eNews: Friday 19th March 2021

From the Head

Dear Parents,

We’ve enjoyed a wonderful second week back in school together filled with learning, exploration and lots of fun.

This week, I have had the delight of attending the Prep Lent Term music concerts where musicians from Year 3 to Year 8 gave magnificent performances on a variety of instruments. Not only was I impressed by the enormous amount of talent on display, but it was such a delight to be in a room filled with live music again; an experience I have really missed throughout lockdown. Unfortunately, we were unable to invite parents to the concert, however we hope that you enjoy watching the highlights reel of the concerts below and I look forward to inviting you onto site to enjoy these performances with us soon.

Elsewhere in school, I have had the delight of seeing pupils engaging in their lessons and getting stuck into games on the astro turf, swimming lessons and Forest School again. I continue to be impressed by the pupils’ attitude to learning and how quickly they have settled into the routine of school life again.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine.

Nik Pears

A message from Mr Pears:

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep 

Dear Parents,

It’s like we have never been away! Year 2 are making models of aeroplanes, Year 1 are making messages in bottles and pirate maps, Reception are learning to halve and Kindergarten are selling flowers in their beautiful florist shop. The buzz around Pre-Prep is lovely and it is so good to be able to show off to prospective parents “in person” as we tour again.

The booking system opens this evening for activities next term. We are not sure what the Government Guidelines for schools may be after Easter, so we have put in place activities for each year group that can be run by any member of staff in the same bubble. This will enable the rest of the year group teachers and teaching assistants to continue with rolling pick up at the end of the day. The activity on offer each day will be dependent on the weather, the number of children and the majority pupil vote!

For Year 2 parents, we are still awaiting news from Stubbers about being able to attend on the 13th and 14th May. We will let you know as soon as we get any information.

A reminder please that if your child is sick it is a 48-hour period at home before returning to school. Thank you for keeping your children at home when they are suffering from coughs and colds. I realise this is difficult as a cold can last a while in young children, but please keep them at home whilst they are at their worst.

Overheard: “Right we’ve got to make an escape plan!”  (Let’s hope it wasn’t from school)

Have a good weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

 

All of RB, RJ, RRS, 1FG, 1P, 1W, 2B, 2M & 2S for returning to school with such enthusiasm

Arlo S for trying and working really hard in all our lessons

Sofia F for excellent independent work in phonics and maths

Matthew D for wonderful enthusiasm on his return to school

Ian V for trying really hard in all our learning activities on his return to school

Adhi C for working so hard on his phonics and writing

Olivia D for beautiful water colour paintings of daffodils

Uma S for an enthusiastic approach to her reading

Isla B for always trying to do her best

Dylan H for wonderful descriptive ideas during our work on Bleackbeard the pirate

Theia H for a huge improvement in reading and moving up 3 levels

Nina T for a beautifully drawn and painted pirate portrait

Abigail L for superb participation in class discussion

Rayaan G for fantastic swimming and showing huge improvement in the water

William P for writing a fantastic factfile about Amelia Earhart

Amelia Rose B for fantastic effort and engagement since returning to school

Max H for brilliant effort and engagement since returning to school

Isabel E for taking pride in her work and making it the best it can be

Sophie N for being a kind friend and looking after others

 

 

100 House Point Certificates

Awarded to:

Leeds – Gabrielle O

Windsor – Abigail L / Zach R-B / Arthur S

Head’s Stars

A Hughes (Year 3) for an amazing newspaper report linked to ‘Moon Man’

E Skoko (Year 3) for incredible conduct and behaviour at all times

G McDonnell (Year 3) for brilliant research into ‘Gravity’ for a science project

J Devenney (Year 4) for being so polite and well-mannered

D Booth (Year 5) for creating a fantastic frisbee using wood

R Romero (Year 5) for creating a wonderful frisbee using paper plates, a pair of socks and Christmas lights!

A Ashton (Year 5) for a beautifully designed frisbee – a stunning piece of work

G Gagg (Year 5) for a brilliantly designed and finished frisbee

Whole School News

Pupils perform beautifully in filmed concerts

This week, Prep pupils performed in music concerts within their year group bubbles. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing restrictions, parents were unable to attend these concerts, however they have been sent links to the filmed footage to enjoy watching at home.

Gordon Baird, Director of Music, said: “What a fabulous week of live music making we have enjoyed in school. It has been amazing to see our pupils’ progress in a variety of instruments, and their magnificent performances reflected how hard they have been working with their peripatetic music teachers during the lockdown period. Not only were the concerts a celebration of the return to school , but the opportunity to perform in front of a small audience again brought us a lot of joy. We hope St Michael’s parents enjoy watching the recordings and we very much look forward to welcoming them back onto site to enjoy live music with us again soon.”

A montage of the three music concerts can be found on our YouTube page:

From the Deputy Head

Apple and Smart watches

The wearing of Apple and Smart watches is not permitted in school. There are versions of these watches that are capable of making and receiving calls and messages and can also take still and video footage without a linked phone nearby. These versions are very difficult to differentiate from those that require a linked phone to be in the vicinity (and even these are able to send and receive if connected to a wifi signal). These present a safeguarding issue and therefore are not permitted in school.

If your child has an Apple or smart watch, can you please advise them that they should not be worn to school.

 

Hair and general appearance

This is primarily for boys. Being aware that hairdressers have not been open for a while, I am becoming concerned at the possible barrier to learning being presented by some out of control fringes. There are some cases where it is nearly impossible to see the eyes behind the ‘curtain’. While we are waiting for hairdressers to re-open, can I please ask that either a hair band or clip is used to keep the hair out of eyes. I am also currently allowing a hair ‘amnesty’ on length and what to do with it. If hair is of a length that it touches the shoulders, it must be tied up in a ponytail or bunches. This would normally go for hair of either gender, but as some boys have found themselves in this position due to hairdressers not being accessible, I will not insist on this until such point as it can be cut. If any boys then choose to remain with long hair, it must be tied up in the same way that is expected of the girls with long hair.

 

I have noticed a growing number of children wearing trainers to school and non-uniform coats. If your child needs to wear trainers to school for a genuine reason, can you please email me with that reason. I will be challenging those children whose parents I have not heard from to find out why they have chosen to wear their trainers.

News from the Music Department

If you would like to apply for your child to take instrument or singing lessons to start next term the applications forms are now available. (You do not need to re-apply if your child is currently taking instrument or singing lessons.) Please note, depending on demand we may need to operate a waiting list.  The forms for applying for music lessons can be found on the Parent Portal under the parent forms Prep or Pre-Prep sections.  If you have any questions regarding music lessons please email Tracey Scott (our Music Administrator). Applications will close on Friday 9th April.

 

 

Trinity guitar exam results

Well done to the following children who passed their Trinity initial grade guitar exam which was examined by submission of a continuous non-edited recording of technical exercises, scales and arpeggios and three pieces.

A Saini    Merit
R Saini    Pass
G Binskin  Pass

 

LAMDA Results

Congratulations to the following pupils who excelled in their LAMDA exams.

 

R Landgrebe Level 2 Award in Performance (Grade 4) Pass with Distinction
L Blincoe Level 1 Award in Performance (Grade 2) Pass with Distinction
L Shi Level 2 Award in Performance (Grade 4) Pass with Distinction
L Clapham Level 1 Award in Performance (Grade 1) Pass with Distinction
J Taylor Level 1 Award in Performance (Grade 3) Pass with Distinction

Shoot for the Stars!

Iris plays 100 days of violin

The Pre-Prep Music Department would like to congratulate Iris in Year 2 for keeping her violin practise up for 100 consecutive days. This is an incredible achievement and shows her high level of commitment to learning her instrument.  We are certain she will make wonderful progress and blossom into a beautiful musician if she continues with her dedication to music. Well done!

 

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. Email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk to submit your child’s achievement.

Term Dates

A reminder of the term dates for the remainder of this academic year can be found below.

Lent Term 2021

Thursday 7th January- Thursday 1st April

(School Finish Time on 1st April – Pre-Prep 12.00 noon & Prep 12.30pm)

Trinity Term 2021

(Staff Development Day – (Staff Only) – Monday 19th April)

Tuesday 20th April- Wednesday 7th July

Half Term – 31st May – 4th June

(School Finish Time on 7th July – Pre-Prep 12.00 noon & Prep 12.30pm)

In the Community

 

Mr Lopez’s Easter Football Camp

Mr Lopez will be holding his Easter Camp from Tuesday 13th – Friday 16th April 10am – 3pm.  Click here for full details and a booking form. Book early as places are limited!

 

Mrs Grayland’s Easter Netball Camp

Mrs Grayland will be running another one of her fun netball camps this Easter.  Please see the below flyers for more information and sign up via this booking form. The Year 5 to Year 8 camp is already fully booked, but don’t worry- she has added an extra day for those year groups!  Please see the below flyer for more information and sign up for the extra Year 5 to 8 session on Friday 16th April 10.30am-3pm via this booking form.  Please book early to avoid disappointment.

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