eNews: Friday 7th February 2020

From Graham Malcolm, Interim Executive Head

Life at St Michael’s is always busy. Highlights of the week for me were the Confirmation Service in the chapel for four pupils, visiting the Astro Turf site with one of the Reception classes and visits by the Chair of Governors.

The Confirmation Service was particularly poignant for me as it demonstrated that the ethos of the school has remained the same and it was a special moment for some of our pupils to be confirmed by the Bishop of Rochester.

The Astro Turf visit by Reception on a beautiful, sunny day was both exciting and informative. Ian, the builder, told us that the rubber was going down to ensure a smooth run of the ball and that the “carpet” of green Astro would be going down next week, weather permitting. As you drive into school each day, you will hopefully see the black surface become green.

Our Chair of Governors, Mr Robert Turner, visited classes in both Prep and Pre-Prep to see what the pupils were doing and to discuss their work with them. He had lunch with some of our staff and pupils and toured the grounds. It is Robert’s intention to come into school regularly to engage with the children and staff, so that he can keep himself up to speed with what goes on at St Michael’s.

I hope that you have an enjoyable weekend, although weather forecasters are predicting strong winds, so please stay safe.

Graham Malcolm

BEd, MA (IAPS)

From the Acting Co-Heads

Oh, what a week! Monday night was the new Friday as many of our Year 3 and 4 pupils, teachers, parents and siblings sang, danced and partied at Young Voices at the O2. The atmosphere sounded electric and the theme was set for a lively and fun-filled week. On Wednesday we were treated to a theatrical feast in the Drama Duologues finals, this year judged by Thomas Dennis of War Horse and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time fame. Another fantastically organised event and superb, skilled performances all round. Well done to everyone who has played a part in the rehearsing, planning, performing, organising and supporting of these two huge events. Working quietly in the background are all of the staff helping out by covering lessons, duties and offering extra support in order to allow these extraordinary things to take place. We wrote about the wonder of team work at the end of inspection week but in reality it’s part of everyday life at St Michael’s. The kindness shown between colleagues and pupils alike sits quietly behind everything we do and props us all up when we need it.

Today we topped the wonderful week off with a charity day in aid of Gush Gush. This is a charity (linked with a larger charity) that was set up by the cousin of two of our children, Euan and Olivia C, in Years 6 & 8 respectively. It aims to aid in the access to fresh, clean water for more people around the world. To date, their cousin, Lula, has raised in excess of £18,000 for this charity. We look forward to hearing about the projects being supported by this charity.

Don’t forget that on Friday next week there is a staff development day, so no school!

Have a fantastic weekend.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

News from Pre-Prep

• Wednesday 12th February 9am Valentine’s concert. Parents of performers by invitation only
• Cake sale in aid of The Royal Marsden: Mrs Rose’s Brighton Marathon Thursday 13th
• Half term starts on Friday 14th February. Return to school Monday 24th February
• Fri 28th Feb Reception parents’ Maths Workshop 8.45-9.30am

Thank you to Miss Rawlinson for organising an exciting Benchball tournament. The children and parents all had fun in the Prep hall this afternoon.

On Wednesday we will be holding a concert for parents of some of our musical performers. Coffee will be served from 8.45am in the dining room. I know lots of your children have been working hard on their performances, so it will be lovely to hear the progress they are making.

It was good to see so many Year 2 parents familiarising themselves with Year 3 and Prep school on Wednesday. If your child is in Year 2 you should have all collected or been sent a booklet about transition into Year 3.

Year 1 had a wonderful day for their trip to Shoreham on Thursday. The sun shone brightly and they were amazed at how many different styles of building they could spot. Well done, Year 1, for such good behaviour on your trip.

Mrs Rose will be running in the Brighton Marathon this year and is running for The Royal Marsden hospital. She will be holding a cake sale after school next Thursday so if you wish to make a donation for some delicious cakes, please come along to the playground at 3.20pm

Please see the dates above, or our calendar, for the remaining Reception Maths Workshops for parents. Coffee will be served in the dining room from 8.45am

I’m afraid staff and children are still suffering from coughs, colds and chest infections this week. Please keep your child at home if they are unwell. Give them time to recover before returning them to school and hopefully we can reduce the spread of the germs.

Reminder that the last day of school is Thursday 13th so half term starts on Friday 14th. We will look forward to seeing the children back on Monday 24th February.

Overheard: If you eat your food too quickly, you’ll get injections (meant indigestion!)

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

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:

  • Little Shop of Horrors – ticket sales information

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.

News stories

Our news stories can be found by clicking “News” and “Latest News” on our website. To see our latest articles please click here

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

George W for good explanations of his working in mathematics
Olivia S for remembering facts about hyenas
Amelie G for great work during our lesson on time and for creating a lovely clock
Isabelle P for having a positive attitude and giving 100% effort in all her work
Marianne B for trying really hard to stay focused during lessons
Cian C-O for excellent effort in our writing about Barn Owls
Iris L for checking her numbers are written correctly in her calculations
Taran M for consistently working hard in every subject and producing work of a high standard
Misha B for excellent independent maths work, counting in 10s from any number
Jessica H for being a very kind and supportive learning partner
Zack E-A for excellent perseverance with his reading
Chloe S & Tara C for confident counting on and back in 10s
Eva V H for creating an accurate and imaginative treasure map
Finley S for always setting a good example and being a good friend
Genevieve M for a beautifully presented Antarctic diary
Maria C for always working hard and being a good friend to others

House Points Cup

Windsor House with a total of 195 points
Hervie L collected the Cup on behalf of Windsor House

100 House Points Certificate

Dover: Elizabeth A

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Alice O
Music Practice Award: Florence B
Star Violinist Cup: Eva V H

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

L Blincoe For an inspiring piece of writing about your special telescope
K Fryer For an inspiring piece of writing about your special telescope
E Harrison For a superb homework challenge, including an interview with a famous cricketer!
E Ward For an outstanding science project and presentation about dark energy and dark matter
L Winter For completing all of your times tables and division cards
E Bakharevski For completing all of your times tables and division cards
E Wilcock For delivering a fantastic speech at the Year 3 event
M Blincoe For delivering a fantastic speech at the Year 3 event

Drama Duologue Results

Well done to all Houses, congratulations to everyone who took part in a fantastic night. The winners are:

JUNIORS

GOLD-ROCHESTER
(S Mottram and S Wallace)

SILVER-DOVER
(O Nathan and E Julio)

BRONZE- DOVER
(D Booth and S Taylor)

SENIORS

GOLD-DOVER
(C M Pape and A Moore)

SILVER-LEEDS
(R Landgrebe and T Bulley)

BRONZE- DRAW–ROCHESTER AND LEEDS
(N Brown and S Ward and L Clapham and A Scott)

 

Players of the Match, week commencing 3rd February 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Rugby J Cosgrove For scoring and for being most improved
U12 X Prongué

J Maloney

For great all-round play

For scoring a great try

U11 A L Poracchia & T Neville Nominated by the opposition coach for good play
U11 B F Rutherford & D Little For impressive attacking play
U10 A No Match
U10 B No Match
U9 A D Booth & A Saini For intelligent play making
U9 B J McDonnell For showing good pace and scoring 2 tries
U8 A A Lutzow & S Mottram For great supporting play
U8 B T Staples

O Epps

For strong running

For tenacious defence

U8 C S Doyle For great running with the ball
U13 A Netball H Pope For showing great skills and sportsmanship in the tournament
U13 B C M Pape For showing great skills and sportsmanship in the tournament
U13 C No Match
U11 A A Ogle

G Schneider-Price

Voted for by the opposition

For great defending

U11 B A Mottram

S Cook

Voted for by the opposition

For great defending

U11 C No Match
U10 A G Owen Voted for by the opposition for good centre court play
U10 B M Amure For great defending
U10 C T Ward For great defending
U9 A S Cameron For showing great skills all round
U9 B L Andrade Voted for by the opposition for good play
U9 C No Match
U8 A S Johnson For strong play in many positions
U8 B P Mahil

G Cheetham

For tidy defending

Voted for by the opposition

U8 C No Match

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Oakwood Park Grammar School, Roedean School and Skinners’ 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