Acting Head’s Blog 3rd July Friday 3rd July 2020

Welcome to the final newsletter of an incredible year in many ways.  A year of challenge, change, learning, growing, distancing and dancing (or should I say, Friday Freestyling!). 525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year? Perhaps we can all measure it individually, on what we’ve each achieved, contributed and learned.

 

This week we celebrated the end of an era for our Year 2 and Year 6 pupils, and I look forward to the opportunity to do the same with our oldest pupils on Monday afternoon. Different to what we have experienced before but incredibly personal, these events have been tailor-made for the children moving on. Our Year 6 event, held outside in front of the Prep School, was a moving and magical ceremony where the clouds shared their appreciation through the shedding of raindrops! I hinted that each drop was a little bit of magic falling on us all to mark the occasion. When the raindrops fell bigger and heavier during Alex’s incredible saxophone performance, it was clearly a hearty round of applause from the skies above! Congratulations to all of the pupils reaching these milestones in their school career. They should be proud of all of their achievements, and I thank them all for their contributions to St Michael’s. A highlight of Prize Giving is the legendary gap student film of the year. Miss Haynes pulled together a brilliant collection of footage from the year, and it was amazing to see the vast amount of adventures, opportunities and events that we have enjoyed despite the time spent away from school. This film will be shared with the rest of the school on Tuesday along with prizes for children in other year groups.

 

In the last newsletter of the Michaelmas Term, I suggested that a school term was comparable to marathon training. Now that the year is coming to an end, we are now approaching the finish line. We’ve done the hard work, the training, faced the moments of fear and battled through the days when it doesn’t go to plan. There’s been frustration, incredible challenge and moments when we’ve all had doubts about making the final mile. As a community, we’ve paced ourselves much better than I did back in February when I ran the 26.2 miles around Seville! I thank you all for the support you’ve given throughout and hope you will all share in the success we’ve achieved.

 

The most important thing is not that we’ve experienced the “marathon” it’s that we’ve learnt so many valuable lessons during that time that the next marathon will be easier, we’ll be more accomplished. We’ll pace it even better, and we’ll enjoy it more. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. And from the most testing year we’ve all had in recent memory I don’t doubt we will all emerge stronger, more resilient humans with far more appreciation of what is really important to us: Family, community and our well-being. Love; that’s how we should measure the year. Now let’s use this summer to reset and recharge and start September, wherever we are, with our eyes wide open and ready for the new next. Knowing we’re better prepared than we ever thought we could be before 2020 started!

 

My Head’s Review will be delivered to you at the end of the summer break to enable a chance to reflect before we begin the ‘new next’ academic year. All that’s left for me to say is one final thank you to every single member of our community. From the children to the staff, the volunteers, parents, friends and family members. All of you have you played your part, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride as much as I have! I wish you all a happy and healthy summer break full of love.

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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