It’s been another vibrant week at St Michael’s, packed full of wonderful lessons and activities!
My assemblies this term focus on inspiring women from black history and so far, the stories of Wilma Rudolph and Mary Seacole have been shared. Both women faced many challenges, but showed impressive determination and resilience to pursue and fulfil their life goals. Bravery has been a key theme in these assemblies as both Wilma and Mary stood up for themselves and others, challenging those who limited opportunity and equality. Whilst our pupils were shocked at the injustice in these stories, they could articulate why learning about them is so important. True empathy and understanding of how “we can make things better in the future” was expressed superbly by the children.
Many pupils at St Michael’s have been taking assessments this week. This can be a nerve-wracking time, but we focus on the importance of understanding what we can and can’t do so that we know how to take the next steps with confidence and clarity. The testing environment at St Michael’s is supportive because our pupils know that progress looks different for everyone. By developing a growth mindset, we foster intrinsic motivation and openness to embrace challenges, learning from our mistakes as we grow. I would highly recommend Carol Dweck, Matthew Syed, Barry Hymer and Angela Duckworth as writers who give great insight into how the language we use can shape the mindset of the children, enabling them to understand that applying effort, embracing challenge and learning from mistakes will have a powerful impact on their success at school and beyond.
I’m sure, like me, you have had your ear on the national news this week and are aware that the Covid-19 situation is at the forefront of many people’s minds. We are, as you know, working very hard to continue to minimise the risk of the virus coming into the school community so that we can remain open to all pupils. Thank you for your patience with the ongoing adjustments to drop off and collection of the children; we appreciate your continued efforts in supporting the new systems in place. Our next development will be increased shelter for the pick up areas which will be welcomed on rainy days over the coming months. Thank you to the P & F for supporting us with this investment.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and restful weekend.
From the Head of Pre-Prep
Our Harvest assemblies have been lovely this year with lots of new songs as well as my all-time favourite “Cauliflowers Fluffy”. Although we only had one table laden with food in the hall, as Miss Rawlinson needs room to carry out her PE lessons, there was a second table and cupboard festooned with food, not to mention all the bags we left full to help with the ease of collection. A huge thank you for all your wonderful generosity again this year which will be gratefully received by the Trussell Trust. Thank you also to Mrs Ravayeh for leading our three Harvest assemblies.
By now Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents may find you have a short video clip of your child explaining things about their new classroom. Your child has made this video as you cannot come in for Open Class event that we would normally do at this time of year. Please look at the clip and get your child to explain to you all the wonderful things about their new classroom.
Thank you for putting your family name and child’s class in your car for pick-up. This certainly makes things easier for us. Please be mindful of families still waiting in a queue to pick up so the quicker you can get children strapped into car seats and drive away the better.
Overheard by a parent: “There’s only one thing wrong with St Michael’s, the day just isn’t long enough.”
We are very tempted to use this overheard for all our marketing!
Have a lovely weekend,
From the Deputy Head
Prep Harvest Festival collection
Apologies for the delay in getting this message to you.
Our intention has always been to have a Harvest collection for the Prep school, but we were mindful that many of our larger spaces that we might use for a Harvest Assembly are being used as exam venues at the moment.
To this end, we would be delighted to accept donations for the Swanley branch of Trussell Trust on Friday 9th October. We are only accepting donations on one day as we do not have the capacity to store these items for a prolonged period. They will spend the weekend in ‘quarantine’ before making their way to the Trussell Trust on the Monday. I’m afraid that we won’t be able to accept donations either before or after this date.
Many thanks in advance.
Morning Drop Off
Thank you to all the parents that have emailed me both with suggestions for improving the drop off and messages of support for the ongoing efforts to make this as pain-free as we can. I can assure you that we are always looking at ways we can improve this and reviewing our procedures is an important part of our Covid-19 plan.
Some suggestions we are able to look at objectively, but some aspects of this are out of our control as a school. However, there is one aspect that we have raised before that I need to raise again.
We have found that those that are arriving early to ‘beat the traffic’ are actually increasing overall numbers on-site as these cars are adding to the total number attempting to drop off before their expected time. If you are dropping off at Pre-Prep and are not expected to be dropping off until after 8:20am, please do not come onto the site before this. Our chances of clearing all of the Prep parents by 8:20am (the Prep registration is at 8:20am) is greatly increased if it just them on-site at this time.
In addition, please do not ‘eject’ your Prep children from the car before 7:58am (allowing them 2 mins to walk the 50m to the Chapel Door), as the Chapel door will not be opened before this time.
I have been asked by parents to open the school earlier to solve the drop off problem. The answer to why this will not be done is two-fold; the drop off has for many years been 8am. Moving the opening time earlier would only move the congestion earlier as the issue is, as pointed out above, early arrivers. If you require your child(ren) to be looked after before 8am, we have The Breakfast Club that operates from the Pre-Prep building and is open to all children, for a small charge. Additionally, opening the school earlier would mean staff would have to be allocated to supervise three bubbles of children until 8am and the staff are already working longer hours under the new guidelines. This time up to 8am is vital planning and preparation time for the staff.
Next half term we look forward to meeting with you to discuss your child(ren)’s progress. I am sure that it will come of no surprise that we are unable to host these events in person on site. The virtual meetings will be organised through our Parents’ Evening System and you will receive details of how to log in and arrange your appointments in the next few weeks. Dates for all of our Parents Evenings’ can be found in the school calendar so please do save the date and we look forward to seeing you all at the relevant event for your child(ren).
Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners
Ella F for always being a kind friend to everyone
Louis N for working hard on his letter formation
Amy H for trying so hard to always do the right thing
Olivia B for being a super kind friend
Noah L for participating well during our maths lessons and showing good number skills
Elizabeth A for wonderful neat letter formation
Beatrix T for good work with doubling numbers
Theia H for a good try with decoding using her phonic skills
Isabelle P for lovely table manners
Jonas S for always being polite and offering to help
Elodie B for great effort with improving her writing
Daniel W for a super effort and lovely manners
Myla B for using fantastic vocabulary to describe Sunny’s new adventure
Nathan H for working exceptionally hard in all areas of the curriculum
Isabel E for working exceptionally hard in all subjects and producing great work in every lesson
Ruaridh O.D for fantastic contributions to whole class discussions and being very knowledgeable about animals
Lana C.O for exceptional number work
Robert M for using fantastic descriptive language in our English lesson
Monday 5th October: Virtual Open Morning (9.30am – 10.30am)
Wednesday 7th October: Hearing Tests for Reception, Year 1 and 2 pupils
ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:
Friday 9th October
Friday 6th November
Friday 27th November
Pre-Prep Harvest Assemblies
This week our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils have taken part in Harvest assemblies. They sung songs, learnt about the festival and recited a prayer.
The Marketing Department are working on a video montage of the three assemblies which they will share with parents in due course.
Parents & Friends Association
Last night P&F has their first Zoom meeting of the term. The main committee, featured in the below photo, would like to welcome all parents to come to the meetings (that are publicised on Classlist) and get involved. If anyone has any questions please contact the committee: email@example.com.
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Senior School Open Mornings
Eastbourne College will be hosting their virtual open morning on Saturday 3 October from 9.00am – 10.00am, to book your place please visit:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!”
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.”
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.”
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!