From the Head
This short holiday is a great time to pause, reflect, and rest after a busy half term. I hope you have a good rest and some fun with your children. I was delighted last Friday to be at the Year 2 bench ball tournament, which was very well-organised and very well-supported by parents. It was lovely to see the teamwork and a clear understanding of how to win and play well, even if the teamwork consisted of passing from boy to boy or a girl to girl! I was impressed by their throwing and catching skills and by the extent to which they looked for a place to play.
Friday evening’s drama duologue competition was another moment of great pleasure at St Michael’s, as parents gathered to watch and frankly marvel at the achievements of the pairs competing for the winners’ crystal trophy. Again, since last year, the children’s understanding has moved on about polish and preparation. It works well for the juniors to be present at the senior competition and understand how they might still further refine what they do. Judging and deciding the winners was an unenviable task and I would like to congratulate every single pair that participated. Hats off too, to the pupils who still attended, even though their own partner was unwell and they could not compete. You can read more in Mr Powell’s article later in this newsletter.
Enjoying performance seems to be the theme of the week and we have had many enthusiastic and delighted emails from parents who attended the Year 3&4 O2 trip on Monday night. Mr Wiseman did a good job tweeting photos and film as the day went along and it was interesting to learn from the Czerkawska family that film footage from Monday night, shared on Facebook, even made the TV news in South Africa because one of the songs was about rain in Africa which is currently very much needed
On Wednesday evening, The Ten, our a cappella choir, enjoyed a trip to Cadogan Hall with more than generous staff to pupil ratios, to a concert performed by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers; a veritable baroque feast, which included Vivaldi’s Gloria, which later on this year we shall be singing in our final end of year concert. Our pupils were the only children at the concert and drew comment from surrounding concertgoers because of their focus and clear enjoyment as well as exemplary behaviour. It was delightful that the conductor came out to meet our party briefly after the concert. You can see photos on my Twitter feed.
This weekend Year 6 will be receiving offers of places from many different schools and parents are free to call me on Monday or Tuesday when I shall be at work and available to talk things through. Our own scholarship results were mailed to families yesterday too and we look forward very much to a vibrant and successful Year 7 and 8 with, we hope, many of those currently in Year 6 staying on.
It was fun to have lunch with Year 5 on Tuesday and meet parent reps the following morning for coffee. I’m always pleased to talk about life in the school and get feedback from those living it. There is a great deal of positivity amongst them about their experience here and they are challenged to find something that they think should be better. Their candour, however, can help us to tweak small things here and there and clarify expectations when these are not being met, so it’s a vital part of a reflective process of self-evaluation.
Sometimes, when I meet parents, I am told things that are being discussed in the car park that are so far removed from the reality of school that it’s very difficult to understand how these rumours started. If you do hear anything that makes you worried or anxious about St Michael’s, please do come and check out with me whether what you’ve heard is true. Real partnership with parents lies at the heart of everything we do with your children and we listen and we change if people have good ideas that will make the school better.
This week’s fable was that if you want to go to Sevenoaks you have to leave St Michael’s. It is an extraordinary thought that this is a real concern for parents. It is not true. Over the last few years approximately one third of our cohort has left St Michael’s for Sevenoaks over two entry points and we have a very strong links with the school, whose own staff often place their children here. We have a governor from Sevenoaks School at all times on governing body and Sevenoaks School recommends St Michael’s to parents looking for places at schools, which will prepare them well for entry.
Today the school is unusually quiet as you all begin your half term and I and my colleagues set out to visit other schools to exchange ideas and develop our provision. I hope that you have a wonderful break and look forward to seeing you fresh-faced and raring to go on Monday 19th.
News from Pre-Prep
• Considerate drop off/parking
A big thank you again to our Estates team for their snow patrol this week. Thank you parents for your careful driving. The children have had some fun in the snow at playtime and by lunchtime it’s all been over.
We have continued to have staff and children knocked out by flu, chicken pox, sickness and one case of Scarlet Fever so hopefully everyone can have a well-earned rest over the half term holiday and come back refreshed.
Year 2 had a lovely trip to Brighton on Wednesday. They learnt lots about marine life and are ready to be the new David Attenborough should he retire!
Year 1 enjoyed their walkabout in Shoreham, looking at all the different styles of buildings. I have noticed models of houses and flats being created in their classrooms over the last week. Some afternoons it looks like a building site.
We return on Monday 19th of February, ready for our Chinese New Year workshop to be held on Wednesday 21st February. Look out for the photos.
Could I please remind you that the drop off zone next to the barrier at the top of the bridge is for drop off only. If your child needs to be walked down the bridge, please park in the car park. Please also turn your engine off while you get the children and bags out of the car as we can see the children walking through the exhaust fumes as they head towards the bridge. Thank you for your co-operation in this.
Have a lovely half term holiday.
Whole School News
Story Writing Competition deadline
The deadline for submissions to the school’s Story Writing Competition is Thursday 22nd February, which is in the first week back after half term. A reminder of the requirements:
• There are four age categories: Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4, Years 5 & 6 and Years 7 & 8.
• This year’s theme is ‘identity’, although children in Years 1 and 2 do not have to be bound by the theme and can choose to write about anything they wish.
• Stories can be typed or handwritten.
• There is no word limit for the competition. However, we would like to encourage the children to also enter the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition at the same time, and for this a very strict word limit obviously applies. Entries to the BBC competition need to be made by parents. You can find out more information here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4h26FXFQ4KfMV7VVSbJxY3g/500-words-2018
• For our own competition children should hand their stories to Mrs Andrade, Miss Salmon or their English teacher.
Mrs Andrade and Miss Salmon
Lord of the Flies
Tickets for the school play “Lord of the Flies”- March 15th and 16th at 7pm.
Tickets for the school production of “Lord of the Flies” are currently on sale in the School Office and can be bought using the usual methods, including adding the cost to your school bill. They are priced at £10 each.
We are recommending the show to brave Year 5 and above pupils. Pupils from Year 5-8 are performing and have been rehearsing hard to bring you what promises to be an exciting show, packed with St Michael’s talent.
Please do get your tickets early; demand is high for the Friday performance especially. There will be a paid bar available from 6pm, serving beers, wines and soft drinks. Seats are not numbered so do arrive early to secure your seat.
I look forward to seeing many of you there.
Head of Drama
Aerobathon – Saturday 24th February 2018
This is taking place from 12noon – 3pm, refreshments and cakes will be available to purchase. There will also be a raffle and a DJ (Paul from Tall Order Entertainments).
The sessions have been confirmed as follows:
|12.00 – 12.30pm
|12.30 – 1.00pm
|1.00 – 1.30pm
|1.30 – 2.00pm
|2.00 – 2.30pm
||Helen and Sarah
|2.30 – 3.00pm
||Eve and Tricia
||Boogie Bounce Orpington / Sevenoaks
Some responses to FAQ’s about the event (I hope I cover them all):
• Please visit the Facebook page: Aerobathon The Lullaby Trust 24th February 2018 for regular updates and information.
• Leaflets containing information are attached and are also available from either school office or you can email Miss Jamie Booth directly on: firstname.lastname@example.org
• The preferred choice of purchasing tickets is via the Virginmoneygiving website: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Jamie_Booth_Lullabytrust . However, you can pay cash on the door on the day.
• All proceeds go directly to the Lullaby trust.
• It is not compulsory to attend all sessions. You can attend one of two and enjoy watching the rest or listening to the music whilst having a little boogie.
• Clubbersize Session – If you are attending the Clubbersize session, please bring some glow sticks with you- will need two each. These can be purchased online via Amazon UK and are approximately £12 for a pack of six. If you would like to wear anything else which glows, even better! Yes, you can wear neon netting tutus. Alternatively, disposable glow sticks will be on sale on the day and will be £2.50 a pair.
We are still looking for volunteers to help with:
• Setting up
• Serving / selling refreshments
• Selling cakes
• Selling and managing ticket sales
• Selling raffle tickets
Raffle Donations and Cake Makers:
If you are any good at baking and would like to contribute some cakes or are able to make a donation to the raffle prizes, again, please contact me via the email address above.
Thank you to everyone who has helped and responded to this event.
It is truly going to be an inspirational and fun event.
We’re collecting Coolings’ “Busy Bees” Vouchers
We’re collecting the Schools and Community Garden Vouchers from Coolings Garden Centre. One voucher is issued for every £5 spent. Any vouchers we receive can be used to buy plants and gardening equipment. Please bring any vouchers you receive to the school offices. Thank you!
Our new JJ team, under the guidance of Mrs Petzsch, has produced some great articles for you to read. Click here to go to the Junior Journal page and see everything we have to say!
Parents and Friends
Comedy Night Tickets On Sale Now!
Spring Ball – Tickets now on sale!
Please click here for booking form
Feats of engineering, construction, Valentine’s Day gifts, recycling and pure, unfettered imagination! Click here to read all about this week.
Raven for always trying so hard at everything she does
Arthur C for working so hard during phonics this week
Herbie F for excellent addition and subtraction
Amelia B for always trying her hardest
Priya for excellent work using speech marks
Phoebe for amazing effort with her writing this week
Ethan for working very hard on his 3D shape work
Oliver N for always coming to school with a smile
Nicholas W for playing football fairly at lunchtimes
Anouk for enthusiasm and good work in French lessons
Jonny for enthusiasm, good concentration and hard work in the French lesson
Amelia M for doing well in times tables tests
Aran for always working hard in Maths lessons
Alexander S and James R for writing a fantastic story and illustrating it with amazing pictures
Music Practice Award: Belinda B
Star Violinist Cup: Matilda M
House Point Cup
Awarded to Windsor House with a total of 168 points
Charlie collected the Cup on behalf of the House
Times Tables Certificates
Bronze – Amber-Lily E-A, Marcus L, Thomas P, Martha E, James R & Louisa W
Judoka of the Week Award: Ethan W
Gamesmaster of the Week Award: Marcus L
Rulesmaster of the Week Award: Aran S
Best Effort of the Week Award: Amelia M
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music
Prep Test – Piano – Ella M
Royal Academy of Dance
Entry Level Award in Graded Examination in Dance: Primary in Dance
Merit – Jemima P-B
Gymnastics success for Reception pupil!
Well done to Reception pupil Irena G, who as a member of the British Gymnastics Association, competed in a Floor and Vault Gymnastics competition at the weekend and secured 4th place. A great achievement, congratulations!
World Book Day
On World Book Day (1st March), we will be celebrating our reading by sharing photographs of the weird and wonderful places where reading can take place. Please join us in this fun “Extreme Reading Challenge” by sending a photograph of your child, or whole family, to Miss Salmon on email@example.com
All photos need to be in by Tuesday 27th of February, so you have half-term to find the perfect location!
News from across Pre-Prep
Kindergarten have found polar bears hidden in artificial snow and learned that ice melts under warm water. They found penguins hidden in an ice block! Year 2 spent a fantastic day at Sealife in Brighton – see more photos in our gallery.
See our Twitter page for photos.
News from Prep
||For learning all of your times tables
||For amazing “Slow Writing” with fabulous descriptions
||For fabulous “Slow Writing” with amazing descriptions
||For an excellent piece of “Slow Writing” with amazing descriptions
||For fabulous “Slow Writing” with fantastic descriptions
||For wonderful “Slow Writing” with beautiful descriptions
||For beautiful “Slow Writing” with fantastic descriptions
||For delightful “Slow Writing” with wonderful descriptions
Gold Award for Year 3 pupil
Congratulations to year 3 pupil, A Digweed, who has completed the Perform Gold Challenge, passing with Distinction! She loves drama and has been attending weekly Perform classes for four years, recently moving up to the older group for 8-12 year olds.
During the assessment, she performed a self-choreographed dance to music with amazing energy, recited a poem from memory, showing good diction and voice projection and sang a song with good vocal intonation in time with the music.
World Book Day in Prep School
World Book Day is on Thursday 1st March and we will be marking this important day in a number of ways in the Prep School. However, Prep School children will not be dressing up this year. If your son/daughter has any spare time over the half term holiday and would like to make a short video of themselves introducing their favourite childhood book (suitable for Pre-Prep age) and then reading the first page from it, we will aim to show as many of these as possible in Pre-Prep assembly on World Book Day itself. Please bring your video into school on a named USB stick and email Mrs Andrade or Miss Salmon to let them know that you are bringing it in: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com by Friday 23rd February.
Visit to Sevenoaks Bookshop
Mrs Andrade and I will be taking a small group of children to Sevenoaks Bookshop on Monday 26th February to choose some new books for the school library. This is an exciting opportunity open to all children. If your child would like to apply for a place on the trip, they need to collect an application form from the library. Alternatively, they can write a short piece detailing their reasons for applying, information about any special interests they have and a short review of a book they have read. Entries must be given in by lunchtime on Monday 19th February.
Inter-House Drama Duologue Competition 2018
Last Friday saw the 3rd annual House Drama Competition take place in the Drama Room. Over 52 children signed up for the competition initially, with 15 pairs qualifying for the Friday finals.
It was immediately evident from the heats round that, once again, the children had invested a huge amount of independent time rehearsing their scenes and considering the addition of props and costumes, as well as set for the pieces. The standard was high and the children all performed with confidence and flair. It was lovely to see a good sense of team spirit, not only amongst those pupils in the same house, but generally as a whole body, amongst those taking part in the competition. Especially touching was seeing one group of children comforting a fellow competitor who had some stage fright.
We saw a real variety of pieces from serious pieces to sketches from The Two Ronnies, and the job of judging was not easy. Luckily we were honoured to have Mr James Blackwell on hand as our special guest judge. James works extensively in the TV and film world and is a very respected Assistant Director in the field, having worked on productions from Doc Martin, EastEnders and Silent Witness to Dr. Who and Game of Thrones. He found it difficult, but above all was quite astounded by the high levels of performance from all the children, mentioning that he was not expecting to see such ability and talent.
Juniors (Years 3+4)
Bronze- Leeds: S Andrade and M Czerkawska
Silver- Dover: E Newton and N Stinson
Gold- Leeds: V Medlen and L Blincoe
Seniors (Year 5-8)
Bronze-Leeds: S Parker-Swift and P Parker-Swift
Silver- Windsor: A Martin and G Williams
Gold- Dover: N Samuel and C Brindley
Mr A Powell
Head of Drama
Click here to see our gallery of photos
More news from across the Prep School
Year 7 breathe life into old drinks bottles!
Year 7 pupils made their own models to explain how we breathe in and out. It’s amazing what you can make out of a drinks bottle. balloon and plastic bag and great for recycling too!
Year 8 have been busy practising their lifesaving skills, while Years 3 and 4 headed off to the O2 for the Young Voices concert.
Take a look at our Twitter pages to see the photos.
Jersey Tour Disco – Friday 23rd February
This year’s Jersey Tour Disco will take place on 23rd February.
Years 3, 4 and 5 – 6.00pm-7.30pm
Years 6, 7 and 9 – 8.00pm-9.30pm
Tickets are £5 and on sale from Form Teachers. All proceeds to the Jersey Tour and Year 8 Leavers’ Fund.
Players of the Match – week commencing 5th February 2018
||H Smith & J Sales
||H Owen & M Blincoe
||L Madgett, A Matthews, R Saini, H Halfacre
||W Botes & L Bowen
||O West & J Pathiwill
|U13 A Netball
||I Gascoyne Day & M Winter
||F Ashdown & B Welland
|U9 A Netball
||A Mitchell & A Jassi
Archway Football Academy Easter Football and Netball Camp
Easter Football and Netball Camp
St Michael’s Prep School, Otford (Otford Court, Row Dow, Otford, Kent, TN14 5RY).
Football: All age groups welcome
Netball: Years 1-5 welcome
Tuesday 10th—Friday 13th April 2018 (football & netball)
£120 for 4 days
For full details and booking form, please click here.
Half Term Hockey Camp – places still available
Mr Thomas and Mr Young will be running a three-day hockey camp during half term from 12th-14th February at Hollybush. The course will run from 10.00am to 3.00pm and will run similarly to previous camps. To book your place or for further information, please email Mr Thomas on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Future dates for your diary:
Easter Camp – Thursday 5th April, Friday 6th April, Monday 9th April and Tuesday 10th April
May Half Term – 29th and 30th May
Summer Camp – 20th – 24th August
To reserve a place please email Mr Thomas on email@example.com.
Boys’ and Girls’ Easter Cricket Camp
This year’s Easter Cricket Camp will run from 16th-17th April 2018 and boys and girls of all age groups are welcome to attend for the whole day.
Full details and a booking form are available by clicking here.
Places are limited, so early booking is advised.
Mr van Schalkwyk
Half-Term Football Coaching
Mr Brightman and Mr Shea will be running a 2-day football camp during the half-term holidays on Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th February 2018 at Knole Academy 3G pitch, Sevenoaks.
This is our third successful year; we provide a mixture of football coaching, overseen by a UEFA-B licensed coach, and fun football games.
Please click here for further details and booking form.
Senior School Open Days
These can now be found on our Senior School page.
Upcoming events include:
Beechwood Sacred Heart
Kent College, Pembury
The King’s School Canterbury
St Edmund’s School Canterbury
Tonbridge Girls’ Grammar School