eNews: Friday 19th June 2020

From the Acting Head

We’ve reached the end of another successful week; well done to everyone both at home and at school! I continue to be impressed and inspired by the superb engagement of our pupils. I thank everybody involved in embracing the learning with ambition and creativity. Those of you that joined the whole school assembly zoom on Monday will have seen our Year 5 pupils share their recent poetry work. It was wonderful. Not only were the poems beautifully written, but the pupils performed with sensitivity, confidence and flair. Thank you also to our two young pianists who played beautifully. Well done to you all.

We were delighted earlier this week that the government acknowledged the importance of including Year 7 & 8 in their guidance for primary schools, enabling Prep Schools to invite their seniors back before the summer break. We are excited that we can enjoy the final few weeks of term with many of our pupils back together in the company of friends and teachers. Preparations have been in full swing; we have new timetables with staggered breaks and lunches, white lines painted on the grass banks to identify group areas and lots of exciting outdoor activities planned. It will be new and different, but our aim is for the children to feel happy and connected and have a positive end to the school year. You may have noticed that we’ve also arranged for the weather to be amazing! Please ensure that your children come in with sun lotion already applied so that we can enjoy the beautiful grounds and time outside together.

 

For those children coming into school, there will be a lot of change and need to adapt, and for those remaining at home, there may be different feelings as well. I will be moving my zoom assembly to 9am on Monday morning just for those children at home, and I look forward to starting the week with them all.  There will undoubtedly be mixed feelings for those staying at home, and the most important thing is that we keep communicating. Form teachers and co-tutors are here to help and support the children through the emotions of change and new routines so please do keep us informed if there is anything we need to know to support the children over the final few weeks of term.

 

Mr Wiseman is busy pulling all of the Prep School logistics together, and it will be essential to look out for communications from him over the weekend. He aims to keep the number of messages to a minimum, but please be aware that, if you do receive a few different emails, this is simply to enable you to be fully informed. I will be out at drop off on Monday morning and cannot wait to see many familiar faces. Until then, have a fabulous weekend.

 

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Dear Parents,

The children who are in school have been enjoying as normal an experience as possible. Year 1 have turned into pirates with their own pirate names and pirate hats bobbing up and down the corridors throughout the day. In Nursery it’s been all about teddy bears. They have had a wonderful teddy bears’ picnic, luckily on the warm dry day and have been out to hunt for the teddy bears that the fairies had taken to the woods overnight. Thank goodness the children found them!

Kindergarten have also been hunting, but for treasure. The children have been able to follow the stick arrows left as clues and luckily were able to recover the hidden gold coins.

Our Reception children are writing so much more now. I have noticed just how much they are writing about their dads prior to Father’s Day. Your secrets are out gentlemen!

Another plea to please send your children in with their coats if it is raining. We do have spares but not in large quantities.

I am looking forward to Monday when our Year 2 children return. Even better, I am going to teach one of the bubbles.

Overheard: My daddy wears my sister’s clown costume!

 

Best wishes to you all,

Zerrin Leech

Staff News

A warm welcome to Mrs Helen Yarrow, who will be joining us in September as our Prep School Library Assistant.

Helen has worked in education in Kent for twenty-five years in various roles including class teacher and English specialist subject teacher, covering an age range from 7 – 13; she was also a Head Librarian in a previous Prep school.

She is married with three grown-up children and enjoys a range of outdoor activities as well as reading, interior design, the ballet and travel. Although she enjoys life in and around Sevenoaks, Helen’s preferred environment is the Suffolk coast, where you will find her during the summer holiday period.

She is very keen to meet all the St Michael’s team in person and is looking forward to inspiring the pupils to share her love of the English language and her passion for reading during their regular visits to the library.

 

School News

Appeal for a doll’s house and accessories

Pre-Prep Reception are in need of a doll’s house, so we thought we would ask if any of our older children have one that they have grown out of and would be happy to donate to St Michael’s 5 year olds. We would also be looking for doll’s house furniture. Mrs Leech is at the top of the bridge each morning and would be happy to accept any donation if you have any of these items you no longer play with.

Many thanks,

Pre-Prep.

Headteacher’s Stars

S Cameron For superb effort in remote learning
E O’Dwyer For excellent effort and commitment to reading during remote learning
A Ravalli For outstanding effort and progress with remote learning in French
E Bingham For outstanding effort and progress with remote learning in French
T Maltarp For outstanding effort and progress with remote learning in French
E Williams For outstanding effort and progress with remote learning in French
E Green For outstanding effort and progress with remote learning in French
G Owen For outstanding effort and progress with remote learning in French
T Carman For outstanding effort and progress with remote learning in French

 

G Bashford For outstanding effort and progress with remote learning in French

 

J Gagg For excellent effort, perseverance and progress with reading during remote learning
I Pennington Legh For a superb poem, written about swimming during remote learning
J Vanderlanh-Mckeown For making a fantastic computer as part of his “Parts of a PC” IT & Computing project
E Williamson For a superb science presentation, with clear and purposeful delivery
W Deacon For consistent virtual engagement in PE and sport
E Ukwu For consistent virtual engagement in PE and sport
S Chen For a beautiful piano performance in our online whole school assembly
P Gulihar For a beautiful piano performance in our online whole school assembly
J Pathiwill For some lovely poetry work which was shared with confidence and flair in our online virtual assembly
T Bax For some lovely poetry work which was shared with confidence and flair in our online virtual assembly
G Owen For some lovely poetry work which was shared with confidence and flair in our online virtual assembly
B Hayward For some lovely poetry work which was shared with confidence and flair in our online virtual assembly
A MacRae For some lovely poetry work which was shared with confidence and flair in our online virtual assembly
C Hunter For some lovely poetry work which was shared with confidence and flair in our online virtual assembly
E Schwark For some lovely poetry work which was shared with confidence and flair in our online virtual assembly
E Newton For some lovely poetry work which was shared with confidence and flair in our online virtual assembly

Drama Gallery

We’re so impressed with the puppets Mr Powell’s pupils have made in response to their study of Beauty and the Beast, that we’ve made a special gallery to show them to you. Click here to see their incredible creations.

 

Follow our day to day news on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Sports News

Congratulations to St Michael’s swimmers on some wonderful IAPS swimming results. The following children would have qualified for the finals that were to be held at the London Aquatics Centre this year. Unfortunately this is not happening due to the current situation but well done to all the IAPS swimming 2020 finalists:

A Green- Boys’ U11 50 metres breastroke-  16th position out of 136 competitors.

I Pennington-Legh – Girls’ U10 25 metres butterfly-  7th position out of 136 competitors

The Girls U10 4 x 25 metre freestyle relay team- I Pennington-Legh, E Newton, G Owen, A Mitchell-  qualified in 10th place out of 133 teams.

Such brilliant results- well done to all those who swam. Fingers crossed things are different next year.

Mrs Denton

 

 

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

Christ’s Hospital

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

 

 

On Wednesday, November 27 Year 5 and 6 pupils took part in a Spelling Bee hosted by Mrs Andrade and Mrs Baisch.

Challenged with spellings such as synonymous, counterfeit, and accommodation, it was an extremely close competition with many tense rounds.

Winner of the Spelling Bee, Moyo in Year 6, triumphed with her correct spelling of the word ‘conscience’.

Commenting on her success, Moyo said: “I really enjoyed taking part in the Spelling Bee and was really surprised to win.

“It was challenging as there were some words I’d never heard of, but it was fun to guess the spellings of these words and apply what I knew about other spellings to my answers.”

“It was great to take part in the competition with my friends.”

Two former St Michael’s pupils have been selected for the final phase of the England Under 16 Hockey Assessments.

Lottie Bingham and Anna Faulstich, who attended St Michael’s until July 2017, have remained great friends and play hockey together at HC Knole Park.

Lottie said “ I loved playing hockey at St Michael’s and I am delighted that Anna, my best friend , has joined me in the England training programme that I was also selected for last year. We are both very jealous that St Michael’s now have a wonderful, new astro pitch at school!“

Both girls were also members of the successful Year 6 St Michael’s who won the regional IAPS and came 5th in the National Finals .

Congratulating the girls on their achievement, Mr Thomas, who taught them at St Michael’s, said: “We are extremely proud of Lottie and Anna and all they have achieved since they left St Michael’s. They were extremely hardworking in all their sports at school and it is great to hear that they have taken their hockey to such a high level. We look forward to hearing how they get at the trials and someday welcoming them back to play on our new pitch.”

Many congratulations to Lottie and Anna, St Michael’s wishes them the best of luck in the next phase of assessments.

A former St Michael’s student has been awarded an Honorary Sports Scholarship to support her excellence in athletics.

Harriet Medlen, who attended the school between 2011 and 2018, has received the scholarship from Sevenoaks School.

Harriet, who is in Year 9 at Sevenoaks School, said: “My time at St Michael’s helped me to develop my love of sport especially athletics and hockey. I have very happy memories of sports days and Mrs Wade taking me to IAPs athletics competitions. I am very grateful to all the teachers at St Michael’s for their encouragement during my time there. I am proud to have achieved a sports scholarship at Sevenoaks School and I am looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.”

And commenting on Harriet’s success, St Michael’s teacher Mrs Wade said: “It is great to hear that Harriet has been awarded an Honorary Sports Scholarship from Sevenoaks School. We are extremely proud of what she has achieved since leaving St Michael’s. Harriet is an excellent games player and an outstanding athlete. She was very hardworking in her sports at St Michael’s and it is great to hear that she continues to achieve highly. Well done, Harriet!”

Don’t judge a book by its cover, it’s the first chapter that holds all the secrets!

                                                       Year 6 and Mrs Yarrow pose with some of the First Chapter Friday books.

 

“Good readers, make excellent writers.” says St Michael’s Library Assistant, Helen Yarrow, who has launched an exciting reading initiative in the Prep school this term. 

 

Mrs Yarrow, who joined the St Michael’s team in September 2020, is passionate about books and believes children should read a variety of genres and authors before they choose what’s best for them.

 

Keen to implement this strategy at St Michael’s, Mrs Yarrow has introduced First Chapter Friday, a project designed to get pupils reading a range of books, rather than the same authors, characters and storylines over again. 

 

First Chapter Friday sees pupils receive a list of 10 books, suited to the reading proficiency of their year group, each term. Every Friday, pupils read the first chapter of a new book with their form groups before deciding whether to continue reading it in their own time.

 

Mrs Yarrow said: “The aim of First Chapter Friday is to help the children find a book they really want to read. 

 

“By exposing the children to books that they wouldn’t normally pick off the bookshelf, it introduces them to a range of subjects, and inevitably fosters their love of reading.”

 

Helen added: “Some form groups choose to read the chapter independently during the sessions, some listen to their form teachers reading the chapter, and some take turns to read different paragraphs.”

 

“By inviting pupils to read sections of the chapter out loud, the form tutors are also helping to develop the pupils’ language acquisition and public speaking skills. The challenge has many benefits to it.”

 

 

Titles on this term’s First Chapter Friday lists include both fiction and non-fiction books spanning a variety of themes and genres. 

 

One popular title is  Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill, which Sean C from Year 6 describes as “extremely interesting”. He added: “I really enjoy Shackleton’s Journey because it takes you on an adventure, showing you how Shackleton’s crew survived and what they encountered along the way.

 

“My favourite part of the book is where it describes how they escaped their sinking ship.

 

“Since reading it with my form during First Chapter Friday, I’ve enjoyed coming to the library to read more of it at break and lunch times.”

 

 

And explaining the planning process behind First Chapter Friday, Mrs Yarrow said: “I create the reading lists using recommendations from websites such as Love Reading for Kids as well as my own research.

 

“I try to ensure the First Chapter Friday books are 2020 titles to keep them in tune with modern authors and contemporary ideas.”

 

“This term I’ve included a range of titles focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History, as well as those written by black authors. Such books include The Faraway Truth by Janae Marks, Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly, and The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley.”

 

She added: “First Chapter Friday encourages form groups to discuss the different topics linked to each book. It is designed to make the sessions an interactive experience which is both fun and educational for the children.” 

 

 

Other favourites from Mrs Yarrow’s reading lists include The Battle of Bubble and Squeak by Philippa Pearce, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson. 

 

Mrs Yarrow said: “Different pupils gravitate towards different books, but there have been some very clear favourites.”

 

She continued: “I get the children to read the first chapter of the book as it’s in these pages that the author establishes the hook of their novel. 

 

“Friday Chapter Friday helps pupils recognise the importance of a first chapter and shows them various ways they can make their writing engaging.

 

“One of the main aims of the initiative is to inspire the children to write their own stories.”