Acting Head’s Blog 5th June 2020 Friday 5th June 2020

Welcome back to the second half of the Trinity Term. I hope you had a restful and enjoyable holiday and are ready to give everything you have to this last half of term and the last 5 weeks of the school year. This is traditionally a term absolutely packed with all number of events and opportunity and, although much of what we would usually have the privilege of experiencing has either changed or been lost due to Covid-19, let us just take a step back and look at it through the wider societal lens.

So much of what we experience at St Michael’s, and in our community, is an absolute privilege. The sad news of the murder of George Floyd in America has rightly shone a spotlight on issues of inequality and privilege. Issues that so many of us take for granted. It is a difficult subject to approach from my privileged position but, I strongly believe in love, kindness and community, and only by all of us standing up for what is right in the world can we set the example for our own children and the children in our care here at St Michael’s.

We strongly feel for those children still at home whilst some are at school. We recognise how hard it is to see siblings returning home happy and tired from a day spent with friends and teachers finding joy in learning. We have, however, taken huge steps forward in a return to what we know.  We are proud of the successful return of Nursery, Kindergarten, Reception, Years 1 and 6. We are also proud of our Year 8 pupils who completed their CE English and maths exams this week and who will be leaving their legacy in new ways to any that have come before. It was lovely to see the Year 8’s in a Zoom call yesterday and to make plans for their contributions to our famous stairwell timeline.  The excitement of planning where they will leave their name inscribed on the wall is possibly even more palpable after the time learning away.

I would like to offer a huge thanks to all staff that were involved in the mammoth task of getting the school and the community ready for Monday 1st June. Those of you that have been on site will appreciate that there are many parts to the puzzle that have needed slotting together and it was another superb team effort. We are already excited about the things that we have introduced that we’d like to keep. The Year 6 rolling pick up is a particular hit and I thank Fraser Wiseman and Ian Smith and his team for their thinking and work to make this, and much of site preparation and planning happen.  Jamie Booth has done a sterling job in leading our risk assessing which continues to be reviewed daily. Congratulations also to the dedicated Pre-Prep Team in planning for a huge number of children to return in one go. It was a pleasure to pay a visit yesterday and to be greeted by many smiling faces who have only seen me in Zoom for the last few months!

So, from the many events that have stolen the headlines this year and in particular reference to the recent events in America, the way forward for us, and society, will undoubtedly be trying. There will be tough conversations, mistakes made and lots of learning. But by being open, honest, kind and courageous we will find a way to be better. As the fantastic St Michael’s, British and world community that we are. At the heart of everything we all do is love. And hopefully that will win in the end.

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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