Head’s Blog 10th July 2019 Wednesday 10th July 2019

As the academic year hurtles to a close, it is almost time to take a step back and have a well-earned rest. We have, all of us, worked so hard this year.

Our last few days have been spectacularly enjoyable, complex to create but beautifully simple to enjoy.

The Prep Sports Day on Friday ran like clockwork, with stunning weather to match the superb organisation. The houses marched out in style and competed with ambition and mutual support and respect. It was exciting to see some new records set, equalled and old ones broken:

Year 7&8 1500m     P Parker-Swift – 6.2.8.21min (from 6.29.35)

Year 6 High Jump   S Newton – 1.49m (from 1.41m)

Year 5 High Jump   M Cameron – 1.38m (from 1.37m)

Year 5 100m              J Wiseman (=record 14.19)

Congratulations to all the winners and to all who pushed themselves to their own limits.

Thank you and congratulations too, to Cal Wade, whose immaculate organisation triumphed on the day and all staff who worked hard to make it happen and to be such a fun day.

The evening celebrations and the gorgeous weather led to a convivial evening of barbecue, sizzled and served by a strong staff team, time to play freely, chat, enjoy a drink and then the excitement of the all-night camp out. It was good to see children playing and laughing in mixed age groups, enjoying the space and the warm summer sun. An enormous debt of gratitude is owed to Fraser Wiseman, who masterminded the logistics and the practicalities of the camp out, plotting pitches, shopping for food and drink, cooking, cleaning and staying awake to look after everyone. A merry band of colleagues joined him to serve and clear and to each person involved a very warm and heartfelt thank you.

On Monday we were treated to the talents of Pre-Prep, when they performed their “Plastic Pirates” songs for us. I later very much enjoyed the whole environmentally on-message show, with not only plenty of opportunity for solo and ensemble work, but also the sea of underwater creatures colourfully bedecked. It was great that Zerrin Leech is fit to return to work to congratulate the pupils and staff on an excellent year in Pre-Prep. I’m proud of each and every one of them.

Alongside our super sports day, we held a magnificent Old Michaelians’ Day and met, for the first time in one case, some interesting former pupils who have lead very successful lives in different professions and regard the school with fondness and a deep connection, born of the fact that they boarded here. One of our Old Michaelian visitors explained that when he transferred to his fine independent senior school he struggled to not be boarding and felt that there was something missing.

Today’s struggle I think, for pupils, and particularly today, the last day of term, is to actually say goodbye. But of course this isn’t ultimately necessary because although they won’t be with us every day, all staff and pupils will always have a place at St Michael’s. We want to be in touch. We want to hear your news we want to engage on social media and we want to follow the careers of our spectacularly successful and varied cohort of leavers as they go out to make their mark on their next schools and the world beyond.

It was easy to detect how splendid our pupils are at last night’s Prize Giving. It was utterly delightful to welcome Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to the stage and he certainly showed us the art of feeling comfortable performing.

Laurence’s nephews attend St Michael’s and we were absolutely thrilled that he agreed to come and present the prizes to our lucky winners this year. From the moment he arrived, Laurence was bubbling with humour and quips that put the children on stage very much at their ease. Having declared that our marquee was quite retro and suggesting that perhaps we had too much fabric around the window apertures, he went on to talk with some passion about the charity MERU which his father set up to assist severely disabled children with the simple tasks of life by making and engineering tools to support their independence. Laurence kindly waived his appearance fee (phew!) and instead asked the school to make a donation to MERU to continue the good work. Laurence made us laugh and gave us food for thought about creativity and following your dreams, about being unconventional and passionate and he certainly demonstrated that being funny gets you places. If there are parents that would also like show the measure of their enjoyment of last night’s occasion they would be most welcome to do so at the following link https://fundraising.qef.org.uk/donate/donate-qef. Please be generous .

I shall be writing to you all towards the end of the summer to send you my Head’s Review of the year and update you on the progress of Stable Court and the Astroturf.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy summer holiday.

Jill Aisher

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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