eNews: Friday 6th December 2019

From the Deputies

Engagement is the theme of the year at St Michael’s and over the course of this week we have witnessed it everywhere! From the amazing assault courses to the superb range of stalls (via the delicious food and mulled wine offerings) there was celebration amongst the community at the Christmas Bazaar and the start of the festive season was well and truly underway. We would like to offer our congratulations to the P&F Christmas Bazaar committee and all the Year Reps for their tireless work in making it happen.

On Tuesday the Year 3 pupils dazzled us with their creativity and fun at the challenging and comic panto. Hooray to Mr Powell, the Year 3 team and the children for their command of a complex storyline which told the tale of friendship and perseverance. We warmly welcomed Year 2 to the Prep School on Thursday as they joined Year 3 for the Christingle Service. During this time of advent it allows us time and space to reflect and we thank Rev. Di for leading her last in-school service so thoughtfully.

Treasure boxes unravelling tales of old, scrapbooks with historic headlines and confident, thought provoking presentations were just a few of the delights that we witnessed through the sharing of the homework challenges. It was, as always, a delight to uncover the curious journeys that our pupils have been on. WOW indeed – the dopamine hit surged through the school as we all learnt new things and saw our children flourish in their moment to share and to shine.

We rounded off the week with a breakfast concert laden with musical treats (and refreshments to match) this morning. It was great to see so many of you here to support the pupils and enjoy the music. Congratulations to Mr Baird and his hugely talented team for all that you do to enable this to happen. The numbers of children involved with huge smiles on their faces is testament to all that goes on behind the scenes.

Looking ahead to next week there are, inevitably, some changes to the normal routines. We urge you to read all communications from school. Those of you with Prep school children involved in the Carol Service rehearsals at Shoreham Church will need to follow the instructions in the email from Mr Baird regarding drop-off. The rest of the children at school need to be in school uniform and trainers. However, Tuesday is Christmas jumper day for everyone! This isn’t a charity event and is completely optional. Children may swap their school jumper or cardigan for a festive themed one.

We wish you a wonderful weekend.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

Staff News

We’re delighted to welcome Lindsey MacRae to the staff of St Michael’s as our new Religious Studies teacher in Prep.

Lindsey has been teaching in secondary schools for 6 years, following a career as a commercial property lawyer.

Her interests include yoga, gardening and literature and she has two children at St Michael’s: Austin and Amelia.

Lindsey is excited about developing our investigative approach to Religious Studies, encouraging the children to consider and question faith and morality in the context of the major world religions and, in doing so, to develop self-knowledge and a sense of their own place in the world.

A warm welcome, too, to new peripatetic violin teacher, Sarah Harris.

Sarah studied viola at the Purcell School and Royal Academy of Music, subsequently enjoying a career as an orchestral viola player, performing with some of the UK’s top opera and ballet companies.

Combining a playing career with violin and viola tuition, she has become an experienced, dedicated and highly skilled teacher. She currently works as a peripatetic violin teacher for a number of primary schools in South London and she has just been appointed as violin teacher for the Junior Guildhall String programme in Felsted, Essex.

On her visit to St Michael’s Sarah was impressed by the ethos and commitment of the school towards an instrumental education and, as such, she is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the string students here and is very much looking forward to becoming immersed in the school’s vibrant musical community.

News from Pre-Prep

• Christmas Parties Tuesday 10th December
• Christmas jumpers Tuesday 10th December
• Break up 12.00 Wednesday 11th December
• School uniform
• NO AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES 9th,10th, 11th December
• Return to school Tuesday 7th January

It has been such a lovely week watching all your children perform in their Christmas concerts and Nativities. They really rise to the occasion with you as an audience. I would like to thank all my staff who work so hard to get these performances ready for you. I would especially like to thank Louise Ravayeh who has been thrown into her first St Michael’s Christmas season and has done a wonderful job.

I wish to congratulate Jacqui Cain who has been working hard over the last few years to become a qualified Play Therapist. She will be finishing her role as a teaching assistant at Christmas but luckily for us she will still be with us on Tuesdays and Wednesdays helping any children and families who need her calm, kind, listening ear to help them move forward.

Can I remind you all of the school uniform, details of which can be found in the Parent Handbook. There are too many children now arriving at school in a range of coats, hats and gloves that are not school ones. School shoes, school hair accessories too please. Nursery and Kindergarten are the only exceptions to this.

Please note there will be no after school activities in the week beginning Monday 9th December, apart from the additional session of Archway Football and Sports Initiative with Mr Lopez on Monday 9th in the Pre-Prep Hall.

On Tuesday 10th December we have our Christmas Jumper Day. Children are invited to wear a Christmas jumper with their school uniform instead of their school jumpers/cardigans. The children will be enjoying their Christmas Lunch up in Prep school as well as having their year group parties!

A reminder on Tuesday too, please bring a named, disposable “party plate” containing some party food and a drink for your child only. Please can we ask that you do not include items that need to be refrigerated as we cannot accommodate this. As always, please ensure you do not include ant nut-based products.

Overheard: Looking at the developing Astro site.
All those diggers and tractors have “Smith” written on them.
That’s because they belong to Mr Smith. (Our Estates Manager – he’s going to get a bigger garage!)

Have a magical Christmas and see you all in the New Year.

Zerrin Leech

Old Michaelians

With some great events to look forward to, we are delighted to announce that we have made it easier for former pupils, staff, parents and friends to join the Old Michaelians.

Our Old Michaelians pages on the website (click here) now contain the following:

• A “Join the Old Michaelians” form, which can be completed and submitted, ensuring that everyone who wishes to be kept informed of our events and OM news can be added to our database.
• A “Contact Old Michaelians” form, on which we ask for news and photos for publication on our OM page.

If you know of any former members of the St Michael’s community, who would like to stay in touch with us, please do let them know about our association – we’d love to hear from them!

Driving on the school site

It has come to my attention that there have been a number of near-misses at the morning drop off when cars are queuing in the 8:55-9:05 time slot. At this time, the queue of cars waiting to drop off can stretch back beyond the school front gates. When this happens, some drivers take it upon themselves to drive on the right side of the road to join the Pre-Prep drop off lane.

Can I take this opportunity to emphasise to parents that only the section of road after the junction with the road up from Pre-Prep is one way. Between the public highway (Row Dow) and this junction, it is two way and parents must not drive on the right-hand lane.

Thank you.

Mr Wiseman

Reminder – cake ingredients

Could we please remind parents that any cakes brought in for celebrations must not contain nuts, traces of nuts or be produced in a factory which handles nuts.  This includes the toppings, sometimes put on home made cakes.

We like the children to be able to share their cakes with their friends, but are unable to allow them to do so unless they are guaranteed nut-free.

Thank you.

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:

  • Everest Michaelmas Library Challenge – for Prep pupils

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.

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Krisha for beautiful singing and actions during our Nativity
Abigail L for trying so hard in the Nativity
Ayla for great number work this week
Thomas G for good ideas in our English lessons
Grace P for working hard to solve number sentences
Robert M for excellent progress with reading
Jessica H for outstanding progress in reading
Sophie N for always being an enthusiastic helper
Olanna E & Ava M for always being a willing helper
Jake L for accurate work using halves and quarters
Raven for carefully explaining to the class the differences between a moth and a butterfly
Mickey for fantastic effort and perseverance with all his work
James L for writing an imaginative story for his homework
Viggo W for great effort with dancing in the Nativity practice

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Silas
Music Practice Award: Zak E-A
Star Violinist Cup: Sophie F

House Point Cup

Leeds House with a total of 138 points
Sophie F collected the Cup on behalf of Leeds House

Times Tables Certificates

Bronze – Alex H

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Special Award

S Ward For achieving a place in the National Youth Boys Choir

Headteacher’s Stars

M Lewis For a fantastic piece of art work, inspired by Malala, with extensive background research & personal insight
I Mannsberger For an informative & engaging presentation about volcanoes
L Bowen For a confident presentation of a well-researched volcano project, complete with quiz
A-L El-Alami For an outstanding presentation & diary about your family history, sharing their moving story in a mature way
L Karir For an excellent presentation about your family tree, with confident commentary
A Brown For a wonderful album about your family, which was very well researched & presented
S Ward For fantastic English homework with superb writing
A Clapham For a wonderful presentation which brought the story of your Great, Great Grandad to life
M Pape For an excellent verbal presentation about your Great Grandmother
L Poracchia For an amazing project about computers
S Connolly For a wonderful project about Iceland, complete with model volcano
N Brown For an excellent project book about life at St Michael’s
F Merralls For a fabulous model of Anne Frank’s attic
P Malin For a well-rehearsed and confident presentation of your ‘Olympic Gold’ Homework Challenge

 

 

Players of the Match, week commencing 2nd December 2019

Team Name Given for: –
1st Rugby K Cameron For great all-round play
2nd J Maloney & X Prongué For tough tackling
U11 A T Smith For all good all-round performance
U11 B A Goodwin & D Little For good tackling
U10 A F Lloyd For tough tackling in a no-nonsense style
U10 B E Short & L Lattimer For superb running and tackling
U9 A The whole team For unbelievable play
U9 B J West For great tackling
U8 A The whole team For a great performance
U8 B T Staples For scoring 3 tries
U8 C D Verdemato For supportive communication
U13 A Netball
U13 B
U11 A
U11 B No Matches for Girls
U10 A
U10 B
U10 C
U10 D
U9 A
U9 B
U9 C
U8 Green
U8 Black
U8 Blue

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Oakwood Park Grammar School, St Olave’s Grammar School, Skinners’ School 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