eNews: Friday 20th November 2020

From the Acting Head

This week we were delighted to receive a certificate from NHS Charities Together for the £1240.87 that we raised in the Trinity Term. The idea for this fundraiser came from Matilda M in Year 5, and it really is an extraordinary sum when you consider the restrictions we were and have been under. Well done to Matilda and everyone who contributed.

The pupils are leading assemblies at the moment in Prep School, and this week, 7R shared their view on gratitude and how we can use it to help others. The sense of responsibility we feel towards each other in our wider community is greater than ever as we continue to hold tight amidst the pandemic.

Please take time to read the article in today’s newsletter about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) who, although not local, are important to us as they helped save one of our pupils almost a year ago on New Year’s Eve. Lucy’s story is told in their Christmas campaign and not only is her bravery inspiring, but the care and support of the TVAA meant so much to the whole family. I hope that you will join us in supporting their incredible work. You will soon receive news of a whole school event which we hope will raise money to support this fantastic charity who rely solely on public donations.

On the subject of responsibility, many of you have enquired about the new School Communities Programme that has been launched by the ZOE COVID Symptom Study Scheme. We have registered St Michael’s and would encourage you to take part to support the national scientific research into the impact of Covid-19 on children and younger people. I hope that this will bring additional reassurance that we are all making informed choices and working together to ensure the safety of our children and the community. Details of this have been shared today in a separate letter from the school office.

One of our other pupil-led assemblies this week was delivered with style, pizzaz and high entertainment factor by 6P on Thursday. It explored how we can deal with having a bad day. Charlie Mackesy wrote that “one of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things”, and Year 6 had some great ideas to help us make good choices when things aren’t going their way. The strategies shared were bought to life with video clips, a beautiful piano performance by Teresa W and a poem shared by Daniel M and Leo L. If you would like some ideas of how you can bring some joy to your weekend then you could get active, take time to talk to each other, or shake it all off with your own Friday Freestyle dance. If you are still searching for something to make you smile then my new recommendation, thanks to Annabelle S and Anya J, is to watch some quokka videos. You won’t regret it!

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, I hope you find some magical moments of happiness with your household.

Mary Bridges

 

6P performing their feel-good assembly

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Thank you for attending your Parents’ Evenings so promptly this week, I hope you found them useful. I would be interested to hear your views on Parents’ Evenings being electronic rather than in person. The Pre-Prep staff can see advantages and disadvantages of both systems.

You should soon receive an invitation to an English workshop via Zoom, followed by a maths one. These will be run by the teachers in your child’s year group, to give you an idea of what is being taught to your child. They will also answer any questions you may have about how children are taught phonics, reading and writing.

Next Friday 27th November, we will have NHS nurses in school to administer the flu nasal spray to your children. You should have all have had a letter from the NHS emailed directly to you with a link to the website in order to sign your child up. It is for all children from Reception age. The administration of this is always dealt with by the NHS and not our Pre-Prep Secretaries, TJ Smith or Jane Gray.

In response to parents’ requests for school to provide fruit snacks in Pre-Prep, we have sent out a simple questionnaire to gauge how many of you would be interested. We have extended the deadline for this until Monday to enable more of you to state your preference. Please do submit your answers by Monday.

 

Overheard in Pre-Prep:

“What is your favourite drink?”

“I like blackcurrant juice and red wine”

 

Have a lovely weekend.

 

Zerrin Leech   

 

School News

St Michael’s appoints new Chair of Governors

Rashid Chinchanwala

St Michael’s is pleased to announce that its current Acting Chair of Governors, Rashid Chinchanwala, has been appointed the permanent role of Chair. A former pupil of St Michael’s between the years 1972 to 1977, Rashid has been a Governor at St. Michaels’ since 2007 and follows in the footsteps of Paula Carter, who stepped down as Chair in 2019, and Robert Turner who was interim Chair until February 2020.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Chinchanwala said: “It’s a privilege to be accepted as Chair of Governors at St. Michael’s, a role made much easier thanks to its fantastic staff, the pupils and my fellow governors. My association with St. Michael’s stretches back almost 50 years and I’m now fortunate enough to be playing a bigger part in its ongoing success and future”.

 

 

St Michael’s raises £1240.78 for NHS

This week St Michael’s were delighted to receive a certificate from NHS Charities Together for the £1240.87 that we raised during the Trinity Term.

The idea for this fundraiser, which saw pupils and staff dress in rainbow colours on Monday 6th July 2020, came from Matilda M in Year 5 who brought the school together to donate to this all important cause.

This is an extraordinary achievement for St Michael’s and a fantastic reflection of our community ethos. Well done to Matilda and everyone who was involved.

St Michael’s librarian launches fun reading project for pupils

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

 

“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.”

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

Charlie C for persevering to finish his Owl & The Pussycat sequel

Scarlett M for imaginative and independent poetry writing

Tristan H for always trying hard in our French lessons and for being very confident when practising spoken French

Thomas G for carefully recording facts about endangered animals

Anna W for writing a poem based on The Owl & The Pussycat

Tara C for working really hard to create a fantastic poem based on The Owl & The Pussycat

George W for offering fantastic ideas and always participating in class discussions

Oliver A for working hard on his reading

Grace L for working hard to use her phonics

Arthur S for always making sensible choices and setting a great example to others

Abigail L for excellent participation in class discussions

Olivia S for always listening carefully and giving 100% effort in her work

Thomas A for working hard to improve his handwriting and keep his letters on the lines

Harry B for great perseverance with his writing during phonics

Elizabeth A for always doing the right thing and being a positive member of the class

Emily L for fantastic phrase writing in phonics

James H for neat word writing in phonics

Alice H.B for creating a wonderful watercolour poppy

Aiden G for working hard and listening in music

Headteacher’s Stars

Sean C (Year 6) for doing a ‘Superb First Chapter Friday interview’

Elodie G (Year 5) for ‘Writing a fantastic Remembrance Day article’

Matilda M (Year 5) for ‘Writing a fantastic Remembrance Day article’

Joseph H (Year 7) and Holly H (Year 6) for ‘Their amazing Thank You card artwork’

Alix M.D (Year 8) for ‘Creating an amazing piece of artwork for the school Christmas card’

A message from the Sports Department

Rugby lessons

Dear Parents,

As I have had a few queries about the provision of rugby in lessons and the contact elements, I thought it might be helpful to briefly explain the thinking process behind the decisions. We are in constant contact with the majority of the Prep schools in the local area regarding fixtures and lessons and what we can and cannot provide. As a district group, the majority of the schools have moved to rugby and are following the RFU roadmap to return to full rugby. We are currently at Stage D which allows for 15 minutes of structured contact drills per session and no more. This can be 1 on 1 tackling (below waist) or 2 on 2 rucks (year group dependent). Other than that, the session must be non-contact handling drills or touch (not tag) rugby matches. It is also not compulsory to have the 15 minutes of contact in a session, that is simply the maximum allowable. All equipment has been separated out between our 3 bubbles and there will be no transmission risk between groups. Even within the bubbles, the balls will be sanitised and the bibs will be washed regularly. All clubs will be non-contact.

 

I hope this further information has helped alleviate any concerns that you may have had when I mentioned the word ‘contact’ in my previous communication. We are not yet back to the rugby the boys will have previously known. Thank you again for your support, time and understanding.

 

Ben Bridges, Director of Sports

A message from the Music Department

If you’d like your child to have instrument or singing lessons beginning in January 2021 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 application forms for music lessons can be found on the Parents’ Portal under the parents’ forms and Prep or Pre-Prep sections. If you have any questions regarding music lessons please email Tracey Scott (St Michael’s Music Administrator). Applications will close at the end of this month.

Key Dates

Details about the structure of the last day of term will soon be distributed to parents. Arrangements will be made to stagger Prep pick-up for the different year bubbles.

Help Thames Valley Air Ambulance save lives like Lucy’s

Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) needs your help to continue saving people like St Michael’s Lucy.

The emergency care team, who rely solely on public donations, is one of the many charities to have missed out on fundraising due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now, more than ever, needs your help.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance Critical Care Paramedic Jo Jefferies, said: “We’re here to reach patients in crisis, day and night, 365 days a year. We receive no government funding, so any support you are able to give this Christmas will be very gratefully received. Thank you so much.”

The team’s Christmas appeal, which is now live, asks the public to give any donation that they can to help TVVA continue their heroic work.

And this year’s campaign holds a special place in St Michael’s heart.

Based of the inspiring story of how Thames Valley Air Ambulance saved St Michael’s Year 7 pupil Lucy’s life, the campaign video shows the incredibly important part the crew play, and the heroic impact they have had on our very own St Michael’s family.

For more information about the TVVA Christmas appeal and how you can support the cause, visit www.tvairambulance.org.uk/appeal/.

News regarding a whole school Christmas fundraiser will also be announced in the following weeks.

 

P & F News

The Community Cupboard Christmas Appeal

As our final Christmas appeal we would like to support The Community Cupboard in its hamper appeal.

The Community Cupboard, a local registered charity, was formed in response to a local resident’s plea for help. Originally set up to cover West Kingsdown, New Ash Green, Longfield and Hartley the charity now covers a much broader area spanning from Tonbridge to Dartford, including the Sevenoaks area.

In June, the charity distributed almost 3000kg of food to those in need and, under the current difficult circumstances, those in need are ever increasing. Their ethos has always been that everyone needs a little help sometimes and they aim to ensure that the support provided allows people to retain their dignity whilst doing so.

The charity are putting together hampers of food and bringing a little Christmas cheer to those most in need.

 

Here are 3 ways you can help:

  1. The P&F has set up a PayPal account where you can donate an amount of your choice. Once the appeal is closed, we will then discuss with the charity which items are most in need and we will arrange a bulk delivery to them for the hampers. Whether you give £1 or £100, all funds will be used to buy foods for those in need, with no administrative costs etc.

https://paypal.me/pools/campaign/114915483550141187

  1. You can purchase items which will be collated and delivered to the charity in December. Please message us if you wish to donate in this way to coordinate drop off to me/ at school.

Suggested items include: sugar, jam, squash, jelly, rice pudding, custard, tinned meatballs, hot dogs, crisps, biscuits, long life milk, tinned vegetables, baby wipes, washing up liquid, washing powder, 2 in 1 shampoo.

  1. Text HAMPER to 70085 to donate £3

All donations need to be made by Friday 11th December.

Christmas is a time for giving and what better way to get involved!

Thanks in advance.

Kerri & Kelly, P&F Co-Chairs

St Michael’s International Club hosts Art & Wine night for parents

Art and wine are excellent pastimes, but have you ever thought of combining the two?

St Michael’s International Club is adding the fun back into Zoom with art and wine nights aimed at keeping its members connected.

The virtual sessions see parents take part in art workshops while enjoying a glass or two of their preferred wine.

Organiser of the event and Co-Chair of the International Club, Yuliya Folland, said: “The idea for the workshops came from a friend of mine, Polina Kupriyanova, who is an artist from Penshurst. During lockdown, she successfully moved her workshops online and they were very successful.

“As Covid-19 restrictions have prevented the International Club from meeting up this year, I asked Polina whether she could help me organise similar workshops for our school community.

“The main aim of the workshops is to relax and have some fun, while giving each other some much needed company.”

The International Club have so far run two Art & Wine nights, which took place on Friday 6 November and Saturday 14 November.

The format of the workshop is an interactive online art class with demonstration and feedback provided throughout.

Commenting on the success of the workshops, Ms Folland said: “During the first workshop we painted a copy of Autumn on Siene at Argenteuil by Claude Monet, and during the second we painted an adapted painting of Peaches also by Monet.

“They were well attended with around 10 parents joining each one. Some parents enjoyed their first workshop so much that they joined again a week later. Everyone is welcome, even beginners.”

And the feedback from members has been highly positive.

One parent said: “I had such fun painting. Thank you so much for organising and please could you pass my thanks to Polina, she was so much better than my high school art teacher!”

Another added: “I loved it.  My painting was not the greatest but for a first go I am pleased and happy to have something to show to the kids. The time flew past.  I would happily join another at some point.”

Parents also highlighted how enjoyable and relaxing the sessions were, and how they finished the sessions with new skills.

The International Club is hoping to run more Art & Wine nights open to both members and the whole school community in the new year.

For more information about the International Club visit www.stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/st-michaels-international-club/.

 

 

 

 

 

Shoot for the Stars!

 Litter Picking Legends

Bromley is eight times tidier thanks to three St Michael’s Samaritans doing their bit for the environment.

Olivia, Amelia and Harry Brown have kickstarted the second lockdown on a mission to give their village a much needed clean-up.

Mum, Mrs Brown, said: “We have lived in Keston for nearly 10 years and our 3 children have grown up here and love spending time exploring our beautiful woodland, whatever the season or weather.”

After noticing a rise in littering following the first lockdown, 7-year-old Amelia made posters asking people to take their rubbish home. A few months later, as the problem continued, she took matters into her own hands.

Mrs Brown added: “At the end of October, following a run with her dad, Amelia decided she would get rid of the litter herself.

“One Amazon delivery later, we’d got hold of some litter pickers and spent a very wet Saturday collecting as much rubbish as we could.”

And to top off their kindness, the Browns set a charitable goal for the litter pick to coincide with Children In Need.

Mrs Brown said: “Thanks to the generosity of family and friends, the sponsored litter pick has so far raised more than £400 for charity.”

She added: “We’re very proud of our little gang. Who says children can’t change the world!?!”

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.

In the Community

Mr Thomas’ Christmas Hockey Camp

Mr Thomas will be holding his Christmas Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 17th December, Friday 18th December, Monday 21st December and Tuesday 22nd December

Please email Mr Thomas on jnthomas88@outlook.com to reserve your space.

We will be following all England Hockey guidelines and may have to limit the numbers to less than previous camps. Please sign up early to avoid any disappointment.

Click here for the application form. 

Follow us on social media!

Love seeing your children’s smiley faces on our social media pages?

Make sure you’re following all four of our channels to ensure you don’t miss any precious photos and videos. This also includes our new YouTube page featuring videos about St Michael’s and speeches from the pupils.

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.”