eNews: Friday 5th February 2021

From the Head

Dear Parents,

What a fun and busy week it has been at St Michael’s. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and awarding Head’s Stars for some fantastic Remote Learning work this week, as well as being able to drop in to see some of the classes in Prep school.

There’s lots to celebrate in this week’s newsletter including a fantastic story about St Michael’s amazing donation to local food bank The Community Cupboard which the school community contributed to last term. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.

Have a great weekend.

Nik Pears

 

A message from Mr Pears to pupils:

 

 

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep 

Dear Parents,

It has been another busy week of Remote Learning and Zoom calls. We are certainly being kept busy with prospective parents who want to get their children into St Michael’s. We have even started on entry to Nursery in 2023, so perhaps I could remind you if you haven’t already registered your youngest child, you may wish to start the process.

We are planning our parents’ “evenings” with you on Tuesday 23rd, Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th of February. These can be booked via the Parents’ Evening System. You should already have a code for this. We have brought the date forward in our calendar rather than wait until March, as we thought you may appreciate an earlier catch up with your child’s class teacher. Appointments will be for 10 minutes. We are offering daytime appointments as well as evening for those of you who are able to juggle Remote Learning with talking to a teacher. This will be a time to talk as adults rather than your child taking part.  A letter giving you further details will be with you shortly.

Next week is a 4-day week before we start half term for the children on Friday 12th February. We will not be having any critical worker children or Pre-school children at school over half term. Staff will be having an inset training day on Friday 12th February before they start their half term break.

If we do get snow this weekend at least Remote Learning shouldn’t be disrupted!

Overheard in Pre-Prep: “When I’m 100 I’m going to be a teacher…well perhaps when I’m 48.”

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Head’s Stars

M Macedo (Year 4) for sharing amazing Lockdown Life Hacks video

C Selvey-Clinton (Year 4) for an amazing Roman Army Recruitment video

O Scott (Year 4) for an amazing Roman Army Recruitment video

F Digweed (Year 4) for putting in wonderful effort and extra time on lessons; an example of conscientiousness

G Binskin (Year 4) for working really hard, going the ‘extra mile’ and completing extension work

S Wallace (Year 4) for an amazing PowerPoint presentation about pursuing a passionate project

A Ulens (Year 6) for a beautiful depiction of Autumn inspired by poetry of the senses in English

D Singh (Year 6) for an amazing poem called ‘Black’ in English

Remote Learning 

St Michael’s pupils have been working hard in their Remote Learning lessons this week. They have completed artwork, made models of scientific processes and even sung songs to practise their French.

 

Send in your photos

To send us photos or videos of your child taking part in Remote Learning, please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk along with your child’s name, year group and a short description of the photograph. All content sent to this email address may feature on St Michael’s social media and in other publications.

Critical Workers group

Meanwhile, in school our Critical Workers group has enjoyed a range of activities including making craft aliens, and enjoying some free time in the sun.

Whole School News

Freestyle Friday!

Presenting… this week’s Freestyle Friday dance to ‘9 to 5’ by Dolly PartonThank you to everyone who submitted their clips, we hope you enjoy watching this video.

 

Next week’s theme is: St Michael’s loves…

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day and we want to celebrate everybody and everything we love in our lives. Whether it’s a family member, hobby, favourite cuddly toy or place, we want to celebrate all the things that make us happy in next week’s video.

We will be dancing to: You’ve Got the Love by Florence + The Machine

If your child would like to be involved, please send a 5-10 second video clip of your child dancing to tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk to be considered for the final video. Please can we ask parents to be mindful of what their child is wearing in the video, and to ensure that their clothing and dance moves are appropriate for distribution to the school community and on St Michael’s social media channels.

The deadline for the next Freestyle Friday video is Wednesday 10th February at 12pm. Please film all videos in landscape and not portrait. You do not need to worry about sound in the video as all clips will be muted before being put with a backing track.

Lockdown Life Hacks

Thank you to those who have been sending in their Lockdown Life Hacks this week. It’s been useful and inspiring to hear how others are coping with the lockdown period and what is helping them stay positive.

This week, Year 4 pupil Mikayla is sharing her 7 Lockdown Life Hacks- please enjoy this short video which she created. We hope that you find Mikayla’s tips as useful as we did.

To submit your Lockdown Life Hack, please email a 30 second to 1 minute video clip to tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. Videos submitted may be used on St Michael’s website and social media. Videos from pupils, parents and staff are welcome.

Screen time webinar with Dr Aric Sigman

Join us for our webinar with Dr Aric Sigman next Thursday 11th February at 8pm. The hour-long presentation and Q&A will focus on our increased screen time due to lockdown, as well as offering useful tips for finding balance in our working days.

Log in details will be emailed to parents prior to the event.

 

St Michael’s gives 318 kilo donation to local food bank

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.

Safer Internet Day (SID’s)- Tuesday 9th February 2021

 

Dear Parents/Carers,

 

On Tuesday 9th February we will be celebrating SID’s (Safety Internet Day).

 

As you are aware, the St Michael’s community celebrates SID’s every year.  The purpose of the day is to keep everyone up to date with the latest online safety advice. This year is just as important owing to our continued use of different devices to access countless online platforms to work, teach and learn. Therefore, it is important we are up to date with how we keep ourselves safe whilst online.

 

St Michael’s Prep School is a part of the NOS (National Online Safety) where we can access the latest online courses which are informative and free of charge. As a school, we are trying to become a NOS accredited school, therefore, the more people we have completing the courses, the more credits we receive which all contribute to achieving our accreditation.

 

NOS Parents Online-Safety Course:

If you would like to complete a parents’ course on Online-Safety please select this link http://nationalonlinesafety.com/enrol/st-michael-s-school then, you will need to:

  • Create an account by inputting your details
  • Once logged in, go the left hand margin and select ‘NOS Courses’.

 

Then select the course within your child’s age bracket.

 

When you access your NOS account you will see a variety of other Online-Safety courses available to you. Please feel free to take any of these courses.  As mentioned above, the more we do, the more credits we receive which takes us a step closer in achieving whole school NOS accreditation.

 

NOS APP:

NOS have just launched their new App. Below are links to the App for Apple and Android devices.

 

Download for Apple:  hubs.ly/H0BwQjL0

Download for Android:  hubs.ly/H0Bx0tp0

 

 

Students:

  • Students will have an assembly with myself on Tuesday 9th February

 

  • From Monday 8th February, an Online-Safety activity will be available for students in Years 5 to 6 via Seesaw which they should access during their PSHE lesson

 

  • Years 3 and 4 will have an activity on Seesaw which is optional

 

Useful Resources:

 

Should you require further details regarding Online-Safety advice for parents, please email me directly at jbooth@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. 

 

Jamie Booth

Shoot for the Stars!

Iris receives Blue Peter Badge

Congratulations to Iris in Year 2 who received a Blue Peter Badge for her amazing sunset chalk pastel drawing, this week. Keep up the amazing work, Iris!

 

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. Email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk to submit your child’s achievement.

In the Community

Help Sevenoaks Larder help others

A new Sevenoaks support service is helping struggling residents to pay for their weekly food shop.

Sevenoaks Larder, an extension of local projects Lockdown Larder and Sevenoaks Pantry, aspires to offer a helping hand to those in need, as well as spreading hope and compassion during these difficult times.

Sevenoaks Larder provides fresh and long-life food to those who are struggling to afford their own food in our community. The charity’s main aim is to fundraise to be able to provide regular fresh and healthy food shops for our clients.

Sevenoaks Larder will also be collecting and distributing excess stock from supermarkets, and food donations from individuals and businesses. These items can then either be collected from the charity’s premises (Hope Church, Mill Lane, Sevenoaks) during its opening hours of 10-11am, or delivered by one of our volunteers.

Sevenoaks Larder strongly believes that it is vital to try and preserve as much self-respect and dignity as possible for people, and this includes leaving them in charge of what they feed their families as much as possible. People can self-refer or be referred to us by other agencies.

For more information or to contribute to the charity visit their website: https://www.sevenoakslarder.co.uk/

Senior Schools Information

Eastbourne College

Join Eastbourne College for their Virtual Open Morning on Saturday 27th February, from 9am – 11am. 

Follow us on social media!

It’s important that we stay connected as a community during this time, so make sure you are following St Michael’s social media channels for important updates and content throughout the Lent Term.

Latest News

Accordion has been added to the list of instruments pupils can learn to play at St Michael’s. The unique instrument, which will be offered as part of the school’s lessons delivered by the peripatetic music teachers, combines the use of various musical skills and has many wonderful attributes.

Commenting on the new addition to the school’s music programme, Director of Music, Mr Baird, said: “We are excited to include the accordion as part of our instrumental offer in the music department as it can offer many benefits to young musicians in developing their musicianship, aural skills, physical coordination, and understanding of harmony and tonality. We look forward to future ensembles and concerts featuring the accordion”.

Mr Guy, one of St Michael’s peripatetic teachers who will be leading the accordion lessons, also added: “The accordion is an amazing instrument now available for lessons at St Michael’s. It’s lots of fun to play and I’m really looking forward to teaching it to everyone who is interested.”

For more information about music at St Michael’s or to view performances by some of our musicians, please visit our website.

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.”