We all recognise that the summer term and particularly the end of that, is a very busy time for everyone in schools, whether it is children making preparations for transition, meeting new people and teachers and bidding farewell to their friends, or staff collecting their thoughts and expressing their views on the performance of children in reports. Whether it is parents attending concerts and shows and prize-giving and picnics or whether it’s governors feeling satisfaction at another successful year. Whatever your experience of the end of this academic year at St Michael’s, I hope it has been special. I have the privilege of a front row seat at some of the best shows in town. The nursery singsong on Tuesday was a happy occasion on which children enjoyed in many different ways, not all of them forward facing, the songs they have been taught this year. No-one can have failed to be impressed at the words and actions they have mastered. On Wednesday we were treated to the Pre-Prep performance of “Pirates versus Mermaids”, a feisty and funny show which played to the strengths of so many children and revealed a new dimension to others. With a stylish set created by Mrs Halfacre and amazing costumes supplied by parents, the shimmering mermaids and the fearsome pirates had to come together to solve the problem of Pirate Scarypants’ fear of water. Who better to show them and teach them how to swim then the elegant mermaids?
The children without exception enjoyed their moment. There was some fantastic shimmying from the reception crabs complete with clawed headdresses and from the splendid starfish, the scary sharks and from the huge array of octopi. Hats off (and there were a lot of hats) to Mrs Beesley, Miss Salmon and the staff in the Pre-Prep for an inspired choice and an excellent production.
Today’s Kindergarten concert made those of us who had been at both Nursery and Kindy’s concerts aware of just how much progress is made in those first two years. The children presented songs on the theme of the growth and development of a butterfly, including some impressive scientific words and displayed great rhythmic skills, as well as fine voices and wonderful memories. With words and actions, they entertained us beautifully for half an hour this morning and it was a wonderful end to a happy year in Kindy.
Of course Thursday evening saw us gathered together formally for the Prep school prize-giving. We welcomed former teachers including former headmaster Paul Cox, who saw the first recipient of his newly offered prize for cross country and we celebrated the talents of the many other successful people to be rewarded in public on this occasion. Each year I have a few communications on the subject of how prize-giving fits in with an inclusive agenda. I am absolutely clear about the value of such an event in the calendar of the school. This year we added awards for cross country, global citizenship and separated effort and progress to be two separate prizes for each year.
In the variety of awards made, the whole spectrum of talent is included and those who leave us at the end of Year 6 and Year 8, it is fitting that they receive our good wishes and a small gift.
Fuzz Caan, international Olympic coach was an entertaining and fascinating speaker. He spoke eloquently of the synergy between his beliefs about the five “P”s: Planning, Preparation, Process, Permission, Passion and our school motto “Perseverance, Wisdom, Gratitude”. We were delighted that he could join us.
It is always fun to see the film review of the year. This is a relatively new tradition in the school and falls to the gap student to make each year. I think you will agree that this year’s set new standards.
And as I write my final lines this week, Sports Day is playing itself out. At the end of this day new records will have been set and new children will glow with pride.
Last week on our field the happiest night of the year, the 24-hour event campout was attended by so many parents and children and there was a great deal of warmth, both from the weather and from the warm atmosphere of sharing a special evening together. My grateful thanks to Rhys Morgan and Joel Thomas who organised the daytime and Fraser Wiseman and Steve Wade who organised the night time.
For many children and parents this was the absolute highlight of the year.
This is the final newsletter of the school year as next week we break up on Wednesday. During the holidays I will send you an update with the achievements of the children in their final week and the Head’s Review. This is a formal document that summarises all the achievements of the past academic year and gives parents an analysis of the school’s performance and the direction in which we travel. Can I remind you that next week, when there are no clubs, children are collected from three different doors: Year 3 come out of the main front doors, Years 6 and 7 come out of the chapel doors and Years 4, 5 & 8 come out through the white doors. For those of you with children in lots of years you will have to walk up and down the path! We hope you understand that this keeps all the children safe as the whole school is dismissed simultaneously. On the last day of term, we finish before lunch and the school field is hired in the afternoon. We hope that all parents will be able to pick the children up and there is no Hive on the last day. I wish you the happiest of summer holidays and wherever you go, safe travels and a safe return. For those of you leaving St Michael’s as parents, children or staff, thank you for all you have given to the school and come back and see us soon.