eNews: Friday 4th October 2019

From the Head

I am delighted to let you know that following our two year focus on well-being at schools we have been accredited with the Wellbeing at School award offered by the National Children’s Bureau with Optimus Education.

I’d like to thank Fraser Wiseman and his change team which comprised staff and parents and I’d like to thank Lorna Sharp from West Kent Mind, who helped us build our training partnership to become the lead school in Kent for the number of trained staff and parents.

If you would like to train in mental health First Aid please do sign up for the next course which is in November

The award takes the school through a period of questioning, reflection, engagement and action to improve outcomes, awareness and signpost sources of help. During this period a great deal of progress has been made. People feel more confident to say they’re struggling if they are and there is no shame attached to expressing such a feeling.

Of course there is a tension for leaders and parents, who also know that resilience is a key component of wellbeing and hand-in-hand by providing challenge, managing disappointment and failure with positivity and making explicit next steps and new opportunities for trying again, children can grow the ability to deal with disappointment and thus alleviate anxiety and stress.

Of course this does not mean to say that we will lose focus in this area, quite the contrary. We recognise that we are at a point within the journey and we will continue to focus on adapting the curriculum for children, so that the vocabulary to articulate things that can cause anxiety is known and mastered by children. We also know and understand that staff and parents must be clear that unless they look after themselves they will be no use to anyone else and they have our blessing in this endeavour!

My assemblies on perseverance in Prep and Pre-Prep have focused on two stories to date, the first is the incredible story of team Hoyt.

For those of you that you that are not aware, Rick and Dick Hoyt raced as a team together in marathons and triathlons over three decades and have demonstrated the most incredible perseverance in the face of extreme challenges with Rick, a quadriplegic sufferer of cerebral palsy, who has to communicate letter by letter through a computer, and his Dad pushing him in a running chair. You can see a glimpse of their incredible story in the weblink below or perhaps order Rick’s book:

One Letter at a Time 

Click here to watch my video from assembly

Next week I shall be out of school on Wednesday and Thursday on an inspection. I’m looking forward to learning something new on my two days away.

I hope that this weekend, wherever you are, you can give yourself the space and time to enjoy the company of your family, let your mind free itself of worry and have some good, wellbeing-inducing fun!

Jill Aisher

 

 

About the Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS)

Developed in partnership with NCB, this whole-school award focuses on ensuring effective practice and provision is in place that promotes the emotional wellbeing and mental health of both staff and pupils.
The award has a focus on changing the long-term culture of a school, and embedding an ethos where mental health is regarded as the responsibility of all.
To achieve this award schools will be expected to demonstrate how they:
• Show their commitment to promoting mental health as part of school life
• Improve the emotional wellbeing of their staff and pupils
• Ensure mental health problems are identified early and appropriate support provided
• Offer provision and interventions that matches the needs of its pupils and staff
• Engage the whole school community in the importance of mental health awareness
• Capture the views of parents, pupils and teachers on mental health issues

News from Pre-Prep

• Harvest Festival Friday 4th Oct. Wonderful donations received – thank you all for your generosity
• Parking/Drop Off – Please don’t leave your car in the drop off only area
• Tuesday 8th October Open Morning

Thank you for all your harvest festival donations. You are very generous and the Trussell Trust wish to pass on their thanks for the enormous quantity of food and toiletries which they can now distribute to so many families in need.

Traffic updates: Please try and park within the white lines in the car park. This will enable us to fit as many cars as possible into our Pre-Prep car park.

Next Tuesday we will be holding our Open Morning for prospective parents who may wish to send their children to St Michael’s. If any of you wish to look at Prep school in action ready for moving into Year 3, please contact Jane Thornton. Please note there will also be opportunities in the Lent term to visit Prep in preparation for your child’s transition.

As the weather is rather rainy now please could you make sure we have your child’s school coat sent in everyday?

Overheard:
About the Harvest food “and we got it all from Lidl!

Have a lovely weekend.

Zerrin Leech

On this week’s Message Board

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Message Board to see new important information as follows:

  • Audio files for Young Voices 2020
  • St Michael’s Fireworks Display – dates and booking details
  • List of Senior Schools attending our Senior Schools Fair
  • Half-term Sports Camps, including Mrs Grayland’s new Netball Camp

On this week’s Community Events page

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Community Events page to see important community information as follows:

  • Derek Benfield’s “Anyone for Breakfast?”  – comedy at Otford Village Memorial Hall

Pre-Prep Awards

 

Gold Stars

Arthur N for fantastic word writing
Beatrix T for writing wonderful letters in phonics
Sylvie F for labelling her favourite foods by using her fabulous phonic knowledge
Eric V for brilliant blending
Mona-Swan M for always being enthusiastic with her reading
Cian C for trying so hard with his letter formation
Arthur S for mending a giant peg for Mrs Leech
Adam O for good work in mathematics
Grace P for 100% effort in every lesson
Amelia R for fantastic and thoughtful participation in our R. E. discussion
Elizabeth S for very careful and creative art work
Sebastian G for fantastic effort with his reading
Zack E for trying his best with his handwriting
Florence B for fantastic attention to detail and great presentation skills on her life cycle work
Finley S for always trying his best and approaching everything he does with such a brilliant attitude
Genevieve M for always approaching work with a positive attitude and a smile on her face
Mickey M for using fantastic scientific vocabulary about life cycles
Myla B for persevering in gymnastics and always smiling
Olanna E for brilliant persevering in swimming and swimming without a float on her back

Music Award

Music Practice Cup: Archie B
Music Practice Award: Walter M
Star Violinist Cup: Irene G

Swimming Certificates

Swim England Learn to Swim Awards

Level 1 – Ava M
Level 2 – Isabelle D

News from Prep

Notices from Mr Wiseman

Parking on the top pitch

We do normally allow parking on this top pitch during the first half of the Michaelmas term, with the last time it is used being Firework night. As we have already had a substantial amount of rainfall, the opening to the pitch is fast becoming muddy through the number of cars driving over this area.
Please refrain from using this as a parking area, unless absolutely necessary. If there are spaces in the other parking areas, please use them.
In the mornings, this must not be used as a drop off area. The allocated drop off area must be used for the Prep school. Ultimately, this is still a teaching area and the surface needs to be protected as much as possible for this to remain so. Thank you.

Uniform

Along with the assistance of my colleagues, I will be having a push towards a stricter adherence to the required uniform we expect the children to wear. It has been noted that some of the children are falling below the standards we expect and, in many cases, this is after being asked to improve their appearance by a member of staff.

The main issues are;
• School shoes – these should be black leather and not trainer style. There is a handful of children who are wearing trainers as this has been recommended by a medical professional. All other children should be wearing their school shoes.
• Tracksuit – if a child is in an academic lesson, but is wearing their sport kit, they should be in full tracksuit. Children often have to get changed at morning break in preparation for a later fixture or event. The tracksuit should always be in their kitbag for these times. They should also have their full tracksuit for match tea.
• Shirts – this mostly affects the boys, but in the winter uniform, the girls must also adhere to this. I, again along with my colleagues, spend a large proportion of time walking around the school asking children to tuck their shirts in. I would ask that parents check the length/ size of the shirts/ blouses, as I can see some of the boys shirts coming out when they put their hands up to answer a question. Although still a couple of months away, maybe Father Christmas could supply some new shirts for the start of the Lent term. I am sure the children would be overjoyed!
• Coats/Blazers – We have seen a distinct change in the weather this week, and I am still seeing some children arrive at school in only their shirt/ blouse (sometimes short-sleeved) or jumper. All the children should be arriving at school, throughout the year, in either their blazer or school coat, depending on the weather.

Much of the above can be assisted from those at home. There will be instances when a child has made a choice to not wear the correct uniform and in these cases a sanction may well be given. The children will be reminded of the expectations regarding uniform, so they will be in no doubt as to the expectations. With your assistance from home, I am convinced we will see an immediate improvement. I also expect parental support if a sanction has been given for non-adherence to the expectations, while in school.

I thank you in advance for your assistance in this.

Players of the Match, week commencing 30th September 2019

Team Name Given for: –
1st Football M Blincoe For displaying tidy and precise play throughout the match
2nd T Petersen For great attacking play
3rd T Bulley & T Porter For showing great perseverance and endeavour
Colts A T Neville & L Selvey-Clinton For all-round great play
Colts B The whole team For having 2 wins and all-round good performances
Colts C F Rutherford For excellent goal-keeping
Colts D C Hunter, M Batchelor & R Brown For great all-round play
Colts E D Macedo

 

I Premachandran

For displaying great enthusiasm and energy

For scoring and showing determination

Colts F F Giannakis

A Scott

For scoring a hat-trick

For good play and scoring 2 goals

U9 A The whole team For all-round great play
U9 B G Dulski For scoring a fantastic goal and showing a great work rate
U8 A W Pennington Legh For working hard to recover the ball
U8 B I Vanghese For having a great finish
U8 C S Doyle

G MacIntosh

For scoring 2 goals

For good defending

U13 A Hockey E Ward

 

E Powell

For displaying great energy on the pitch and for tackling back.

For the most outstanding goal-keeping!

U13 B Hockey L Griffiths

F Griffin

Voted for by the opposition

For showing excellent game awareness, tackling and use of space

U13 C Hockey D Stephens

F Arduino

Voted for by the opposition

For running non-stop!

U11 A No Match
U11 B S Cook For good distribution of the ball
U10 A G Owen For showing great distribution of the ball
U10 B P Malin For scoring a goal and for showing great pace and tenacity
U10 C No Match
U9 A A Brown

 

A-L El Alami

For good intercepting of the ball and strong passing

For good movement on the court and good all-round skills

U9 B S Cameron Voted for the opposition
U9 C O Padilla & K Rutherford Voted for the opposition
U8 Green S Savage

C Selvey-Clinton

For great shooting

For superb intercepting

U8 Black G Biskin For great intercepting
U8 Blue M Walker & B Ravalli For great all-round play

Senior School Open Days

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Bennett Memorial Diocesan School, Bromley High School Christ’s Hospital, Cobham Hall, Haileybury, Kent College Pembury, King’s Canterbury, Oakwood Park Grammar School, Radnor House, Sevenoaks School, Skinners’ School, Tonbridge Girls’ Grammar, TWGGS, Walthamstow Hall and Whitgift School.

Latest News

A Sevenoaks food bank is 318 kilos heavier following a donation from St Michael’s.

 

The school surprised charity The Community Cupboard with the generous donation on Monday, February 1 following a Christmas collection for the cause.

 

In total, £965 was raised from parent and staff donations throughout December, which St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P & F) used to organise a Sainsbury’s shop of food and toiletries for the charity.

 

Commenting on the school’s motivation to help the food bank, Co-Chair of St Michael’s P & F, Kelly Downey, said: “Delivering our donation to The Community Cupboard was an amazing and uplifting moment. Being able to bring the school together to contribute to a cause which plays such an important role in our community during this time was very rewarding.”

 

Greeted with three car loads of canned foods, long-life products and toiletries, Kelly also describes how delighted the charity were with the school’s generosity. She added: “The team were really blown away by our donation and thankful for the time we’d taken to raise the money and organise a delivery.

 

“It was a great feeling to be able to put an initial idea from a St Michael’s parent into action, and to see the impact we would be having on the local community.”

 

Kelly added: “We recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to put food on the table for their families. We hope that our donation can be a small step in making a difference for those people.”

 

Since the start of January alone, an additional 22 local families have registered for The Community Cupboard’s support, reflecting the increased pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic across the country. And it is only thanks to generous donations that the charity can continue to provide help to those who need it most.

 

Trustee at The Community Cupboard, David Carter said: “We would like to express our extreme gratitude to St Michael’s for their wonderful donation. We are very lucky to receive regular donations from local groups, but they are rarely to this scale.

 

“The food and toiletries kindly given to us by St Michael’s have allowed us to fully restock our shelves as well as putting plenty of stock on standby for new referrals. The size of this donation will allow us to give substantial food packages to the 22 new families who were referred to us in January. St Michael’s help is invaluable to us and will make a huge difference.”

 

Since its launch in January 2020, The Community Cupboard has continued to help families in Sevenoaks, and has extended its help to cover a 20 mile radius including Edenbridge, Westerham, Surrey, Sidcup, Rochester and Ashford, due to the pandemic.

 

The Trustee added: “We began as a small group of people determined to make a difference locally in an area where food banks were lacking. Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way and our efforts would be needed tenfold. To say we hit the ground running would be an understatement.”

 

Run by four members and six volunteers, The Community Cupboard works tirelessly to deliver parcels to families, and in January alone distributed 3.1 tonnes of food, toiletries and essential items.

 

David said: “We began the charity on the foundation that ‘if we can help, we will’, and with the community’s help, I’m proud to say we are doing just that. We see a lot of hardship and sadness in doing what we do, but it really opens our eyes to the incredible hard work various organisations and charities do in our community. Thanks to generous groups like St Michael’s, we can confidently say ‘yes, we can help you’.”

 

The Community Cupboard are currently taking donations of tinned and long-life food products, as well as toiletries and essential items. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be put towards bulk orders for the charity.

 

The charity is based at The Garage, Gamcock meadow, West Kingdown where a covid secure donation drop off process has been put in place.

 

For more information about The Community Cupboard, or to donate to the charity visit www.thecommunitycupboard.co.uk.

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.

 

 

Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head describes the school.

“I’ve always liked St Michael’s and have been visiting it for several years as part of sports fixtures with my previous schools”, Nik Pears said.

“Something that has always impressed me about St Michael’s is the atmosphere and people that belong to it.

“The sense of community you feel when walking through the doors of the school is extraordinary”, he added.

An avid sportsman, experienced leader, and family man, Mr Pears brings with him a wealth of ideas for St Michael’s, including his core value of equipping pupils for life.

Nik , who joined St Michael’s in January 2021, explained: “I am very keen on developing a growth mindset in my pupils. In this ever-changing world, our children need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom.

“Pupils need to be adaptable, resilient and perseverant, and learn to accept their failure and mistakes as important parts of their personal development.

“By equipping children with the right interpersonal skills during their school years, we can set them up for a future in which they may have to fight for their place in the world.”

Nik’s concept of growth mindset can also be applied to his broader vision for the school.

Coming to St Michael’s from his headship at Kent College, Pembury, Nik believes the challenges posed by Covid-19 can teach schools a lot about the importance of flexibility and community.

Mr Pears said: “These unprecedented times have been a huge learning curve for schools.

“Navigating a school through a global crisis was never going to be easy, but it has shown just how necessary it is to put pupils at the heart of every decision.

“As someone who has experienced the period as both a teacher and parent, it is very clear that we are all battling the same storm in different boats.

“It is incredible how people have found new and creative ways to deal with the circumstances. From Zoom concerts, to helping food banks, to keeping each other’s spirits high with funny videos, this period has shown us a lot about community which we will learn from and remember.”

Having belonged to multiple Prep schools himself throughout his education and as a teacher, Nik is excited to be entering this new stage in his career at St Michael’s.

Reflecting on his own school years which saw him attend schools in London, Devon and Dublin, he said: “I always enjoyed school as a child and made the most of every opportunity I was given.

“I particularly enjoyed subjects like music, drama and history and was fascinated by the things that we learnt.

“I was also heavily involved in sports and belonged to the Kent U18 rugby group. Even now you’ll find me in a pair of wellies at the side of the pitch cheering on my pupils and own children.”

Nik added: “I was one of those children who wanted to get stuck into everything, even the things that I found difficult.

“As well as my sports clubs, I belonged to multiple choirs, as well as orchestras where I played the drums, trumpet, piano and guitar.”

Mr Pears also spoke about the impact his own teachers had on his time at school and the person that he is today.

He said: “I had some amazing teachers which taught me a lot of things about life and leadership.

“Sir Anthony Seldon, one of my history teachers, was particularly inspiring and sparked my passion for the subject.

“The Head of my Prep school in Dublin also gave her pupils a lot of time. She was a hero.”

And Nik’s teachers aren’t his only role models in life.

He said: “A man called Phil Wall is also a huge inspiration of mine. Phil is the founder of the charity We See Hope which works with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa.

“Phil’s selflessness and passion for the cause inspired me to become an ambassador for the charity.

“His exceptional leadership, authenticity and integrity is just inspiring.”

Mr Pears also explained how his love of people has guided him to the many leadership roles he has held.

Nik said: “I very much enjoy being with people and having a good laugh. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing family including my wife, Emma and our two children, Jessica and Josiah. Our pet hamster Charlie is also a valued member of the family who kept us well entertained during the first lockdown.”

He added: “Being a leader brings so many opportunities to show warmth, empathy and understanding to others, and I can’t wait to become a member of the St Michael’s community.

“When pupils leave St Michael’s to pursue their senior education, I hope they remember me as someone who was kind, knew them well and valued their opinion.”

 

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