Acting Head’s Blog 26th June Friday 26th June 2020

Improvise, adapt, overcome. I often hear Mr Orpin use this army phrase to instil a sense of positivity amongst the children or staff when we are faced with a challenge or in search of a solution. Adaptation has been a key theme this week for all staff and pupils, whether they have been working from home or in school.

 

It was a joy to see many of our pupils back in school on Monday, and life felt a little more like it should. Pupils, teachers, friends and colleagues sharing in learning, adventure and fun. We did face the issue of a power cut which lasted for a few hours, but we adapted by getting back to basics and shared longer discussions, planning on paper and learning outside.

 

For our new in-school learning model, the St Michael’s day is very different for children in Prep School. Rather than moving around the building and learning from subject specialists, our children are enjoying the company of one classroom teacher. On Wednesday some of our maths teaching team delivered an exciting History day, planned by Mrs Baisch. Doing something differently doesn’t mean it has less value. It was wonderful for me to hear the children talking about Mary I and Mary Queen of Scots over lunch! Their interest and excitement were palpable, and they had some great ideas about how we can learn from the past.  Mr Powell has moved to an outside classroom underneath the shade of the trees on the Field of Hope. It is a beautiful setting and utilising new and different parts of the school grounds has been a very positive experience for us all.

 

Our Pre-Prep children adapted to a new style sports day which they enjoyed today in the glorious sunshine. Congratulations to all of the children who relished their turn and time on the track, cheered on brilliantly by their classmates and teachers. The Prep children also enjoyed showing their support during their break times.  A huge thank you goes to Miss Rawlinson for organising this special occasion.

The children at home have adapted to a different way of working, and I was pleased to receive questions about how they can maximise their learning. It is important to us all that the community bond remains strong and St Michael’s will be standing strong with open arms for a socially distanced air hug whenever our pupils at home are able and ready to return.

 

Adaptation is about evolution, and we are keenly looking ahead to the new academic year. The P & F are in the process of recruiting class reps for next year, and I look forward to meeting the new team in September. I would also like to take this opportunity to warmly thank our current class reps for the extra mile they have gone in this challenging year. They have provided a strong and supportive link between school and home, and we highly value their input. If you are interested in getting involved next year, please check Classlist for information.

 

Adapting to change can be tough, but our children, staff and parents have responded with impressive resilience and grit. For me, seeing the children arriving with big smiles and steely determination each morning at drop off and in my assembly for those at home, has been brilliant, and inspiring. This morning I asked all of the children to give me one word to describe their week back at school and the responses were fantastic, capturing this new, different school experience. The children expressed their week as: different, joyful, good, happy, amazing, exquisite, hot, sociable, confusing, fabulous, sporty, peaceful, unusual, brilliant, interesting, entertaining and perfect! I think we’ve all done well!

 

Enjoy a wonderful 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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