eNews: Friday 6th November 2020

From the Acting Head

I hope that you all enjoyed a wonderful half term break and maximised some good quality family time. The weather was slightly disappointing, and the news of a second lockdown even more so for many people. However, we are relishing the time back at school, and the chance to maintain the momentum we have in school with the children. In my assemblies this half term, I am focussing on the theme of global awareness. Understanding our place in the world can help bring some healthy perspective, gratitude and excitement for the possibilities we all have beyond this strange time.

 

The idea behind global awareness is to create global citizens who are open to those raised in different countries, cultures and religious settings. In school, it’s an opportunity to open pupils’ eyes to how everyday decisions in their own lives can impact the lives of people around the globe. Over the next few weeks, we will explore social, political, economic and cultural differences around the world and gain a better understanding of ourselves through understanding others. As Martin Luther King Junior said: “We have inherited a large house, a great world house in which we have to live together”.

 

This week I visited our fabulous Forest school, and it was a real treat to see one of our Reception classes embracing the great outdoors. Isla and Olivia proudly showed me their first campfire built beautifully by Mrs Bailey, and excellent safety awareness by the use of the ‘respect’ position. I was delighted to take my turn with the ‘talking stick’ and share what I had enjoyed and what I’d like to do next time. Hopefully, they’ll stick to their offer of an invite for pizza wraps on the fire later in the term!

 

It’s exciting to be planning some fun activities and events in the lead up to Christmas. I look forward to seeing everyone dressed head to toe in spots next Friday, and we will soon be detailing news of Christmas events for the children which we will be videoed where possible and shared with you.

 

Thank you again to every member of the community who is making additional efforts to embrace the tightened measures that this second lockdown requires. To the Estates Team for their immense hard work over the half term break, ensuring that we can manage the drop-off and pick up on weatherproof facilities. To the Admin Team, teaching, support and catering staff for showing incredible resilience and positivity in the face of the new challenges that we encounter each day. And finally, to you and the children for also remaining optimistic and being patient with changing information regarding senior school exams and other aspects of school life. I hope that you embrace the simplicity that lockdown will bring this weekend and enjoy the small pleasures that staying at home can bring.

Mary Bridges

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep

It’s the first week back after the half term break and the Christmas carols are out! Although it is looking very unlikely that we will be able to invite you to our Nativity performances, plans are afoot to film each performance and send them to you at the end of term. The children will still enjoy dressing up, learning their parts and performing to the staff.

Next week we will be explaining to the children why we wear poppies during assemblies and will be conducting a two-minute silence in the playground after playtime on Wednesday.

On Friday 13th November we will be supporting Children in Need. All donations are welcome (suggested £2) and in exchange it’s a non-uniform day as long as your child is wearing spots or a onesie. Please send your child with a school coat though as playtime can be cold and muddy.

Parents’ Evenings will be held virtually through the Parents’ Evening System on Tuesday 17th and Thursday 19th November. These will be able to be booked in advance next week at 10 minute intervals. As these meetings are adult conversations about your child’s progress, we would appreciate your child not being in the same room during the meeting.

I am also pleased to share this message from Wendy Halford, Food Bank Manager at The Trussell Trust:

Please can you pass on the following thank you to children and parents of Pre-Prep.

Thank you so much for your overwhelming generosity. You gave an amazing 291 kg of food and toiletries to the Swanley food bank for your harvest celebrations. This will make a huge difference to the lives of so many people living in the Sevenoaks area, who are finding it difficult at this time to feed themselves and their families. 

Only this week we had a man living in a tent in the park who needed help and because of your generosity we were able to do just that.  We even gave him a portable gas stove so he could make himself a hot drink and an extra blanket to keep him warm.

Your help and support of the food bank is very much appreciated and enables us to continue to help those in our local community. With grateful thanks.

I know several parents were also involved in additional donations over the half term break in response to all the news about families who wouldn’t be able to afford meals over half term.

Overheard in Pre-Prep:

“I normally play with just the girls because as Olaf in Frozen 2 says ‘who knows the ways of men!'”

Zerrin Leech   

Meet our new Head for January 2021: Nik Pears

 

Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head for January 2021 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 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.”

Nik will join St Michael’s as Head in January 2021.

Staff News

Welcome to…

 

Manjeev Aggarwal – HR Assistant

Having previously worked in insurance, Manj is joining St Michael’s with a Psychology degree and experience within a Learning and Development capacity. While raising her young family, Manj took some time out from the corporate environment and worked in retail. Now ready to return to work and having gained a CIPD certification in HR, she is excited to join St. Michael’s as its HR Assistant.

 

In her leisure time, Manj enjoys walks in the woods with her family, knitting, reading and is learning to play the keyboard. She also often gets sweet-talked into messy play.

 

Manj is thoroughly looking forward to joining the team at St. Michael’s. During her previous visits to St Michael’s she was overwhelmed by the charming and polite confidence of the pupils, and how welcoming and cohesive the staff were. She is positive that she will enjoy working at St. Michael’s and will commence her role in December.

Headteacher’s Stars

G Owen for an amazing William Wilberforce speech in History.

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

 

Jasmine H for being a happy and diligent member of the class

Beatrice B for always trying her hardest in everything we do

Fadil A for great work in phonics

Cayden R.D for working really hard to write his name in cursive

Ian V for wonderful independent writing about our farm story

Olivia D for being such a happy and positive member of the class

Teddy G for being a kind friend to everyone in the class

Edgar B & Arthur N for making a real effort to improve the length and detail of their independent writing

Ayla A for excellent effort in Maths

Bonham B for sharing his fantastic knowledge about animals during Science

Krisha P for reading with lovely expression

Max S for trying hard to make good decisions

Isabelle D for always presenting her work neatly

Adam J for working exceptionally hard on his fact book about Jaguars

Max H for exceptional money work

Elizabeth W for taking pride in your lap book

Abigail S for a beautifully presented animal information book

Harrison T for always having a positive attitude and a smile on your face

 

Key Dates

 

Whole School

Children In Need: Friday 13th November

 

Prep

Remembrance Service (pupils only): Wednesday 11th November

ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:

Friday 6th November
Friday 27th November

Remembrance Service

Wednesday 11th November

 

 

 

The Prep school Remembrance Service will be taking place on the terrace at the front of the school on Wednesday 11th November. Unfortunately, due to the current lockdown restrictions we are unable to invite parents and friends to attend the service this year.

The service will be taking place outside, with all the children and staff from the Prep school present. The bubbles will be distanced appropriately from each other and in line with guidance we will not, as a school, be singing any hymns.

The children will need to have both their blazer and school coat in school that day (seniors will can have their own coat, but a dark colour would be preferable). I have seen some younger children wearing home coats to school and would ask that if the school coat cannot be located, can a replacement please be purchased. The service will be taking place outside.

The wearing of a poppy is a personal choice. We usually sell poppies at school, but the normal supplier has been unable to come to school this year. If your child would like to wear a poppy over the coming days, up to the service, they are very welcome. At the end of the service the children are invited to place their poppy on the sandbags that surround the soldier sculpture. Please discuss with your child if they would like to do this. It is not a problem if they would rather hold onto their poppy. We would only expect the paper poppies to be left.

Lastly, we have discussed in assemblies the nature and solemnity of the service and would ask that you reinforce this with your children at home. I would like the children to be crystal clear on my behaviour expectations for the service and, in particular, the 2 minutes silence.

Children In Need

Friday 13th November

Next Friday 13th November we are supporting Children In Need.

Please could we ask pupils to dress in something spotty and make a voluntary donation (suggested £2) that will be collected at the start of the day in buckets outside the Chapel doors.

School Uniform Shop update

Following the latest Government announcement, from Thursday 5th November the School Uniform Shop will be closed for general purchase. We will return to offering our click and collect service, with collection by appointment only.  This service is available via our website www.sturdyclothing.co.uk/st-michaels.

Customers will receive an e-mail requesting that they book a collection slot via a link once their online order has been processed.  Collection slots will be available from the School Shop during morning drop off between 8:15 and 9:15am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but will be strictly by appointment only. If the available times are not suitable please get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate alternative arrangements.

On collection, the shop will still be adhering to strict social distancing rules and we will only be allowing one customer into the shop at any one time. Please wear a face mask and rest assured that measures will be taken to clean surfaces, handles etc. between customer visits and hand sanitizer will be available.

As there will be no facility to try any items of uniform on, we ask that you take your items home with you to check that you have the correct size. We are endeavouring to keep exchanges and returns to a minimum as these could take some time to process.  With this in mind, we have created a sizing guide which can be found under the uniform downloads section of the website.

We thank you in advance for your patience, and hope that with these measures in place we can work together to accommodate all your uniform needs to the best of our ability during these unprecedented times.

Finally, and most importantly, we hope that you and your family are safe and healthy and thank you for your ongoing support.

Should you need any further help, please do not hesitate to e-mail us at stmichaels@sturdyclothing.co.uk with any queries or concerns you may have and we will do our best to help.

School Uniform Shop

Déjà Vu update

Unfortunately due to the restrictions introduced during lockdown, Déjà Vu will be closed for both sales and donations until Thursday 3rd December.
Please do not leave any bags of clothes outside the shop when it is closed.

From the P & F association

St Michael’s “Cookin Curry Night” with The Cooking Apple

The P&F are delighted to bring you a “Cookin’ Curry Night”

On Saturday 7th November, you are invited to join us live via Zoom to cook a fantastic, one pot curry – with local chef and St Michael’s parent, Pip Porter from The Cooking Apple ( https://thecookingapple.co.uk/). Tickets are just £20/household/Zoom login and you are welcome to have as many people in your house joining in as you like.

On the menu is a Punjabi Curry, rich with aromatic flavours, high on wow and super tasty. The spice level is over to you – so it’s a dish fit for everyone’s taste buds – ninja or gentle! Ingredients can be tailored to suit your meat or veg of choice. We will also be making some flavoured rice to serve along side. At the end, pull up a chair and a glass and watch a demo of some sauces & dips to serve with your poppadoms or naan breads. You will receive the ingredients list and a set of recipes for you to keep in advance, along with your login details. On the evening, you will be guided through what to do, step by step, with a view of it all happening on the screen as a guide. No stress required!

 

If you would like to join please see the post on Classlist or email stmichaelspreppf@gmail.com.

Shoot for the stars!

Ex-pupil wins Drama Scholarship

We are very pleased to announced that Tom Bulley, a 2020 St Michael’s leaver, has been awarded an Honorary Drama Scholarship by Sevenoaks School.

Tom contributed a huge amount to the Drama Department during his time at St Michael’s and is very deserving of this new title.

Commenting on his new honour, Tom said: “My love for drama began in Year 4 when my close friend and I auditioned for a duologue; we had so much fun producing it. From then on, I took every opportunity I was given: auditioning for school plays, performing more duologues, and with the help of my amazing drama teacher, landed myself performing art scholarships at various schools.

“I pursued the scholarship at St Michael’s and continued to work hard, performing in musical theatre and drama productions, playing Emil in Emil and The Detectives and beginning to get involved in the technical side of theatre. At Sevenoaks School I will continue to pursue my passion for performing, while looking at different aspects of theatre.

“I feel honoured to have this opportunity and am determined to make the most of it.”

And praising Tom’s achievement, Head of Drama at St Michael’s, Mr Powell said: “I’m so delighted to hear that Tom has been honoured with a Drama Scholarship at Sevenoaks. He proved himself to be a splendid scholar here at St Michael’s, especially with his lead role in Emil and the Detectives.  His passion, drive and determination have led him to excel in drama and achieve this worthy accolade- well done Tom.

“As Leonardo da Vinci said: ‘It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.’

We wish Tom much luck on his continued journey at Sevenoaks School and look forward to hearing about the multitude of things he goes onto achieve.

 

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.

In the Community

Joshy’s Heart of Gold Trust

 

Dear Parents/ Carers,

 

I’m helping a family to establish a charity called Joshy’s Heart of Gold Trust. Josh was an 11 year old boy who was tragically killed on Court road in Orpington on the 13th April 2019 by a driver who was under the influence and fled the scene.

 

To establish the charity, we need to register it with the charities commission and need to raise a minimum of £5000.

 

We organised a family fun run on 3rd October but was postponed due to COVID restrictions. At this event, we were due to do a raffle and managed to source lots of prizes.

However, due to this event being postponed, we are now running this via FB live on Saturday 14th November at 6 pm.

 

We are still looking at raising funds through the sale of raffle tickets. Tickets cost £1 each of £5 for a strip. There are some fantastic prizes to be won e.g.

  • Hair salon voucher
  • £10 gift voucher from Polhill
  • Nail’s voucher
  • £60 worth of Reki Vouchers
  • £50 voucher to spend at Donnas boutique
  • Meat Hamper (will be made fresh on the day of collection)
  • Chocolate hamper
  • £30 vouchers to spend at The Lounge restaurant in Orpington High Street
  • £40 vouchers to spend at The Bo Peep Pub Restaurant in Orpington
  • Girls Hair Bows and Cuddly toys bundle by Fiona
  • Various bottles of wine and Champagne
  • Elemis gift set
  • £10 voucher to Football Academy
  • Six free Tennis lessons at Bromley Tennis Centre
  • £60 worth of vouchers for Fitness a link in
  • Orpington High Street
  • Free Zumba lessons with Helens Fitness
  • 1 Month free pass at Flins Fitness to access any lesson/s

Any many more!

 

If you would like to purchase tickets, please contact Miss Booth on jamiebooth7@hotmail.com. I will forward you payment details.

 

If you would like to find out more information about Josh and the charity, you can visit his website on https://joshysheartofgoldtrust.com/.

 

You can purchase tickets online, but they cost £2 each as opposed to £1 if purchasing them from me directly.

 

Kind regards,

 

Jamie Booth, Head of ICT & Computing, and Health & Safety Head 

 

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Latest News

 

 

On Wednesday, November 27 Year 5 and 6 pupils took part in a Spelling Bee hosted by Mrs Andrade and Mrs Baisch.

Challenged with spellings such as synonymous, counterfeit, and accommodation, it was an extremely close competition with many tense rounds.

Winner of the Spelling Bee, Moyo in Year 6, triumphed with her correct spelling of the word ‘conscience’.

Commenting on her success, Moyo said: “I really enjoyed taking part in the Spelling Bee and was really surprised to win.

“It was challenging as there were some words I’d never heard of, but it was fun to guess the spellings of these words and apply what I knew about other spellings to my answers.”

“It was great to take part in the competition with my friends.”

Two former St Michael’s pupils have been selected for the final phase of the England Under 16 Hockey Assessments.

Lottie Bingham and Anna Faulstich, who attended St Michael’s until July 2017, have remained great friends and play hockey together at HC Knole Park.

Lottie said “ I loved playing hockey at St Michael’s and I am delighted that Anna, my best friend , has joined me in the England training programme that I was also selected for last year. We are both very jealous that St Michael’s now have a wonderful, new astro pitch at school!“

Both girls were also members of the successful Year 6 St Michael’s who won the regional IAPS and came 5th in the National Finals .

Congratulating the girls on their achievement, Mr Thomas, who taught them at St Michael’s, said: “We are extremely proud of Lottie and Anna and all they have achieved since they left St Michael’s. They were extremely hardworking in all their sports at school and it is great to hear that they have taken their hockey to such a high level. We look forward to hearing how they get at the trials and someday welcoming them back to play on our new pitch.”

Many congratulations to Lottie and Anna, St Michael’s wishes them the best of luck in the next phase of assessments.

A former St Michael’s student has been awarded an Honorary Sports Scholarship to support her excellence in athletics.

Harriet Medlen, who attended the school between 2011 and 2018, has received the scholarship from Sevenoaks School.

Harriet, who is in Year 9 at Sevenoaks School, said: “My time at St Michael’s helped me to develop my love of sport especially athletics and hockey. I have very happy memories of sports days and Mrs Wade taking me to IAPs athletics competitions. I am very grateful to all the teachers at St Michael’s for their encouragement during my time there. I am proud to have achieved a sports scholarship at Sevenoaks School and I am looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.”

And commenting on Harriet’s success, St Michael’s teacher Mrs Wade said: “It is great to hear that Harriet has been awarded an Honorary Sports Scholarship from Sevenoaks School. We are extremely proud of what she has achieved since leaving St Michael’s. Harriet is an excellent games player and an outstanding athlete. She was very hardworking in her sports at St Michael’s and it is great to hear that she continues to achieve highly. Well done, Harriet!”

Don’t judge a book by its cover, it’s the first chapter that holds all the secrets!

                                                       Year 6 and Mrs Yarrow pose with some of the First Chapter Friday books.

 

“Good readers, make excellent writers.” says St Michael’s Library Assistant, Helen Yarrow, who has launched an exciting reading initiative in the Prep school this term. 

 

Mrs Yarrow, who joined the St Michael’s team in September 2020, is passionate about books and believes children should read a variety of genres and authors before they choose what’s best for them.

 

Keen to implement this strategy at St Michael’s, Mrs Yarrow has introduced First Chapter Friday, a project designed to get pupils reading a range of books, rather than the same authors, characters and storylines over again. 

 

First Chapter Friday sees pupils receive a list of 10 books, suited to the reading proficiency of their year group, each term. Every Friday, pupils read the first chapter of a new book with their form groups before deciding whether to continue reading it in their own time.

 

Mrs Yarrow said: “The aim of First Chapter Friday is to help the children find a book they really want to read. 

 

“By exposing the children to books that they wouldn’t normally pick off the bookshelf, it introduces them to a range of subjects, and inevitably fosters their love of reading.”

 

Helen added: “Some form groups choose to read the chapter independently during the sessions, some listen to their form teachers reading the chapter, and some take turns to read different paragraphs.”

 

“By inviting pupils to read sections of the chapter out loud, the form tutors are also helping to develop the pupils’ language acquisition and public speaking skills. The challenge has many benefits to it.”

 

 

Titles on this term’s First Chapter Friday lists include both fiction and non-fiction books spanning a variety of themes and genres. 

 

One popular title is  Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill, which Sean C from Year 6 describes as “extremely interesting”. He added: “I really enjoy Shackleton’s Journey because it takes you on an adventure, showing you how Shackleton’s crew survived and what they encountered along the way.

 

“My favourite part of the book is where it describes how they escaped their sinking ship.

 

“Since reading it with my form during First Chapter Friday, I’ve enjoyed coming to the library to read more of it at break and lunch times.”

 

 

And explaining the planning process behind First Chapter Friday, Mrs Yarrow said: “I create the reading lists using recommendations from websites such as Love Reading for Kids as well as my own research.

 

“I try to ensure the First Chapter Friday books are 2020 titles to keep them in tune with modern authors and contemporary ideas.”

 

“This term I’ve included a range of titles focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History, as well as those written by black authors. Such books include The Faraway Truth by Janae Marks, Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly, and The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley.”

 

She added: “First Chapter Friday encourages form groups to discuss the different topics linked to each book. It is designed to make the sessions an interactive experience which is both fun and educational for the children.” 

 

 

Other favourites from Mrs Yarrow’s reading lists include The Battle of Bubble and Squeak by Philippa Pearce, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson. 

 

Mrs Yarrow said: “Different pupils gravitate towards different books, but there have been some very clear favourites.”

 

She continued: “I get the children to read the first chapter of the book as it’s in these pages that the author establishes the hook of their novel. 

 

“Friday Chapter Friday helps pupils recognise the importance of a first chapter and shows them various ways they can make their writing engaging.

 

“One of the main aims of the initiative is to inspire the children to write their own stories.”