eNews: Friday 29th November 2019

From the Deputies

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

Important Notice

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.

Staff News

Revd. Diane

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.

News from Pre-Prep

• Tuesday 3rd Dec. Kindergarten Nativity Concert 11am
• Wed 4th Dec. Reception Nativity 9am
• Wed 4th Dec. Year 1 Nativity 2.30pm
• Thurs 5th Dec. Year 2/3 Christingle Service 9am (Prep school)
• Thurs 5th Nursery Concert (Tu/Th) 11am
• Thurs 5th Year 2 Nativity 2.30pm
• Fri 6th Nursery Concert (M/W/Fr) 11am

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.

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:

  • 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,

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

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 Awards

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

Swimming Certificates

Learn to Swim Level 1
William M
Learn to Swim Level 2
Iris L
Learn to Swim Level 3
Reuben

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

I Johnson For a very dramatic piece of History writing
K Loukam For a very dramatic piece of History writing
A Green 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.

Players of the Match, week commencing 25th November 2019

Team Name Given for: –
1st Football
2nd
3rd
Colts A
Colts B
Colts C
Colts D No Matches for any boys
Colts E
Colts F
U9 A
U9 B
U8 A
U8 B
U8 C
U13 A Hockey I Neave

D Stephens

Voted for by the opposition

For using the space well, moving well and marking all the time.

U13 B No Match
U11 A L Blincoe Voted for by the opposition
U11 B I Johnson

 

S Andrade

Voted for by the opposition and for great attacking and defending play

For great tackling and tackling back

U10 A I Pennington-Legh Voted for by the opposition
U10 B T Carman Voted for by the opposition
U10 C T Bax

L Lutzow

B West

P Malin

For good all-round play
U10 D R Bedzrah For good all-round play
U9 A Netball M Pape For great interceptions and movement on the court
U9 B E Soper

A Ashton

Voted for by the opposition

For showing good versatility on the court

U9 C B Tovey For good all-round play
U8 Green Netball U Osunwa

E O’Dwyer

Voted for by the opposition

For good shooting

U8 Black A Pink For making some good interceptions
U8 Blue M Walker For some superb marking and defending

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include King’s Rochester, Oakwood Park Grammar School, St Olave’s Grammar School, Sevenoaks School, Skinners’ School and Whitgift 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