Acting Head’s Blog 4th September 2020 Friday 4th September 2020

The excitement of a new school year is upon us, and this week it has been wonderful to re-connect with all colleagues and welcome some new faces to the team.

As part of our socially distanced whole school meeting on Wednesday, we thought about what we are most looking forward to this year. For many of us, it is embracing the ‘normality’ of school life, being in our grounds, and enjoying the small, funny and wonderful moments spent with the children supporting their growth, development, learning and happiness.

Security and stability are fundamental this year more than ever, and we look forward to working with you all to provide the very best for our mini (and not so mini!) Michaelians. Training in ‘bubble protocol’, school logistics, cleaning, safeguarding, first aid and lifeguarding has been attended and we are ready to kick off the year with what looks set to be a warm and sunny week. Hooray!

This newsletter will update you on final information for the start of the new school year as well as introducing our new members of staff. The logistics of the school day have been adapted in order to maximise safety whilst still providing the best, most exciting opportunities for the children to experience what St Michael’s can offer, both inside and outside of the classroom. We know that teamwork will continue to be an essential skill required by all and that listening, adjusting and adapting will be necessary as we find the rhythm in the new systems. Your feedback, questions and comments are always welcome.

Further updates on school systems and protocols can be found in the Pre-Prep and Prep parent handbooks which are ready to be sent home with your eldest child on Monday, so look out for that.

Each September we launch our school development plan which provides a framework and focus for our progression over the year ahead. This year we have three aims:

  1. Review what we have learnt from Covid-19 school closure and consider changes to further improve what we do
  2. Focus on equality and the understanding of diversity in the curriculum throughout the school
  3. Focus on well-being through promoting healthy strategies for mind and body with children, staff and parents

We look forward to sharing details of our developments in relation to these strands over the course of the academic year. An essential part of looking ahead and planning for the future requires reflection on what has previously worked well and what could have been even better. As part of our annual reflection, I invite you to read the Head’s Review of 2019-2020 which has been published on the school website today.

Here’s to the new year and the many opportunities that it brings. I look forward to seeing the children next week and hope that they feel refreshed and ready to go!

Have a fantastic 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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