Acting Head’s Blog 12th June Friday 12th June 2020

One of my favourite feelings is the excitement and buzz of a St Michael’s school day.  I know that our teachers feel the same, and there is nothing we want more than a return to school for all of our pupils. Following the recent government announcement, we know that you will all be very keen for news about our plans to bring the children back to St Michael’s. Please rest assured that all staff are working towards this goal but, with the current government guidelines, this is not an easy task. Our aim is for all children to be back in school before our final day of term on the 7th July and we are now able to plan to welcome children in Years 2-5 back on the 22nd June. We will write to families with children in those year groups early next week to explain how this will work and, in the meantime it would be helpful for us to gauge your initial thoughts as to whether you will be planning to send your child into school. Please click here to complete the following survey to support us in our planning. The survey closes at 9.00pm on Tuesday 16th June.

On Tuesday, in the statement by Gavin Williamson, we found out more about the potential options for our pupils but, to say it was ambiguous could be described as an understatement. For the record, he said: ‘While we are not able to welcome all primary children back for a full month before the summer, we continue to work with the sector on the next steps where we’d like to see schools who have the capacity to bring back more children in those smaller class sizes to do so if they are able to before the summer holidays.’

Our biggest challenge with this information is enabling our Year 7 & 8 pupils to return, as the government guidelines refer to primary aged children. We are communicating with our advisory bodies and insurers daily to see what we are able to achieve for our senior pupils, and we hope to see them soon. As it currently stands, we are unable to invite Year 7 & 8 children back on site as it would be in contravention of the guidelines. We expect further guidance to be released early next week and, as soon as we are able, we will share our plans for those pupils.

An exciting aspect of emerging from this time is to learn what the positive impact on us all will be. We have been absolutely delighted with the growth and development that we have seen in our returning pupils, and it is exciting to see how much they have progressed. We are confident that, despite losing many of the co-curricular opportunities that the summer term brings, we have made superb progress through the curriculum and our children will be well placed for their next steps come September.

As a school, we are also looking ahead, thinking about the lessons that we have learnt through this process and how we can use them to make what we do even better. From the logistical elements of our new rolling pick up to the ‘flipped learning’ approach that has been extremely powerful in developing independence in our learners, we know that there are many ways to enhance further what we do. As Dr Seuss said, “sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” and our job now is to make all these moments bring value to our future.

As we think about a brighter future and learning from our experiences, the St Michael’s ethos of encouraging our pupils to challenge the way we think about things and to not be afraid to talk about it is increasingly relevant. As a school, we aim for every member of our community to value the power of learning. Our children can, and will, make this world a better place.

Mary Bridges

 

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.”

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