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

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.

 

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

 

 

This Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s will host a fundraising day for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy.

Determined to help a cause very close to her heart, Lucy has organised a series of events aimed at raising money for the charity-based emergency service.

Throughout the day pupils will be invited to participate in a range of activities including wearing a Christmas jumper, doing a sponsored run, and completing brain teaser quizzes in exchange for donations to the TVAA which relies wholly on public contributions.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I’ve planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.

“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day will change that.

“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”

And Lucy’s charity day is driven by her own bond with the charity who saved her life following an accident last Christmas.

She said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”

Since her accident, Lucy has remained close with three of TVAA’s critical care paramedics, Jo, John and Clare.

Lucy said: “Not only did the team come and visit me in hospital during my recovery, but in February this year my family and I were invited to their base to see their helicopters and learn more about their work.

“Since then, we’ve kept in close contact with them and have been given the exciting opportunity to take part in their Christmas campaign.

“One morning, my mum received a phone call from the TVAA asking if we’d like to tell our story as part of their fundraising appeal.

“Despite the accident still being quite fresh, we were keen to get involved as it’s such an amazing charity.”

Earlier this year, Lucy and her family were invited to Oxfordshire to talk about their experience in front of the camera.

The filming day, which involved interviews with both Lucy and her parents, aimed to raise awareness of the charity’s impact.

Lucy said: “It was such a fun day and really made us feel part of the TVAA community.

“Afterwards, we were sent several cuts of the video, including a very cool animation of my story which was very realistic.

“They kept us in mind throughout the whole process and made us feel very special.”

A full breakdown of the fundraising events can be found below. For more information about the TVAA or to view Lucy’s video visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/appeal/.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance Fundraising Activities 

  • Christmas jumpers – In Prep and Pre-Prep, we are inviting the children and staff to sport their best Christmas jumper and make a donation for the privilege of wearing it! The 15th  is the day of the school Christmas lunches, so this would be a good time to wear them. As with the last charity collection, the donations for Christmas jumpers can be deposited in the buckets at the doors into the buildings as the children arrive in the morning.
  • Sponsored run (Prep) – we are going to be inviting the children to run in teams of (up to) 4 around the shortest XC route on the fields. They will have a set time to complete as many laps as possible in that time. The children can look to have their team sponsored per lap, or have a donation from their sponsor. Sponsorship money raised will need to be brought in the following day.
  • Brain teaser quizzes – there are two quiz sheets that can be purchased for 50p each and you can take them home and try to solve the puzzles as a family. I’m afraid the only prize on offer is the glow of self-fulfilment upon having completed them. Answers will be shared on the last day of term. As parents cannot be in the school buildings at the moment, the quiz sheets can be purchased via homework diaries (please send the 50p/ £1, depending if you want one quiz sheet or both).

 

 

A former St Michael’s pupil has been awarded an Honorary Academic Scholarship for her excellence across all subjects.

Grace Goodwin, who attended St Michael’s between 2014 and 2019, has received the honour from Sevenoaks School.

Commenting on Grace’s success, her mother Marianthe Goodwin said: “Grace joined Sevenoaks in Year 7 and has really thrived from day one.

“We all knew Grace was doing very well academically as she was awarded the Academic Prize in Year 7 and Year 8. However, just before half term we received a letter awarding Grace an Honorary Academic Scholarship, one of only four which was awarded.

“Grace was delighted and extremely surprised as she had absolutely no idea that she was going to receive it. As an Academic Scholar, Grace is invited to attend the Schickler Society with the other scholars in which they discuss lots of different world issues both current and past, such as gun control and the Cold War.”

Mrs Goodwin added: “Grace had a wonderful and very happy time at St Michael’s and the decision to leave was  a hard one, but we felt it was the right time for Grace.  At St Michael’s she enjoyed all her subjects, especially English and Science.

“She found all the teachers very encouraging and approachable, and felt the growth mindset attitude and community spirit of St Michael’s gave her the confidence to hit challenges head on and not give up.

“Mrs Bridges among others was particularly encouraging of Grace during her time at St Michael’s and offered amazing pastoral support to pupils.”

And it isn’t just Sevenoaks School that spotted Grace’s academic potential. St Michael’s teacher Mrs Baisch, who taught Grace during her time at the school, said: “Grace is an incredibly creative pupil who loves reading and writing, and produced some beautiful work. The words flew off her pen.

“Grace was also a very good speaker which was shown by her victory in the poetry live senior competition which she won with her reading of Dulce et Decorum est. For a Year 6 pupil, her performance was very impressive.

“Grace’s scholarship is of no surprise and is something she should be very proud of.”