Head’s Blog 23rd June 2017 Friday 23rd June 2017

I probably would be rocking the boat if I did not start my blog this week expressing my delight, pride, amazement and excitement at the two performances of “Guys and Dolls”. This ambitious production was carried off with energy, skill and commitment by a huge team of children and staff. Thank you doesn’t quite seem a strong enough response to what happened at the Stag theatre on Tuesday. From the opening cityscape scene bustling with life and focused performances from almost everyone in Year 5, to the rousing big numbers and finale, so much talent was showcased. The audience became completely absorbed in the intertwining stories of Nathan and Miss Adelaide and Sky and Miss Sarah. I congratulate Ollie, Josh, Camille and Megan for their  incredibly accomplished solo rôles. Polished, professional, at ease on stage, no-one present could really believe that these pupils are all 13 and under.

Many many other stars brought humour to the show through their focused performances, revealing the total personality of characters developed just as much when they weren’t speaking as when they were. In the acting, we also saw the talent of our Head of Drama, whose direction and teaching enabled the whole show to happen. Alan Powell should be extremely proud.

As for the costumes, they were magnificent and Ali Chugg has to be congratulated on masterminding the wardrobe as well as the props for this show. It has been almost a full-time job.  Down in the orchestral pit, on the hottest day of the year, the heat was definitely on and not just because Big Julie was in town. A marvellous band of peripatetic teachers and their colleagues impressed everyone with their energetic and lively playing under the talented baton of our very own Mr Baird. We were delighted in turn by the clever scenery and set, complete with flashing Hotbox signs, whole stage cabaret lights and revolving scenery, all made by our very own Darryl Edwards. Into this magnificent set came beautifully choreographed dancing and show scenes, eye-catching, clever, and beautifully performed. Congratulations to Mary Bridges, the choreographer for these exceptional moments.

And then of course behind the scenes were rafts of others without whom this would not have happened; Carol Bent who produced the show, Rachael Newton the prompt, Jack Bennett who played piano in all the weekend rehearsals at school. Supporting them were scores of parents and other staff on the green room and backstage duties, hair and make-up, some of whom made a fleeting appearance as giant chickens during the show!

Congratulations to every single person involved in any way in the show. Thanks guys you’ve made one Headteacher doll very happy indeed.

Bromley High

A couple of weeks ago, I very much enjoyed a visit to Bromley High.

Its distinctly 80s exterior hides within it an impressive, beautifully designed and visually stimulating learning environment. There was a very creative buzz about the school and having been judged exceptional in its last ISI inspection, I understand why. Girls looking for an adventurous and forward-looking single sex school should definitely go and meet the head and find out more.

It was fantastic to have all the staff celebrate our inspection with governors yesterday at school. Governors entertained the staff to drinks and thanked them for the excellent results obtained in March.

We in turn thanked them for everything they give to the school and in particular we thanked Alex Glenister, former parent and governor at the school for 13 years for her unstinting support and practical help as she retires from this position at St Michael’s Prep. Knowing her, she’ll be back soon for the next play! She will always be welcome and a part of the school.

It has been nice to have feedback from the Prep parents, whose children are winning prizes next week, that they are excited to know this in advance. All parents whose children will receive an award individually or as part of a team have had an email today. We look forward to welcoming Alex Caan to talk to the children about his mentoring work with international athletes.

I am delighted to congratulate Ishwar Sharma on winning two gold medals in the ISC World Games in Nepal. 1000 people took part from 16 countries. He won gold in the individual yoga Under 8 category and in the open group artistic yoga with his father, representing Great Britain. We look forward next term to another presentation from Ishwar in assembly about the experience of travelling to compete at the world games and all that he learnt about Nepal itself.

If you’d been down to the woods today, you sure would have had a surprise. Polar bears, snakes, lions, flamingos and a menagerie of other fantastic beasts have trotted about the Saint Michael’s lands in pursuit of fundraising efforts for animal-related and other charities; the Worldwide Fund for Nature, Battersea Dogs and Cats home and Demelza House.

With excitement building up for the overnight camp out tonight and the barbecue and evening fun ahead, this is a delightful end to a crazily busy week.

If you’re not here this weekend I hope you enjoy it, if you are you’re bound to.

See you 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.”

Weekly eNewsletter