eNews: Friday 7th December 2018

From the Head

It was fantastic to see so many children and their parents supporting the school at the Christmas Bazaar. The school was buzzing and it was great to see the huge effort made in the attire and accessories as so many people ferreted out their Christmas jumpers!

With so many different craft stalls and so many things to entertain children it was difficult for parents to extract their children and go home!

My favourites were the inflatables which had very happy children bouncing, running and jumping in turn.

The secrets room and Santa’s grotto all proved very popular as well as the food store and festive singing and playing in the dining room. Thank you to the enormous team of parents who spent their Saturday setting up, serving cheerfully and dismantling their stalls and especially Jules Benjamin, Jo Pennington Legh, Anna-Marie Mottram, Oliver Schneider and Tracey Ashton who masterminded it all. Congratulations and thank you to all the P & F for a wonderful day.

In the run-up to Christmas we can all share in the most fabulous feast of festive music. I’m interested at how powerfully music can create intense pleasure, joy and a sense of community.

Scientifically of course with the advent of brain scans and imaging we can now see what happens inside people’s brains when they listen to music. Scientists call what happens a deep full brain workout!

Music impacts all four of the brain’s lobes. We appreciate the auditory experience of pitch, volume, harmony and underlay. We enjoyed the interplay between the words and music. Our pleasure centre is stimulated and dopamine is released. Our response to rhythm is different again and it can result in an urge to dance or clap and blood pumped to our muscles. People are connected in their shared experience of performance whether as the audience or as a participant. Music makes a powerful link to memories and a tune can evoke intense feelings associated with a particular time of life.

This complexity and richness of experience lies beneath our constant focus on performance and shared music at St Michael’s and this week we have had every aspect of those emotions a-plenty.

The Kindy nativity showcased a great deal of enjoyment from the participants and some confident and perhaps penetrating singing from some, in strong contrast to timidity in the previous year. For many of us present we rejoiced in that progress!

Our visitor this morning looking round the school might have been forgiven for thinking we are a music specialist establishment, such was the extent of simultaneous rehearsals for Friday’s concert and what an amazing treat that turned out to be. All of the ensembles in the school performed and their Christmas accessories proved a visual reminder of the joy within that was communicated.

One of the unifying experiences of the audience was to feel the privilege of witnessing the extraordinary. The gorgeous duet from “The Marriage of Figaro” was in contrast to the jaunty and jovial “Feliz Navidad” from Treble Trouble, complete with Caribbean percussion and accoutrements and rhythmic and humorous choreography.

The teamwork in the choirs, string and recorder ensembles gave pleasure as well as seeing the impressive progress made by Little Big Band and orchestra. The show choir finale proved an excellent end to a classy music department triumph. Congratulations to all our peris who trained, led and inspired our pupils in these achievements.

The new format Nursery nativity song session was a masterclass in how to lead early years music which children, parents and staff all enjoyed and the Reception and Year 1&2 Nativities with their clever and inclusive scripts, opportunities for solo sensations and memorable lyrics and songs had three cohorts of children jigging irrepressibly with joy for almost a whole hour at a time. Yes, some future stars will say “It started at St Michael’s” and we will be privileged to say “We were there”.

At Wednesday’s Year 2 cakes and carols we enjoyed revisiting some old favourites along with a delicious cup of tea and cake. It was good to see so many children performing in harmony with evident ease on so many instruments.

Thank you to Sally Beesley, Gordon Baird and all the staff for the wonderful week that was.

In the midst of all of this music we were entertained dramatically with a riotous and energetic rendition of “Cinderella” the panto by Year 3. It was fabulous to see so many supporters for this exceptional event. The children have developed their ensemble work, timing, independence and confidence so much and from Year 3 onwards, when the lights go up there is just a prompt if they forget and it’s all down to them. Hats off to every single child involved. We loved to see your inner selves. Congratulations, too, to Mr Powell, his scholars’ team, Mr Baird, and the Year 3 staff for an immensely impressive performance.


Jill Aisher


News from Pre-Prep

No Activities next week!
• Tuesday 11th December: Christmas Lunch at Prep (everyone may wear Christmas jumpers and accessories)
• Wednesday 12th December: Nursery Party (for Monday, Wednesday and Friday children)
• Wednesday 12th December pm: Cat’s Grin Theatre Company – Traditional Tales
• Thursday 13th December am: Kindergarten / Nursery Party (for Tuesday and Thursday children)
• Thursday 13th December pm: Christmas parties for Reception, Yr 1 and 2
• Friday 14th December: Pre-Prep term ends at 12.00 noon

I hope you have enjoyed all our Nativities and concerts this week. The children have loved performing to you and I have been very proud of them as they have sung, played and delivered their lines to such large audiences. Your children are truly wonderful. I would also like to say thank you to the Pre-Prep staff who pull out all the stops to ensure the children are rehearsed, calm, dressed appropriately etc. as well as trying to keep on top of a classroom routine and curriculum.

Next Tuesday we all have lunch at Prep school. If your Nursery and Kindergarten children normally stay for the whole day, then they too will have lunch at Prep. Your children are all welcome to wear a Christmas jumper over their uniform on this day. Christmas hair accessories are also allowed.

On Wednesday we have Cats Grin Theatre Company coming to perform their Traditional Tales for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. This is the fourth year they have come and the children really enjoy their contribution to the festivities.

On Thursday we have Christmas parties for all year groups. Please provide a small plate of festive food for your child to eat at the party. Please ensure that this is named and has cling film over it. As I am sure you can imagine, we don’t have enough fridge space for nearly 200 plates of food so please don’t send your child with items that need to be refrigerated and in line with our school policy, no items containing nuts. Please note: for our Nursery children who attend on Mon/Wed/Fri their Christmas party will be on Wednesday 12th December.

There are NO activities next week. Please collect your children at 3.20pm. If you need child care for longer please contact Nicky Smith at the Hive. This will be chargeable from 3.30pm.

Overheard during one of the nativity plays as the kings followed the shepherds and Mary & Joseph knocking at the Inn keeper’s door: “Oh not again!”

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Whole School News

A fantastic fund raising effort for Cancer Research

E Harrison, I Johnson, S Andrade and L Andrade ran a charity stall at the Christmas Bazaar in aid of Cancer Research. They made lots of the products themselves and also approached businesses to ask for donations of products to . They raised over £420. Thank you to everyone who supported the stall on the day.

Well done, girls!



Fantastic gymnastics from St Michael’s pupils

The Merralls sisters triumphed at their gymnastic club’s recent competition. Click here to read our article.

A big “Thank you” from Guide Dogs

We were delighted to receive the following from Marion:

Many of the children came and saw Cooper, Sheila’s working Guide Dog. About 4 of them were frightened of dogs, but together with Cooper’s calmness and the parents’ and our understanding, had them stroking him or pulling his ears; so hopefully they won’t have the fear of dogs that they had previously. The two young girls that looked after our children’s tombola are doing their Duke of Edinburgh Award and they thoroughly enjoyed the day too, I think meeting the Head was a bonus for them, please thank her for taking the time to come round to speak to us.

I had felt at first that it was quieter than previous years, but we did very well, not only with the amount that we raised (£312.00), but also making the children aware of the charity and people less well off than themselves, i.e. sight being a blessing.

Many thanks for inviting us. We love the spot that we have, easy access especially for the dog. Please can we come again next year?

Parents & Friends Pantomime

Pre-Prep Awards

Pre-Prep awards will be given on Monday 10th December – look out for them in next week’s newsletter!

More News from Pre-Prep

From twinkly cones and Christmas cakes to Nativities and Christingle, we’ve had a wonderful week in Pre-Prep.  See our Twitter page for photos.

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

T Ward For achieving 100% in your science test on digestion and food chains
L Summers For a fabulous Homework Challenge about Netball, complete with a court-shaped cake!
O Neave For a fabulous Homework Challenge about Netball, complete with a court-shaped cake!
I Neave For a wonderful Homework Challenge about the brain, including a spectacular cake
J Wiseman For an excellent, enormous Homework Challenge about the Olympic Park
K Gandy For an inspiring Homework Challenge Pilgrimage, with excellent PowerPoint and book
J Fryer For a very skilful piece of travel writing
S Williamson For achieving 100% in your French reading test
D El Angbawi For achieving 100% in your French reading test
I Neave For achieving 100% in your French reading and listening tests
H Owen For achieving 100% in your French reading test
L Clapham For a superb 3D model and excellent knowledge in the Explosion Zone Challenge
E Ernoult For a superb 3D model and excellent knowledge in the Explosion Zone Challenge
C West For a wonderful and original description of a delicious Christmas feast
M Blincoe For a fantastic diary of an 11+ kid

Sevenoaks Swimming Club Championships 2018

More wonderful performances from our St Michael’s swimmers filled the Sevenoaks Swimming Club Championships. See our full article on SOCS

Online-Safety Over Christmas

With Christmas coming up I thought it would be appropriate to provide some guidance to help when purchasing various devices/gadgets for your children. As many children will be getting their first smartphone or an upgrade (with even more features that they probably don’t need), it is even more important to communicate with and educate your children on how to use their devices safely. Please click here to see my letter with guidance and links to other websites which I hope you will find useful.

Below is another useful link to ‘How to Protect Your Children on Their Smartphone’:

Miss Booth

Parents’ Online-Safety Information Evening – Tuesday 29th January 2019

On Tuesday 29th January 2019, Murray Letham will be conducting a workshop with our pupils on Online-Safety. In the evening, he will present to parents on how you can help keep your children safe online. This evening will be very informative and more information about the event will be provided nearer the time.

Miss Booth

SIDs (Safer Internet Day) Week – Monday 4th – Friday 8th Feb 2019

Safer Internet Week will take place from Monday 4th – Friday 8th Feb 19. Pupils will be involved in a number of activities during PSHE, form time and their IT & Computing lessons. Many of the DL (Digital Leader) students will be involved in assemblies and running sessions for their fellow students. To prepare you for Christmas and SIDs week, your children will be bringing home two booklets at the end of term. One is called ‘Digital Parenting’ and the other is the NSPCC ‘A parent’s guide to being Share Aware’. Both provide parents with advice on how to help and educate their children when using the internet and various devices. During SIDs week, we will be encouraging parents to have conversations with their children about Online-Safety, so I’m hoping the information contained within these booklets will provide you with or enhance your knowledge to help you have these discussions with your children. So, please take the time to read these booklets and again, as always, should you require further help or advice, please do not hesitate to contact me via mail on: jbooth@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk or the school number on: 01959 522 137.

Miss Booth


Ocean Plastic Pollution Awareness

When is a swimming pool not a swimming pool?

Click here to read about our environmental awareness event this week and to see our photos.

More News from Prep

Fun and very witty – and worthy of a Headteacher’s Star! Click here to read the “Diary of an 11+ Kid” by Year 6 pupil M Blincoe.

CREST SuperStars found themselves in a sticky situation and our Homework Challenge presentations have continued to entertain and astound.

Year 7 chemists have been looking at the salt of the earth and, speaking of the earth, we held an ocean pollution event. See our Twitter page for more.

Christmas Hockey Camp 19th, 20th and 21st December

Run by Mr Thomas and Mr Young on Wednesday 19th, Thursday 20th and Friday 21st December.  To book your place or for further information, please complete the form (click here) or email Mr Thomas on jnthomas88@outlook.com .

Latest News

Congratulations to Year 6 pupil, E Ward, who has been offered a place in the National Children’s Orchestra. Each year the NCO audition throughout the country, looking for talented young musicians who will benefit from working together, performing and creating orchestral music.

A fantastic achievement, well done!

In Assembly on Monday Belinda played ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ and Sebastian played ‘Jingle Bells’. Well done to you both.

Congratulations to T Bulley for his recent successful audition with the NYCGB boys choir. We were delighted to learn that he will soon take part in two amazing residential courses as well as having the opportunity to enjoy a year full of choral music learning and social activities, together with around 100-150 other great young singers of the same age.

Another wonderful achievement, well done!

Wow – what a month. The children have been busy, buzzy little bees, making all sorts of wonderful gifts for the Christmas Bazaar. They had lots of fun making a variety of different wreaths from fabric, straws, and wool (complete with pom-pom snowmen). Cute little robin baubles chirped their way onto the stall as well, together with scarves and hats which were made using a special circular knitting machine. The knitting machine was extremely popular with children and parents alike, so much so that some of our children may be getting them as Christmas presents…

With the proceeds of £352.95 made from the Bazaar, we hope to purchase a new sturdy table tennis table in the New Year. Table tennis has always been a favourite pastime amongst the children at The Hive.

In addition to the things we made for the Christmas Bazaar, we have also been busy painting fun Christmas scenes onto builders’ pallets, creating and drawing colourful designs onto Christmas plates, and making paper plate decorations and foot-printed elves, snowmen, reindeer and Father Christmas pictures.

It was lovely to see so many of you joining in the fun during the many parent evening events that have been held recently. We had an amazing 64 children attend The Hive throughout one evening.

Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the festive season. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Mrs Smith and The Hive Team