eNews: Friday 9th October 2020

From the Acting Head

 

This week we held our first Open Morning of the year via Zoom. It was a wonderful occasion where we shared pupils’ views and some superb musical performances. As expected, the pupils stole the show; their speeches and performances sparkled with confidence, care and passion for life at St Michael’s. I think my favourite Open Morning moment came from Nik in Year 2 when asked why parents should send their children to St Michael’s: without hesitation, he replied: “Why not?!”. Thank you to everyone involved in this event.

The performances and speeches from Open Morning are being shared on social media currently, and I encourage you to have a look at recent content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which give you an insight into what the children are doing each day. Whilst we are not able to invite you in to see school life in person, we hope that this content enables you to see what the children are experiencing at school.

My job at Open Morning was to summarise St Michael’s in under ten minutes. As you can imagine, this was a huge challenge! However, I do love a good challenge, and the children will be able to tell you that it’s good for the brain. In response to my challenge, I focused on the core reason why our teachers teach: to prepare our children for life. One of the only certainties about the future is that it will be different from what we know now. With technology growing at an incredible speed, our children need to be prepared for things that we have not yet experienced and find hard to imagine. So, how do you prepare a child for the unknown?

We prepare our children by having a significant focus on their skills as people. They learn about the importance and value of kindness, of being helpful and how to think creatively and solve problems by working collaboratively with others. The children also learn to be grateful for the incredible opportunities that they have access to each day and that embracing curiosity and wonder is exciting and will add passion and joy to the everyday. These are the skills that will help them to deal with the challenges and set back backs that they will undoubtedly face as they grow.

In a future of increased technology that will do many jobs for us, what will set the children from St Michael’s apart is their ability to communicate, to connect and to care. The world needs more people like the wonderful children that race into our buildings each day, and we are all excited to see what they will go on to achieve.

 

I know that for many of our Year 6 pupils taking the Kent 11+ test next week, anticipation may be growing in their minds. It is important for them all to remember they are and have been, working really hard and that they need to keep a balance between study and rest. The children are well prepared, can only do their best on the day itself and, unfortunately, worrying about what’s to come will not help them. I recommend some important ‘down time’ this weekend, with plenty of fresh air and racing about as well as perhaps snuggling into a cosy corner and finishing their current book.

 

Thank you for your ongoing support. I wish you a happy and restful weekend.

 

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Thank you for your patience with the emergency road works in Pilgrims Way this week. We know it is hugely frustrating and your journeys have taken far longer than usual. We realise children may be late in so please reassure your children that this is not something their teachers will worry about.

Taz Usher, Marketing Assistant, has filmed this year’s harvest assembly and put together a video of Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. She has posted this on our YouTube channel and has sent a link to parents, so please have a look at this. Thank you to Taz for masterminding this.

We have now cleared the staff parking at the lower end of the Pre-Prep car park so if you wish to use these spaces for “rolling pickup” as well as the ones we usually use by the barrier, please do so. Please do not use these spaces for just sitting and waiting in your car. We wish to keep these for a quick pick up and immediate exit from the school site.

Overheard at a rather damp Forest School: “Why don’t we call this Rainforest School?”

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

A message from the Admissions Team

If you currently have a child at St Michael’s and their sibling would be eligible to join in Nursery or Reception 2021 please contact the Admissions Department at jrye@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. We have limited spaces available in these year groups and we are filling up fast.

Online Safety

 

Dear Parents,

 

With the ongoing pandemic and the potential of a second lockdown, it is essential to remind you how to keep our children safe when online. This includes using devices to access various online platforms and social media.

 

It is important that you know what devices your child has access to which connect to the Internet. The Internet is a place where your child can potentially:

  • Communicate with someone they do not know
  • Access inappropriate/harmful content

 

What can you do?

  • Do your research – read product reviews
  • Read device instructions
  • View any Apps before letting your child download them and check the settings
  • Check that the App is age-appropriate for your child
  • Set up parental controls on the device
  • Switch devices off if you’re not using them
  • Talk to your child about online safety and how they can keep themselves safe. Guidelines for this can be found on the Parents’ Portal.

There are many websites which offer parental advice, please see the list below:

 

Digital Parenting Magazine:

Here is the online link to the most recent version of the Digital Parenting Magazine: https://parentzone.org.uk/digitalparenting . If you would like a hard copy, please contact Miss Booth via email: jbooth@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk and a copy will be given to your child to bring home.

 

NOS (National Online Safety)

St Michael’s has recently become a member of the NOS (National Online Safety). This system enables us to register our parents to free online courses. The courses we have on offer are:

  • Parents Course Ages 11-14
  • Parents Course Ages 7-11
  • Parents Course Ages 4-7

If you would like to register for one of the above courses, please register via this online form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=U5hNi2fLrk-Ut9AiLRRZYsxoazIBPR9LsGoI4IB2idFUMEs1TFZHNEpPQ1BESTVJTzUzSURLMUc5OC4u

Children’s accessibility to apps and social media platforms survey:

To help me provide the correct and relevant online safety guidance to our parent body, I would like parents to participate in this short survey so I can see what apps and social media platforms our pupils are using. The survey is non-judgemental, and you can remain anonymous if you wish. The link to the survey can be accessed via this link: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=U5hNi2fLrk-Ut9AiLRRZYsxoazIBPR9LsGoI4IB2idFUN05ERDBOV1dLWlhGVEVBU0lIWVZaSDU4WC4u

 

If you require any advice on online safety, please contact me, Miss Booth, via email on jbooth@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

 

ParentZone Feed:

There will be a ParentZone feed via the online safety page of the school website coming soon. This will collate the key, updated information regarding online safety via the ParentZone website.

 

Jamie Booth

Staff News

 

Welcome to:

 

Holly Gough- Nursery Assistant 

Holly has just completed a degree in Primary Education and is particularly passionate about children’s literature and promoting a love of reading.

She is a self-confessed country bumpkin and enjoys long walks in the woods with her partner before curling up on the sofa with their cat, a good book and something hot to drink. She is even hoping to complete the Three Peaks Challenge next year.

Holly is very much looking forward to being part of the St Michael’s team and sharing her love of learning with the children.

Headteacher’s Stars

 

The following pupils have been awarded Headteacher’s Stars for their brilliant contributions to this week’s Open Morning:

 

C Handel (Year 3)

O Nathan (Year 4)

M Amure (Year 6)

H Soper (Year 8)

A Moore (Year 8)

A Scott (Year 7)

E Ward (Year 8)

R Landgrebe (Year 8)

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

 

Henry G for giving the other children clear instructions of what to do when our morning routine changed.

Herbert W for good work during our number of the week lesson.

William T for wonderful letter writing.

Emily L for always trying hard to write words.

Thomas S for excellent effort in our phonics lessons.

Leo C for a fantastic hand-washing poster.

Emily P for lovely ideas for harvest celebrations.

Sam S for consistently working hard and trying his best in every lesson.

Henry W for brilliant participation and knowledge in Science.

Ellie S for amazing participation in all subjects.

Peter S for a lovely description of harvest.

Edward Z for an interesting explanation about Moon Cakes.

Mona Swan M for brave swimming.

Henry M for being such a polite, kind and hardworking member of the class and approaching everything he does with a smile.

Amelie G for consistently working hard and giving her very best to each lesson and activity.

Adam O for always trying his very best during swimming lessons.

Silas C for writing a very descriptive postcard.

Anna W for always being polite and a good friend to others.

Cleo B for always being up for a challenge in maths.

Viggo W for working hard in literacy and being proud of his work.

Chloe S for superstar maths work all week.

Olanna E for being polite and friendly and always having kind words for other children.

Key Dates

Break up for October Half Term: Friday 16th October

Return to school: Monday 2nd November

 

Prep

ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:

Friday 6th November
Friday 27th November

School News

Pupils give to a great cause

 

We have been amazed by the generosity of St Michael’s families over the last two weeks.

Donating to the Swanley branch of the Trussell Trust food bank, we have filled several tables with plentiful amounts of food, toiletries and other household essentials which will go to those who need it most at this time.

We would like to express a huge thanks to parents who helped us give to this fantastic cause.

 

Harvest Festival Video

 

 

Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils performed three beautiful harvest festival assemblies to their teachers last week with the help of Mrs Ravayeh.

Please visit our YouTube channel to view a video montage of the event.

School Shop Half Term Opening Hours

 

 

The school shop will be open on the second Friday during the half term, Friday 30th October from 11am-1pm.

 

From the P & F Association

Halloween Competitions

It’s been some time since we’ve been able to run an event so we thought a little fun before the half term holidays would be a good idea.

We’re delighted to announce that next week children in Prep will have the chance to ‘Guess the weight of the pumpkin’ and Pre-Prep children will ‘Guess the number of spooky spiders in the jar’.

We are requesting a donation of £1 for each guess. Proceeds to the P&F which funds various initiatives across the school which will benefit  the children. Guesses can be made throughout the week with the winners being announced on Friday. The winner of each competition will take home a pumpkin carving kit and a host of Halloween goodies.

Many thanks to Britt Stephens who came up with the idea and has pulled everything together to make this lots of fun for the children! And apologies in advance to whoever wins the plastic spiders and gets to find them around their house over the next year or so!

We hope that you can support this event.

Happy guessing!

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.

Follow us on social media!

Love seeing your children’s smiley faces on our social media pages?

Make sure you’re following all four of our channels to ensure you don’t miss any precious photos and videos. This also includes our new YouTube page featuring videos about St Michael’s and speeches from the pupils.

In the Community

 

Mr Lopez’s October Half Term Football Camp

Mr Lopez will be holding his Football Camp from Tuesday 27th October to Friday 30th October. Click here for full details and a booking form. Book early as places are limited!

 

Mrs Grayland’s October Half Term Netball Camp

 

 

Mrs Grayland will be running a netball camp at half term which will be offered to St Michaels girl’s before being offered out to other schools.  Book early to avoid disappointment.

Click here for a booking form. 

 

Mr Thomas’ October Half Term Hockey Camp

Mr Thomas will be holding his October Half Term Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 29th- Friday 30th October from 10am-3pm.

Please email Mr Thomas on jnthomas88@outlook.com to reserve your space.

We will be following all England Hockey guidelines and may have to limit the numbers to less than previous camps. Please sign up early to avoid any disappointment.

Click here for a booking form.

Senior School Open Mornings

 

Claremont Senior School

Claremont Senior School will be hosting a live Virtual Senior School Open Morning webinar on 16th October from 9-10am. This webinar is designed to give you a ‘virtual’ flavour of senior school life at Claremont, and to inspire you to find out more about the school. Whilst government guidelines allow, Claremont Senior School is delighted to also be able to offer private tours of our site on Saturday 17th October and throughout the working week for those who would prefer to see the school while in session.

For more information and to register directly please follow the below link.

https://www.claremontschool.co.uk/virtual-open-morning-senior-lp/

The Judd School

Virtual tours of The Judd School can now be viewed here.

 

 

Tonbridge School

Tonbridge School will be hosting a virtual open day on Saturday 21st November. To sign up visit: https://www.tonbridge-school.co.uk/admissions/contact-us

Tonbridge Virtual Open Morning with link

 

 

Latest News

Prep pupils treated classmates and music teachers to a variety of musical performances this week in their half termly concert.

Performed in three instalments within their bubbles, the musicians showcased a variety of pieces, varying in both genre and instrument.

And although parents were unable to attend the concerts due to Covid-19 restrictions, the pupils’ families received a recording of the event.

Gordon Baird, Director of Music, said “We were delighted by how these first concerts of the academic year went despite the absence of the children’s parents. It was a lovely intimate experience for the children to play or sing to their friends and we heard some confident, accomplished performances.

Mr Baird added: “For some, it was their first time playing in a concert in the Prep school and we look forward to organising many more opportunities for them to perform throughout the year.”

A montage of the three music concerts can be found on the St Michael’s YouTube page at https://youtu.be/Bj_Wx4P9heg.

 

 

Spooky spiders and plump pumpkins sparked Halloween fun at St Michael’s this week.

Supported by the school’s Parents and Friends association, pupils enjoyed two games which offered great prizes to winners.

Coordinator of the Halloween competitions and P & F committee member, Kelly Downey said: “Given the restrictions currently in place, the P&F are focusing on strengthening the school community for parents and children this year.

“The competitions are a simple way for the children to have some fun in the week before half term, while raising some funds for the P&F.”

Children in Pre-Prep were tasked with guessing the number of spooky spiders in the jar, while Prep children were asked to guess the weight of a pumpkin. Pupils made a donations to the P & F in exchange for each guess they made.

And the winners of the games, Herbie W (Pre-Prep) A Ward, M Little, L Lutzow and H Owen (Prep), were awarded Halloween hampers which will help them celebrate this year’s festival in spooktacular style.

Kelly added: “The funds raised for the P&F will go towards funding activities and facilities for the children to enrich their time at the school.”

For more information about St Michael’s P & F association visit stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/parents-friends

 

Strawberries and sunflowers were just some of the items celebrated in last week’s harvest assemblies.

 

The annual Pre-Prep event, performed as three instalments this year, saw Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils sing, dance and give prayer for the harvest while learning about the festival from their music teacher, Mrs Raveyeh.

 

 

Reflecting on the success of the events, Louise Raveyeh said: “I am quite moved by the children’s enthusiastic singing in our harvest celebration.

 

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to realise that there is joy in giving and sharing what we have and happiness for those who gratefully receive it.

 

“Their singing and eagerness to share with others was heartwarming.”

 

 

During the assemblies pupils sung songs about harvest time, nature and the variety of fruit and vegetables grown in this country.

 

Louise said: “I wanted the children to be thankful for what they have by realising what an amazing rainbow variety of food we have, created with individual characteristics just like them.

 

“I wanted them to realise the sense of joy that there is in sharing what we have.

 

“The songs reflect our celebration of what we have and realisation of the process of planting, harvesting and sharing.”

 

 

And it wasn’t just songs that helped the children express their thanks. Helped by their generous parents, Pre-Prep donated hundreds of food items and household essentials to the Swanley branch of Trussell Trust food bank.

 

 

Head of Pre-Prep at St Michael’s, Zerrin Leech, said: “We had tables, cupboards and bags festooned with food last week as our families gave very kind donations of food and other items.

 

“A huge thank you must go to the pupils’ parents for their wonderful generosity once again this year which will be gratefully received by the Trussell Trust.

 

“Thank you also to Mrs Ravayeh for leading our three harvest assemblies. They have been lovely with lots of new songs as well as my all-time favourite, Cauliflowers Fluffy.”

 

 

 

 

Sunsets and sizzling sausages set the tone for the new term last Friday as Year 7 pupils celebrated the start of their senior education journey.

The annual event, traditionally held as a Camp Out, was delivered as a fun-filled barbecue night which the children enjoyed with teachers including St Michael’s Acting Head, Mrs Bridges.

Throughout the evening pupils tucked into dinner cooked by Deputy Head Mr Wiseman, and toasted marshmallows on an open fire.

And to make use of their new term energy, games and group bonding activites were carried out, followed by a walk up the school’s famous Warren where the sunset was relished in all of its glory.

Reflecting on the sucess of the event, Head of Year 7 and 8, Mrs Shield, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to camp this year, but that did not dampen anybody’s spirits.

“One of the highlights of the evening was our twilight walk to the top of the Warren where we marvelled at the beautiful site that our school occupies.

“We viewed the bats swirling the skies in the dusk of late summer and ended the evening with a well-deserved hot chocolate – not forgetting the squirty cream and yet more marshmallows.

“Life-long friendships were made and re-established after the long summer break.”