eNews: Friday 3rd April 2020

From the Acting Head

The common end of term emotional state is usually a heady mix of pride and exhaustion and today is no different. We can also add to that the awareness that we’re in the midst of tackling a challenge like no other at the moment. One of my favourite sayings ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’ has never felt more apt as we are all living within that area that lies outside of our comfort zones at present. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you for the efforts you’ve made to get us to the end of the term with a strong community spirit and a real connection. I think it’s probably true that, in the last few weeks, we’ve all done things that we’ve never done before. Remote learning, online interviews, Youtube lessons, a virtual assembly and a whole school Friday Freestyle disco, twice! The openness, positivity, resilience and commitment shown by all parts of the school community has been nothing short of inspiring. We’ve had to feel the fear and do it anyway and for that, we should all be proud.

Mary Bridges

 

Staff News

I am delighted to announce that Gordon Baird has been appointed as our new Deputy Head (Teaching & Learning). Gordon will be utilising his expertise and skills in inspirational educational leadership to pave the way in our virtual learning model for the Trinity Term. Gordon’s career has been characterised by creativity, innovation, a love of learning and successful collaboration. Those who have been lucky to see the incredible impact that Gordon has had on the music department at St Michael’s will know what an exciting move this will be for both him and the school.

It also gives me great pleasure to announce that Lucinda Cook will be taking on the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead in the Prep School. Lucinda’s outstanding communication skills and empathetic nature will ensure that this crucial role is fulfilled with expertise and sensitivity. Lucinda’s superb relationships with staff, parents and pupils have transformed the AEN department, improving outcomes for pupils. We are thrilled that she will be expanding her leadership within the school and congratulate her on securing this position.

Mary Bridges

I’m also pleased to announce that our lovely Prep school Librarian, Sue Davies will be joining the Year 3 team. Sue will be job-sharing with Katherine Keen as a Year 3 Form Teacher from September.

Many of our Prep school families already know Sue, through her innovative challenges and events in the Library.  However, you may not know that she has over 20 years of teaching experience to bring to the classroom.

Having graduated from Reading University with a BA(Ed) in History with QTS, Sue worked for 8 years in a primary School in St Mary Cray, Orpington, progressing to Foundation Stage Leader.  Over her teaching career, Sue has worked in state schools in Kent and more recently held an advisory role for the Kent Children’s Centres across Sevenoaks and Swanley, working with schools, pre-schools and families. She took on the role of Librarian at St Michael’s four years ago, while she supported her own children through primary school.

Sue lives in Kemsing with her husband, two boys and a Dachshund. She loves reading, cooking and running to relax and unwind. She told us “I’m really keen to get back into the classroom and to join the Year 3 team; there’s no school where I’d rather work!”

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep

I am sure your skills as teachers are improving. Some of you may even be considering a change of career! There has been an enormous amount of work flooding though the gates of Seesaw and Tapestry this week. Teachers have been experiencing several 100 pieces uploaded each day. They are struggling to keep up with the demands of marking and commenting. Please be understanding if not everything your child produces receives a comment. Teachers are working hard to ensure fairness across all their pupils.

This is now the end of the Lent term so I hope you can enjoy a slight change of routine. You will not need to check all the home-school tasks being set and the film clips from your child’s teacher. Teachers will be busy adapting their planning and activities for the Trinity term. We have learnt a lot over the last 2 weeks and have listened to your comments.

I want to say well done to TJ and Ian Smith’s son Aaron, who shaved his hair off this week for Age UK in their bid to support the elderly through Covid19. I’m sure it won’t be too long before those curly locks reappear.

What a hugely emotional time this has been for us all. It has been lovely to hear from those of you who have managed to share positive experiences of having more time to play with your children, go for family walks and all sit down to eat meals together. I know many of you will be saddened not to see your extended families this Easter, but you are in my thoughts and I wish you all a safe Easter holiday. I look forward to a time when we can all be back together again.

Best wishes,

Zerrin

 

School News and Galleries

Thank you all for the wonderful photos and videos you’ve been sending us. We’re so impressed with everything you’ve achieved over the last two weeks and we’ve done our best to celebrate your achievements on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

We’ve created another gallery of this week’s photos for you to see everything in one go – we hope you enjoy looking at it.

 

 

Headteacher’s Stars

N Dandeniya For an excellent homework challenge about fake news
E Brewer For a superb homework challenge on the Human Impact in Africa
E Ernoult For a superb homework challenge on the Human Impact in Africa
E Soper For a well-designed and informative global game – creative, well made and interesting
L Blincoe For a fantastic rap and video promoting ways to stay safe during the Covid-19 outbreak
J McDonnell For creating a great game about the 7 Wonders of the World – excellent effort, interesting and well thought out
A Clapham For creating a very interesting and informative game about the oceans
G Bashford For creating a clever and enjoyable card game about the countries of the world. The game was excellent for the effort and joy he put into delivering his game
E Short For a superb piece of Science work, completed during remote learning
F Giannakis For an outstanding video, made as part of the Geography remote learning activity
J Bomphrey For an incredible oil painting, showing the human impact on polar bears

Latest News

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.

 

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

 

 

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.”

A full breakdown of the fundraising events can be found below. For more information about the TVAA or to view Lucy’s video visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/appeal/.

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.”