No doubt, many of you will feel great disappointment at the recent news that we will not be returning to school directly after half-term, as hoped. Whilst the latest government announcement that we will not return before March may be frustrating, I am grateful that as a school we are equipped and ready to continue to support the children with their Remote Learning. To that end, thank you for taking the time to complete our Remote Learning survey. We had a huge response and we are grateful to you for your support and the constructive feedback given; it is all helpful as we continue to review and improve our provision in pursuit of excellence. We have taken time to digest this information and you will see in separate correspondence some changes that will be implemented as a result.
I am mindful that these are difficult days for us all and as a school we are keen to do everything possible to support our whole community. I am therefore delighted to announce that we will be welcoming Dr Aric Sigman to hold a virtual webinar for the St Michael’s community on Thursday 11th February at 8pm. The hour-long presentation and Q&A will focus on our increased screen time due to lockdown, as well as offering useful tips for finding balance in our working days.
Dr Sigman is an expert on the impact of screen time, guided by his experience as a chartered psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and member of the Royal Society of Medicine, among other titles. Dr Sigman holds a BA, MA and phD in Psychology, and is a regular contributor to parliamentary reports and journals on children’s mental health. Additionally, he has published four of his own books on a variety of topics and presented to organisations such as the International Congress of Child Neurology on topics including ‘Risks to children’s brain development today: screen dependency disorders’.
Several years ago I had the privilege of hearing Dr Sigman speak at an IAPS Conference and was impacted by what he had to say. Having spoken with him earlier this week, I am confident that his webinar will be reassuring and helpful to us as parents at this time, as well as equipping us with tools and strategies to help navigate life in lockdown.
Please note that whilst this is not a ‘public’ event, as such, you are welcome to invite friends whom you feel this may benefit as this is a time to help one another. More information, including joining details will be sent out in due course.
Have a great weekend.
A message from Mr Pears to pupils:
From the Head of Pre-Prep
It looks like we are aiming for March before we can see a return to school for your children. As a school we don’t get any advance information, so we only know as much as you do. We are looking forward to the time when we can reopen for all your children. After the previous lockdown, we were concerned that the children would feel worried about coming into school again. However, we learnt on day one, that this wasn’t the case and the children skipped down the bridge as usual. I am hopeful that we will experience the same in March.
I am continuing to see some great work going on at home. I realise this is a stressful time for parents as you try and fit in your work commitments around home schooling but it looks like you are all doing a great job. Please manage to take some down time each day. At school, the children have a lot of variety and are not sitting down for long periods of time so don’t expect your child to do this at home.
Thank you to those of you who completed the parent questionnaire. We were pleased that there were so many positive comments. It is clear we have improved on the remote learning from 2020. We are looking carefully at your suggestions and will try and tweak our offering where we can.
Overheard in Pre-Prep:
Teacher: “The number at the top of a fraction is called the numerator. The number at the bottom is…?”
Child: “The dominator”
Have a lovely weekend,
H Forrest (Year 3) for brilliant videos and designs in the Float-a-Boat challenge
E Feachem (Year 3) for fantastic design work and creating a brilliant Insect Hotel
E Law (Year 5) for an interesting and creative English PowerPoint presentation
R Romero (Year 5) for drawing an outstanding Zentangle feather
E Green (Year 6) for doing a great source style question, in detail in History
B Cosgrove (Year 6) for a wonderful piece of History source work on the British Empire and for writing an amazing poem on Pleasant Sounds
G Owen (Year 6) for working hard to understand poetic techniques and their effect on the reader
L Lattimer (Year 6) for great effort in writing an amazing poem of the senses
R Thornhill (Year 6) for writing an amazing poem on the senses
M Amure (Year 6) for writing an effective story in free verse in English on a Rainbow’s demise
C Hunter (Year 6) for creating the longest chains of factors and multiples from a hundred square
O Gasson (Year 6) for a great performance of ‘rhythm’ and beats
O West (Year 6) for writing a brilliant recipe poem called ‘Winter Morning’
T Carman (Year 6) for great analysis of History sources on the British Empire
E Schwarm (Year 6) for great analysis of History sources on the British Empire
L Keogh (Year 7) for a beautiful response to a one point perspective drawing
G Schneider-Price (Year 7) for creating an excellent Roman Dramatic Theatre
E Collings (Year 8) for creating fantastic packaging, company logo and video for her glass coaster
This week pupils have been working extremely hard in their Remote Learning lessons. Please enjoy this highlights reel of their work.
Send in your photos
To send us photos or videos of your child taking part in Remote Learning, please email email@example.com along with your child’s name, year group and a short description of the photograph. All content sent to this email address may feature on St Michael’s social media and in other publications.
Holocaust Memorial Day
On Thursday Mrs Shield led an assembly about Holocaust Memorial Day. This was an important opportunity for Prep pupils to remember the victims of the Holocaust.
Year 3 pupil Finlay lit a candle after the assembly in honour of those who suffered.
Critical Workers group
Meanwhile, in school our Critical Workers group has enjoyed a range of lessons and activities.
‘Rainbow’ by Moyo
Please enjoy this wonderful poem written and performed by Moyo in Year 6. Inspired by her English lessons on poetry of the senses, Moyo wrote this poem based on the sight sense.
Whole School News
Presenting… this week’s Freestyle Friday dance to ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry. Thank you to everyone who submitted their clips, we hope you enjoy watching this video.
Next week’s theme is: Dancing 9 to 5!
St Michael’s pupils, staff and teachers are working extremely hard at the moment and we want to applaud that by dancing! Whether you’re dressed as a firefighter, doctor, zoo keeper, or simply doing some Remote Learning, we want to see your best moves.
If your child would like to be involved, please send a 5-10 second video clip of your child dancing to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for the final video. Please can we ask parents to be mindful of what their child is wearing in the video, and to ensure that their clothing and dance moves are appropriate for distribution to the school community and on St Michael’s social media channels.
The deadline for the next Freestyle Friday video is Wednesday 3rd February at 12pm. Please film all videos in landscape and not portrait. You do not need to worry about sound in the video as all clips will be muted before being put with a backing track.
Lockdown Life Hacks
This week, Mr Pears has launched a new initiative called Lockdown Life Hacks. The weekly project, designed to get the St Michael’s community through lockdown, invites pupils, parents, staff (and pets!) to share the thing which is getting them through lockdown in a short 30 second to 1 minute video.
Whether it’s a particular hobby, daily ritual or book series which is giving you a boost, we want to hear about it. What seems second nature to you, could help give someone else a new sense of focus.
This week, Mr Bridges is sharing his Lockdown Life Hack:
To submit your Lockdown Life Hack, please email a 30 second to 1 minute video clip to email@example.com. Videos submitted may be used on St Michael’s website and social media. Videos from pupils, parents and staff are welcome.
From the P & F
Family Yoga sessions
The P&F are delighted that one of our parents, Tess, is offering Family Yoga sessions designed for families with children in Years 5-8. Parents of other years are also welcome to join in, however the lessons are specifically structured for over 9 years olds.
These 40 minute weekly sessions are running on Thursdays at 5pm (for this half term).
The suggested donation is £5 per household which will be donated to the P&F. For further details, please see the post on Classlist. If you have any questions please email Tess at firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio Mike – starting the weekend in style!
Radio Mike is a home radio station set up by one of our Pre-Prep parents, Cath Hurst-Barron, during the first lockdown as a way of keeping children, and parents, in touch and having some fun together. The aim is to connect, laugh and enjoy some great music together. Suitable for young and old, Radio Mike plays chart toppers, pop, rock, cheesy tunes, oldies- you name it.
Radio Mike now has many listeners from across the school and the wider community. Anyone can listen anywhere; if you have loved ones faraway they can tune in and listen to the amazing tunes and also hear your child (or you if you so wish!) live on the radio! Messages, jokes and requests are all welcome. The more contributions the better. Record your child playing a piece on their violin or telling a joke or get a favourite tune played for a friend’s birthday. Perhaps your guinea pig has had piglets and the children are desperate to share the news…….you get the idea!
Help Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve plan for the future with this short survey
Kent Wildlife Trust is consulting its long term plans for the future of its flagship visitor centre at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. They want to improve the visitor experience and inspire future generations to connect with nature.
To ensure their plans consider the needs of the whole community, Kent Wildlife Trust is inviting you to complete a short survey on the matter. View the proposals and have your say using the link below. Deadline for survey completion is Sunday 7th February 2021.
We are delighted to announce that former St Michael’s pupil Jess Haynes has selected to join the Loughborough Lightning Superleague Netball team.
Jess, who attended St Michael’s between 2008 and 2014 and returned as a GAP Student in 2019, made her Superleague and Sky Sports debut on Saturday 5th June against Celtic Dragons at the Copperbox Arena in London, after which she was officially announced as Loughborough Lightning squad member No. 102.
Lightning are currently in second place in the Superleague behind Team Bath and have already secured their place in the playoffs.
Jess, whose matches with Lightning will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Netball platforms, said: “I feel so honoured and excited to be given this opportunity. It has been a bit of a whirlwind over the last couple of weeks so it was great to get on court and make my Superleague debut at the Copperbox . I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season with such an amazing squad. I always love coming back to St Michael’s to coach the current pupils, to share my love of sport and to show that dreams do come true!”
Jess joined Loughborough Lightning U21 NPL Squad from London Pulse in September 2020 when she started studying at Nottingham Trent University where she is part of their Performance Sport Programme.
And it was St Michael’s where her passion for netball began. Jess’ mum, Clare, said: “Jess’ year group team were a strong squad who enjoyed a high level of success at both local and national IAPS level. Jess played all sports during her time here where she achieved a great deal of success across the board . She left at the end of Year 8 to continue her education at Kent College Pembury with a Sports Scholarship. Her place in the Loughborough Lightning Super League is a huge opportunity for her.”
Mrs Wade, who coached Jess during her time at St Michael’s, added: “We are extremely proud of Jess and all she has achieved since leaving St Michael’s. I had the delight of watching Jess’ netball skills grow tremendously during her time with us and it is no surprise that Jess’ dedication to the sport has landed her this incredible opportunity. We look forward to hearing about her future successes and seeing her on Sky Sports!”
A swarm of bees, pride of lions and bloom of ladybirds could be seen roaming the school grounds on Friday 28th May as the Prep school celebrated Go Wild Day in aid of local charities Kent Wildlife Trust and Otford Hospices of Hope.
The action-packed charity day, organised by the School Council to raise awareness of the local causes, raised an amazing £727.04.
Mr Baird, Acting Deputy Head, said: “It was amazing to see so many staff and pupils dressing up for this brilliant fundraising event. A big thank you to the School Council and Year 8 prefects who played a key part in the success of the event, and to the pupils for putting so much effort and energy into the activities.”
Throughout the day, pupils took part in fundraising activities including an exotic bring and buy sale where pupils exchanged good quality toys and games. The afternoon events also included a face painting session for the children led by the senior Art Scholars group.
Fundraising & Communications Manager at Otford Hospices of Hope, Jessica McKechie added: “We were delighted to hear that St Michael’s Prep School chose to fundraise for Hospices of Hope with their Go Wild Day. Being supported locally is so important for our charity and we are really grateful to all the children and staff who took part. The funds raised will help us to support our patients with vital care, some of whom are children too and will love to hear about the activities the school arranged in order to help them.”
St Michael’s Go Wild Day forms part of its longterm plan to improve the wildlife around their 90-acre site as well as increasing the school community’s awareness of the importance of conserving nature.
Delighted by St Michael’s efforts, Acting Head of Education and Lifelong Learning at Kent Wildlife Trust, Lee Mason-Baldwin said: “Wow, what a brilliant effort and superb, heart-warming achievement, thank you so much! We love the gorgeous colourful activities and the fun you’ve had to help animals, plants, bugs and birds which is crucial for developing a life-long love of wildlife. Your support will help us on our quest for a wilder Kent, rich in wildlife for everyone to enjoy, forever.”
For more information about St Michael’s Prep School please visit their website: https://www.stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/
We are hugely proud to announce that past St Michael’s pupils L Bingham and A Faulstich have been selected for the England Under 16 Hockey Squad.
The Year 10 pupils, who currently attend Weald of Kent Grammar School and Tonbridge Grammar School were announced as members last week following many months of training and assessment.
Congratulating the girls on their achievement, Mrs Wade, who taught them PE during their time 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 about their future success.”
A huge congratulations to both girls on this amazing achievement.
St Michael’s Prep School, Otford was delighted to welcome concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy as the special guest for its Scholars’ Day on Thursday 20th May.
Mr McCarthy, who was the first left-hand-only graduate of the Royal College of Music in its 130-year history, hosted a music masterclass with the school’s Music Scholars, before joining the wider Scholars group for an evening of food and entertainment.
Nicholas said: “It has been so wonderful to work with the pupils today. The performance standard of the Scholars is fantastic and their personalities came across in their performances. It was lovely to see.”
During his visit, the talented musician shared his story with St Michael’s including his performance with band Coldplay at the 2012 Paralympics Closing Ceremony. Nicholas also offered words of encouragement for overcoming setbacks and barriers. He said: “At my first audition I was turned away because they just didn’t believe I could play the piano with one hand. I had to dig deep and find that resilience to carry on achieving my dream. Very quickly that fire built back up and I was determined to prove them wrong.”
Commenting on the success of the event, St Michael’s Deputy Head Mary Bridges said: “We were delighted to host a special event for our current scholars, incoming scholars and our Year 8 pupils who have achieved scholarships at their senior schools. Nicholas words inspired all of us and his performance was absolutely stunning. It was a true mark of excellence.”
To view a highlights reel of the event or watch the full interview with St Michael’s Head Nik Pears and Nicholas McCarthy please visit their YouTube page.