We had a ‘Heinz’ day on Monday this week: 57 children off with illness! You know you are in the season of coughs, colds and flu when you have a fifth of the Prep children and staff all off on one day. We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while many of the children and staff are battling some fairly unpleasant bugs. We wish everyone still struggling a very speedy recovery. We would also like to extend, publicly, our thanks to the staff who have all stepped up in this difficult time of cover lessons and duties. It is truly heartening to see the commitment to St Michael’s when faced with difficult times.
The illness bug that has run its way through a large proportion of the children and staff has caused a substantial increase in pressure on many aspects of the running of the school. We ask for your patience when waiting for a response to an email or request. We will endeavour to get back to you in our normal time frame, but this may not always be possible.
Election fever hit St Michael’s this week as the Year 8 children have been very busy on their campaign trails and have successfully generated huge excitement and engagement across the school. Today we hold our own election and it will be interesting to see how the votes go when they are announced on Monday (keep your eye on the Twitter feed for updates). Over the course of this week our four Year 8 candidates have stated their parties’ aims in lunchtime broadcasts to an energised lunch hall.
It has been refreshing to see a friendly and open contest amongst our own candidates, which is in contrast to what we are observing in the public arena. As so often is the case, it is the children that lead the way.
As we look towards the weekend and the Christmas Bazaar, we would like to wish the volunteers from the P&F committee, the parent reps and the volunteer parents who are all giving up time to make this event happen, all the best. This is one of the highlights of the St Michael’s calendar, if not only for the opportunity to hear the trained voices of the staff choir… or is that strained voices?!
Have a lovely weekend, we look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow.
Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman
We understand from communication via other local schools that Kent Police have received intelligence that some individuals may be planning to cause disruption at tonight’s Christmas lights event in Sevenoaks.
Fraser Wiseman contacted Kent Police this morning and they confirmed that there will be the appropriate number of officers and CCTV at the event. We all hope that the evening will run smoothly and without incident but we wanted to bring this to your attention so that if you are attending with your children you can be extra vigilant.
Sadly, we will say goodbye to Revd Diane at the end of term. Diane joined us in September 2015 and has made a real impact in many areas during those four years. She has been instrumental in introducing and implementing the new enquiry-based curriculum in Years 3-6 and has recently enjoyed delivering the new St Michael’s Diploma work to Year 7. She has led thoughtful worship in both Prep and Pre-Prep, including preparing children (and staff) for Confirmation and Baptism. Each year, Diane has enjoyed finding readings and prayers around a theme for the Carol Service. We have also seen the introduction of a new school Hymn Book under Diane’s direction, which includes the new Eucharistic Prayer for children, as well as prayers modern and traditional at the back. Her wider responsibilities have included taking a gifted and talented maths group in Pre-Prep, as well as doing some weddings and baptisms in Kindergarten! She has also provided essential pastoral care to the whole St Michael’s community.
Over the past year, Diane’s adventures have taken her beyond the parish of Shoreham to Tanzania, where she has led a three-way partnership between Shoreham Village School, Shoreham Parish and St Michael’s, linking us to St Joseph’s, Chunyu and Chunyu primary and secondary schools. Pupils and teachers in both countries are continuing to benefit from learning about the rich diversity in our lives and cultures.
Diane will continue as Vicar of Shoreham Church and will also further our partnership with Mpwapwa. We will work hard to continue the 20-year association between St Michael’s and Shoreham Church. She hopes to come back to offer some supply teaching. Diane may also pick up on her former career as an Educational Psychologist and will definitely spend more time on her passion of glass-making. We wish Diane, Alain and Joseph all the very best for the future and look forward to Diane’s Carol Service in Shoreham Church on 10th December.
We are delighted to welcome Katherine Keen to St Michael’s, teaching Year 3 in a job-share with Mrs Macintosh.
Katherine joins us with several years of teaching experience within the state and independent sectors. She has taught all year groups from Reception to Year 8. After graduating from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2003, she began her teaching career at St James Hatcham CE School, New Cross. Here she was the Head of Key Stage One and a member of Senior Management, as well as the English, ICT, PSHE and Gifted and Talented subject leader.
In 2007, she moved on to teach at Riverston Independent Day School. Here, much of her experience has been with students with special educational needs. She held a variety of posts at Riverston, including ‘Senior Mistress of The Lower School’ for seven years. Katherine also held the posts of NQT mentor, English subject leader, choir leader and intervention teacher.
Katherine has a strong interest in positive mental health in children and recently undertook CPCAB training in levels 2 & 3 Counselling studies. She is a calm, experienced and creative teacher, who enjoys seeing children reach their full potential and leave school each day feeling happy and accomplished.
Katherine’s hobbies include: Metafit, walking, yoga, reading, attending concerts and the theatre and listening to music. She is excited about joining the teaching staff at St Michael’s after visiting us and experiencing such enthusiasm for learning from the children. She is very much looking forward to working with the Year 3 children and parents and being part of our school community.
The classrooms are now beginning to look very festive as your children produce cards and decorations in preparation for Christmas. We are so lucky that our curriculum allows time for our children to be creative in so many ways.
We have a very busy week next week with all our Nativities. We will be serving coffee and tea in the dining room 15 minutes before each performance. For the 2 afternoon performances the children who are currently in the choir will be singing alongside the other year group’s performers, so some of you may have children singing twice. If your child is in choir, they will be wearing their school uniform so please don’t worry about additional costumes.
Don’t forget the P&F Christmas Bazaar this Saturday. A huge amount of work goes into this by the parents on the P&F Committee and all the parent reps, so a big thank you to all the people who are involved. Sadly this is the first year I won’t be attending as I agreed to run a safeguarding training workshop for Tonbridge Child Contact Centre. I’m sure the staff and community choir won’t miss me!
Overheard: When babies are born they can’t sit up, that’s why they have babysitters.
I look forward to welcoming you all next week to our Nativities.
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:
P&F Christmas Bazaar tomorrow, 30th November!
School Uniform Shop – extra Christmas opening time
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,
Miranda for wonderful have-a-go writing of some very long words
Dylan for great reading in phonics
Uma for showing great improvement in her handwriting
Conrad for beautiful singing in our Nativity practice
Ellie S for an informative and confident show and tell
Aadhya for working so hard and showing good understanding in our measuring lesson
Lawson for working hard with his handwriting and practising at home too
Isabelle D for thinking of interesting questions in our English lesson and remembering to use question marks
Max H for a great clear speaking voice in the Nativity practice
Sebastian G for trying hard with his phonics
Ruaridh for learning his lines and cues for the performance
Kayla for a noticeable improvement with her reading and writing
Aiden for using lovely expression when delivering his lines in the Nativity practice
Amelia N for having a positive attitude towards all her learning
Herbie F for working extremely hard on his maths homework and presenting it neatly
Music Practice Cup: Alice O Music Practice Award: Xavi Star Violinist Cup: Amelia-Rose
House Point Cup
Windsor House with a total of 111 points Finlay S collected the Cup on behalf of Windsor House
Learn to Swim Level 1
William M Learn to Swim Level 2
Iris L Learn to Swim Level 3
News from Prep
For a very dramatic piece of History writing
For a very dramatic piece of History writing
For a very dramatic piece of History writing
Global Child Prodigy Award for Year 5 pupil
Congratulations to I Sharma, who has been selected as one of the 100 children worldwide to be awarded the Global Child Prodigy Award 2020 in the category of “Yoga”. He will receive his award in Delhi in January from Nobel Peace Laureate Dr Kailash Satyarthi.
Prep pupils recently treated their classmates and music teachers to a variety of musical performances in a half termly concert.
Performed in three instalments within their bubbles, the musicians showcased a variety of pieces, varying in both genre and instrument.
And although parents were unable to attend the concerts due to Covid-19 restrictions, the pupils’ families received a recording of the event.
Gordon Baird, Director of Music, said “We were delighted by how these first concerts of the academic year went despite the absence of the children’s parents. It was a lovely intimate experience for the children to play or sing to their friends and we heard some confident, accomplished performances.
Mr Baird added: “For some, it was their first time playing in a concert in the Prep school and we look forward to organising many more opportunities for them to perform throughout the year.”
Spooky spiders and plump pumpkins sparked Halloween fun at St Michael’s this week.
Supported by the school’s Parents and Friends association, pupils enjoyed two games which offered great prizes to winners.
Coordinator of the Halloween competitions and P & F committee member, Kelly Downey said: “Given the restrictions currently in place, the P&F are focusing on strengthening the school community for parents and children this year.
“The competitions are a simple way for the children to have some fun in the week before half term, while raising some funds for the P&F.”
Children in Pre-Prep were tasked with guessing the number of spooky spiders in the jar, while Prep children were asked to guess the weight of a pumpkin. Pupils made a donations to the P & F in exchange for each guess they made.
And the winners of the games, Herbie W (Pre-Prep) A Ward, M Little, L Lutzow and H Owen (Prep), were awarded Halloween hampers which will help them celebrate this year’s festival in spooktacular style.
Kelly added: “The funds raised for the P&F will go towards funding activities and facilities for the children to enrich their time at the school.”
Strawberries and sunflowers were just some of the items celebrated in last week’s harvest assemblies.
The annual Pre-Prep event, performed as three instalments this year, saw Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils sing, dance and give prayer for the harvest while learning about the festival from their music teacher, Mrs Raveyeh.
Reflecting on the success of the events, Louise Raveyeh said: “I am quite moved by the children’s enthusiastic singing in our harvest celebration.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to realise that there is joy in giving and sharing what we have and happiness for those who gratefully receive it.
“Their singing and eagerness to share with others was heartwarming.”
During the assemblies pupils sung songs about harvest time, nature and the variety of fruit and vegetables grown in this country.
Louise said: “I wanted the children to be thankful for what they have by realising what an amazing rainbow variety of food we have, created with individual characteristics just like them.
“I wanted them to realise the sense of joy that there is in sharing what we have.
“The songs reflect our celebration of what we have and realisation of the process of planting, harvesting and sharing.”
And it wasn’t just songs that helped the children express their thanks. Helped by their generous parents, Pre-Prep donated hundreds of food items and household essentials to the Swanley branch of Trussell Trust food bank.
Head of Pre-Prep at St Michael’s, Zerrin Leech, said: “We had tables, cupboards and bags festooned with food last week as our families gave very kind donations of food and other items.
“A huge thank you must go to the pupils’ parents for their wonderful generosity once again this year which will be gratefully received by the Trussell Trust.
“Thank you also to Mrs Ravayeh for leading our three harvest assemblies. They have been lovely with lots of new songs as well as my all-time favourite, Cauliflowers Fluffy.”
My son began his journey at St Michael's last Friday in the Nursery class and, one week on, I have to write to say how impressed I am and how thrilled we are with our decision to send him to such an amazing school.
The approach to settling them in has been perfect!
St Michael’s is a wonderful school. Fantastic teachers, a nurturing environment. It has suited our three children who are all very different in their academic and pastoral needs. Thank you.
Year 6 Parent
St Michael's is a place where I can let my imagination run wild.
Year 6 pupil
We were struck by the warmth and kindness of everyone we met; pupils as well as staff. We believe in giving our son the right start and instilling in him the joy of learning and satisfaction from achievement. We can see this happening at St Michael’s
My daughter has had such a wonderful school life at St.Michael’s. We really couldn’t have asked for a better school for her in terms of academic life, extra-curricular activities and friendship groups. We still can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by and that she will soon be leaving!