eNews: Friday 20th March 2020

From the Acting Co-Heads

In Malcolm Gladwell’s recent book ‘Talking to Strangers’ he concludes that we, as humans, are more inclined to view situations positively than not. Of course, there will be the occasional person you know that does not fit this mould, but in general we tend to be a resilient, resourceful and positive lot. Always looking for those silver linings.

Now more than ever, as a community, we need to channel this spirit. Dealing with the unknown is tremendously difficult and unnerving for all of us. But what if we took opportunity out of the uncertainty? What if we used this time to further bond together as families and communities, to learn and teach new and different life skills to each other, to continue to help those most in need. To re-connect through disconnection.

There are sound evolutionary social reasons why we’re inclined more towards trust than suspicion. If it was suspicion that formed the basis of all interaction between strangers, we would never have learned to cooperate on such a vast and complex scale. So, although this is the start of a different journey, let’s trust that we’ll be able to guide each other through this tough time with a smile on our face, a helping hand and always keeping an eye out for those silver linings.

We have shared lots of information this week as we plan for St Michael’s to operate remotely. To check all communications and guidance please refer to our Coronavirus Updates area of the website. We look forward to seeing those of you that will be collecting from school today at 4pm on the terrace. We would also like to thank all of you for your support and engagement with the measures that we are putting into place to navigate these challenging times. By maintaining a strong sense of community, we will find our way through this and we will all emerge with new skills and the sense of achievement that we made it.

Very best wishes,

Mary Bridges and Fraser Wiseman


News from the Head of Pre-Prep

It’s difficult to know quite where to start this week. The changes for us all have been so rapid that staff have been meeting every day to try and catch up on the changing picture for education. We now have information for parents on our website (see our Coronavirus advice and information page). We have new emergency numbers, home working, remote learning platforms etc. for continuing your child’s education in a completely different way.

It has given us huge opportunity to look at introducing SeeSaw in Years 1 and 2, which Miss Salmon and I have been keen to do for a while. All children in this age group who have been in school on Thursday and Friday have had teaching on how to use this program to send photos of their work to their teacher. You can of course send this via email to the class teacher should you prefer. We have sent your children home with a learning pack which is full of age-related ideas for them to complete over the next week. We will then be sending out work via Tapestry for our Early Years children and SeeSaw for our Year 1 and 2 children. Wherever possible we will be giving you lots of practical work to do that the children may be able to do by themselves with minimal input from you. We do recognise how busy and stressful this time will be for you all, so please do not panic if you are not able to fit in the homework we are sending home. Teaching staff will be able to answer your emails (during normal working hours) so please ask them for help if you are unsure about something your child is learning.

In Pre-Prep the teachers are most concerned with children continuing to read every day so please continue with this and read lots of stories together.

Overheard: I know what hibernate means. It means they don’t wash their hands before they eat!

I wish you all the best for the coming weeks and I hope it won’t be too long before we can all return to St Michael’s.

Zerrin Leech

Staff News

A very warm welcome to Charlotte Dodson, who will be joining us as a form teacher in Year 3 and English teacher in Year 5 from next week.

Charlotte graduated from the University of Reading with a degree in Meteorology and went on to complete her PGCE at the Institute of Education in London. She worked as Head of Geography and Travel and Tourism at a large state school in Reading before moving to Kent to start a family.

Since having children her interests in teaching have moved to primary education. She has been supply teaching this year in both Pre-Prep and Prep and is thrilled to joining our teaching team for the rest of this academic year.

Charlotte’s two children are currently in Pre-Prep at St Michael’s.

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:

  • School Uniform Shop open online
  • Déjà vu second-hand uniform shop temporary closure

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.

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

Year 4 experienced a fantastic Roman Day this week. Click here to see our gallery of photos.

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Stanley H for working really well during our maths activity on doubling
Oscar for excellent effort in our shape lesson
Myla for an excellent description of a setting for her mythical creature using similies and interesting adjectives
Kieran for great comprehension skills in his reading and really enjoying our class story
Charlie C for super effort with writing recently
Chloe for always being a willing helper
Zack for his enthusiastic approach to school life
Herbie F for doing a brilliant job of catching up on his story writing
Alyssa for fantastic yoga positions and concentration

House Point Cup

Leeds House with a total of 141 points
Tom K collected the Cup on behalf of Leeds House

Music Award

Music Practice Cup: Hugo M

Times Tables Certificates

Silver: Sophie F

100 House Point Certificates

Leeds: Amelia B and Sophie F

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

C Sinclair For having art work displayed at school
R Stevens For having art work displayed at school
S Taylor For having art work displayed at school
N Ogle For having art work displayed at school
T Bax For an amazing Homework Challenge presentation about reduce/reuse/recycle
R Romero For learning all the times tables and division facts
A Ogle For a fabulous historical letter to Robert Peel
S Cook For a fabulous historical letter to Lord Viscount Palmerston
L Poracchia For a fabulous historical letter to Lord John Russell
T Maltarp For the most wonderful display of peer teaching! He was patient and encouraging and I would love to have him as my teacher!

Players of the Match, week commencing 16th March 2020

All matches this week and up to the end of term have now been cancelled.

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Oakwood Park Grammar School, Roedean School and Skinners’ School.

Latest News

As Y5 pupil, C Hunter, explained during Monday’s assembly, Sevenoaks School has organised weekly food/supply collections for those in need during these very uncertain times.  The collections have benefited local organisations such as One Big Family: Helping the Homeless, Friends for Families, The Hygiene Bank, Sevenoaks Food Bank: Loaves & Fishes, Community Cupboard, area primary schools and others.  Miss Cat Davison, the School’s Director of Service and Social Impact, updates its online social media feeds (@sevenoaksimpact on Twitter and Instagram) with the items needed each week.  We hope that you will consider helping with this effort.  Together we can make a huge difference for those living right here in our community!
The details of the collections are provided below.  If you do wish to participate, please ensure that items are unopened and handled with washed or sanitised hands, and that social distancing is strictly adhered to on delivery.
What: Food, Supplies (check social media links for current needs)
When:   Every Tuesday, 9am – 12pm
Where: Outside Claridge House, Sevenoaks School,TN13 1HU
(Claridge House is just to the right of the main entrance of Knole Park on High Street)
On Monday our community-minded pupil also discussed a book collection which took place earlier this year for children in Ghana.  Below are photos of EduSpots centres where the books are available for local communities throughout Ghana.

We’ve been amazed by the phenomenal success of the Art Department’s recent challenge “Painting without Paint”. Set as part of our remote learning programme, children were asked to select a work of art of their choice and to recreate it at home – but without using paint!

The Art Department has been overwhelmed by submissions, which Miss Rodwell, described as “creative, humorous and inventive”. She added “Staff have been impressed by submissions that showed how carefully the children have looked at their chosen artworks in order to create such brilliant responses.”

Posts on our Twitter account have received positive responses from prestigious art galleries, such as the Tate and the National Gallery, with The Lowry in Manchester commenting “Wow, we love this!!” on T Neville’s version of L S Lowry’s “Man Lying on a Wall”. But it’s not just art galleries in the UK, who have responded to the children’s art; their work has been liked by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden and the Mauritshuis in Den Haag. One Year 3 pupil, who was inspired by artist Aja Trier, even reached New York, as permission was sought to post an image of one of her paintings. She was delighted to allow us to feature her work and on seeing J Gagg’s interpretation commented “Oh my gosh that is precious! Please tell the artist I love it! I will post on my Instagram and Facebook. Thank you!” She went on to tell us “I am always so humbled when kids are inspired by my work, but this is next level!”

In order to show you all the wonderful work our pupils have done, we’ve put together an online gallery of the work. Talking about the project and the reaction, Mrs Barratt declared “This is wonderful!” and reactions from other schools included the comment “Excellent work St Michael’s Art Department this is a really fun activity”.

Mrs Bridges told us “I am absolutely delighted, and inspired, by the way that the children have responded to these challenges. Creativity is keeping us connected, not only within our own community but across the world too!”

We can’t wait to see what the department comes up with next. Miss Rodwell is keeping us in suspense “I’ve been working on a new one today …”. We’re sure that our pupils will have even more opportunity to excel!

Click here to view our online gallery of more ingenious images.

Some of our super St Michael’s Swimmers have won an array of silverware at recent events.

At the Sevenoaks Swimming Club presentation evening, I Pennington Legh was presented with the Kingsbury Cup for U10 girls; A Green was awarded the Kingsbury Cup for U10 boys; E Green received runner up plate for the best U9 boy; S. Taylor was awarded the Mike Radford Trophy for most improved U9 boy; A Ashton was presented with the U9 Individual Medley Cup and U9 trophy for most improved swimmer; B Tovey and J Taylor were both awarded plaques with their positions from the recent Sevenoaks Club Championships.

At the Black Lion Gala, Gillingham, at the start of March our swimmers again came away with medals. A Ashton won three gold, one bronze, one fourth and one sixth medal; A Green three gold and two silver medals; E Green four silver and one bronze medal; S Taylor one silver and one fourth medal and J Taylor a fourth position medal. V Medlen also came away with a medal from the gala.

Well done to all those swimmers; your hard work and dedication is certainly paying off!

Mrs Denton

Swim School Manager

Well done to our doubles girls, E Julio and S Savidge, who also played in last weekend’s Junior Orange Ball Tournament in Sevenoaks. They played four matches, won two, beating Sevenoaks Prep and Lady Boswell’s and lost two to the eventual finalists Amherst and Granville.

This was a great performance by the girls, particularly in the light of little experience of Orange Ball competition.

Well done!