We’ve ended the week with cold rain and grey skies, but it’s been a vibrant and colourful week of learning nevertheless! Christmas spirit is tangible throughout the school, and this week we lit the fire in the Prep reception which has warmed our souls and is a beautiful site alongside the magnificent Christmas tree.
On Tuesday, we enjoyed a wonderful Christingle service for Years 2 and 3 pupils. The pupils sang beautifully and with infectious enthusiasm, which I hope you have enjoyed through the video recordings of the events. I was dancing in my study when the Year 3s were rehearsing outside; they had so much spirit! The Christingle service focuses on bringing light and hope to those who might need it around the world. It was touching to hear the wishes that the children had written for all of you this Christmas: hope, love, peace, justice and a merry Christmas were among them. I really do hope they come true.
We have also enjoyed our first Nativity plays this week courtesy of Nursery. It was an absolute joy to see the children sing their Christmas songs, and I was as mesmerised as them by Mrs Stibbon’s enchanting story. Mrs Ravayeh’s music was terrific, and I was incredibly impressed by the children’s focus, engagement and actions which accompanied each song. Thank you to all of the team for creating this wonderful event for the children and such a lovely performance for us to enjoy.
I look forward to seeing more performances in Pre-Prep next week; I know that the children have been rehearsing incredibly hard and I am sure you will look forward to watching their performances on video in due course. In Prep School, the Music Scholars performed around the Christmas tree as part of the Crackin’ Christmas Concert. The festive music performances are always a highlight for me. I hope that you will enjoy an evening watching the videos together as a family, and that it will be memorable and unique in this new format.
I wish you all a fantastic weekend and I look forward to seeing the children on Monday morning for their last full week of the Michaelmas Term.
From the Head of Pre-Prep
The first Nativities performed by Nursery have been delightful and I am sure next week will be no exception. I am sorry you will not be able to come in to see them this year, but we will endeavour to film each performance and share the relevant one with you. I would like to say a huge thank you to all the Pre-Prep staff who always work so hard to bring these performances together; from organising the scripts, to sorting positions, costumes, music, singing and actions. Mrs Ravayeh needs a special mention for her hard work on the music for all five different year groups!
The Jersey Tour happens each year for the seniors at Prep school. They usually have a chance to fundraise at the Fireworks Night and the Christmas Bazaar. This year they haven’t been able to do this, so they have arranged a competition for the children: Guess How Many Sweets are in the Jar has been running this week and will continue through to next week. Children need to bring in £1 for every guess they wish to make, with the winner being the child with a guess closest to the right number of sweets. Thursday 10th December will be the last day for guesses.
On Tuesday 15th December we will all be wearing Christmas jumpers instead of school jumpers or cardigans. This year we will be supporting the Thames Valley Air Ambulance charity who came to the aid of one of our own St Michael’s pupils last Christmas. Donations on the day will be appreciated.
Overheard in Pre-Prep:
“My Dad was born in Bethlehem.”
“Was your Dad Jesus?”
“Yes, then he died and came back as my Dad!”
Have a lovely Tier 3 weekend.
Key Dates for Pre-Prep:
Thursday 10th December:
AM Christmas Parties for Nursery and Kindergarten
Friday 11th December:
AM Christmas Parties for Nursery and Kindergarten
PM Christmas Parties for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2
Please don’t forget to bring in a plate of food for your child (labelled) which must be nut-free. This includes products such as Nutella and sesame seeds.
From the Deputy Head
Uniform and clothing
I have noticed that there are more and more non-uniform coats, hats and gloves coming into school now the weather is getting colder.
Only senior pupils are allowed to wear non-uniform coats and have non-uniform school bags.
I am also growing increasingly concerned by the apparent epidemic of foot problems that seem to be sweeping the school, especially Years 6, 7 and 8. There has been a marked increase in the number of children found to be wearing trainers (when they should have shoes on) and their response has, more often than not, been that they have sore feet, and this is the reason for their wearing of trainers. Alas, when asked, there does not appear to be any professional medical advice or note to back this up. I would ask that if your child is genuinely suffering from feet issues, please book them to see a podiatrist and inform the school of this so we are aware. If they do not have any feet issues, I expect them to be wearing school shoes to school.
Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners
Arya G for lovely ideas about how to rescue Old Bear
Siena L for trying to read with more expression
Henry G for saying his words brilliantly during rehearsal
Noah L for great participation in all of our activities
Matthew D for fantastic and enthusiastic participation in every activity
Ian V for wonderful singing and dancing in our rehearsal
Louis N for trying so hard with his reading
Millie I.W for becoming so much more independent in class
Winston G for fantastic doubling work in maths
Theia H for having the voice of an angel and singing her solo piece beautifully
Ellie S for a great improvement in her handwriting
Elodie B for super effort and singing during our rehearsals
Oliver A for saying his lines so clearly
Peter S for always being polite and offering to help
Olivia K for working exceptionally hard in areas of the curriculum
Adam O for confidently working on problems involving 2D and 3D shapes
Abigail T for knowing her Nativity lines and cues really well
Lucy T for showing a good understanding of punctuation
Luke S for working hard in all subjects and making great contributions to whole class discussions
Charlie M for fantastic maths work on 2D shapes and remembering their properties
C Dulski for showing wonderful kindness to classmates
G Wilson for a fantastic guitar performance in class
A O’Brien for writing her own book at home
I Giannakis for writing her own book at home
E Fitta for writing her own book at home
T Bax for exceptional effort and engagement in French studies
M Amure for winning the Year 5 & 6 Spelling Bee
J Mayhew for winning the Year 3 & 4 Spelling Bee
The following Art Scholars have also been awarded Headteacher’s Stars for creating fantastic lino prints:
A Morgue D’Algue
Years 2 and 3 Christingle services
This week Years 2 and 3 took part in Christingle services held in the Prep school chapel. Featuring poems, performances and outdoor singing from the pupils, the services were a beautiful celebration of Christmas and a very positive start to December. Although parents were not able to attend the services this year, a film of the event has been sent to Years 2 and 3 families, which we hope will create a special viewing experience at home.
All materials for the pupils’ Christingles were kindly donated to St Michael’s by The Children’s Society. The charity said: “Outstanding from Years 2 and 3! Christingle is all about shining hope and light in the darkest moments, thank you all for helping us spread joy and for your support.”
Highlights of the event can be viewed on the St Michael’s YouTube page:
Christmas at St Michael’s!
This week saw the start of St Michael’s festive celebrations, beginning with the Nursery Nativities and Prep music concert performances.
On Thursday and Friday, the Nursery groups took part in musical re-tellings of the Nativity story featuring 13 different Christmas songs and a range of musical instruments. The children sung beautifully and had a lot of fun performing their well-rehearsed songs and actions with their teachers.
St Michael’s Head of Pre-School, Mrs Stibbons said: “We have certainly had lots of fun in our rehearsalsand experiencing the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of the children is a huge highlight for the teachers.”
Meanwhile, Prep pupils have also been spreading Christmas joy with spectacular performances of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night and Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree by the Junior String group, Chamber Music group and Music Scholars group. We look forward to sharing the final concert with parents via film, later this term.
Spelling Bee success for Josie!
On Friday 4th December, Years 3 and 4 pupils took part in a Spelling Bee hosted by Mrs Andrade.
Challenged with spellings such as phenomenon, privilege, sincerely and secretary, it was a tricky competition
Winner of the Spelling Bee, Josie in Year 4, triumphed with her correct spelling of the word ‘bargain’.
Well done, Josie!
Jersey Tour sweet fundraiser
The Year 8 Jersey Tour is always an important event of the calendar which the pupils fundraise for at Fireworks Night and the Christmas Bazaar. Sadly, St Michael’s Prep in Jersey have had to cancel the tour this year due to the Covid-19 epidemic. We are still hopeful of being able to provide some kind of replacement trips and visits package for our Year 8s (dependent on restrictions) and have therefore looked at different ways of fund-raising to help this happen.
Over the next week, Pre-Prep and Prep pupils will be invited to Guess How Many Sweets are in the Jar in exchange for a £1 donation.
We hope that this fun competition will help to spread some Christmas joy among the children, meanwhile raising money for this very important end-of-year activity.
Déjà Vu uniform shop
Déjà Vu is open again at the usual times of 8.15-9.15am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with one customer allowed in the shop at a time. Masks must be worn when in the shop.
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In the Community
Mr Thomas’ Christmas Hockey Camp
Mr Thomas will be holding his Christmas Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 17th December, Friday 18th December, Monday 21st December and Tuesday 22nd December
Love seeing your children’s smiley faces on our social media pages?
Make sure you’re following all four of our channels to ensure you don’t miss any precious photos and videos. This also includes our new YouTube page featuring videos about St Michael’s and speeches from the pupils.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!”
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.”
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.”
My son began his journey at St Michael's last Friday in the Nursery class and, one week on, I have to write to say how impressed I am and how thrilled we are with our decision to send him to such an amazing school.
The approach to settling them in has been perfect!
St Michael’s is a wonderful school. Fantastic teachers, a nurturing environment. It has suited our three children who are all very different in their academic and pastoral needs. Thank you.
Year 6 Parent
St Michael's is a place where I can let my imagination run wild.
Year 6 pupil
We were struck by the warmth and kindness of everyone we met; pupils as well as staff. We believe in giving our son the right start and instilling in him the joy of learning and satisfaction from achievement. We can see this happening at St Michael’s
My daughter has had such a wonderful school life at St.Michael’s. We really couldn’t have asked for a better school for her in terms of academic life, extra-curricular activities and friendship groups. We still can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by and that she will soon be leaving!