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,



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

As Y5 pupil, C Hunter, explained during Monday’s assembly, Sevenoaks School has organised weekly food/supply collections for those in need during these very uncertain times.  The collections have benefited local organisations such as One Big Family: Helping the Homeless, Friends for Families, The Hygiene Bank, Sevenoaks Food Bank: Loaves & Fishes, Community Cupboard, area primary schools and others.  Miss Cat Davison, the School’s Director of Service and Social Impact, updates its online social media feeds (@sevenoaksimpact on Twitter and Instagram) with the items needed each week.  We hope that you will consider helping with this effort.  Together we can make a huge difference for those living right here in our community!
The details of the collections are provided below.  If you do wish to participate, please ensure that items are unopened and handled with washed or sanitised hands, and that social distancing is strictly adhered to on delivery.
What: Food, Supplies (check social media links for current needs)
When:   Every Tuesday, 9am – 12pm
Where: Outside Claridge House, Sevenoaks School,TN13 1HU
(Claridge House is just to the right of the main entrance of Knole Park on High Street)
On Monday our community-minded pupil also discussed a book collection which took place earlier this year for children in Ghana.  Below are photos of EduSpots centres where the books are available for local communities throughout Ghana.

We’ve been amazed by the phenomenal success of the Art Department’s recent challenge “Painting without Paint”. Set as part of our remote learning programme, children were asked to select a work of art of their choice and to recreate it at home – but without using paint!

The Art Department has been overwhelmed by submissions, which Miss Rodwell, described as “creative, humorous and inventive”. She added “Staff have been impressed by submissions that showed how carefully the children have looked at their chosen artworks in order to create such brilliant responses.”

Posts on our Twitter account have received positive responses from prestigious art galleries, such as the Tate and the National Gallery, with The Lowry in Manchester commenting “Wow, we love this!!” on T Neville’s version of L S Lowry’s “Man Lying on a Wall”. But it’s not just art galleries in the UK, who have responded to the children’s art; their work has been liked by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden and the Mauritshuis in Den Haag. One Year 3 pupil, who was inspired by artist Aja Trier, even reached New York, as permission was sought to post an image of one of her paintings. She was delighted to allow us to feature her work and on seeing J Gagg’s interpretation commented “Oh my gosh that is precious! Please tell the artist I love it! I will post on my Instagram and Facebook. Thank you!” She went on to tell us “I am always so humbled when kids are inspired by my work, but this is next level!”

In order to show you all the wonderful work our pupils have done, we’ve put together an online gallery of the work. Talking about the project and the reaction, Mrs Barratt declared “This is wonderful!” and reactions from other schools included the comment “Excellent work St Michael’s Art Department this is a really fun activity”.

Mrs Bridges told us “I am absolutely delighted, and inspired, by the way that the children have responded to these challenges. Creativity is keeping us connected, not only within our own community but across the world too!”

We can’t wait to see what the department comes up with next. Miss Rodwell is keeping us in suspense “I’ve been working on a new one today …”. We’re sure that our pupils will have even more opportunity to excel!

Click here to view our online gallery of more ingenious images.

Some of our super St Michael’s Swimmers have won an array of silverware at recent events.

At the Sevenoaks Swimming Club presentation evening, I Pennington Legh was presented with the Kingsbury Cup for U10 girls; A Green was awarded the Kingsbury Cup for U10 boys; E Green received runner up plate for the best U9 boy; S. Taylor was awarded the Mike Radford Trophy for most improved U9 boy; A Ashton was presented with the U9 Individual Medley Cup and U9 trophy for most improved swimmer; B Tovey and J Taylor were both awarded plaques with their positions from the recent Sevenoaks Club Championships.

At the Black Lion Gala, Gillingham, at the start of March our swimmers again came away with medals. A Ashton won three gold, one bronze, one fourth and one sixth medal; A Green three gold and two silver medals; E Green four silver and one bronze medal; S Taylor one silver and one fourth medal and J Taylor a fourth position medal. V Medlen also came away with a medal from the gala.

Well done to all those swimmers; your hard work and dedication is certainly paying off!

Mrs Denton

Swim School Manager

Well done to our doubles girls, E Julio and S Savidge, who also played in last weekend’s Junior Orange Ball Tournament in Sevenoaks. They played four matches, won two, beating Sevenoaks Prep and Lady Boswell’s and lost two to the eventual finalists Amherst and Granville.

This was a great performance by the girls, particularly in the light of little experience of Orange Ball competition.

Well done!