Head’s Blog 18th May Friday 18th May 2018

For Zerrin and me, the last few weeks have been recruiting season. We both enjoy the chance to meet people from all sorts of different schools and to decide which staff will join us at St Michael’s. One candidate impressed us particularly this week with his creativity and humour and the preparation for his lesson which linked in with French day. It is this sort of attention to detail which makes each day at work such a pleasure for all of us.

Next week I shall be sharing with you details of those long-serving teachers who will be moving on, retiring and moving countries in some cases and after half term we will be sharing the biographies of all our new staff with you. It is always sad to see good friends and colleagues go, but one of the things about St Michael’s is that we do stay in touch and follow their careers with interest and excitement as their professional and personal dreams come true and we know that so many times people will come back and enjoy time with us again.

I’d like to thank the ball committee for the most to terrific ball last weekend. The decorations were delightful, the planting and shrubbery brought on site made a magical contribution to our arrival and the effective adornments inside the splendid marquee set the tone for a special and most enjoyable evening. I for one have so much pleasure from seeing parents and colleagues looking stunning and relaxed. Looking at the photo booth selection, I also learnt quite a lot about their inner selves! Music of a very high quality was performed, disco got everyone on the dancefloor and none of us quite lived up to the standards set by Dance Act at the beginning of the evening for entertainment. The food was delicious and the ball committee and their supporters worked hard before, during and after the ball to make the most wonderful evening for everyone. As if that wasn’t enough, an enormous sum of money was raised for West Kent Mind and I’m delighted with this outcome. I thank all of those who contributed items for the auctions, both silent and noisy and also Oliver Schneider who twisted the arms and clearly perhaps other body parts to elicit this huge amount of money for such a worthy cause.

Three cheers for the entire committee: Andrea Richmond, Claire Schneider-Price, Anna-Marie Mottram, Clare Merralls, Jill Walker, Jo Karir, Jules Walker, Lorna Sharp, Marianthe Goodwin, Melanie Winter, Oliver Schneider-Price, Ruth Batchelor, Tracey Scott, Suzanne Hirst and to Tracey Ashton, Sadie West, Charlie Parkinson and Claire Soper from the P&F who “worked” on the night. Every single one of you is to be congratulated. Magnificent congratulations to Ian and his team, who worked tirelessly and generously to put up and take down the sports hall marquee and prioritised supporting the P&F committee with endless skill and good cheer.

This week has been action-packed as usual, community choir rehearsals and successful athletics match, fabulous French Day, and all sorts of engaging lessons.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of being at the Nursery evening to welcome parents. The whole of the current team spoke with eloquence, humour and wisdom to set out how they work to settle and engage the children; we even had a speech in verse! The parents there came away with a strong sense of the fun to be had in Nursery and how much the staff there love what they do.

It was marvellous to hear about the wedding that Reverend Diane conducted in preparation for the real celebrations on Saturday down in Kindy. We were very lucky to have some wedding clothes lent by the local Otford “Brides Dress Revisited”, one of our parents owns the shop. I understand that rings were exchanged and photos were taken. I look forward to seeing them.

We are delighted to announce the list of all those who are taking up scholarships to their senior schools and into Year 7 at St Michael’s.  We had a record year of scholarship offers, with some children turning down more than one scholarship.  We congratulate each and every child who has won an award and record and celebrate those who have chosen to accept one in this photo and on our honours boards.

Year 8
Name Surname School Award
E Holden Walthamstow Hall Academic Scholarship
Z Hudson Tonbridge School Academic Scholarship
H Martin Truro School Sports Exhibition
N Samuel Tonbridge School Drama Scholarship
L Weir Benenden School Music & Academic Scholarship
Year 6
K Davis Bromley High School Music Scholarship
G French Woldingham Sports Scholarship
C Kern Sevenoaks Academic Scholarship
B Sanderson Bethany School Academic Scholarship
E Willoughby Kent College, Pembury Sports Scholarship
T Bulley St Michaels’s Prep Drama Scholarship & Music Exhibition
K Cameron St Michael’s Prep Sports Scholarship
C Denny St Michael’s Prep Music Exhibition
J Fryer St Michael’s Prep All-Rounder Scholarship
O Goodwin St Michael’s Prep All-Rounder Scholarship
E Hudson St Michael’s Prep Sports Exhibition
E Osborne St Michael’s Prep Music Exhibition
P Parker-Swift St Michael’s Prep Sports Scholarship & Art Exhibition
S Parker-Swift St Michael’s Prep Drama Scholarship
E Powell St Michael’s Prep Sports Exhibition

Last night we were blessed with a very large number of parents and some very talented children as we celebrated with our scholars’ dinner. The scholars programme began four years ago and each year it develops into something bigger and better. Now those who stay on into Years 7 and 8 with a scholarship can be assured of joining a very special group of people and the performances from some of them last night were, frankly, astonishing. Lucy played Chopin on the piano with different time signatures in each hand in a beautifully accomplished performance. Nick gave us one of his scholarship drama monologues, cleverly chosen to show a teacher and pupil relationship both performed by Nick. Our newest drama scholars couldn’t resist giggling at some of the naughty words! Elizabeth talked about her journey to securing an academic scholarship and displayed a great deal of self-awareness, humility, determination, and resilience. Zach, who recently won a top academic scholarship to Tonbridge School, fielded questions from parents, staff and pupils about his experience of preparing for scholarship and it was lovely to hear his confidence and pride and to recognise that he was comfortable sharing the lows as well as the highs.

We were delighted to welcome Kim Wells, Director of Learning and Teaching at Caterham School. He gave a very entertaining talk about turning failure into success and inspired everyone present by his wisdom and excellent delivery. Add to this delicious food, beautiful flowers, thanks to my secretary, Helen, a proud group of parents and some wonderful staff and you have the recipe for a perfect evening. Thank you to Mark, Lisa and Michelle for the wonderful dinner and to our own exceptional deputy, Mary Bridges, who masterminded the whole evening and made it such a success.

The theme of courage, perseverance, willingness to fail resurfaced again in this morning’s assembly at Prep as 3P presented their TV-inspired Xplorers.

Next week I shall be away on inspection from late Tuesday afternoon until Friday morning and whilst I am completely confident that my colleagues and pupils will get on working hard for the week, I know that my absence means that my diary is under pressure and I am happy to book meetings during the last three days of the half term holiday if this helps parents to catch up with me.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the royal family, I know many families will be enjoying the chance to watch the royal wedding on Saturday. On behalf of the children, staff and community at St Michael’s I would like to wish Prince Harry and Meghan every happiness in their married lives. I shall look forward particularly to watching the church service as my own two sons were choristers at St George’s Chapel and occasions such as these were highpoints for me as a parent. I know all the choristers and their parents will be so excited about this weekend and that the music planned will be special.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend I hope you have time to relax and enjoy your family.

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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