. She is a trustee of the charity Human Scale Education which advocates the importance of developing relationships in schools.
Julie is looking forward to working with the children, parents and staff at St Michael’s, and being part of the warm atmosphere that immediately made her feel at home during her first visit. We look forward to welcoming her at the start of the Lent Term in January.
Pupils give wonderful performances in music concerts
This week Prep pupils performed in three music concerts to their fellow classmates and some of their music teachers. Unfortunately, because of the ongoing restrictions, parents were unable to attend these concerts but have been sent links to the full filmed footage so they don’t miss out.
A montage of the three music concerts can be found on our YouTube page: https://youtu.be/Bj_Wx4P9heg
Gordon Baird, Director of Music, said “We were delighted by how these first concerts of the academic year went despite the absence of the children’s parents. It was a lovely intimate experience for the children to play or sing to their friends and we heard some confident, accomplished performances. For some, it was their first time playing in a concert in the Prep school and we look forward to organising many more opportunities for them to perform throughout the year.”
P & F Halloween competitions
This week pupils took part in two exciting Halloween competitions hosted by the P & F.
Tasked with guessing the number of spooky spiders in the jar (Pre-Prep) or guessing the weight of the pumpkin (Prep), the children rose to the challenge and gave some very good answers.
The winners of the competitions were as follows:
Pre-Prep: Herbie W
Prep: A Ward, M Little, L Lutzow and H Owen
Well done to everyone involved!
O Gasson (Year 6) for brilliantly presented science work explaining the classification of some garden plants
The following pupils have received Headteacher’s Stars for outstanding glass making in Art:
A Mourgue D’Algue
The following pupils have received Headteacher’s Stars for outstanding final pieces in Ink Skull Design:
Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners
Ben C for enthusiasm during music and knowing all the Harvest songs
Evelyn T for good letter formation during phonics
Daniel B for consistent effort in writing letters and numbers
Jasmine H for being a happy and diligent member of the class
Sebastian C for amazing work in our phonics lessons
Millie I-W for trying so hard in everything she does
Emily P for lovely ideas for harvest celebrations
Sam S for consistently working hard and trying his best in every lesson
Abigail L for an excellent Andy Warhol inspired Pop Art portrait
Arthur S for a kind and helpful attitude
Marianne B for good effort with improving her writing
Monty A for trying really hard in English
Lawson B for always trying his best and taking pride in his work
Niamh G for working carefully with coins to show given amounts
Rayaan G for being a wonderful partner and team player; he always encourages others to do their best
Jessica H for showing great focus and determination in Literacy
Sophie N for always being a kind friend to others
Sebastian G for working hard in all subjects and always trying his best
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music
Silas C – Grade 3 Piano passed with merit
A message from the Music Department
Applications for instrumental and singing lessons are currently closed but will open again in late November for lessons to begin in January. When applications reopen we will add the forms back to the Parent Portal and provide links to them in the newsletter. If you have any queries in the meantime please email us.
Break up for October Half Term: Friday 16th October
Return to school: Monday 2nd November
ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:
Friday 6th November
Friday 27th November
School Shop Half Term Opening Hours
The school shop will be open on the second Friday during the half term, Friday 30th October from 11am-1pm.
Shoot for the stars!
A huge well done to Sophia J in Year 4 who achieved a great result in a sailing competition which she participated in with her Dad last weekend.
The open, adult competition took place at Papercourt Sailing Club near Guildford and the pair competed in a boat called a Firefly.
They narrowly beat a former national champion in the last race to win overall.
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.
Could you support the programme for our school play?
Rehearsals are well underway for this year’s school play The Elephant Man and we can’t wait to show you the final product in March.
As ever, we love creating a programme for pupils and parents to keep as a souvenir after the production and we’d love to do the same this year.
In order to make this happen, we’re asking our St Michael’s families whether they are part of, or know, a business that would be keen to advertise in the programme.
If this is you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Adverts start from £25 for a quarter page.
Half Term Photos
We’d love to see what our pupils get up to this half term so if you have any exciting photos please send them to our Marketing Team at email@example.com.
We hope you have a fun and relaxing break.
In the Community
Mr Lopez’s October Half Term Football Camp
Mr Lopez will be holding his Football Camp from Tuesday 27th October to Friday 30th October. Click here for full details and a booking form. Book early as places are limited!
Mrs Grayland’s October Half Term Netball Camp
Mrs Grayland will be running a netball camp at half term which will be offered to St Michaels girl’s before being offered out to other schools. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Click here for a booking form.
Mr Thomas’ October Half Term Hockey Camp
Mr Thomas will be holding his October Half Term Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 29th- Friday 30th October from 10am-3pm.
Please email Mr Thomas on firstname.lastname@example.org 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 a booking form.
Senior School Open Mornings
Tonbridge School will be hosting a virtual open day on Saturday 21st November. To sign up visit: https://www.tonbridge-school.co.uk/admissions/contact-us
Tonbridge Virtual Open Morning with link
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.