eNews: Friday 26th June 2020

From the Acting Head

Improvise, adapt, overcome. I often hear Mr Orpin use this army phrase to instil a sense of positivity amongst the children or staff when we are faced with a challenge or in search of a solution. Adaptation has been a key theme this week for all staff and pupils, whether they have been working from home or in school.

 

It was a joy to see many of our pupils back in school on Monday, and life felt a little more like it should. Pupils, teachers, friends and colleagues sharing in learning, adventure and fun. We did face the issue of a power cut which lasted for a few hours, but we adapted by getting back to basics and shared longer discussions, planning on paper and learning outside.

 

For our new in-school learning model, the St Michael’s day is very different for children in Prep School. Rather than moving around the building and learning from subject specialists, our children are enjoying the company of one classroom teacher. On Wednesday some of our maths teaching team delivered an exciting History day, planned by Mrs Baisch. Doing something differently doesn’t mean it has less value. It was wonderful for me to hear the children talking about Mary I and Mary Queen of Scots over lunch! Their interest and excitement were palpable, and they had some great ideas about how we can learn from the past.  Mr Powell has moved to an outside classroom underneath the shade of the trees on the Field of Hope. It is a beautiful setting and utilising new and different parts of the school grounds has been a very positive experience for us all.

 

Our Pre-Prep children adapted to a new style sports day which they enjoyed today in the glorious sunshine. Congratulations to all of the children who relished their turn and time on the track, cheered on brilliantly by their classmates and teachers. The Prep children also enjoyed showing their support during their break times.  A huge thank you goes to Miss Rawlinson for organising this special occasion.

The children at home have adapted to a different way of working, and I was pleased to receive questions about how they can maximise their learning. It is important to us all that the community bond remains strong and St Michael’s will be standing strong with open arms for a socially distanced air hug whenever our pupils at home are able and ready to return.

 

Adaptation is about evolution, and we are keenly looking ahead to the new academic year. The P & F are in the process of recruiting class reps for next year, and I look forward to meeting the new team in September. I would also like to take this opportunity to warmly thank our current class reps for the extra mile they have gone in this challenging year. They have provided a strong and supportive link between school and home, and we highly value their input. If you are interested in getting involved next year, please check Classlist for information.

 

Adapting to change can be tough, but our children, staff and parents have responded with impressive resilience and grit. For me, seeing the children arriving with big smiles and steely determination each morning at drop off and in my assembly for those at home, has been brilliant, and inspiring. This morning I asked all of the children to give me one word to describe their week back at school and the responses were fantastic, capturing this new, different school experience. The children expressed their week as: different, joyful, good, happy, amazing, exquisite, hot, sociable, confusing, fabulous, sporty, peaceful, unusual, brilliant, interesting, entertaining and perfect! I think we’ve all done well!

 

Enjoy a wonderful weekend.

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

It is so good to have almost everybody back! I have enjoyed being with a Year 2 class this week. Its such fun to be with the children and to see the joy and wonder through their eyes again.

We’ve had quite a seaside theme around the school this week. Everything from discovering what flotsam is, to making pretend ice creams and singing “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside” and so much more.

Thank you for sending your children in with sun hats and all-day protection sun cream. Thank you also for your drop off and pick up understanding. We feel the system is beginning to work well. Having your family name in the car is really helping us to be able to communicate along the length of the pickup area. Please do try and come as far down the line of metal barriers as you can so that parents picking up from Prep can get in and out of their area more easily.

As we move towards the end of term, I would like to thank the P&F for all their hard work this year. All those of you who have been class reps have done a great job in an exceptionally difficult time. I know many of you have had to pass on communications and advice between parents and staff that you didn’t always agree with yourselves. I am personally very grateful to you all for the tremendous support you have demonstrated for the good of all the children at St Michael’s. Although I would like to keep all the current reps, I recognise you all need a break and that lots of other parents will be eager and willing to take the role on next year. If you would like to be a parent rep for your child’s year group in September, please get in touch with one of your current representatives.

Overheard: Sometimes when I look up at the sun I get bless yous.

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

 

Staff News

We’re sorry to be saying goodbye to Helen Grogan at the end of this month. Helen joined us as the Head’s PA in early 2017 with a wealth of experience.  She’s a highly organised and efficient person and has created many excellent systems, streamlining lots of admin and processes to support the Head and the Senior Leadership Team. Helen’s brilliant sense of humour will be missed by her colleagues with whom she has formed strong bonds and lasting friendships.

We are delighted that she has secured an exciting new role as PA to the Chief Nurse in the NHS Trust at Maidstone. This will enable her to work close to home and her family and we wish her every success and happiness.

 

 

School News

Would you like to say thank you to your teachers? Radio Mike will be doing a special show on Friday 3rd July – see our Message Board for full details of how to get involved.

Archway Summer Football Camp

Mr Lopez will be holding his Football Camp from Tuesday 25th August to Friday 28th August. Click here for full details and a booking form. Book early as places are limited!

Headteacher’s Stars

D Singh For excellent response and engagement with science remote learning activities
C Hunter For excellent response and engagement with science remote learning activities
L Lutzow For excellent response and engagement with science remote learning activities
D Macedo For excellent response and engagement with science remote learning activities
E Newton For excellent response and engagement with science remote learning activities
R Thornhill For excellent response and engagement with science remote learning activities
I Pennington Legh For excellent effort and perseverance with reading during remote learning
E Gage For a brilliantly written letter in English, full of exciting vocabulary and superbly structured
T Carman For a superb piece of writing about returning to school following lockdown

Senior School Virtual Tours and Open Days

Many Senior Schools are offering virtual tours and Open Days at the moment. We’ll be updating our Senior Schools Information page as we hear about them. Most of the schools are offering traditional Open Days from September and booking forms for both traditional and virtual open events are available on their websites. Links to the schools are available on our Senior Schools Information page.

The following schools are currently offering virtual Open Days or Tours:

Ardingly

Bethany School

Brighton College

Caterham School

Christ’s Hospital

Cobham Hall

Dover College

Eastbourne College

Haileybury

King’s Canterbury

King’s Rochester

Lingfield College

Radnor House

Sevenoaks School

Tonbridge School

Wellington College

Whitgift School – click here for your Virtual Open Event Invitation

In addition, a new school has been added to our page:

St Catherine’s School, Bramley is a GSA Day and Boarding School near Guildford. They will be holding Open Mornings throughout the autumn.

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!