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

 

Prep pupils recently treated their classmates and music teachers to a variety of musical performances in a half termly concert.

Performed in three instalments within their bubbles, the musicians showcased a variety of pieces, varying in both genre and instrument.

And although parents were unable to attend the concerts due to Covid-19 restrictions, the pupils’ families received a recording of the event.

Gordon Baird, Director of Music, said “We were delighted by how these first concerts of the academic year went despite the absence of the children’s parents. It was a lovely intimate experience for the children to play or sing to their friends and we heard some confident, accomplished performances.

Mr Baird added: “For some, it was their first time playing in a concert in the Prep school and we look forward to organising many more opportunities for them to perform throughout the year.”

A montage of the three music concerts can be found on the St Michael’s YouTube page at https://youtu.be/Bj_Wx4P9heg.

 

 

Spooky spiders and plump pumpkins sparked Halloween fun at St Michael’s this week.

Supported by the school’s Parents and Friends association, pupils enjoyed two games which offered great prizes to winners.

Coordinator of the Halloween competitions and P & F committee member, Kelly Downey said: “Given the restrictions currently in place, the P&F are focusing on strengthening the school community for parents and children this year.

“The competitions are a simple way for the children to have some fun in the week before half term, while raising some funds for the P&F.”

Children in Pre-Prep were tasked with guessing the number of spooky spiders in the jar, while Prep children were asked to guess the weight of a pumpkin. Pupils made a donations to the P & F in exchange for each guess they made.

And the winners of the games, Herbie W (Pre-Prep) A Ward, M Little, L Lutzow and H Owen (Prep), were awarded Halloween hampers which will help them celebrate this year’s festival in spooktacular style.

Kelly added: “The funds raised for the P&F will go towards funding activities and facilities for the children to enrich their time at the school.”

For more information about St Michael’s P & F association visit stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/parents-friends

 

Strawberries and sunflowers were just some of the items celebrated in last week’s harvest assemblies.

 

The annual Pre-Prep event, performed as three instalments this year, saw Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils sing, dance and give prayer for the harvest while learning about the festival from their music teacher, Mrs Raveyeh.

 

 

Reflecting on the success of the events, Louise Raveyeh said: “I am quite moved by the children’s enthusiastic singing in our harvest celebration.

 

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to realise that there is joy in giving and sharing what we have and happiness for those who gratefully receive it.

 

“Their singing and eagerness to share with others was heartwarming.”

 

 

During the assemblies pupils sung songs about harvest time, nature and the variety of fruit and vegetables grown in this country.

 

Louise said: “I wanted the children to be thankful for what they have by realising what an amazing rainbow variety of food we have, created with individual characteristics just like them.

 

“I wanted them to realise the sense of joy that there is in sharing what we have.

 

“The songs reflect our celebration of what we have and realisation of the process of planting, harvesting and sharing.”

 

 

And it wasn’t just songs that helped the children express their thanks. Helped by their generous parents, Pre-Prep donated hundreds of food items and household essentials to the Swanley branch of Trussell Trust food bank.

 

 

Head of Pre-Prep at St Michael’s, Zerrin Leech, said: “We had tables, cupboards and bags festooned with food last week as our families gave very kind donations of food and other items.

 

“A huge thank you must go to the pupils’ parents for their wonderful generosity once again this year which will be gratefully received by the Trussell Trust.

 

“Thank you also to Mrs Ravayeh for leading our three harvest assemblies. They have been lovely with lots of new songs as well as my all-time favourite, Cauliflowers Fluffy.”

 

 

 

 

Sunsets and sizzling sausages set the tone for the new term last Friday as Year 7 pupils celebrated the start of their senior education journey.

The annual event, traditionally held as a Camp Out, was delivered as a fun-filled barbecue night which the children enjoyed with teachers including St Michael’s Acting Head, Mrs Bridges.

Throughout the evening pupils tucked into dinner cooked by Deputy Head Mr Wiseman, and toasted marshmallows on an open fire.

And to make use of their new term energy, games and group bonding activites were carried out, followed by a walk up the school’s famous Warren where the sunset was relished in all of its glory.

Reflecting on the sucess of the event, Head of Year 7 and 8, Mrs Shield, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to camp this year, but that did not dampen anybody’s spirits.

“One of the highlights of the evening was our twilight walk to the top of the Warren where we marvelled at the beautiful site that our school occupies.

“We viewed the bats swirling the skies in the dusk of late summer and ended the evening with a well-deserved hot chocolate – not forgetting the squirty cream and yet more marshmallows.

“Life-long friendships were made and re-established after the long summer break.”