eNews: Friday 3rd July 2020

From the Acting Head

Welcome to the final newsletter of an incredible year in many ways.  A year of challenge, change, learning, growing, distancing and dancing (or should I say, Friday Freestyling!). 525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year? Perhaps we can all measure it individually, on what we’ve each achieved, contributed and learned.

 

This week we celebrated the end of an era for our Year 2 and Year 6 pupils, and I look forward to the opportunity to do the same with our oldest pupils on Monday afternoon. Different to what we have experienced before but incredibly personal, these events have been tailor-made for the children moving on. Our Year 6 event, held outside in front of the Prep School, was a moving and magical ceremony where the clouds shared their appreciation through the shedding of raindrops! I hinted that each drop was a little bit of magic falling on us all to mark the occasion. When the raindrops fell bigger and heavier during Alex’s incredible saxophone performance, it was clearly a hearty round of applause from the skies above! Congratulations to all of the pupils reaching these milestones in their school career. They should be proud of all of their achievements, and I thank them all for their contributions to St Michael’s. A highlight of Prize Giving is the legendary gap student film of the year. Miss Haynes pulled together a brilliant collection of footage from the year, and it was amazing to see the vast amount of adventures, opportunities and events that we have enjoyed despite the time spent away from school. This film will be shared with the rest of the school on Tuesday along with prizes for children in other year groups.

 

In the last newsletter of the Michaelmas Term, I suggested that a school term was comparable to marathon training. Now that the year is coming to an end, we are now approaching the finish line. We’ve done the hard work, the training, faced the moments of fear and battled through the days when it doesn’t go to plan. There’s been frustration, incredible challenge and moments when we’ve all had doubts about making the final mile. As a community, we’ve paced ourselves much better than I did back in February when I ran the 26.2 miles around Seville! I thank you all for the support you’ve given throughout and hope you will all share in the success we’ve achieved.

 

The most important thing is not that we’ve experienced the “marathon” it’s that we’ve learnt so many valuable lessons during that time that the next marathon will be easier, we’ll be more accomplished. We’ll pace it even better, and we’ll enjoy it more. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. And from the most testing year we’ve all had in recent memory I don’t doubt we will all emerge stronger, more resilient humans with far more appreciation of what is really important to us: Family, community and our well-being. Love; that’s how we should measure the year. Now let’s use this summer to reset and recharge and start September, wherever we are, with our eyes wide open and ready for the new next. Knowing we’re better prepared than we ever thought we could be before 2020 started!

 

My Head’s Review will be delivered to you at the end of the summer break to enable a chance to reflect before we begin the ‘new next’ academic year. All that’s left for me to say is one final thank you to every single member of our community. From the children to the staff, the volunteers, parents, friends and family members. All of you have you played your part, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride as much as I have! I wish you all a happy and healthy summer break full of love.

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

This is the last newsletter of the school year. What a strange year it has been. It looks like the government are keen to bring all the children back into schools in September in as near normal classes as we can. For St Michael’s, with class sizes of 18, we will not have a problem in welcoming all children back into their correct classes with their new teacher and teaching assistant. If year groups can be together it will enable our children to play together with their friends from the neighbouring classes which will be lovely.

This week we have celebrated the milestones of Year 6 and Year 2 as they move on to the next stage in their lives. These celebrations have been particularly poignant as we have not been able to invite parents as we would usually do. Both Prize Givings were unique and ones that we will not forget. Mrs Thornton arranged for these events to be filmed so Year 2 parents will be receiving this shortly.

There are so many people to thank at this time of year. To all of those who support the “front of house” teaching and teaching assistants, I would like to say a huge thank you as the school could not run without our amazing Estates team, Admin team, Admissions & Marketing, Finance, Catering, Cleaners, Counsellors, and the volunteers who hear our children read, raise money in P&F and run Déjà vu. Thank you all.

A reminder to you all that we finish term next Tuesday 7th at 12.00. I recognise that pick up may be tricky so please be patient with us. Those of you who have children at Prep school, please arrive at the allocated time for Prep and then make your way to Pre-Prep. For those of you with surnames A-J please arrive between 12.00 and 12.15 and for those of you with surnames K-Z please aim to arrive between 12.15 and 12.30.

Overheard:

Child: What have you got in your hair?

Adult: I don’t know, what have I got in my hair?

Child: You’ve got old in your hair!

If I don’t get to see you before we break up, I wish you a safe and healthy summer holiday.

Zerrin Leech

Staff News

Hello

We’re delighted to welcome Julie Webster to St Michael’s. Julie will be the new PA to the Headteacher from September.

Julie tell us that she is looking forward to joining St. Michael’s Prep School, having worked in different administrative roles across the public and private sector, including just under ten years’ experience within education, that included the role of School Secretary and Examiniations Officer, Office Manager and PA to the Headteacher.

 

She has two  boys, the eldest now working in London and the youngest completing a Masters’ Degree. Julie loves being outdoors, walking the love of her life, Ozzy, a Jack Russell Terrier but she also enjoys reading, crafts and travel – fortunate to have travelled to some amazing places, she is hoping to return to her favourite destination, Iceland in the near future.

Congratulations

 

We are delighted to announce that Andrew Dodd is taking on the role of IT Strategy Lead. Andrew’s first passion for teaching is in the field of science, but as a leader and manager it has always been IT.  He began leading on ICT in his first year of teaching at a three form entry junior school and quickly became involved with the county advisory service (ASK), offering “Hands on Support” to local schools and eventually becoming a primary ICT consultant working with a patch of nearly 100 schools in Kent. A move into the independent sector followed, as Head of ICT across the Schools at Somerhill, before a spell in Dubai as Leader of Learning Technologies for two newly opened schools.  After a break from leadership, he is now excited to have the opportunity to support the development and effective use of IT at St Michael’s.

And Goodbye

Jess Haynes

As we reach the end of the academic year it is time to say goodbye to our gap student, Jess Haynes. Jess first left us in 2014 as a St Michael’s pupil moving on to Kent College with a sports scholarship. We were delighted to welcome her back to be our gap student for 2019-20 and now she leaves us again to start her degree in Sports Science & Coaching at Nottingham Trent University. Jess has made an outstanding contribution to the school this year and her infectious energy, enthusiasm and commitment has benefited both pupils and staff. She has been a huge support to both Prep and Pre-Prep and we will all miss her hugely. We wish Jess every success in her next chapter and thank her for the joy and fun she has bought to us all this year. 

 

Karen Voce

Karen Voce will be retiring from her role as Marketing Assistant on 31st August to spend more time with her family and travel the world. Karen has worked tirelessly for St Michael’s, her dedication and loyalty to the School, its families, pupils and staff has been truly inspiring. She is a true professional, a Michaelian through and through, and is always willing to offer advice and guidance to all of us. I know that everyone will miss her, her wisdom and wicked sense of humour and we all hope she will still come back and see us.  Karen has many landmarks in her career at St Michael’s but I would like to thank her personally for her continual support, the yearly magazine, her management of Twitter, the organisation of two highly successful Senior School Fairs, the management of the website and, of course, the weekly newsletter. 

 Enjoy the travelling and think of your friends back at St Michael’s!

School News

On Monday, we would like the children to wear rainbow colours (either as individuals or as a coordinated bubble!) as a final fundraiser for the year. This will be in support of the NHS and children can bring a donation for this with them on the day.

Zerrin Leech and Fraser Wiseman

School Shop Summer Opening

The school shop will be open throughout the Summer for all your back to school needs but visits to the shop will be by appointment only as will our click and collect service.

 

For the latest information please visit   www.sturdyclothing.co.uk/st-michaels and click on the opening times and info button.

 

We encourage current parents to take advantage of the click and collect service unless you have a large number of items to buy.  With this in mind, we have created a sizing guide which can be found under the uniform downloads section which we hope you find useful.

 

For larger purchases, if you wish to book an appointment, please visit our website and click on the link found via the opening times and info button.

 

Should you need any further help, please do not hesitate to e-mail us at stmichaels@sturdyclothing.co.uk or call 07713 632284 with any queries or concerns you may have and we will do our best to help.

 

Déjà Vu Summer Opening

Déjà Vu will be open to receive donations of old uniform at the following times over the summer holidays:

 

10th July, 10-12

 

17th July, 9.30-11.30

 

24th July, 2-4

 

31st July, 9.30-11.30

 

14th August, 12-2

 

2nd September, 2-4

 

4th September, 9.30-11.30

 

Please could you bring donations and leave them on the table outside the second hand shop.

 

We do not sell anything with the old logo on, white shirts/blouses, grey shorts and trousers (other than the Pre-Prep cord shorts), or any shoes or sports equipment so please could you take these items directly to the charity bin in the Nursery car park or to your local charity shop.

 

Headteacher’s Stars

S Doyle For fantastic resilience with poetry and for producing some lovely writing
E Hudson For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
I Sharma For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
A Digweed For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
J Bomphrey For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
J Cosgrove For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
E Newton For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
W Deacon For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
E Newton For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Nessy
L Shi For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Nessy
E Soper For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Nessy
A Saini For incredible effort, engagement and enthusiasm throughout remote learning

Touch, Type, Read and Spell Summer Holiday Courses

Please click here for information about summer courses offered by Tunbridge Wells TTRS Centre.

Sports News

Our wonderful swimmers have been at it again breaking numerous school records this year. We held off announcing due to the current situation, in the hope we might have been back in the pool, but certificates were awarded last week. Huge congratulations to A Ashton and S Taylor in Year 4, E Green and I Pennington Legh in Year 5, A Green in Year 6, A Mourgue D’Algue and O Bowen in Year 7 and P Parker Swift in Year 8 who all broke school records this year in the pool.

Mrs Denton

Mr Thomas’ Summer Hockey Camp

Mr Thomas will be holding his Summer Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch from Monday 17th – Thursday 20th August, 10am – 3pm

Please email Mr Thomas on jnthomas88@outlook.com to reserve your space.

Please note the following from the organisers: We are hoping that all government restrictions will be lifted by then. We will be following all England Hockey guidelines and may have to limit the numbers to much less that we normally would. Please sign up early to avoid any disappointment.

Senior School Virtual Tours and Open Days

Many Senior Schools are offering virtual tours and Open Days at the moment. We’ll be updating our Senior Schools Information page as we hear about them. Most of the schools are offering traditional Open Days from September and booking forms for both traditional and virtual open events are available on their websites. Links to the schools are available on our Senior Schools Information page.

The following schools are currently offering virtual Open Days or Tours:

Ardingly

Bethany School

Brighton College

Caterham School

Christ’s Hospital

Cobham Hall

Dover College

Eastbourne College

Haileybury

King’s Canterbury

King’s Rochester

Lingfield College

Radnor House

St Catherine’s School, Bramley

Sevenoaks School

Tonbridge School

Wellington College

Whitgift School – click here for your Virtual Open Event Invitation

 

 

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.”