eNews: Friday 25th September 2020

From the Acting Head

I hope you have all enjoyed this week as much as me! It was a great pleasure to wrap up the parent Welcome Evenings on Monday and I thank you for your engagement and the questions submitted which enabled us to make the content purposeful and informative. I am delighted to hand over my newsletter spot to Head of Years 5 and 6, Rosemary Baisch, this week. Her wise words at the Year 5 & 6 Welcome Evening gave us all food for thought and were too good not to share in print. I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did:

 

 

While preparing a ‘Beginning of the Year’ talk for the Year 5 and 6 Welcome Evenings, I couldn’t help but think about our current circumstances and wanted to speak about something that would be useful as we help our children deal with the challenges of a daily changing landscape.

 

Lockdown was a difficult time for all of us. We were not necessarily all in the same boat, but we were all trying to weather the same storm. Lockdown took some things away but also provided some valuable insights. I learnt so much during that time. It forced me to raise my IT game and I realised that apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks! Lockdown gave us opportunities to find new ways to socialise, for the children a renewed sense of self and the gift of gratitude. For me one of the most positive aspects of lockdown was that it gave us the chance to gain perspective, to see what really matters.

 

One of the first things teachers do when we get back to school after the summer is ask the children about their holidays.  I thought I was going to hear lots of sad tales about cancelled plans and trips cut short and I was pleasantly surprised to say that I honestly heard none of that. The things that brought your children joy this summer were family time, connecting with extended family and simple old-fashioned childhood pleasures.  While marking pupils’ holiday news in English, I found myself commenting time and again, ‘This sounds like the perfect summer holiday,’ which is ironic when one considers that these holidays took place in the midst of a global pandemic! In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out to the children is not flashy holidays but rather the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime, Saturday morning pancakes.

 

What do our children really want and need? They want to be with us and feel safe.  I really believe that in order to reduce anxiety and give them space they need to be fully themselves, we need to keep things simple. I read an article recently which spoke about ‘The Four Pillars of Excess’ that are hurting our children. The author, Kim Payne, speaks about excess stuff, excess choice, excess information and excess speed. Our children have too much, must decide too much, cope with too much news and information coming at them and do this all too quickly.

 

If we can keep in the forefront of our minds what really matters, we can help pare back. Send your child to school with only the stationery they need, nothing more nothing less. Think about your child’s schedule – are all the activities and extras absolutely necessary? I believe we need to consider carefully whether the news our children hear or conversations to which they are privy are helpful or if those discussions are perhaps a little too grown up and likely to cause worry or upset. Do we find ourselves hurrying our children when it would actually be ok to go slowly?

 

Years ago, in a discussion with my son, he told me that Wednesdays were his favourite day of the week.  I asked why, assuming that he would say it was because he had sports fixtures after school or because school lunches were particularly good.  Daniel told me that he loved Wednesdays because on a Wednesday, his granny fetched him. Daniel said that Wednesdays made him happy because Granny was never in a hurry. This gave me pause.

 

When we simplify, when we focus on what really matters to us, we can set a tone in our homes that honours our family’s needs rather than the world’s demands, a tone that is aligned with our dreams rather than dictated to by the world’s fears. My hope is that as we continue to navigate this journey together, we will choose to make more out of less and have children who are happier for it.

Rosemary Baisch

 

 

‘This holiday we saw three famous things. We saw Shakespeare’s house and his statue.  We went to a river and fed the ducks. Twice.’

From the Head of Pre-Prep

It is always good to see our Nursery children wave goodbye to mums and dads and start to play happily without their parents in attendance. Our Nursery children have been loving the soft play equipment in the hall with Miss Rawlinson. I know it’s hard for you as parents as you watch you child take those first steps towards being a little more independent but it’s great to know they are loving life!

Our Harvest assembly this year will be on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd October; we will be doing three separate assemblies with your children. As we have done over the last few years, we will be collecting donations for the Trussell Trust Food Bank in Swanley. Any donations are very gratefully received. We are happy to take donations at the top of the bridge in the morning if this is easier. All items need to be received in school by the end of the day on Thursday 1st October.  Please could all items come in a carrier bag or box.  Thank you all in anticipation of your generosity.

If your children are in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 you should have received a letter about hearing tests. Dr Unwin comes into Pre-Prep every year to carry out initial hearing tests so if you wish to have your child screened please let us know. Your child will not be tested unless we have received your written permission.

Thank you for putting your family name and child’s class in your car for pick-up. This is certainly making things easier for us. Please be mindful of families still waiting in a queue to pick up, so the quicker you can get children strapped into car seats and drive away the better.

Overheard: “We had fish and fingers for lunch.”

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Pre-Prep Harvest Donations

Pre-Prep will be collecting Harvest donations from children next month. All donations, which will be given to Trussell Trust Food Bank, must be received by Thursday 1st October.

Coordinator at Trussell Trust Food Bank, Wendy Halford said: “We have added some extras to put a smile on their faces at such a difficult time. We are finding it is people who have never had to use a food bank before coming to us at the moment.”

 

 

Items required:

 

Tinned Rice Pudding

Tinned Custard

Long life sponge puddings

Angel delight (or similar own brand version)

Jelly

Tinned fruit

Packet crumble mix

Packet dumpling mix

Fajita Meal Kits (or similar)

Tortilla wraps (with long dates please)

Chocolate biscuits e.g. Kit Kat, Penguin, Club etc

Powdered Milk (Not UHT please we have plenty UHT at the moment)

Jam

Squash

Washing up liquid

Shower gel

Shampoo

Conditioner

Ladies’ deodorant

 

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

 

 

Gabrielle O & Zach R.B. for a great start at St. Michael’s

Matthew D for trying hard in everything we have done this week

Conrad B for trying really hard with all of his work

Stanley H for being super helpful in class and showing great commitment to his work

Harry B for great number sequencing during our maths activities

Arlo S for working hard and concentrating well during our phonics activities

James H for amazing focus when ordering number monsters to 20

Felix B for working quickly and carefully in all of our learning activities

Aiden G for trying so hard with his work this week

Olivia D for working really hard all week

Oscar H for working hard in writing

Mona-Swan M for reading with beautiful expression

Sophia E & Dylan H for working exceptionally hard and producing beautiful work

Isla B for always trying to do her best

Isaac O for working hard in all areas of the curriculum

Taran M for going over and above in all he does

Grace P for trying really hard in maths

Nik B for taking pride in all his work

Elizabeth S for always staying on task

Leo H.B for fantastic speedy maths work

Ava M for always doing the right think at the right time

Kim V for fantastic confident swimming

General Reminders

Please can we ask parents to let us know if their child won’t be attending an activity or prep after school. This will save a lot of time for admin staff when making phone calls to find out where children are.

 

Please also remember that the deadline for booking into prep for any day next week closes tonight at 9pm. Beyond this, no further bookings for next week will be taken.

 

Updates from the Music Department

 

ABRSM online Grade 5 theory results

 

ABRSM ran their first ever online Grade 5 theory exam on 26th August and despite some widespread technical difficulties on the day, we are pleased to report the following results:

 

  1. R. Landgrebe      Pass
  2. A. Scott                 Distinction

 

No peripatetic music lessons next week in the Prep School

 

This is a reminder that because of the PTE, PTM and CATS tests being held throughout next week, none of the peripatetic music team will be teaching in the Prep School next week (w/c Monday 28th September).  There will also be no instrumental music activities and no Year 4 theory club next week.  The various choral activities will continue to run where possible.

 

Key Dates

 

Pre-Prep

 

Friday 2nd October: Harvest Festival (All food donations to be received by Thursday 1st October)

Wednesday 7th October: Hearing Tests for Reception, Year 1 and 2 pupils

 

Prep

ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:

Friday 9th October
Friday 6th November
Friday 27th November

 

 

New School Shop Opening Times

The school shop is now open as usual with slightly adjusted opening times as follows:
8:00am – 9:15am: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday
3:00pm – 4:30pm: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday
We still encourage you to use the click and collect service where possible.

First few weeks of school

You can now view photos of your children during their first few weeks of the Michaelmas Term on our Facebook page under Photos.

Please enjoy these photos, but be mindful that they must not be shared beyond the St Michael’s community.

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.

Follow us on social media!

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

Make sure you’re following all three of our channels to ensure you don’t miss any precious photos and videos.

 

Senior School Open Mornings

 

Eastbourne College

Eastbourne College will be hosting their virtual open morning on Saturday 3 October from 9.00am – 10.00am, to book your place please visit:

https://www.eastbourne-college.co.uk/contact/book-a-visit/

 

 

Walthamstow Hall

Virtual Open Morning: Saturday 26 September at 11am for entry to Years 7, 9 and 12. 

Join Walthamstow Hall for a live Q & A session with a panel of Senior Staff including Headmistress, Miss Stephanie Ferro, Head of Key Stage 3, Karen Hofmann, and Heads of Year 7 and Sixth Form. Pre-recorded film footage will also be shown during the event.

The team will discuss their new Deferred Entry process which will begin from this September, for 2021. Girls will undergo the entry process in Year 6 and a deferred entry place for Year 9 will be offered at that stage. Pupils wishing to apply for academic, music, drama and art scholarships will be invited back in Year 8 to take part in the scholarship process.

An invitation from Miss Ferro and further information, including how to book, can be found on their website.

 

In the Community

Mrs Grayland’s October Half Term Netball Camp

 

 

Mrs Grayland will be running a netball camp at half term which will be offered to St Michaels girl’s before being offered out to other schools.  Book early to avoid disappointment.

Click here for a booking form. 

 

Mr Thomas’ October Half Term Hockey Camp

Mr Thomas will be holding his October Half Term Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 29th- Friday 30th October from 10am-3pm.

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 for for a booking form.

Latest News

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.

 

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

 

 

This Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s will host a fundraising day for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy.

Determined to help a cause very close to her heart, Lucy has organised a series of events aimed at raising money for the charity-based emergency service.

Throughout the day pupils will be invited to participate in a range of activities including wearing a Christmas jumper, doing a sponsored run, and completing brain teaser quizzes in exchange for donations to the TVAA which relies wholly on public contributions.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I’ve 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 will change 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.”

And Lucy’s charity day is driven by her own bond with the charity who saved her life following an accident last Christmas.

She 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.”

Since her accident, Lucy has remained close with three of TVAA’s critical care paramedics, Jo, John and Clare.

Lucy said: “Not only did the team come and visit me in hospital during my recovery, but in February this year my family and I were invited to their base to see their helicopters and learn more about their work.

“Since then, we’ve kept in close contact with them and have been given the exciting opportunity to take part in their Christmas campaign.

“One morning, my mum received a phone call from the TVAA asking if we’d like to tell our story as part of their fundraising appeal.

“Despite the accident still being quite fresh, we were keen to get involved as it’s such an amazing charity.”

Earlier this year, Lucy and her family were invited to Oxfordshire to talk about their experience in front of the camera.

The filming day, which involved interviews with both Lucy and her parents, aimed to raise awareness of the charity’s impact.

Lucy said: “It was such a fun day and really made us feel part of the TVAA community.

“Afterwards, we were sent several cuts of the video, including a very cool animation of my story which was very realistic.

“They kept us in mind throughout the whole process and made us feel very special.”

A full breakdown of the fundraising events can be found below. For more information about the TVAA or to view Lucy’s video visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/appeal/.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance Fundraising Activities 

  • Christmas jumpers – In Prep and Pre-Prep, we are inviting the children and staff to sport their best Christmas jumper and make a donation for the privilege of wearing it! The 15th  is the day of the school Christmas lunches, so this would be a good time to wear them. As with the last charity collection, the donations for Christmas jumpers can be deposited in the buckets at the doors into the buildings as the children arrive in the morning.
  • Sponsored run (Prep) – we are going to be inviting the children to run in teams of (up to) 4 around the shortest XC route on the fields. They will have a set time to complete as many laps as possible in that time. The children can look to have their team sponsored per lap, or have a donation from their sponsor. Sponsorship money raised will need to be brought in the following day.
  • Brain teaser quizzes – there are two quiz sheets that can be purchased for 50p each and you can take them home and try to solve the puzzles as a family. I’m afraid the only prize on offer is the glow of self-fulfilment upon having completed them. Answers will be shared on the last day of term. As parents cannot be in the school buildings at the moment, the quiz sheets can be purchased via homework diaries (please send the 50p/ £1, depending if you want one quiz sheet or both).

 

 

A former St Michael’s pupil has been awarded an Honorary Academic Scholarship for her excellence across all subjects.

Grace Goodwin, who attended St Michael’s between 2014 and 2019, has received the honour from Sevenoaks School.

Commenting on Grace’s success, her mother Marianthe Goodwin said: “Grace joined Sevenoaks in Year 7 and has really thrived from day one.

“We all knew Grace was doing very well academically as she was awarded the Academic Prize in Year 7 and Year 8. However, just before half term we received a letter awarding Grace an Honorary Academic Scholarship, one of only four which was awarded.

“Grace was delighted and extremely surprised as she had absolutely no idea that she was going to receive it. As an Academic Scholar, Grace is invited to attend the Schickler Society with the other scholars in which they discuss lots of different world issues both current and past, such as gun control and the Cold War.”

Mrs Goodwin added: “Grace had a wonderful and very happy time at St Michael’s and the decision to leave was  a hard one, but we felt it was the right time for Grace.  At St Michael’s she enjoyed all her subjects, especially English and Science.

“She found all the teachers very encouraging and approachable, and felt the growth mindset attitude and community spirit of St Michael’s gave her the confidence to hit challenges head on and not give up.

“Mrs Bridges among others was particularly encouraging of Grace during her time at St Michael’s and offered amazing pastoral support to pupils.”

And it isn’t just Sevenoaks School that spotted Grace’s academic potential. St Michael’s teacher Mrs Baisch, who taught Grace during her time at the school, said: “Grace is an incredibly creative pupil who loves reading and writing, and produced some beautiful work. The words flew off her pen.

“Grace was also a very good speaker which was shown by her victory in the poetry live senior competition which she won with her reading of Dulce et Decorum est. For a Year 6 pupil, her performance was very impressive.

“Grace’s scholarship is of no surprise and is something she should be very proud of.”