Friday 30th June 2017 Friday 30th June 2017

We all recognise that the summer term and particularly the end of that, is a very busy time for everyone in schools, whether it is children making preparations for transition, meeting new people and teachers and bidding farewell to their friends, or staff collecting their thoughts and expressing their views on the performance of children in reports. Whether it is parents attending concerts and shows and prize-giving and picnics or whether it’s governors feeling satisfaction at another successful year. Whatever your experience of the end of this academic year at St Michael’s, I hope it has been special. I have the privilege of a front row seat at some of the best shows in town. The nursery singsong on Tuesday was a happy occasion on which children enjoyed in many different ways, not all of them forward facing, the songs they have been taught this year. No-one can have failed to be impressed at the words and actions they have mastered. On Wednesday we were treated to the Pre-Prep performance of “Pirates versus Mermaids”, a feisty and funny show which played to the strengths of so many children and revealed a new dimension to others. With a stylish set created by Mrs Halfacre and amazing costumes supplied by parents, the shimmering mermaids and the fearsome pirates had to come together to solve the problem of Pirate Scarypants’ fear of water. Who better to show them and teach them how to swim then the elegant mermaids?

The children without exception enjoyed their moment. There was some fantastic shimmying from the reception crabs complete with clawed headdresses and from the splendid starfish, the scary sharks and from the huge array of octopi. Hats off (and there were a lot of hats) to Mrs Beesley, Miss Salmon and the staff in the Pre-Prep for an inspired choice and an excellent production.

Today’s Kindergarten concert made those of us who had been at both Nursery and Kindy’s concerts aware of just how much progress is made in those first two years. The children presented songs on the theme of the growth and development of a butterfly, including some impressive scientific words and displayed great rhythmic skills, as well as fine voices and wonderful memories. With words and actions, they entertained us beautifully for half an hour this morning and it was a wonderful end to a happy year in Kindy.

Of course Thursday evening saw us gathered together formally for the Prep school prize-giving. We welcomed former teachers including former headmaster Paul Cox, who saw the first recipient of his newly offered prize for cross country and we celebrated the talents of the many other successful people to be rewarded in public on this occasion. Each year I have a few communications on the subject of how prize-giving fits in with an inclusive agenda. I am absolutely clear about the value of such an event in the calendar of the school. This year we added awards for cross country, global citizenship and separated effort and progress to be two separate prizes for each year.

In the variety of awards made, the whole spectrum of talent is included and those who leave us at the end of Year 6 and Year 8, it is fitting that they receive our good wishes and a small gift.

Fuzz Caan, international Olympic coach was an entertaining and fascinating speaker.  He spoke eloquently of the synergy between his beliefs about the five “P”s: Planning, Preparation, Process, Permission, Passion and our school motto “Perseverance, Wisdom, Gratitude”.  We were delighted that he could join us.

It is always fun to see the film review of the year. This is a relatively new tradition in the school and falls to the gap student to make each year. I think you will agree that this year’s set new standards.

And as I write my final lines this week, Sports Day is playing itself out. At the end of this day new records will have been set and new children will glow with pride.

Last week on our field the happiest night of the year, the 24-hour event campout was attended by so many parents and children and there was a great deal of warmth, both from the weather and from the warm atmosphere of sharing a special evening together. My grateful thanks to Rhys Morgan and Joel Thomas who organised the daytime and Fraser Wiseman and Steve Wade who organised the night time.

For many children and parents this was the absolute highlight of the year.

This is the final newsletter of the school year as next week we break up on Wednesday. During the holidays I will send you an update with the achievements of the children in their final week and the Head’s Review. This is a formal document that summarises all the achievements of the past academic year and gives parents an analysis of the school’s performance and the direction in which we travel. Can I remind you that next week, when there are no clubs, children are collected from three different doors: Year 3 come out of the main front doors, Years 6 and 7 come out of the chapel doors and Years 4, 5 & 8 come out through the white doors. For those of you with children in lots of years you will have to walk up and down the path! We hope you understand that this keeps all the children safe as the whole school is dismissed simultaneously. On the last day of term, we finish before lunch and the school field is hired in the afternoon. We hope that all parents will be able to pick the children up and there is no Hive on the last day. I wish you the happiest of summer holidays and wherever you go, safe travels and a safe return. For those of you leaving St Michael’s as parents, children or staff, thank you for all you have given to the school and come back and see us soon.

Jill Aisher

Latest News

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.

 

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

 

 

This Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s will host a fundraising day for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy.

Determined to help a cause very close to her heart, Lucy has organised a series of events aimed at raising money for the charity-based emergency service.

Throughout the day pupils will be invited to participate in a range of activities including wearing a Christmas jumper, doing a sponsored run, and completing brain teaser quizzes in exchange for donations to the TVAA which relies wholly on public contributions.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I’ve 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 will change 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.”

And Lucy’s charity day is driven by her own bond with the charity who saved her life following an accident last Christmas.

She 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.”

Since her accident, Lucy has remained close with three of TVAA’s critical care paramedics, Jo, John and Clare.

Lucy said: “Not only did the team come and visit me in hospital during my recovery, but in February this year my family and I were invited to their base to see their helicopters and learn more about their work.

“Since then, we’ve kept in close contact with them and have been given the exciting opportunity to take part in their Christmas campaign.

“One morning, my mum received a phone call from the TVAA asking if we’d like to tell our story as part of their fundraising appeal.

“Despite the accident still being quite fresh, we were keen to get involved as it’s such an amazing charity.”

Earlier this year, Lucy and her family were invited to Oxfordshire to talk about their experience in front of the camera.

The filming day, which involved interviews with both Lucy and her parents, aimed to raise awareness of the charity’s impact.

Lucy said: “It was such a fun day and really made us feel part of the TVAA community.

“Afterwards, we were sent several cuts of the video, including a very cool animation of my story which was very realistic.

“They kept us in mind throughout the whole process and made us feel very special.”

A full breakdown of the fundraising events can be found below. For more information about the TVAA or to view Lucy’s video visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/appeal/.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance Fundraising Activities 

  • Christmas jumpers – In Prep and Pre-Prep, we are inviting the children and staff to sport their best Christmas jumper and make a donation for the privilege of wearing it! The 15th  is the day of the school Christmas lunches, so this would be a good time to wear them. As with the last charity collection, the donations for Christmas jumpers can be deposited in the buckets at the doors into the buildings as the children arrive in the morning.
  • Sponsored run (Prep) – we are going to be inviting the children to run in teams of (up to) 4 around the shortest XC route on the fields. They will have a set time to complete as many laps as possible in that time. The children can look to have their team sponsored per lap, or have a donation from their sponsor. Sponsorship money raised will need to be brought in the following day.
  • Brain teaser quizzes – there are two quiz sheets that can be purchased for 50p each and you can take them home and try to solve the puzzles as a family. I’m afraid the only prize on offer is the glow of self-fulfilment upon having completed them. Answers will be shared on the last day of term. As parents cannot be in the school buildings at the moment, the quiz sheets can be purchased via homework diaries (please send the 50p/ £1, depending if you want one quiz sheet or both).

 

 

A former St Michael’s pupil has been awarded an Honorary Academic Scholarship for her excellence across all subjects.

Grace Goodwin, who attended St Michael’s between 2014 and 2019, has received the honour from Sevenoaks School.

Commenting on Grace’s success, her mother Marianthe Goodwin said: “Grace joined Sevenoaks in Year 7 and has really thrived from day one.

“We all knew Grace was doing very well academically as she was awarded the Academic Prize in Year 7 and Year 8. However, just before half term we received a letter awarding Grace an Honorary Academic Scholarship, one of only four which was awarded.

“Grace was delighted and extremely surprised as she had absolutely no idea that she was going to receive it. As an Academic Scholar, Grace is invited to attend the Schickler Society with the other scholars in which they discuss lots of different world issues both current and past, such as gun control and the Cold War.”

Mrs Goodwin added: “Grace had a wonderful and very happy time at St Michael’s and the decision to leave was  a hard one, but we felt it was the right time for Grace.  At St Michael’s she enjoyed all her subjects, especially English and Science.

“She found all the teachers very encouraging and approachable, and felt the growth mindset attitude and community spirit of St Michael’s gave her the confidence to hit challenges head on and not give up.

“Mrs Bridges among others was particularly encouraging of Grace during her time at St Michael’s and offered amazing pastoral support to pupils.”

And it isn’t just Sevenoaks School that spotted Grace’s academic potential. St Michael’s teacher Mrs Baisch, who taught Grace during her time at the school, said: “Grace is an incredibly creative pupil who loves reading and writing, and produced some beautiful work. The words flew off her pen.

“Grace was also a very good speaker which was shown by her victory in the poetry live senior competition which she won with her reading of Dulce et Decorum est. For a Year 6 pupil, her performance was very impressive.

“Grace’s scholarship is of no surprise and is something she should be very proud of.”

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