Acting Head’s Blog 15th May 2020 Friday 15th May 2020

The unknown has always been a source of apprehension and anxiety to the majority of us and, although we are often told to embrace it and step outside our comfort zone it can be easier said than done. It’s doubtful that there has ever been a greater unknown in our lifetimes than the situation we currently find ourselves in. And now we begin preparations for some to return to school while some will remain at home.

Perhaps it is the perceived magnitude of it. I was once told that if we were to imagine the lifetime of Earth as the time on a 24-hour clock then the entire existence of man would be relegated to 1 second within 24 hours. And even within our own, hopefully long and enjoyable lives, this immediate situation will be measured in months rather than years. Life may not be the same after we emerge but humans are the most adaptable species ever to have existed. We will grow from this.

I have enjoyed seeing growth in our pupils and the community this week. Growth in the development of their independent work, mindsets, confidence and engagement with online learning. We have also seen growth in our offer following the valuable feedback we have received from staff and parents. Extra live clinics, study rooms for Years 7&8, a virtual concert and our first ever whole school silent disco! The number of interactions between staff and pupils on Seesaw and Tapestry is growing daily and, on my latest check, there were 6,703 comments added to Seesaw in the last 7 days!

I have been pleased to be in touch with parents this week, hearing your views and finding out how things are going at home. There will be an additional short survey coming this afternoon with the learning plans for next week, I ask that you all follow the link and take part. This situation requires all of the skills and knowledge we collectively have as a community to negotiate our way through. Fortunately, we are all working towards the same goal. At the root of this all is a strong, adaptive, malleable, insightful group of people co-operating together for the ultimate benefit of the pupils of St Michael’s. It’s not easy. But with open minds, dialogues and hearts we will continue to grow and emerge from that ‘comfort zone chrysalis’ as something new, bolder and hopefully better. But most importantly together.

I look forward to being ‘together’ with many of you at the P&F quiz night next Wednesday and thank the committee for creating this opportunity for us to have some fun.

Please look out for school communications early next week which will outline how we will implement the government advice and guidance for those children who are able to return to school in the first phase after half term.

I wish you all an enjoyable weekend

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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