eNews: Friday 5th June 2020

From the Acting Head

Welcome back to the second half of the Trinity Term. I hope you had a restful and enjoyable holiday and are ready to give everything you have to this last half of term and the last 5 weeks of the school year. This is traditionally a term absolutely packed with all number of events and opportunity and, although much of what we would usually have the privilege of experiencing has either changed or been lost due to Covid-19, let us just take a step back and look at it through the wider societal lens.

So much of what we experience at St Michael’s, and in our community, is an absolute privilege. The sad news of the murder of George Floyd in America has rightly shone a spotlight on issues of inequality and privilege. Issues that so many of us take for granted. It is a difficult subject to approach from my privileged position but, I strongly believe in love, kindness and community, and only by all of us standing up for what is right in the world can we set the example for our own children and the children in our care here at St Michael’s.

We strongly feel for those children still at home whilst some are at school. We recognise how hard it is to see siblings returning home happy and tired from a day spent with friends and teachers finding joy in learning. We have, however, taken huge steps forward in a return to what we know.  We are proud of the successful return of Nursery, Kindergarten, Reception, Years 1 and 6. We are also proud of our Year 8 pupils who completed their CE English and maths exams this week and who will be leaving their legacy in new ways to any that have come before. It was lovely to see the Year 8’s in a Zoom call yesterday and to make plans for their contributions to our famous stairwell timeline.  The excitement of planning where they will leave their name inscribed on the wall is possibly even more palpable after the time learning away.

I would like to offer a huge thanks to all staff that were involved in the mammoth task of getting the school and the community ready for Monday 1st June. Those of you that have been on site will appreciate that there are many parts to the puzzle that have needed slotting together and it was another superb team effort. We are already excited about the things that we have introduced that we’d like to keep. The Year 6 rolling pick up is a particular hit and I thank Fraser Wiseman and Ian Smith and his team for their thinking and work to make this, and much of site preparation and planning happen.  Jamie Booth has done a sterling job in leading our risk assessing which continues to be reviewed daily. Congratulations also to the dedicated Pre-Prep Team in planning for a huge number of children to return in one go. It was a pleasure to pay a visit yesterday and to be greeted by many smiling faces who have only seen me in Zoom for the last few months!

So, from the many events that have stolen the headlines this year and in particular reference to the recent events in America, the way forward for us, and society, will undoubtedly be trying. There will be tough conversations, mistakes made and lots of learning. But by being open, honest, kind and courageous we will find a way to be better. As the fantastic St Michael’s, British and world community that we are. At the heart of everything we all do is love. And hopefully that will win in the end.

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Dear Parents,

It is strange to be writing a newsletter with some children in school and some children still at home. I have been delighted to have so many happy children returning to school. I recognise that bringing your child back to school is such a difficult decision to make. I and St Michael’s respect whatever decision you choose. If you need to email me or phone me to talk through how you are feeling, then please do so.

If you wish your child to come to school later in this term, please email me by each Wednesday at the latest ready for a return the following week. I hope it won’t be too long before Year 2 will be given the option to come in to school.

Staggering the drop off and pick up times for children seems to be working well. Thank you for putting your names on your car dashboards at pick up as this is making the process easier. It is very hard to see into your windscreens to identify mums and dads.

For those of you home learning the standard of the work you are producing is spectacular! Well done all of you. I particularly enjoy the videos Some of you clearly have talents in film directing.

Overheard: My car is an IKEA

Best wishes to you all,

Zerrin Leech

 

Staff News

We’re delighted to welcome Jean Stevens to St Michael’s as our new Director of Finance and 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 – in fact all fitness activities and going for long walks.

She is very excited and looking forward to getting to know everyone at St Michael’s and being part of the St Michael’s team. Please introduce yourself when you see her at the school.

 

 

School News

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere

We have been asked by the Government to keep the children in groups which are called Bubbles, this helps to prevent the spread of infection as the children stay within these groups in lessons, lunch and playtime. We asked Pre-Prep and Prep to say how they have been getting on in their bubbles.

Pre-Prep

The children have been very good at keeping a social distance between their bubbles. We’re pleased that the Government have said in their guidelines they know it would be impossible for our younger children to social distance and that they are allowed to play together within their own bubbles.

Prep

Year 6 have been enjoying their bubbles and have been very disciplined at working with the teachers to respect what they can and can’t do. They are all delighted to be back at school and see their friends in their bubbles.

 

Déjà Vu – Second-hand Uniform Shop

Update 1st June: Owing to the size of the second hand uniform shop and the difficulty in staying at a safe distance from each other inside, Déjà vu will be closed for the time being.

They will not be accepting donations for the foreseeable future.

Headteacher’s Stars

L Lutzow For a superb handmade game based on Cluedo and an articulate explanation of the playing instructions
N Brown For an outstanding story and video telling the tale of the fringed bleeding heart.
G Binskin For fantastic French work completed with enthusiasm during lockdown
L Lutzow For a brilliant song about Henry VIII’s wives which was confidently performed and videoed
M Skrypnik For excellent effort and perseverance in online learning
D Booth For excellent effort and perseverance in online learning
L Karir For excellent effort and perseverance in online learning
O Padilla For excellent effort and perseverance in online learning
A Ashton For excellent effort and perseverance in online learning
E MacKay For excellent effort and perseverance in online learning
S Friis For a beautiful violin performance in our virtual assembly
A Goodwin For a superb cello performance in our virtual assembly
C Hunter For confidently sharing a great happy news story in our virtual assembly and contributing an article to the school newsletter
I Giannakis  For confidently sharing the news of your charity work in our virtual assembly
F Rutherford For working with commitment and sharing your skills in the Art Scholars’ “Teach the Teach” sessions on zoom
F Arduino For creating a lovely drawing of St Michael’s and a beautiful flower oil painting

Community support at home and away 

We were delighted to hear from Year 5 pupil, C Hunter, about his work in supporting the local community and children in Ghana.  Click here to read all about his efforts in our article.

Sports News

Congratulations to Year 3 pupil, C Selvey-Clinton, who was awarded the Sevenoaks U8 player of the season for hockey. A fantastic achievement! Well done!

Senior School Virtual Tours and Open Days

Many Senior Schools are offering virtual tours and Open Days at the moment. We’ll be updating our Senior Schools Information page as we hear about them. Most of the schools are offering traditional Open Days from September and booking forms for both traditional and virtual open events are available on their websites. Links to the schools are available on our Senior Schools Information page.

The following schools are currently offering virtual Open Days or Tours:

Ardingly

Bethany School

Brighton College

Caterham School

Christ’s Hospital

Cobham Hall

Dover College

Eastbourne College

Haileybury

King’s Canterbury

King’s Rochester

Lingfield College

Radnor House

Sevenoaks School

Tonbridge School

Wellington College

Whitgift School – click here for your Virtual Open Event Invitation

In addition, a new school has been added to our page:

St Catherine’s School, Bramley is a GSA Day and Boarding School near Guildford. They will be holding Open Mornings throughout the autumn.

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