Head’s Blog 21st April 2017 Friday 21st April 2017

Welcome back! I do hope you all had a Happy Easter break and spent quality time together as a family.  Welcome to our new pupils, Grace, Freddie and Clara. We hope you will be very happy here. Welcome also to our two new teachers, Sara Lake in Nursery and Rebecca Small as Head of Maths. They both bring a bit of fizz and a lot of experience to the school.  Holidays are such a wonderful opportunity for thinking and I’ve been blessed with a lovely two week break away in the Isles of Scilly.

I think there have been a few strands of thought that have dominated my moments watching the sun go down.

Firstly, how blessed we are in our lives in Kent as a community which is prosperous and largely safe because we are able to travel and have a change of scene when for far too many fellow human beings, the need to travel and change is associated with flight and fear and how draining and distressing this must be.

Secondly how much we can learn from taking the time to be outside and to look around us. I enjoyed collecting shells and learning how they grow, seeing a “Common” (aka extremely rare in England) Rock thrush and observing and photographing a Scilly Shrew (Britain’s smallest mammal)

Thirdly how important it is to interact as families, to talk and sing and play games together, to walk and be outside.  I find it particularly sad it is to see families in restaurants, all of whom are glued to electronic devices of one sort or another. I would urge all parents to make absolutely sure that as children are pushed around in pushchairs that they look around and observe the interesting sights around, that at meals and at tables in restaurants that you talk and play games and that screen time, which we are learning as a society can be detrimental to mental health and good relationships is kept to a minimum.

The children have been quick to tell me all the wonderful times they had on holiday, whether on the school ski-trip, having time to play and rest, or seeing relatives and friends.

A few of the children achieved some amazing sporting successes over the break; most notable in Prep was Henry Martin who took part in the Challenge Wratislava Fencing tournament in the English team.  Henry was part of a 30 strong England Sabre fencing team.  He did extremely well, coming 26th out of 130 fencers in the Under 13 category. He was the highest placed England Team Fencer and he still has another year in this category, so this is an exceptional result.

http://www.challengewratislavia.pl/en/results/current

You will find Henry under 27th March, U13 Boys’ Sabre. We are proud and delighted.

Congratulations too to Ishwar Sharma in Year 2, who has been invited to represent Great Britain in the World Games Yoga Championship to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal from June 15th to 18th 2017. He will be taking part in the sub junior level section of the yoga championship. Over the holidays Ishwar was awarded ‘ UK Talented Kid Of The Year Award’ by UK Telugu Association. Telugu is a Dravidian language native to India. It stands alongside Hindi, English, and Bengali as one of the few languages with official status in more than one Indian state. This Saturday, Ishwar is taking part in the national yoga championship www.ukysf.co.uk and we wish him well in this. Happily, in Prep on Monday he will be demonstrating some of the yoga that has brought him these triumphs in our assembly.

Ishwar has also been featured in Yoga Magazine OM, one of the leading yoga journals. Read OM’s article here

I hope that those St Michael’s parents attending the special tour and lunch at Sevenoaks school this weekend will enjoy this exclusive event and be impressed by what is on offer at Sevenoaks. We have a brilliant working relationship with the school and for our ablest children it is a great fit.

Using the Adventure Playground

At the end of term there was a second accident, this time by a Pre-Prep child using the monkey bars, which led to a broken arm. Having reviewed this accident formally, we would like to clarify that all users of the Adventure Playground out of hours must be supervised by an adult at all times. Children who have been collected by parents and are waiting for pick-up of Prep pupils are often allowed to play unsupervised by their parents and this must not happen. An adult must be there on the playground area. The monkey bars particularly, have rules for use which are displayed on signs on the bars themselves. Because they are not designed to be used by Pre-Prep children at all as the drop is too great for a small child to land safely, an adult must be underneath the child to catch them if they fall.

Other rules which have been explained to the children are as follows:

Do not use the monkey bars if they are wet

ONE CHILD ON THE BARS AT ANY TIME

Do not hang upside down or pull people off the equipment

Once on the ground, move away from underneath to help others land safely

Make sure you are strong enough to miss a bar if you are challenging yourself

Pre-Prep Children cannot use these bars without an adult ready to catch them

Some schools ban children from the adventure play area out of hours and some fence off the area so that it cannot be accessed. We do not wish to do this but you must help us to enable this to be available for all.

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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