eNews: Thursday 7th May 2020

From the Acting Head

This week I would like to dedicate the newsletter to our amazing children.    My week started with the whole school assembly, which the children did for me! I hope you were all able to enjoy the experience too, and if so, I am sure that you will agree how wonderful they were. The confidence, passion, pride and engagement they all displayed inspired me for the week ahead, and it also made me think: how do they do it?

When I look back to 5, 8 or 12 years old me, I can’t imagine myself doing what those children did with quite that spark and openness. Mini-me also wasn’t going through a pandemic and lockdown with no clear end in sight. The rest of my week has been full of highlights of our children raising ducklings, performing monologues, delivering presentations, uploading responses to complex problems and creative writing. And then some. Making movies, practising French, creating music, art, telling jokes and sharing the kind things they’re doing to support those in need. There are also children struggling but having the courage to speak out and ask for help. That’s inspiring.

During this time we’ve all been challenged, having to adapt the way we do many things in our day to day lives. When I think back to 5, 8 or 12 years old me, my life revolved mainly around school.  Being with friends; learning, playing, competing, creating, sharing hopes, dreams, worries and growing together. It was pretty simple. This disruption to the lives of our children must feel huge, yet their approach and response show determination, positivity and grit. The way that they are embracing the challenges, feeling the fear and trying their best regardless, is superb. They get up and carry on and try and make each day even better than the one before. So here’s to our heroes: the children.

I wish you all a fantastic bank holiday weekend. The weather on Friday and Saturday looks set to be glorious, so I hope that you can take the opportunity to get outside and have a break from devices. Next week we will be able to look ahead with more knowledge about when we will return to school and it will be great if we can go into that following a few days of being able to enjoy good weather and time with family.

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Dear Parents,

Thank you again for the lots of lovely and encouraging emails we have been receiving. It’s lovely to hear how you are all getting on and to see photos and video clips of the children.

We are awaiting the news on Sunday to see what the Government advice is going to be around the schools reopening. We have started to do some thinking around scenario planning and lots of “what ifs?” The safety of your children, St Michael’s staff and parents is of paramount importance and we are going to have to balance this with our desire to get the school open and running as soon as we can. I am very aware that social distancing with young children is impossible. We will keep you informed as soon as we know ourselves.

If any of you would like to share overheard comments from your children at home, I am happy to share them in the newsletter if you wish to email them to me. They will of course be anonymous.

Overheard by a parent after her child had watched a video clip from their teacher. The child whispered into the speaker “ Mrs X are you in there?”

Enjoy the sunshine this weekend.

Zerrin Leech

Headteacher’s Stars

E Short For a superb piece of Science work completed during remote learning
F Giannakis For an outstanding video made as part of the Geography remote learning activity
J Bomphrey For an incredible oil painting showing human impact on polar bears
L Clapham For an excellent working model of a wind turbine
A Sharp For your Science classification keys
J Gagg For amazing effort and perseverance with remote learning
O Scott For amazing effort and perseverance with remote learning
P Palmer For amazing effort and perseverance with remote learning
E Julio For amazing effort and perseverance with remote learning
L Summers For creating a very detailed river case study poster
H Smith For creating a very detailed poster clearly showing the impacts of flooding
H Soper For lots of very thorough river research on the impacts of flooding and a well-presented poster
E Collings For a very creative and well-presented poster and video, very good research and descriptive detail to show impacts of flooding
D Stephens For the time and effort put into your poster, which shows lots of detail about the impacts of flooding
L Shi For a very detailed poster, including good use of Digimaps to demonstrate a flooding area
J Maloney For lots of really good detail in your river poster and also adding a PowerPoint
T Petersen For very detailed research and a well-designed, handwritten poster and good use of historical photos to show flooding damage history
L Watson For a very detailed and well-researched river poster, beautifully presented
E Ward For very detailed maps, used to demonstrate flooding damage, with good facts and research
F Rutherford For excellent extra-curricular work, including raising ducklings, making a bat detector and bat box and a bug hotel
H Haaxman For a creative and engaging video, made from scratch, about online safety rules
L Karir For a fantastic video about online safety, packed full with top tips, animation effects and background music

School News

National Writing Competitions

Mrs Andrade has shared details of two writing competitions that you might like to take part in:

The Young Walter Scott Prize is for ages 11 upwards and the ALCS writing competition has no age limits.

Full details can be found on our Message Board.

Virtual Book Club 

Mrs Andrade would like pupils in Years 7 & 8 to take part in a virtual book group. Full details are on our Message Board.

Zoom Meetings

Thank you to everyone who signed in for the pastoral check ins in Prep this morning. These will revert to Fridays from next week.
We will also be trialling a ‘Zoom playground’ for Years 3&4 at some point next week. This will be a supervised zoom call, but the staff will only be there to monitor the interactions.
It will be offered initially in year groups and we will look to develop this as we run through them.
Children should always look out for the Zoom invite that their form teacher will post in their Seesaw account, with the login details.
Have a lovely bank holiday weekend.
Mr Wiseman


Freestyle Friday Silent Disco

Next week on Freestyle Friday we will be having a live silent disco for one week only! It will be set up for 8:30am on Friday. The premise is that we all turn up at just before 8:30 having selected our 2 favourite songs in the world. Then we all mute our microphones and press play at the same time and everyone can dance in their own homes, to their own favourite songs, but together with everyone.
A link will be sent out on Seesaw to pupils in Years 3-8 and Pre-Prep will share it on either Seesaw or Tapestry – only St Michael’s pupils will be able to join in.
I’m hoping it will be a lovely way to start the day and that lots of people turn up for it. Let’s try something different and bring a bit of live interaction to finish the week!
Mr Bridges

Latest News

As Y5 pupil, C Hunter, explained during Monday’s assembly, Sevenoaks School has organised weekly food/supply collections for those in need during these very uncertain times.  The collections have benefited local organisations such as One Big Family: Helping the Homeless, Friends for Families, The Hygiene Bank, Sevenoaks Food Bank: Loaves & Fishes, Community Cupboard, area primary schools and others.  Miss Cat Davison, the School’s Director of Service and Social Impact, updates its online social media feeds (@sevenoaksimpact on Twitter and Instagram) with the items needed each week.  We hope that you will consider helping with this effort.  Together we can make a huge difference for those living right here in our community!
The details of the collections are provided below.  If you do wish to participate, please ensure that items are unopened and handled with washed or sanitised hands, and that social distancing is strictly adhered to on delivery.
What: Food, Supplies (check social media links for current needs)
When:   Every Tuesday, 9am – 12pm
Where: Outside Claridge House, Sevenoaks School,TN13 1HU
(Claridge House is just to the right of the main entrance of Knole Park on High Street)
On Monday our community-minded pupil also discussed a book collection which took place earlier this year for children in Ghana.  Below are photos of EduSpots centres where the books are available for local communities throughout Ghana.

We’ve been amazed by the phenomenal success of the Art Department’s recent challenge “Painting without Paint”. Set as part of our remote learning programme, children were asked to select a work of art of their choice and to recreate it at home – but without using paint!

The Art Department has been overwhelmed by submissions, which Miss Rodwell, described as “creative, humorous and inventive”. She added “Staff have been impressed by submissions that showed how carefully the children have looked at their chosen artworks in order to create such brilliant responses.”

Posts on our Twitter account have received positive responses from prestigious art galleries, such as the Tate and the National Gallery, with The Lowry in Manchester commenting “Wow, we love this!!” on T Neville’s version of L S Lowry’s “Man Lying on a Wall”. But it’s not just art galleries in the UK, who have responded to the children’s art; their work has been liked by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden and the Mauritshuis in Den Haag. One Year 3 pupil, who was inspired by artist Aja Trier, even reached New York, as permission was sought to post an image of one of her paintings. She was delighted to allow us to feature her work and on seeing J Gagg’s interpretation commented “Oh my gosh that is precious! Please tell the artist I love it! I will post on my Instagram and Facebook. Thank you!” She went on to tell us “I am always so humbled when kids are inspired by my work, but this is next level!”

In order to show you all the wonderful work our pupils have done, we’ve put together an online gallery of the work. Talking about the project and the reaction, Mrs Barratt declared “This is wonderful!” and reactions from other schools included the comment “Excellent work St Michael’s Art Department this is a really fun activity”.

Mrs Bridges told us “I am absolutely delighted, and inspired, by the way that the children have responded to these challenges. Creativity is keeping us connected, not only within our own community but across the world too!”

We can’t wait to see what the department comes up with next. Miss Rodwell is keeping us in suspense “I’ve been working on a new one today …”. We’re sure that our pupils will have even more opportunity to excel!

Click here to view our online gallery of more ingenious images.

Some of our super St Michael’s Swimmers have won an array of silverware at recent events.

At the Sevenoaks Swimming Club presentation evening, I Pennington Legh was presented with the Kingsbury Cup for U10 girls; A Green was awarded the Kingsbury Cup for U10 boys; E Green received runner up plate for the best U9 boy; S. Taylor was awarded the Mike Radford Trophy for most improved U9 boy; A Ashton was presented with the U9 Individual Medley Cup and U9 trophy for most improved swimmer; B Tovey and J Taylor were both awarded plaques with their positions from the recent Sevenoaks Club Championships.

At the Black Lion Gala, Gillingham, at the start of March our swimmers again came away with medals. A Ashton won three gold, one bronze, one fourth and one sixth medal; A Green three gold and two silver medals; E Green four silver and one bronze medal; S Taylor one silver and one fourth medal and J Taylor a fourth position medal. V Medlen also came away with a medal from the gala.

Well done to all those swimmers; your hard work and dedication is certainly paying off!

Mrs Denton

Swim School Manager

Well done to our doubles girls, E Julio and S Savidge, who also played in last weekend’s Junior Orange Ball Tournament in Sevenoaks. They played four matches, won two, beating Sevenoaks Prep and Lady Boswell’s and lost two to the eventual finalists Amherst and Granville.

This was a great performance by the girls, particularly in the light of little experience of Orange Ball competition.

Well done!