eNews: Friday 17th January 2020

From Graham Malcolm, Interim Executive Head

This week I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Forest School and seeing the development of speaking and practical skills, the team work and the sheer fun of learning outdoors. Year 6 showed me their pop art and their use of the lightbox in the amazing Art Department, while Year 4 combined creativity with ICT as they designed their frisbees. I also had lunch with the children in Pre-Prep, and listened to some wonderful ideas from the children in the Prep school – they may not be particularly practical, but they were definitely good!

Last week I enjoyed watching sport in the rain, but this week the weather has been so bad that most of the matches were cancelled. I hope to catch up with our sportsmen and women again next week and to meet some more of their parents.

The warm welcome, the joy of the children, their desire to show me pictures and tell me stories is fantastic. They’re full of interesting ideas and Years 6, 7 and 8 are so grown up and a credit to the school and their parents.

It really is great to be back at St Michael’s!

Graham Malcolm

BEd, MA (IAPS)

From the Acting Co-Heads

This week we have enjoyed welcoming Mr Kerry Lord, ISI reporting inspector, to St Michael’s. Kerry has conducted a two day “Readiness for Inspection” visit. It has been extremely helpful to have an external, independent person to verify where we are in relation to our upcoming inspection. We feel that we are in good shape. With regards to the real inspection, when we get the call there will be a parent questionnaire coming to you via email. Thanks to all the staff and pupils involved this week, as always it has been a great team effort with an incredible amount of work happening in the background.

Global Awareness is a focus this term and on Wednesday we introduced the new Homework Challenges to the children. Years 4-6 will be considering global themes and issues linked to the core areas of global awareness:
• Globalisation and interdependence
• Identity and Diversity
• Sustainable Development
• Peace and Conflict
• Social Justice and Inequality
We encourage the children to engage with events in the news and explore relevant topics, whether they be recent or historical. Many pupils have been shocked and saddened by news of the bush fires affecting Australia and its wildlife. The passion and commitment shown by our children to discuss and engage with these issues is encouraging as we recognise the need for action more than ever. The concept of cultural identity has also been a hot topic of discussion in light of Harry and Meghan’s announcement that they are ‘stepping back’ from the royal family. I wonder what views and thoughts we will uncover when this term’s challenges are shared in March. We can’t wait!

It has been another busy week in the drama department with a scholars’ trip to the National Theatre and an exciting chance to meet the actors post show. A Year 4 stage make up workshop was held this morning and the children were very proud to show the gruesome injuries that they had managed to create, which caused quite a stir along the corridors! Rehearsals continue this afternoon for our upcoming production ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. Good luck to everyone back in school on Sunday to rehearse. Do look out for ticket sales information coming soon – you won’t want to miss it!

Have a fantastic weekend.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

News from Pre-Prep

• Fri 24th Jan Reception parents – English workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 31st Jan Year 2 parents – Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 7th Feb Year 1 parents Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 28th Feb Reception parents Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am

Week 2 of our Lent term has been very busy and very muddy. Luckily coats and trousers seem to be washing well, I appreciate your washing machines must be working extra hard at this time of year!

On Wednesday I was attending a course on Inspections as our Compliance Inspection will be due soon. I was relieved to know that we are doing what we should be doing. I have also spoken to a few of your class representatives this week, which is always a good way for me to pick up on the issues you may be discussing in your WhatsApp groups. Please do come and find me if there is anything you are unsure of. I am usually to be found at the top of the bridge every morning.

Some of you may have noticed that we were due to have our usual Chinese New Year celebration next Tuesday, but it has now been taken off the calendar. This is because the man who brings all his enormous dragons and drums is poorly and will not be able to be with us. He is looking forward to seeing us all again next year. In the meantime we will be celebrating Chinese New Year in our classrooms and in music lessons.

This term we have a series of Maths and English workshops for parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. These will be held on Friday mornings after drop-off. If you would like to know a little more about how we are teaching your children, please pop in to the dining room on the relevant date.

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Cars left on site

If you need to leave your car on the school site for any reason, please ensure that you inform someone in either the Prep or Pre-Prep offices. We regret that we are unable to allow access to repair vehicles or roadside assistance vans unless we are aware that they will be arriving on site.

This is for the safeguarding of your children.

Thank you.

On this week’s Message Board

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Message Board to see new important information as follows:

  • Online Safety Presentation by Lorin Lafave – booking closes on 24th January
  • Jersey Tour Disco details
  • Dé Jà Vu Second Hand Uniform Shop looking for volunteers
  • Mr Thomas’ Half-Term Hockey Camp
  • Mrs Grayland’s Half-Term Netball Camp

On this week’s Community Events page

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Community Events page to see important community information as follows:

  • Mr Thomas’ Half-Term Hockey Camp
  • Mrs Grayland’s Half Term Netball Camp

News stories

Our news stories can be found by clicking “News” and “Latest News” on our website. To see our latest articles please click here

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Edgar B for fantastic reading and writing
Stanley H for great effort in developing reading and writing skills
Max S for trying really hard to write independently
Arya G for having a go at writing sentences
Ayla A for exceptional effort in everything she has been doing
Thomas D for an incredible and disciplined effort to improve his handwriting
Myla B for committing herself fully to all tasks and asking to do more work
Amelia Rose B for fantastic progress in reading and building her vocabulary
Zi Chen G for great progress in reading and improving his comprehension
Luke S for fact-finding work about Belvoir Castle
Ava M for telling the class interesting information about Hever Castle
Aiden W for carefully using his sounds when spelling tricky words
Irena G for carefully using place value to partition three digit numbers
Archie B W for outstanding maths work on place value
Sophie T for working hard and focussing on creating a realistic polar bear using chalk
Sophie F for creating a lovely advent calendar

Eva F for conducting a wonderful assembly about landing on the moon

 

 

House Point Cup

Windsor House with a total of 187 points
Finley S collected the Cup on behalf of Windsor House

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Ruaridh O
Music Practice Award: Finley S
Star Violinist Cup: Genevieve M

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

E Julio For a wonderful display about Bartholomeu Dias
A Sharp For producing an excellent I-movie for the ‘Who Am I’ project
H Brown For a fabulous presentation about your family, complete with excellent model of an ice cream van
S Andrade For an informative homework booklet about electricity

Players of the Match, week commencing 13th January 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Rugby No Match
U12 No Match
U11 A No Match
U11 B No Match
U10 A No Match
U10 B No Match
U9 A The whole team For never giving up and scoring in the last play of the game
U9 B J West For good try scoring and tackling
U8 A R Stevens For not giving up
U8 B I Vanghese For scoring 2 tries and good effort
U8 C E Nash For superb running and scoring 3 tries
U13 A Netball T Vafai

P Parker-Swift

Voted for by the opposition

For great intercepting

U13 B R Gray For running to get free, making space and for displaying great energy
U13 C I Neave

S Davis

Voted for by the opposition

For great centre court play

U11 A A Bowyer For good all-round play
U11 B G Wall

E Harrison

Voted for by the opposition

For good shooting and movement

U11 C A Mottram For being a great link between defence and attack
U10 A E Schwark

E Newton

Voted for by the opposition

For good shooting

U10 B D Patel

B Hayward

For good shooting

For good centre court play

U10 C B West

A Madgett

Voted for by the opposition

For good defending

U9 A N Ogle For good shooting and defensive play at the tournament
U9 B No Match
U9 C H Palmer

 

B Tovey

For having a great attitude and an improvement in skills

For great shooting in the tournament

U8 A U Osunwa

C Selvey-Clinton

Voted for by the opposition

For great defending and intercepting

U8 B G Cheetam

F Jenkins

Voted for by the opposition

For great intercepting and reading the game well

U8 C E Moriarty

E Bax

Voted for by the opposition

For great defending

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Oakwood Park Grammar School, St Olave’s Grammar School and Skinners’ School.

Rose Hill School Future Schools’ Evening

Rose Hill School (Coniston Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SY; Telephone: 01892-525591) are holding a Future Schools’ Evening on Tuesday 28th January from 7pm. They would be delighted to welcome any St Michael’s parents, who would like to join them.

Over twenty independent secondary schools will be in attendance, including Tonbridge School, Sevenoaks School, Bede’s, Bethany School and Hurstpierpoint College.

Please register in advance with clare.rowton@rosehillschool.co.uk 

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