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

 

 

 

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.”

This month St Michael’s Prep is celebrating the opening of its new Astro Turf pitch.

Completed during Summer 2020, the state-of-the-art facility will provide a huge boost to the school’s sporting facilities and allow it to offer a broader range of activities including boys hockey and football to its pupils.

Its floodlights will also enable St Michael’s to host sports matches during evenings, as well as inviting external schools and clubs to enjoy the new pitch throughout the year.

Ben Bridges, Director of Sports at St Michael’s, said: “We’re really excited to use the Astro Turf for the first time this month.

“We feel extremely lucky to be able to offer this to our pupils in both Prep and Pre-prep and are thrilled about the benefits it will bring to our sporting curriculum.

“As well as hockey, the new pitch will allow us to offer many other sports to pupils and will prevent the children from missing lessons due to inclement weather.”

Planning for the Astro Turf began in 2014 and has seen St Michael’s grounds undergo a significant transformation since construction began last summer. During this time pupils were fascinated by the diggers, dumpers and bulldozers which visited the school, while nursery and kindergarten children were treated to close-up views of the machinery.

Mr Bridges added: “Although it was a slightly delayed start due to the poor weather we faced, this feels like the perfect time to put the incredible space to good use.

“This is really going to move sport at St Michael’s to the next level, as well as providing us with opportunities to engage with the local community. We’re excited all round.”

 

The Governors of St. Michael’s Prep School take pleasure in announcing the appointment of Nik Pears as our new Head Teacher with effect from January 2021.

Nik was educated at St Dunstan’s College, London and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He is currently Head of Prep at Kent College Pembury, a post he has held since 2016. Prior to that, he was Headmaster of the Junior School at Sevenoaks Prep for 5 years. Nik is also an ISI inspector and a governor at Dulwich Prep, Cranbrook. We believe that he has the experience and qualities required to lead St Michael’s into the next chapter of its history.

Nik represented Kent U18 group at rugby and has a love of all sports. He is an accomplished musician and has performed at The O2 and Wembley Arenas. He is an Ambassador for “We See Hope”, a charity working with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa. Nik devised The Social Entrepreneurs Project an initiative that challenges young people to turn £10 seed capital into £100 or more with their profits going to support the work of the charity.

We feel very fortunate to have secured Nik’s headship and welcome him and his wife Emma and two children, Jessica and Josiah into the St. Michael’s family from the start of next year. Nik has said

“I am delighted to have been appointed the next Head of St Michael’s Prep. Having lived in the area for the past twenty years, it is a school I have known and long admired for its ambitious and child-centred approach to learning. There is a very special atmosphere in the school and I am excited to become a part of the community, getting to know the children, parents and staff over the months and years ahead. St Michael’s is privileged to have an experienced and committed Senior Leadership Team and I very much look forward to working together with them as we embark on an exciting future for the school.” 

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