eNews: Friday 2nd October 2020

From the Acting Head

It’s been another vibrant week at St Michael’s, packed full of wonderful lessons and activities!

My assemblies this term focus on inspiring women from black history and so far, the stories of Wilma Rudolph and Mary Seacole have been shared.  Both women faced many challenges, but showed impressive determination and resilience to pursue and fulfil their life goals. Bravery has been a key theme in these assemblies as both Wilma and Mary stood up for themselves and others, challenging those who limited opportunity and equality. Whilst our pupils were shocked at the injustice in these stories, they could articulate why learning about them is so important. True empathy and understanding of how “we can make things better in the future” was expressed superbly by the children.

 

Many pupils at St Michael’s have been taking assessments this week. This can be a nerve-wracking time, but we focus on the importance of understanding what we can and can’t do so that we know how to take the next steps with confidence and clarity. The testing environment at St Michael’s is supportive because our pupils know that progress looks different for everyone. By developing a growth mindset, we foster intrinsic motivation and openness to embrace challenges, learning from our mistakes as we grow. I would highly recommend Carol Dweck, Matthew Syed, Barry Hymer and Angela Duckworth as writers who give great insight into how the language we use can shape the mindset of the children, enabling them to understand that applying effort, embracing challenge and learning from mistakes will have a powerful impact on their success at school and beyond.

 

I’m sure, like me, you have had your ear on the national news this week and are aware that the Covid-19 situation is at the forefront of many people’s minds. We are, as you know, working very hard to continue to minimise the risk of the virus coming into the school community so that we can remain open to all pupils. Thank you for your patience with the ongoing adjustments to drop off and collection of the children; we appreciate your continued efforts in supporting the new systems in place. Our next development will be increased shelter for the pick up areas which will be welcomed on rainy days over the coming months. Thank you to the P & F for supporting us with this investment.

 

I wish you all a happy, healthy and restful weekend.

 

Mary Bridges

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Our Harvest assemblies have been lovely this year with lots of new songs as well as my all-time favourite “Cauliflowers Fluffy”. Although we only had one table laden with food in the hall, as Miss Rawlinson needs room to carry out her PE lessons, there was a second table and cupboard festooned with food, not to mention all the bags we left full to help with the ease of collection. A huge thank you for all your wonderful generosity again this year which will be gratefully received by the Trussell Trust. Thank you also to Mrs Ravayeh for leading our three Harvest assemblies.

By now Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents may find you have a short video clip of your child explaining things about their new classroom. Your child has made this video as you cannot come in for Open Class event that we would normally do at this time of year. Please look at the clip and get your child to explain to you all the wonderful things about their new classroom.

Thank you for putting your family name and child’s class in your car for pick-up. This certainly makes things easier for us. Please be mindful of families still waiting in a queue to pick up so the quicker you can get children strapped into car seats and drive away the better.

Overheard by a parent: “There’s only one thing wrong with St Michael’s, the day just isn’t long enough.”

We are very tempted to use this overheard for all our marketing!

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

From the Deputy Head

 

Prep Harvest Festival collection

Apologies for the delay in getting this message to you.

Our intention has always been to have a Harvest collection for the Prep school, but we were mindful that many of our larger spaces that we might use for a Harvest Assembly are being used as exam venues at the moment.

To this end, we would be delighted to accept donations for the Swanley branch of Trussell Trust on Friday 9th October. We are only accepting donations on one day as we do not have the capacity to store these items for a prolonged period. They will spend the weekend in ‘quarantine’ before making their way to the Trussell Trust on the Monday. I’m afraid that we won’t be able to accept donations either before or after this date.

Many thanks in advance.

 

Morning Drop Off

Thank you to all the parents that have emailed me both with suggestions for improving the drop off and messages of support for the ongoing efforts to make this as pain-free as we can. I can assure you that we are always looking at ways we can improve this and reviewing our procedures is an important part of our Covid-19 plan.

Some suggestions we are able to look at objectively, but some aspects of this are out of our control as a school. However, there is one aspect that we have raised before that I need to raise again.

We have found that those that are arriving early to ‘beat the traffic’ are actually increasing overall numbers on-site as these cars are adding to the total number attempting to drop off before their expected time. If you are dropping off  at Pre-Prep and are not expected to be dropping off until after 8:20am, please do not come onto the site before this. Our chances of clearing all of the Prep parents by 8:20am (the Prep registration is at 8:20am) is greatly increased if it just them on-site at this time.

In addition, please do not ‘eject’ your Prep children from the car before 7:58am (allowing them 2 mins to walk the 50m to the Chapel Door), as the Chapel door will not be opened before this time.

I have been asked by parents to open the school earlier to solve the drop off problem. The answer to why this will not be done is two-fold;  the drop off has for many years been 8am. Moving the opening time earlier would only move the congestion earlier as the issue is, as pointed out above, early arrivers. If you require your child(ren) to be looked after before 8am, we have The Breakfast Club that operates from the Pre-Prep building and is open to all children, for a small charge. Additionally, opening the school earlier would mean staff would have to be allocated to supervise three bubbles of children until 8am and the staff are already working longer hours under the new guidelines. This time up to 8am is vital planning and preparation time for the staff.

Parents’ Evenings

Next half term we look forward to meeting with you to discuss your child(ren)’s progress. I am sure that it will come of no surprise that we are unable to host these events in person on site. The virtual meetings will be organised through our Parents’ Evening System and you will receive details of how to log in and arrange your appointments in the next few weeks. Dates for all of our Parents Evenings’ can be found in the school calendar so please do save the date and we look forward to seeing you all at the relevant event for your child(ren).

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

 

Ella F for always being a kind friend to everyone

Louis N for working hard on his letter formation

Amy H for trying so hard to always do the right thing

Olivia B for being a super kind friend

Noah L for participating well during our maths lessons and showing good number skills

Elizabeth A for wonderful neat letter formation

Beatrix T for good work with doubling numbers

Theia H for a good try with decoding using her phonic skills

Isabelle P for lovely table manners

Jonas S for always being polite and offering to help

Elodie B for great effort with improving her writing

Daniel W for a super effort and lovely manners

Myla B for using fantastic vocabulary to describe Sunny’s new adventure

Nathan H for working exceptionally hard in all areas of the curriculum

Isabel E for working exceptionally hard in all subjects and producing great work in every lesson

Ruaridh O.D for fantastic contributions to whole class discussions and being very knowledgeable about animals

Lana C.O for exceptional number work

Robert M for using fantastic descriptive language in our English lesson

Key Dates

Monday 5th October: Virtual Open Morning (9.30am – 10.30am)

 

Pre-Prep

 

Wednesday 7th October: Hearing Tests for Reception, Year 1 and 2 pupils

 

Prep

ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:

Friday 9th October
Friday 6th November
Friday 27th November

 

 

School News

Pre-Prep Harvest Assemblies

This week our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils have taken part in Harvest assemblies. They sung songs, learnt about the festival and recited a prayer.

The Marketing Department are working on a video montage of the three assemblies which they will share with parents in due course.

 

Parents & Friends Association

Last night P&F has their first Zoom meeting of the term. The main committee, featured in the below photo, would like to welcome all parents to come to the meetings (that are publicised on Classlist) and get involved. If anyone has any questions please contact the committee: stmichaelspreppf@gmail.com.

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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.

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.”