eNews: Friday 4th September 2020

From the Acting Head

The excitement of a new school year is upon us, and this week it has been wonderful to re-connect with all colleagues and welcome some new faces to the team.

As part of our socially distanced whole school meeting on Wednesday, we thought about what we are most looking forward to this year. For many of us, it is embracing the ‘normality’ of school life, being in our grounds, and enjoying the small, funny and wonderful moments spent with the children supporting their growth, development, learning and happiness.

Security and stability are fundamental this year more than ever, and we look forward to working with you all to provide the very best for our mini (and not so mini!) Michaelians. Training in ‘bubble protocol’, school logistics, cleaning, safeguarding, first aid and lifeguarding has been attended and we are ready to kick off the year with what looks set to be a warm and sunny week. Hooray!

This newsletter will update you on final information for the start of the new school year as well as introducing our new members of staff. The logistics of the school day have been adapted in order to maximise safety whilst still providing the best, most exciting opportunities for the children to experience what St Michael’s can offer, both inside and outside of the classroom. We know that teamwork will continue to be an essential skill required by all and that listening, adjusting and adapting will be necessary as we find the rhythm in the new systems. Your feedback, questions and comments are always welcome.

Further updates on school systems and protocols can be found in the Pre-Prep and Prep parent handbooks which are ready to be sent home with your eldest child on Monday, so look out for that.

Each September we launch our school development plan which provides a framework and focus for our progression over the year ahead. This year we have three aims:

  1. Review what we have learnt from Covid-19 school closure and consider changes to further improve what we do
  2. Focus on equality and the understanding of diversity in the curriculum throughout the school
  3. Focus on well-being through promoting healthy strategies for mind and body with children, staff and parents

We look forward to sharing details of our developments in relation to these strands over the course of the academic year. An essential part of looking ahead and planning for the future requires reflection on what has previously worked well and what could have been even better. As part of our annual reflection, I invite you to read the Head’s Review of 2019-2020 which has been published on the school website today.

Here’s to the new year and the many opportunities that it brings. I look forward to seeing the children next week and hope that they feel refreshed and ready to go!

Have a fantastic weekend.

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

I am looking forward to welcoming you all back next week. The classrooms look spick and span. Everything has been cleaned and the staff have been trained in first aid, safeguarding and our Covid-19 procedures.

Year 1 and 2 will start swimming next week and Reception will start Forest School, so please send your children in with the right clothing. As ever, please check that all clothing is clearly labelled. It is disheartening when new uniform gets lost and we can’t identify the owner. Could you also double check that the wellingtons you send in fit your child. At the start of term all the children have new shoes to fit their growing feet, but wellingtons are often forgotten over the summer months and children return with last year’s that are now too small.

I had booked in coffee mornings with each year group to welcome you all back. Unfortunately, we are still unable to have parents in Pre-Prep so a Zoom meeting invitation will be sent out  for each year group. I look forward to seeing you all on Zoom with a cup of coffee in hand.

I’d also like to gently remind you not to send your children in if they are at all unwell. I know this is going to be particularly inconvenient with coughs and colds through the winter and we do know that children are often susceptible to illnesses once they return to school, but we have to be mindful of the health of all the children and staff.

Where possible next week, try and encourage your children to say goodbye at the top of the bridge. If your child becomes too anxious then park up and you will be able to walk them down to the garden. Please don’t leave your car in the rolling drop off zone otherwise we will have traffic chaos.

Enjoy your weekend.

Zerrin Leech

Staff News

Hello

We are delighted to welcome several new members of staff to St Michael’s this term.

 

 

Carlos Lopez- Community Sport Development Manager

Carlos has spent the last 12 years working in the St Michael’s Sports Department. He has also worked as a Teaching Assistant and helped within our SEN Department.

Carlos brings a wealth of football experience to the school, including his knowledge of UEFA licenses with the English and Welsh FAs. Carlos has also worked for Arsenal FC in the youth academy and occupied various coaching jobs around the world.

Carlos has run a successful business in the London and Kent regions with experience in coaching sport, SEN support and 1-1 sessions in schools and the wider community.

Carlos is excited for this new opportunity and hopes to use his experience to build connections between St Michael’s and other schools, using sport as the foundation of these relationships.

 

 

Charlotte Dodson- Nursery Assistant

Charlotte graduated from the University of Reading with a degree in Meteorology and went on to complete her PGCE at the Institute of Education in London.

She worked as Head of Geography and Travel and Tourism at a large state school in Reading before moving to Kent to start a family.

Since having children, her interests in teaching have moved to Primary Education. She has been supply teaching this year in both Pre-Prep and Prep and is thrilled to be joining our teaching team this academic year.

Charlotte’s two children are currently in Pre-Prep at St Michael’s.

 

 

Charlotte Parsons- KS1 Teaching Assistant

Charlotte graduated from London Studio Centre with a BA in Theatre Arts and has been teaching dance and musical theatre for seven years. She enjoys reading and being outdoors, alongside her passion for theatre.

Charlotte is eager to work with the St Michael’s team and is looking forward to meeting the pupils next week.

 

 

Emma Stokes- Data Officer

Emma has worked in Data and Information Management for 20 years. She has occupied various voluntary and part-time roles in both schools and charities, and is very much looking forward to her role as Data Officer at St. Michael’s.

She lives in Tonbridge and is married with two children; her eldest is a keen footballer and her youngest will soon be starting secondary school. Her favourite pastime is landscape photography which she enjoys at any opportunity. She particularly loves coastal photography.

She is very keen to find out more about life at St. Michael’s and meet the rest of the team and school community.

 

 

Helen Yarrow- Library Assistant 

Helen has worked in education in Kent for 25 years in various roles including class teacher and English specialist subject teacher for pupils aged 7 to 13. She has also worked as the Head Librarian in another Prep school.

She is married with three grown-up children and enjoys a range of outdoor activities as well as reading, interior design, ballet and travel. Although she enjoys life in and around Sevenoaks, Helen’s preferred environment is the Suffolk coast, where you will find her during the summer holiday period.

She is very keen to meet all the St Michael’s team in person and is looking forward to inspiring the pupils to share her love of the English language and her passion for reading during their regular visits to the library.

 

Jean Stevens- Director of Finance & Operations

Jean has worked as a Finance and Business professional for more years than she likes to remember and found her niche within the NFP educational sector which she has worked in for the last ten years. She is an ACCA qualified accountant.

Jean has two grown up children, who have both left home and she loves running, cycling, swimming among many other fitness activities.

She is very excited and looking forward to getting to know everyone at St Michael’s and being part of the school community.

 

 

Kate Perkins- KS2 English Teacher

 

Kate has worked in Kent education for over 20 years in various roles including class teacher, phase leader, university lecturer, English lead and gifted and talented co-ordinator.

She is married with three children; two teenagers and one at primary school. She enjoys a range of outdoor activities as well as reading, theatre and travel.

Although Kate enjoys life in and around Sevenoaks, her preferred environment is the coast where you will find her during most holidays.

Kate is very keen to meet the St Michael’s team in person and she is looking forward to inspiring the children to share her love of the English language through exciting and thought provoking lessons.

 

Melanie Jacobs- Teaching Assistant

Melanie worked in a corporate environment for over ten years; the last four as an Office Manager for a global Pharmaceutical company.

In 2017 Melanie pursued her dream of becoming a Primary School Teacher when she enrolled on a part-time Primary Education degree at Canterbury Christ Church University. This allowed her to work full time alongside her studies, and after two successful teaching placements, realised it was time to make the transition from working in an office to working in a school.

Melanie cannot wait to start her new career at St Michael’s, where she will utilise her knowledge and provide excellent care and support to the children and staff.

Outside of working and studying, Melanie enjoys exercising, cooking and travelling to new places.

 

 

Oliver Jones- GAP Student

Oliver is an ex-pupil of St Michael’s and spent over nine years at the school. He enjoys sport, especially football, and made countless happy memories at the school.

He loves a variety of outdoor activities. Travelling is also a large part of his life and he has been lucky enough to see many corners of the world and experience many cultures.

Oliver is also very interested in IT and the future of technology.

He cannot wait to meet the staff at St Michael’s, hoping also to inspire the children and help each of them find something they truly enjoy.

 

Sallyanne Saunders- Finance Officer

Sallyanne has worked in the charity sector for the last four years, having previously worked for over seven years in Kent Schools where she was primarily a Bursar.

She has been married for 20 years and has two teenage children at University and College. She enjoys keeping fit with a special passion for running, completing her first marathon in 2013 when she raised funds for the National Autistic Society.

She is thrilled to be joining the St. Michael’s team and looking forward to making a positive contribution to both her role as Finance Officer and the whole School community.

 

Taz Usher- Marketing Assistant

Taz has a range of experience in Marketing and Communications including her roles as a reporter, social media director and editor of a newspaper.

She is a recent graduate of the University of Reading where she studied English Language, and has won multiple awards for her journalism and academic work.  

She has lived in Kent her whole life and her interests include baking, outdoor exercise and travel. She also enjoys musical theatre and has performed at The Stag Theatre many times.  

She is very much looking forward to joining the team at St Michael’s and working with its community to promote the school and its fantastic achievements in her role as Marketing Assistant.  

 

 

Tom Gadd- Maintenance & Grounds Assistant

Tom has worked in education for the past five years in estate roles across Kent.

He is married with three children – one is a teenager, one has just started primary school and one is 18 months old. He enjoys a range of outdoor activities as well as reading, theatre and travel. Tom also has a passion for fishing.

He is very keen to meet all the St Michael’s staff in person and is looking forward to being a proud member of the team.

 

 

Zoe Trinder- GAP Student

Zoe is from Sydney in Australia, has three siblings and is 20 years old. She loves playing sports, especially football, and has played for both school and club over the past 14 years.

Zoe has recently finished working as an au pair in London and is looking forward to being able to explore Europe as soon as possible.

She has spent lockdown practising her new hobbies – skateboarding and table tennis.

Zoe’s cousins went to St Michael’s and she is looking forward to experiencing an English school.

And Goodbye

Emily Aisher

This week we have waved an extremely fond farewell to Emily Aisher who has taken up the opportunity to continue her Law degree on a full time basis.

Emily joined St Michael’s in 2016 as our Data Officer and her calm, logical and helpful approach has been a great support to many staff, parents and pupils. Emily has embraced all aspects of her role with enthusiasm and commitment, taking great pleasure in the challenges of school timetabling and data managing.

She has transformed many of our data systems and her positive, solution-focused outlook will be greatly missed. Emily has been a huge part of wider school life by taking on the role of producer for two school productions and providing excellent support and feedback to pupils in their homework challenges.

We wish Emily every success in her final year of study and beyond and thank her for her huge commitment and the joy that she has bought to many at St Michael’s. Her wicked sense of humour will also be greatly missed.

 

Prep School Welcome Evenings

The dates for the welcome evenings are as follows:

Year 3&4 – Thursday 10th September

Year 5&6 – Thursday 17th September

Year 7&8 – Monday 21st September

It will be of no surprise that we are unable to hold the events in school this year, but we look forward to sharing essential information and answering any questions you may have on Zoom.

Details of the virtual events will be shared next week, and there will be an opportunity for you to submit questions in advance.

Other Key Dates

ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:

  • Friday 9th October
  • Friday 6th November
  • Friday 27th November.

School Uniform Shops

The School Shop

 

OPENING TIMES & INFO

 

The school shop is now open; however, visits will be by appointment only as will our click and collect service.

To book an appointment please click here.

Once term begins, we hope that following the initial busy period, we can open for general purchase on a non-appointment basis, but for the time being appointments will be available during our usual opening hours.

8:00 – 9:15: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday & Friday
15:00 – 16:30: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday

We strongly encourage parents to take advantage of our click and collect service unless you have lots of items to buy.

www.sturdyclothing.co.uk/st-michaels

If you are visiting the shop, please respect social distancing rules and we advise you to wear a face mask.

We have created a sizing guide which can be found under the uniform downloads section of the website which we hope you find useful. Online order collection will be available from the School Shop strictly by appointment only. Customers will receive an email requesting that they book a collection slot via a link once their online order has been processed.

Please rest assured that measures will be taken to clean surfaces, handles etc. between customer visits and hand sanitiser will be available. Where possible, debit and credit cards are to be used.

For any other enquiries please contact Louise on 07713 632284 or stmichaels@sturdyclothing.co.uk

Déjà Vu – Second-hand Uniform Shop

 

Shopping at Déjà Vu

 

From September 2020 Déjà Vu will be open:

8:15 – 9:15 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday mornings during term time.

Due to Covid-19 we have had to meet certain requirements in order to open the second hand shop. Please could you follow the instructions below when coming to the shop:

  • Please do not come to the shop if you or anyone you have been in contact with has or has had any of the symptoms of Covid-19 within the last 14 days.
  • Please wait outside the shop under the gazebo, and if there are already customers there please remain at a distance of 2 metres from them.
  • Please use the hand sanitiser provided on the table under the gazebo and wear a pair of gloves which will also be provided.
  • Due to the size of the shop no customers are allowed inside and the volunteers will discuss with you what items you require and bring out options for you to look at.
  • If possible, bring some clothes from home which are the right size to compare with the uniform. As our items are second hand they can vary in size depending on how they have been washed and dried.

For enquiries please contact Sarah on sarah.maltarp@sky.com

Please note the shop is run by volunteers.

Family Covid-19 Questionnaire

You will have received the Family Covid-19 Questionnaire via email. We have asked all parents to complete this by Monday 7th September @ 8:00am at the latest.

 

Important information about the return to school

 

Drop off from 8am 

When possible, please use the following time bands: 

Year 3&4 – 8:00am to 8:05am 

Year 5&6 – 8:05am to 8:10am 

Year 7&8 – 8:10am to 8:15am 

Where there is more than one child, please drop at the time of the eldest child in the family. 

Please endeavour to have as much of your child(ren)’s kit/ bags in the car as possible. Children should leave the car via the door out onto the pavement. To enable us to keep drop off moving, please avoid stopping for too long. Can hair and uniform please be done before arriving at school.  

As with every other year, all children need either their blazer or school coat* in school everyday. The choice of which one is weather dependant and is down to the wearer, but please be aware that we will be operating the rolling pick up at the end of the day, even in the rain. 

*Year 7&8 children may wear a non-uniform coat, but all other year groups should have the black school coat from the school shop. 

On the first day only (for all subsequent days, the Chapel door will be used), all children need to make their way to the playground. They will all enter the school via the Sports Hall. If they have a games kit bag, it will be deposited in their locker at this time.  

Some of you might have been contacted for your child to be a buddy for one of the new starters. If they are fulfilling this role, they need to be on the terrace as soon after 8am as possible. They can leave their bags in sports hall and retrieve them later.  

 

Collection at the end of the day 

We will be operating the rolling collection from Monday. This will take place on the Car Park pitch. There will be four pick up points. The specific pick up points and times for your children will be texted to you.  

If possible, we are asking all parents to clearly write their surname on an A4 sheet of paper to be displayed clearly on their car windscreen when they come to collect their children. This will help us to easily identify parents.

We also have three time bands in the afternoon, and in a reverse of the procedure used in the Trinity Term, we will be asking families to collect their children at the band that relates to the oldest child. These time bands are: 

Year 3&4 – 3:45pm to 3:55pm 

Year 5&6 – 3:55pm to 4:05pm 

Year 7&8 – 4:05pm to 4:15pm 

Please use the left lane to pull up and pick up your children and the right lane to move around the collection area. PLEASE always look before pulling out and always ask your child to enter the car on the left-hand side. 

At such point this term that the Car Park pitch becomes unusable, we will operate the rolling collection system from two alternative points. A full explanation of this will come to you in good time, when this is required.  

It is our expectation that all children will be collected at the end of day collection between 3:45pm and 4:15pm. We will not be operating a Late Room for the foreseeable futureAs you will have seen from recent emails, if you need your child to remain in school beyond the end of the normal day, they must be booked in via the activity booking system; School Cloud. However, we would expect this to be the exception, not the norm. To maintain the integrity of the bubbles, we will have three Prep areas, supervised by staff. Children in these organised prep groups will stay until 5pm, when they will be brought down to the collection area to meet you. Parents should not be coming to the school building to collect children, at the moment. 

 

Stationery and personal equipment 

As with the Trinity Term, all children will need a fully stocked pencil case so there is no temptation to borrow from others. Individual departments will be in touch if there is a specific piece of equipment your child requires for school, that we cannot lend.  

Prep School Art

As we are currently unable to share aprons, children will need to bring and old shirt, apron or t-shirt that they can wear over their uniform in order to enjoy painting and all things messy in Art!

We will have a small supply of contingency aprons but hope that mum or dad will be able to donate an item of clothing for this.

 

Our new Astro Turf pitch

Following its completion, we are excited to be able to open the new Astro Turf to pupils this term.

Planning for the Astro Turf began all the way back in 2014, and it has taken six years of hard work and dedication to get it ready for the St Michael’s community.

The new pitch will be particularly beneficial during the colder months when our other pitches can become unusable due to wet and icy weather conditions. Likewise, its floodlights will allow us to host sports matches during evenings.

We are excited for the opportunities that the new Astro Turf will bring to the school and its wider community. 

Michaelmas Term menu

The Michaelmas Term lunch menu is now live on our website. This menu will continue until the October half term.

Click here to see all of the delicious meals you children will be enjoying this term.

Follow us on Instagram

File:Instagram logo 2016.svg - Wikipedia

We’re now on Instagram!

 

 

 

Keep up-to-date with all St Michael’s news, events and media by following our new Instagram page.

 

 

By following us you’ll be the first to see our latest videos and images, including live streams of trips and events.

 

 

Find us using this link: www.instagram.com/stmichaelsprep/

 

We also have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn channels which we post on each week.

Send us your stories!

Has your child won an award, passed an extra-curricular exam or accomplished something exciting recently?

We love celebrating our pupils’ amazing achievements and want to showcase them in our weekly newsletter.

Please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk with your child’s name, a summary of their achievement and a relevant photo. Please also give consent for the use of their name and photo on our website and social media.

 

Latest News

 

 

 

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.”

This month St Michael’s Prep is celebrating the opening of its new Astro Turf pitch.

Completed during Summer 2020, the state-of-the-art facility will provide a huge boost to the school’s sporting facilities and allow it to offer a broader range of activities including boys hockey and football to its pupils.

Its floodlights will also enable St Michael’s to host sports matches during evenings, as well as inviting external schools and clubs to enjoy the new pitch throughout the year.

Ben Bridges, Director of Sports at St Michael’s, said: “We’re really excited to use the Astro Turf for the first time this month.

“We feel extremely lucky to be able to offer this to our pupils in both Prep and Pre-prep and are thrilled about the benefits it will bring to our sporting curriculum.

“As well as hockey, the new pitch will allow us to offer many other sports to pupils and will prevent the children from missing lessons due to inclement weather.”

Planning for the Astro Turf began in 2014 and has seen St Michael’s grounds undergo a significant transformation since construction began last summer. During this time pupils were fascinated by the diggers, dumpers and bulldozers which visited the school, while nursery and kindergarten children were treated to close-up views of the machinery.

Mr Bridges added: “Although it was a slightly delayed start due to the poor weather we faced, this feels like the perfect time to put the incredible space to good use.

“This is really going to move sport at St Michael’s to the next level, as well as providing us with opportunities to engage with the local community. We’re excited all round.”

 

The Governors of St. Michael’s Prep School take pleasure in announcing the appointment of Nik Pears as our new Head Teacher with effect from January 2021.

Nik was educated at St Dunstan’s College, London and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He is currently Head of Prep at Kent College Pembury, a post he has held since 2016. Prior to that, he was Headmaster of the Junior School at Sevenoaks Prep for 5 years. Nik is also an ISI inspector and a governor at Dulwich Prep, Cranbrook. We believe that he has the experience and qualities required to lead St Michael’s into the next chapter of its history.

Nik represented Kent U18 group at rugby and has a love of all sports. He is an accomplished musician and has performed at The O2 and Wembley Arenas. He is an Ambassador for “We See Hope”, a charity working with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa. Nik devised The Social Entrepreneurs Project an initiative that challenges young people to turn £10 seed capital into £100 or more with their profits going to support the work of the charity.

We feel very fortunate to have secured Nik’s headship and welcome him and his wife Emma and two children, Jessica and Josiah into the St. Michael’s family from the start of next year. Nik has said

“I am delighted to have been appointed the next Head of St Michael’s Prep. Having lived in the area for the past twenty years, it is a school I have known and long admired for its ambitious and child-centred approach to learning. There is a very special atmosphere in the school and I am excited to become a part of the community, getting to know the children, parents and staff over the months and years ahead. St Michael’s is privileged to have an experienced and committed Senior Leadership Team and I very much look forward to working together with them as we embark on an exciting future for the school.” 

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

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

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

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

Mrs Denton

Swim School Manager