eNews: Friday 31st January 2020

From Graham Malcolm, Interim Executive Head

Well, after the last few weeks, we thought that all the inspections were over but to everyone’s surprise on Monday morning we had an unannounced visit from Environmental Health! This was a routine visit, which anyone involved in catering will know is a regular visit to check that everything in the kitchen is fine. If you look at restaurants as you go in, a green grading sticker must be displayed to inform customers on the hygiene of the establishment. St Michael’s, although a school, is no different.

I am delighted to inform parents that our Head Chef, Mark Edwards and his team scored 5 stars out of 5, the top score, again. This should reassure parents that the hygiene of food cooked at St Michael’s continues to be of top quality. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mark and his team for the great job they perform each day at school and for this excellent achievement.

I don’t think that we have anything left to inspect, but if we do, I am sure that the outstanding staff we have at the school will not be found wanting.

Enjoy the weekend!

Graham Malcolm

BEd, MA (IAPS)

From the Acting Co-Heads

After two weeks of inspection preparation and performance it has been refreshing to enjoy a week of relative normality for the teachers and pupils. There’s comfort to be found in the usual routine of lessons, break times, matches, meetings, assemblies and activities. Year 6 have been exploring poetry this term and when the sun shone brightly on Wednesday some of the pupils took to the terrace to be inspired by the landscape of St Michael’s. It was a pleasure to see how much the children appreciate what’s around them; the beauty of a vibrant blue sky, the history in the school building and finding joy in that beautiful view. Last week we were thinking about climbing Everest and achieving the extraordinary in life but it’s also exciting to enjoy the ordinary and make that come alive for the children, and for us. Appreciating the everyday and the moments that make life normal bring a different kind of pleasure in life and we hope that the children will find the balance of dreaming big and aiming high whilst also finding magic in the ordinary. We came across the following poem this week and it divided opinion between some colleagues in the staff room but we feel that it gave us good chance to reflect on how we view the everyday:

‘Do not ask your children to strive’
By William Martin

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

Whatever your plans are this weekend, we hope that you can find some joy in the ordinary. Have a wonderful time.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

News from Pre-Prep

• Fri 7th Jan Year 1 parents Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Fri 7th Jan School Charity Day in aid of Gush Gush water charity (https://www.facebook.com/Gushgushwaterprojects)
• Fri 28th Feb Reception parents Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am
• Wed 5th Feb 8.45am Year 2 parents coffee morning with Year 3 teachers
• Thurs 6th Feb Year 1 trip to Shoreham
• Fri 7th Feb Year 2 Benchball tournament Prep Sports Hall

I’m afraid staff and children seem to have suffered with coughs, colds and chest infections this week. Several staff have covered in different classes, which is always interesting to do. I have loved teaching a combination of Year 2 and Reception this week. Please keep your child at home if they are unwell. Give them time to recover before returning them to school and hopefully we can reduce the spread of the germs.

Please see the dates above or our calendar for the remaining two Maths workshops for parents of children in Reception and Year 1. These will be held on Friday mornings after drop-off. If you would like to know a little more about how we are teaching your children, please pop in to the dining room on the relevant date.

For parents of children who are currently in Year 2 there will be a coffee morning next Wednesday which will be held at Prep school in the Library at 8.45am. Please do go along and hear what is on offer for your child next year and familiarise yourself with the Year 3 landing and classrooms. I know for some of you it may be a few years since you last looked at our Year 3.

Next Thursday the Year 1 children will be going in the minibuses to Shoreham to look at the different styles of buildings. This is a morning-only trip so the children will be back in time for lunch. Please make sure your child has their school coat, hat and gloves on that day so that they are warm.

On Friday Miss Rawlinson will be showcasing the talents of your Year 2 children in the Benchball Tournament. It starts at 1.40pm in the Prep Sports Hall. Parents are welcome to come and support. Tea and coffee will be served afterwards in the Pre-Prep dining room.

P&F will be organising a film night for Pre-Prep children in the Pre-Prep Hall whilst their older siblings attend the Prep school disco on Friday so look out for their messages if your children want to join in the fun. Please stay on site if your child is watching the film.

Overheard on the playground:
It’s going to snow soon so it will be Christmas time again!

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Inset Day Friday 14th February

Just a reminder that the school will be closed on Friday 14th February for an INSET day.

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:

  • Parking on site

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 as follows:

  • Otford Hospices of Hope Bagpuss Launch Party 12th February

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

Henry M for creating an amazing bird feeder in Forest School
Arthur N for good teamwork during Forest School
Eric V H for fantastic reading
Peter S for making gorgeous chickens using a variety of craft materials
Henry W for having a wonderful attitude to learning
Nina T for excellent effort in our ‘sharing’ activity
Anna W for working hard in our English lesson learning about verbs
Adam J for beautiful detailed artwork in our printing session
Kim V for fantastic progress in her swimming lessons
Elizabeth W for fantastic effort and understanding in poetry writing
Leo H B for being so polite and helpful
George W for good explanations of his working in mathematics
Reuben P for writing a very accurate diary entry about an exploration to Antarctica
Raven S for fantastic addition using bridging through 10 and the column method
Amelia B for a detailed diary entry imagining she was Scott of the Antarctic
Alexander H for using excellent scientific vocabulary during an experiment on insulation

House Points Cup

Rochester House with a total of 228 points
Lev collected the Cup on behalf of Rochester House

Times Tables Certificate

Bronze: Herbie F

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Zi Chen G
Music Practice Award: Elizabeth W
Star Violinist Cup: Sophie F

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

S Cook For having art work displayed at school
F Rutherford For having art work displayed at school
S Andrade For having art work displayed at school
L Watson For having art work displayed at school
A Scott For having art work displayed at school
C Bowyer For having art work displayed at school
H Richmond For having art work displayed at school
M McLaughlin For having art work displayed at school
A Moore For having art work displayed at school
O Neave For having art work displayed at school
T Porter For having art work displayed at school
K Loukam For having art work displayed at school
J Bashford For having art work displayed at school
J Taylor For having art work displayed at school
B Walker For having art work displayed at school
M Blincoe For having art work displayed at school
A Edwards For having art work displayed at school
L Griffiths For having art work displayed at school
X Prongue For having art work displayed at school
A Mottram For having art work displayed at school
E Hudson For having art work displayed at school
E Ward For having art work displayed at school
C Sturges For having art work displayed at school
O Stinson For having art work displayed at school
H Owen For having art work displayed at school
F Arduino For having art work displayed at school
H Soper For having art work displayed at school
G Schneider-Price For having art work displayed at school

Drama Duologue Finalists

INTER-HOUSE DRAMA DUOLOGUE HEATS RESULTS

Congratulations to ALL who took part. As usual the competition was very fierce. 

Finalists- Wednesday 5th Feb 2020 from 6:30pm-Get rehearsing !

 

Juniors

 

O Scott and R Stevens (Leeds)

L Andrade and E Gage (Leeds)

S Mottram and S Wallace (Rochester)

S Savidge and S Johnson (Rochester)

O Nathan and E Julio (Dover)

D Booth and S Taylor (Dover)

M Murray and L Bakharevski (Windsor)

E Wilcock and M Macedo ((Windsor)

 

Seniors

 

S Parker-Swift and P Parker-Swift (Leeds)

T Bulley and R Landgrebe (Leeds)

A Scott and L Clapham (Leeds)

S Andrade and L Blincoe (Leeds)

S Ward and N Brown (Rochester)

L Lutzow and T Bax (Rochester)

A Moore and C-M Pape (Dover)

N Stinson and G Owen (Dover)

K Loukam and N Dandeniya (Windsor)

 

 

 

Players of the Match, week commencing 27th January 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Rugby K Cameron For amazing all-round play and for scoring 3 tries
U12 The whole team For a great team performance
U11 A J Wiseman & H Richmond Voted for by the opposition coach for great attacking play
U11 B G Kelly For good attacking play
U10 A C Buff For trying to play wide
U10 B I Premachandran For scoring some super tries
U9 A K Loukham For strong and direct running
U9 B J West For showing great pace and for scoring 5 tries
U8 A W Pennington Legh & A Lutzow For great all-round play
U8 B O Epps For scoring 2 great tries
U8 C Not awarded this week
U13 A Netball No Match
U13 B No Match
U13 C No Match
U11 A A Ogle Voted for by the opposition for strong attacking play and tenacious defending
U11 B M Noorpuri For brilliant defending and making many interceptions in the tournament
U11 C A Mottram Voted for by the opposition.
U10 A I Pennington Legh Voted for by the opposition
U10 B D Patel Voted for by the opposition
U10 C T Carman Voted for by the opposition
U9 A N Ogle

A Brown

Voted for by the opposition

For great defensive work

U9 B M Elliott

M Murray

Voted for by the opposition

For great versatility and attitude on the court

U9 C K Rutherford

O Padilla

Voted for by the opposition

Voted for by the opposition

U8 A S Savidge

U Osunwa

Voted for by the opposition

For great defending and intercepting

U8 B A Rehbein

B Batchelor

Voted for by the opposition

For good all-round play in a variety of positions

U8 C G Binskin

J Mayhew

Voted for by the opposition

For good defending

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, St Olave’s Grammar 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