eNews: Friday 27th September 2019

From the Head

This week I’ve been out at the IAPS Headteachers’ conference in London, whilst school has had the busiest week of the term so far with Prep trips and visits week. I’m delighted that in place of my weekly musings you have today those of our fantastic Head of Years 5 & 6, who spoke eloquently and wisely to those parents who attended the Year 6 parents’ welcome evening.

In a mixture of personal anecdotes and wisdom, enriched through the counselling qualification she is coming to the end of, Rosemary gave all parents excellent counsel for how to support their child to promote resilience. I commend to you her wisdom.

 

Jill Aisher

Year 6 Welcome Evening: Resilience

Your children may have already, or will soon, come home with an “All About Me” form to fill in.  One of the questions on the back page is ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?’ The children have the chance to answer and parents may comment too.  I was wondering about this and thought about my own two children who are roughly the ages yours will be in 10 years’ time – my son is in second year at university and my daughter in Upper 6th.

What I want for my children now is very different to what I may have answered 10 years ago. I urge you to give some thought to this question because answering it allows you to zoom out and perhaps focus on what is really important. What we all want is for our children to be whole and happy and we want to know that they have the inner reserves to deal with challenges that life throws at them. That resilience training starts now.

As form teachers in Year 6, we would like to focus this year on building resilience in the children we teach.  We use growth mindset language in lessons and intend to use structured form times, as well as informal contact times, with our pupils to reinforce the idea of resilience.

Why do we need to build resilience?

When students have resilience

  • they are open to learning because they believe that they can learn and improve
  • they are receptive to assistance and coaching because they will not see it as a criticism of their abilities
  • they are comfortable not understanding concepts immediately, or not mastering skills immediately, because they see learning as a pursuit of knowledge and know that motivation and effort are just as important as knowing how to do something
  • they are happier (and we know that happy children are more emotionally available for learning)

Why particularly now?

Year 6 is a challenging year in many ways.  There is a lot going on – entrance exams, physical changes, friendships reconfigurations, thinking about the future etc. They are going to need to bounce back from disappointments or setbacks. We want to encourage skills that will be required as they become more independent, deal with change and move into more demanding environments.

What can you do to help?

When your child comes home with a problem or is upset about something, there are a number of things that you could do to turn that situation into a learning opportunity.

Reframe the situation – Once at the white doors one afternoon, I overheard a mum asking her daughter about her day.  The daughter replied that it had been a horrible day because they had played hockey in the cold and it was drizzly and she was wet and it wasn’t fun.  The mum sympathised and said that that must have been awful and that she hoped her daughter didn’t catch a nasty cold because that would ruin their weekend.  I watched them walk away. Just then another mum and daughter were leaving and again, the mum asked her daughter about her day.  The daughter said the same as the first child – she had had to play hockey and it was cold and she got wet.  This time however the mum’s response was very different.  She said, ‘Oh, playing hockey in the rain! It’s a good thing you’re not made of sugar!’ Her daughter laughed and the two of them walked off to the car. Both girls had the same experience, but their mums’ responses made for a very different outcome. By interpreting the event in the positive, it allowed the child to put the experience in perspective and I wouldn’t be surprised if next time her daughter had played in the rain, she would tell her friends that she was pleased she wasn’t made of sugar.  Her mum had reframed the event.

It may be annoying if you are perpetually optimistic, so listen first but then try to cast the situation in a more positive light. Teach your child that it is fine to have a bad lesson or a bad match but not to let that grow into a bad day or bad week etc. Encourage them to reframe too.

Listen don’t fix – help your child think about what they can do to bounce back. Our children want to be heard, rather than rescued. When we bail them out, we are teaching them that they are not enough. This can be disempowering and robs them of the opportunity to grow. When children find solutions themselves, it builds their self-esteem which is vital for building resilience.

Sometimes we swoop in because we are uncomfortable with struggle. I remember being on playground duty when my son was in Year 3 and seeing him sitting all by himself, while all the other boys were playing with a ball.  I sidled up to him and asked him why he wasn’t playing.  He told me that the boy who had the ball could decide who was in the game and my son had been told that he couldn’t play. My heart broke. After break, I phoned my husband and asked him if he would be able to pop out to the shops and buy Daniel a ball and drop it off at school, so that he would have it for lunch break! I’m not proud of this story. I swooped in and rescued, because I was uncomfortable with seeing my son on his own. He didn’t need to be rescued. At best, I should have left him to sort it out himself or if necessary, later chatted about a few ways he might have handled the situation differently if it bothered him.

Reinforce the message that it is ok to find something difficult, that it’s ok for them to get things wrong, struggle to find an answer, get into trouble, experience consequences. On that note, receiving a yellow card is not fatal.  It is an opportunity to reflect and find a better way. Struggle, mistakes, discipline is not just ok – it’s important, valuable, necessary.

Model resilient behaviour – children are sponges, let them see you struggle and persevere, use language of resilience at home.

With us working on building resilience in class and on the field and parents supporting us at home, I trust that this will be a year in which we see your children grow and flourish.

Rosemary Baisch

News from Pre-Prep

• Parking/Drop Off – Please don’t leave your car in the drop off only area
• Harvest Festival Friday 4th Oct. Donations gratefully accepted

Mrs Crane has cheered up our Friday with a staff Macmillan coffee morning this morning. Thank you, Mrs Crane and all the staff who baked, rather than faked their cakes!

Please could you be mindful in the morning to only use the drop off lane if you are staying with your car and your children are happy to walk down the bridge without you. If you need to take your child into the playground please park in the car park.

Our Harvest Festival will be on Friday. We have already had lots of donations for the Trussell Trust food bank. We have supported the Swanley food bank for several years now and they are always pleased to accept your generous donations. We have even had a donation arriving from Australia this week!

As the weather is rather rainy now please could you make sure we have your child’s school coat sent in everyday.

Overheard: Were these peas grown by a local farmer?

Have a lovely weekend.

Zerrin Leech

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:

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Workshop with West Kent Mind
  • Booking open for St Michael’s families for October’s Senior Schools Fair
  • October Half-Term Sports Camps – Hockey and Football
  • Links to dance instructions from European Day of Languages assembly

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 as follows:

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid Workshop with West Kent Mind
  • October Half-Term Sports Camps

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Edgar B for wonderful number writing
Winston G for writing beautiful letters ‘t’ and ‘i’
Peter S for trying really hard in phonics
Arya G for trying hard in maths and always having a go
Nina T for always being polite and having beautiful manners
Aadhya S for fantastic work on her family tree
Thomas G for impressive work in doubling 2 digit numbers
Lawson B for 100% effort in every lesson
Cleo B for a super enthusiastic attitude and always working with a smile
Zi Chen for a hardworking attitude, following instructions and a lovely smile
Olanna for fantastic effort in swimming
Charlie M for his enthusiastic approach to school life
Elizabeth A for drawing an amazing African giraffe picture
Jake L for writing a very descriptive postcard about Sunny’s adventures
Herbie F for fantastic ideas when writing a postcard for Sunny
Archie B for always putting maximum effort into everything he does

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Lev
Music Practice Award: Zi Chen
Star Violinist Cup: George W

House Point Cup

Windsor House with a total of 168 points
Lev collected the Cup on behalf of Windsor House

Headteacher’s Stars

S Gibbinson   For making an excellent dinosaur scrapbook

News from Prep

Cognitive Ability Testing

From Monday 30th September – Monday 7th October, all children in Years 4 – 7 will take part in the CAT4 digital assessments. They will take the tests in the ICT room along with the rest of their form.

The assessments will take up to 4 lessons and will be led by Miss Booth. We conduct the CAT4 in order to gain a deeper understanding of pupils’ developed abilities, likely academic potential and learning preferences. The data is gathered through a series of computer based tests, which assess a pupil’s ability to reason with and manipulate different types of material through Verbal, Non-verbal, Quantitative and Spatial Reasoning tasks. The pupils cannot prepare for these tests as it is a measure of their cognitive abilities.

The children will all wear headphones, which will enable them to hear instructions for each task as well as read them on the computer screen. The pupils really enjoyed this format over the last three years and felt comfortable with the set up. They will all do the assessment in the ICT room with Miss Booth and Mr Halford so it is a very familiar setting for doing computer-based work. Pupils will be given a short break between each test (and will also have their full break during the morning of the assessment). I will speak to each class the day before their assessments to explain the process and answer any questions they may have.

A key reason behind organising these tests at this time of year is to provide us with baseline data and a benchmark that we can track progress against. This will enable us to be confident that the progress made by pupils each term and each year is good or better than those in other schools.

For further information and sample reports you can visit the GL assessment website
https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/products/cognitive-abilities-test-cat4/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMInMne2ezu5AIVC9TeCh16SgICEAAYAiAAEgK-E_D_BwE

Mrs Bridges

Players of the Match, week commencing 23rd September 2019

Team Name Given for: –
1st Football T Adesanya For controlling the tempo in the middle of the pitch
2nd C West For giving a solid defensive performance
3rd T Bulley For having a great attitude and never giving up
Colts A J Wiseman For giving a superb defensive display
Colts B L Poracchia For great goal-keeping
Colts C K Loukam For showing great pace and scoring 2 goals
Colts D E Green For giving great effort throughout
Colts E L Lattimer For giving his all throughout the game
Colts F L Clapham For excellent goal-keeping
U9 A J West & D Booth For making a superb effort
U9 B J McDonald & G Dulski For showing great determination
U8 A A Lutzow For showing resilience and never giving up
U8 B X Staples For having a “never giving up” attitude
U8 C O Nathan For good goal-keeping
U13 A Hockey E Collings

P Parker-Swift

For superb, solid defending

For displaying great skills on the ball

U13 B Hockey C M Pape

L Summers

For great defending

For scoring a goal and showing great tenacity on the pitch

U11 A V Medlen For giving a good all-round performance
U11 B F Merralls For scoring a hat-trick
U10 A E Bingham

I Pennington Legh

Voted for by the opposition

For all-round good play

U10 B A Stevens

A Ulens

Voted for by the opposition

For showing good movement and spacing

U10 C R Bedzrah

A Madgett

Voted for by the opposition

For great tackling

U9 A A Clapham For all-round good play
U9 B M Elliott & N Ogle Voted for by the opposition
U9 C M Murray & O Padilla Voted for by the opposition
U8 A No Match
U8 B No Match

Senior School Open Days

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Bennett Memorial Diocesan School, Bishop Challoner School, Bromley High School Christ’s Hospital, Cobham Hall, Haileybury, Kent College Pembury, King’s Canterbury, King’s Rochester, Radnor House, St Edmund’s School, Sevenoaks School, Skinners’ School, Tonbridge Girls’ Grammar, TWGGS, Walthamstow Hall and Whitgift School.

We’re delighted to announce that our Senior Schools Fair will return to St Michael’s on Thursday 17th October 2019. Keep an eye on our Senior Schools Information page for details. Booking is now open via the link on the Parents’ Portal or in the email sent to families.

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.”