eNews: Friday 28th February 2020

From the Acting Co-Heads

The start of a new half term is always a chance to re-set. After a little break and the opportunity for rest and reflection we are ready to go again. In Monday morning’s assembly we talked about aims for the new half term and some pupils shared what they hoped to accomplish. It was lovely to hear excitement about the opportunity for the children to develop their hockey skills, to make progress in a particular subject or to plan to do something for charity and, in turn, help others.

When you have a clear goal or aim, no matter what it is, once you’ve acknowledged it then your next step is to make a plan. It is the actions that we commit to, day in, day out, that will determine how close we get to achieving our aims. We had a great conversation with a child this week about what they feel school is all about. They had lots to say and it was very positive, with a clear focus on learning and succeeding in exams. We concentrate so much on the daily routines, working hard to do well in the final assessment but, in reality, there’s much more to it than that. As staff at St Michael’s, we are here to get your fantastic children to the best place they can be in the next steps of their life. To figure out who they are and how they can be the best version of themselves. It’s the building of the skills that will make our pupils be able to cope with the curveballs that life will throw. Resilience, kindness, empathy, commitment and the ability to work collaboratively. Grit and determination. Looking at life with the wonder of a two year old, as Einstein said, can fill our lives with joy and an infallible energy. And isn’t that what makes the whole thing worthwhile? So, whatever your children hope to achieve this half term, I hope that they can figure out some strategies to get there. And even if they don’t quite make it then we can be pretty confident that they will benefit from developing the commitment and resilience that will bring later success.

Mr Bridges wrote to the parents of the boys in the Prep school this week to explain why we are still looking longingly down on the oh-so-nearly finished AstroTurf, as we have hockey fixtures in the calendar that we have been unable to fulfil. We really have had unprecedented bad weather over the previous months, but we are pleased to say that the end is in sight. We are still reliant on a period of good weather to allow the sand to be evenly distributed, but we are hopeful that the children will be able to get on the new pitch soon. We are looking forward next week to the music scholars’ evening performance at Shoreham Church. We are sure it will be a fantastic event and wish all the performers well this weekend with their final preparations.

We wish you a lovely, restful weekend.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

News from Pre-Prep

• Parents’ Evenings Tuesday 17th March and Thursday 19th March; sign up on Parents’ Evening System from 21.00 on Monday 2nd March 
• Thursday March 5th World Book Day
• Author Alan Durant Wed 4th March. Books available for sale at the end of the school day

We have been into recycling this week. I’ve enjoyed watching Kindergarten children tapping pins into the polystyrene cushioning that packed our new smart board screens and I was delighted to see Reception children making a soft play area for bugs out of all sorts of rubbish. Your cardboard boxes are always being put to good use with our younger years. I know you are all delighted to get them back once a transformation has taken place!

On Wednesday Mrs Briggs has organised for author Alan Durant to hold workshops on writing stories with your children. He will have some of his books for sale at the end of the school day and these can be billed to your school account if you find this an easier payment method.

Thursday is World Book Day and, in common with a lot of schools up and down the country, we will be dressing up as book characters. Please make sure that children still have their school coats and that they can still play outside comfortably in their costumes. Any characters with weapons will of course need to leave those at home on the day.

Coronavirus I know is a concern for you all. Please rest assured that as a school we are taking advice from Public Health England daily and we will continue to ask their advice about any individual family concerns. Meanwhile please help to reinforce our message to the children about washing their hands properly with soap and water.

I will be at the Pre-Prep Heads’ conference next Thursday and Friday so if you have any urgent concerns please contact Miss Jo Salmon who will be looking after Pre-Prep in my absence.

Overheard: Mrs Leech, how many different costumes do you have at home?

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:

  • Mr Lopez’s Archway Easter Football Camp
  • Mr Thomas’ Easter Hockey Camp
  • Small number of tickets left for Little Shop of Horrors
  • Channel 4’s Junior Bake Off – applications open to bakers aged 9-15

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

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Lawson for perseverance in swimming and showing huge improvement this week
Adam O for always trying his hardest in swimming and for making brilliant progress
Miranda for lovely independent writing about tigers
Dylan H for excellent listening and participation during all our learning
Grace L for beautiful handwriting
Isla B for good understanding of subtraction
Elodie for trying so hard to read with confidence and expression
Rui for excellent effort in our Maths work this week
Thomas G for good recall of information when exploring non-fiction texts
Grace P for showing resilience in Maths lessons and always trying her very best even when finding things tricky
Nik for settling back into school life beautifully
Elizabeth S for being kind and considerate to others
Sebastian G for good work with odd and even numbers
Sophie N for sharing some interesting facts about owls
Kayla for always working exceptionally hard, especially with her writing
Xavier for an improved effort with the speed at which he works, showing far more resilience
Nia for creating a fantastic model of a rocket, based on the Apollo II Saturn V
James L for working hard to plan and write a letter home from Neil Armstrong while he was in space

House Point Cup

Dover House with a total of 119 points
Eliza collected the Cup on behalf of Dover House

100 House Points

Dover: Eliza
Leeds: Herbie F

Times Tables Certificate

Bronze: Raven

Silver: Eva F

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Adam J
Music Practice Award: Walter
Star Violinist Cup: Taran

Pre-Prep Assembly

Well done to Finley and Olivia, who played “Train Ride” and “Footsteps in the Snow” respectively, in our Assembly.

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

L Shi For having art work displayed at school
T Vafai For having art work displayed at school
S Edwards-Matthews For having art work displayed at school

Players of the Match, week commencing 24th February 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Hockey
U12
U11 A
U11 B
U10 A No Matches for any boys this week
U10 B
U9 A
U9 B
U8 A
U8 B
U8 C
U13 A Netball No Matches
U13 B No Matches
U13 C No Matches
U11 A A Ogle

M Noorpuri

For good all-round play

For making great interceptions

U11 B S Cook For showing good all-round play and skills
U11 C K Fryer Voted for by the opposition
U10 A A Mitchell

E Newton

G Owen

For great defending

For super shooting

For displaying great sportsmanship

U10 B M Amure

N Stinson

Voted for by the opposition

For energised and effective play

U10 C T Carman Voted for by the opposition
U10 D T Bax Voted for by the opposition
U9 A M Pape Voted as player of the tournament by all of the schools
U9 B No Matches
U9 C No Matches
U8 A No Matches
U8 B No Matches
U8 C No Matches

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

A Sevenoaks food bank is 318 kilos heavier following a donation from St Michael’s.

 

The school surprised charity The Community Cupboard with the generous donation on Monday, February 1 following a Christmas collection for the cause.

 

In total, £965 was raised from parent and staff donations throughout December, which St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P & F) used to organise a Sainsbury’s shop of food and toiletries for the charity.

 

Commenting on the school’s motivation to help the food bank, Co-Chair of St Michael’s P & F, Kelly Downey, said: “Delivering our donation to The Community Cupboard was an amazing and uplifting moment. Being able to bring the school together to contribute to a cause which plays such an important role in our community during this time was very rewarding.”

 

Greeted with three car loads of canned foods, long-life products and toiletries, Kelly also describes how delighted the charity were with the school’s generosity. She added: “The team were really blown away by our donation and thankful for the time we’d taken to raise the money and organise a delivery.

 

“It was a great feeling to be able to put an initial idea from a St Michael’s parent into action, and to see the impact we would be having on the local community.”

 

Kelly added: “We recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to put food on the table for their families. We hope that our donation can be a small step in making a difference for those people.”

 

Since the start of January alone, an additional 22 local families have registered for The Community Cupboard’s support, reflecting the increased pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic across the country. And it is only thanks to generous donations that the charity can continue to provide help to those who need it most.

 

Trustee at The Community Cupboard, David Carter said: “We would like to express our extreme gratitude to St Michael’s for their wonderful donation. We are very lucky to receive regular donations from local groups, but they are rarely to this scale.

 

“The food and toiletries kindly given to us by St Michael’s have allowed us to fully restock our shelves as well as putting plenty of stock on standby for new referrals. The size of this donation will allow us to give substantial food packages to the 22 new families who were referred to us in January. St Michael’s help is invaluable to us and will make a huge difference.”

 

Since its launch in January 2020, The Community Cupboard has continued to help families in Sevenoaks, and has extended its help to cover a 20 mile radius including Edenbridge, Westerham, Surrey, Sidcup, Rochester and Ashford, due to the pandemic.

 

The Trustee added: “We began as a small group of people determined to make a difference locally in an area where food banks were lacking. Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way and our efforts would be needed tenfold. To say we hit the ground running would be an understatement.”

 

Run by four members and six volunteers, The Community Cupboard works tirelessly to deliver parcels to families, and in January alone distributed 3.1 tonnes of food, toiletries and essential items.

 

David said: “We began the charity on the foundation that ‘if we can help, we will’, and with the community’s help, I’m proud to say we are doing just that. We see a lot of hardship and sadness in doing what we do, but it really opens our eyes to the incredible hard work various organisations and charities do in our community. Thanks to generous groups like St Michael’s, we can confidently say ‘yes, we can help you’.”

 

The Community Cupboard are currently taking donations of tinned and long-life food products, as well as toiletries and essential items. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be put towards bulk orders for the charity.

 

The charity is based at The Garage, Gamcock meadow, West Kingdown where a covid secure donation drop off process has been put in place.

 

For more information about The Community Cupboard, or to donate to the charity visit www.thecommunitycupboard.co.uk.

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.

 

 

Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head describes the school.

“I’ve always liked St Michael’s and have been visiting it for several years as part of sports fixtures with my previous schools”, Nik Pears said.

“Something that has always impressed me about St Michael’s is the atmosphere and people that belong to it.

“The sense of community you feel when walking through the doors of the school is extraordinary”, he added.

An avid sportsman, experienced leader, and family man, Mr Pears brings with him a wealth of ideas for St Michael’s, including his core value of equipping pupils for life.

Nik , who joined St Michael’s in January 2021, explained: “I am very keen on developing a growth mindset in my pupils. In this ever-changing world, our children need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom.

“Pupils need to be adaptable, resilient and perseverant, and learn to accept their failure and mistakes as important parts of their personal development.

“By equipping children with the right interpersonal skills during their school years, we can set them up for a future in which they may have to fight for their place in the world.”

Nik’s concept of growth mindset can also be applied to his broader vision for the school.

Coming to St Michael’s from his headship at Kent College, Pembury, Nik believes the challenges posed by Covid-19 can teach schools a lot about the importance of flexibility and community.

Mr Pears said: “These unprecedented times have been a huge learning curve for schools.

“Navigating a school through a global crisis was never going to be easy, but it has shown just how necessary it is to put pupils at the heart of every decision.

“As someone who has experienced the period as both a teacher and parent, it is very clear that we are all battling the same storm in different boats.

“It is incredible how people have found new and creative ways to deal with the circumstances. From Zoom concerts, to helping food banks, to keeping each other’s spirits high with funny videos, this period has shown us a lot about community which we will learn from and remember.”

Having belonged to multiple Prep schools himself throughout his education and as a teacher, Nik is excited to be entering this new stage in his career at St Michael’s.

Reflecting on his own school years which saw him attend schools in London, Devon and Dublin, he said: “I always enjoyed school as a child and made the most of every opportunity I was given.

“I particularly enjoyed subjects like music, drama and history and was fascinated by the things that we learnt.

“I was also heavily involved in sports and belonged to the Kent U18 rugby group. Even now you’ll find me in a pair of wellies at the side of the pitch cheering on my pupils and own children.”

Nik added: “I was one of those children who wanted to get stuck into everything, even the things that I found difficult.

“As well as my sports clubs, I belonged to multiple choirs, as well as orchestras where I played the drums, trumpet, piano and guitar.”

Mr Pears also spoke about the impact his own teachers had on his time at school and the person that he is today.

He said: “I had some amazing teachers which taught me a lot of things about life and leadership.

“Sir Anthony Seldon, one of my history teachers, was particularly inspiring and sparked my passion for the subject.

“The Head of my Prep school in Dublin also gave her pupils a lot of time. She was a hero.”

And Nik’s teachers aren’t his only role models in life.

He said: “A man called Phil Wall is also a huge inspiration of mine. Phil is the founder of the charity We See Hope which works with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa.

“Phil’s selflessness and passion for the cause inspired me to become an ambassador for the charity.

“His exceptional leadership, authenticity and integrity is just inspiring.”

Mr Pears also explained how his love of people has guided him to the many leadership roles he has held.

Nik said: “I very much enjoy being with people and having a good laugh. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing family including my wife, Emma and our two children, Jessica and Josiah. Our pet hamster Charlie is also a valued member of the family who kept us well entertained during the first lockdown.”

He added: “Being a leader brings so many opportunities to show warmth, empathy and understanding to others, and I can’t wait to become a member of the St Michael’s community.

“When pupils leave St Michael’s to pursue their senior education, I hope they remember me as someone who was kind, knew them well and valued their opinion.”

 

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