eNews: Friday 16th October 2020

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!

Mary Bridges

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?

Child: Twenny-ate

Teacher: Twenty Eight

Child: No, Twenny-ate!

 

Zerrin Leech   

Staff News

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.

 

Welcome to…

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.

School News

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!

 

Headteacher’s Stars

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:

 

F Arduino

K Fryer

H Owen

A Mourgue D’Algue

C Prongue

G Schneider-Price

N Staples

L Shi

J Taylor

L Watson

 

 

 

The following pupils have received Headteacher’s Stars for outstanding final pieces in Ink Skull Design:

 

X Prongue

H Owen

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.

Key Dates

Break up for October Half Term: Friday 16th October

Return to school: Monday 2nd November

 

Prep

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.

Congratulations Sophia!

 

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 tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk 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 tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk.

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 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 a booking 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

Prep pupils treated classmates and music teachers to a variety of musical performances this week in their half termly concert.

Performed in three instalments within their bubbles, the musicians showcased a variety of pieces, varying in both genre and instrument.

And although parents were unable to attend the concerts due to Covid-19 restrictions, the pupils’ families received a recording of the event.

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.

Mr Baird added: “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.”

A montage of the three music concerts can be found on the St Michael’s YouTube page at https://youtu.be/Bj_Wx4P9heg.

 

 

Spooky spiders and plump pumpkins sparked Halloween fun at St Michael’s this week.

Supported by the school’s Parents and Friends association, pupils enjoyed two games which offered great prizes to winners.

Coordinator of the Halloween competitions and P & F committee member, Kelly Downey said: “Given the restrictions currently in place, the P&F are focusing on strengthening the school community for parents and children this year.

“The competitions are a simple way for the children to have some fun in the week before half term, while raising some funds for the P&F.”

Children in Pre-Prep were tasked with guessing the number of spooky spiders in the jar, while Prep children were asked to guess the weight of a pumpkin. Pupils made a donations to the P & F in exchange for each guess they made.

And the winners of the games, Herbie W (Pre-Prep) A Ward, M Little, L Lutzow and H Owen (Prep), were awarded Halloween hampers which will help them celebrate this year’s festival in spooktacular style.

Kelly added: “The funds raised for the P&F will go towards funding activities and facilities for the children to enrich their time at the school.”

For more information about St Michael’s P & F association visit stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/parents-friends

 

Strawberries and sunflowers were just some of the items celebrated in last week’s harvest assemblies.

 

The annual Pre-Prep event, performed as three instalments this year, saw Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils sing, dance and give prayer for the harvest while learning about the festival from their music teacher, Mrs Raveyeh.

 

 

Reflecting on the success of the events, Louise Raveyeh said: “I am quite moved by the children’s enthusiastic singing in our harvest celebration.

 

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to realise that there is joy in giving and sharing what we have and happiness for those who gratefully receive it.

 

“Their singing and eagerness to share with others was heartwarming.”

 

 

During the assemblies pupils sung songs about harvest time, nature and the variety of fruit and vegetables grown in this country.

 

Louise said: “I wanted the children to be thankful for what they have by realising what an amazing rainbow variety of food we have, created with individual characteristics just like them.

 

“I wanted them to realise the sense of joy that there is in sharing what we have.

 

“The songs reflect our celebration of what we have and realisation of the process of planting, harvesting and sharing.”

 

 

And it wasn’t just songs that helped the children express their thanks. Helped by their generous parents, Pre-Prep donated hundreds of food items and household essentials to the Swanley branch of Trussell Trust food bank.

 

 

Head of Pre-Prep at St Michael’s, Zerrin Leech, said: “We had tables, cupboards and bags festooned with food last week as our families gave very kind donations of food and other items.

 

“A huge thank you must go to the pupils’ parents for their wonderful generosity once again this year which will be gratefully received by the Trussell Trust.

 

“Thank you also to Mrs Ravayeh for leading our three harvest assemblies. They have been lovely with lots of new songs as well as my all-time favourite, Cauliflowers Fluffy.”

 

 

 

 

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.”