Head’s Blog 11th May Friday 11th May 2018

One of the highlights of my week is listening to my colleagues at our weekly staff briefing meetings, talking about something they would like to share that was special in the previous week. Sometimes it’s something that takes weeks to organise, like the Big Write which did take place at the end of last week, following its cancellation earlier in the term due to bad weather. At other times it’s a small, significant step taken by one child that we start with and this is equally important to each of us. If you have good stories to share about your children please do send them by email.

We all very much enjoyed our terrific Open Morning on Wednesday, seamlessly organised to ever higher standards by Jane Thornton and her marvellous team. What marked out this Open Morning was that we attracted and met so many parents whose views and values are keenly aligned with those of the school and I was very moved at the generous offer of one parent registering her child here to also support the bursary fund, so that others could enjoy time here alongside her own child. We will be revisiting the idea of how we can increase the diversity in our school as part of next year’s development plan and I look forward to sharing with you some projects which we will be launching to take this forward.

As swimming gala season is very much upon us, I’d like to draw attention to a new rule which is signposted in the swimming pool, but has not been well publicised amongst the parent body. It is now not permitted for parents to photograph children in the pool. With our safeguarding hats on and knowing that the school is vulnerable when many visitors are on site, this is the simplest way of preventing a voyeuristic approach to photographing children with very few clothes on. We do hope you can all see the reasons for this, sad though they may be.

Last week I was invited to an orchestral concert performed by choristers at the three London choir schools, St Paul’s, Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. It was delightful to meet Jonathan Milton, the Head of Westminster Abbey school, whose pupils are entirely choristers and who was a pupil at St Michael’s many years ago. I hope to do a feature and interview on him in this publication in due course, but it was delightful to hear his happy memories of times at St Michael’s and to learn that he, as I do now, had lived in Shoreham Village.

Today in Prep we raised money through wearing an item of purple for the Neville Centre, https://www.youngepilepsy.org.uk/news-and-events/news/uks-first-purpose-built-childhood-epilepsy-centre-opens.html?jjj=1526020136016; a research Centre named after Tristan N’s grandfather, Professor Brian Neville, for his life’s work in research into childhood epilepsy and its treatments.

Tristan made a wonderful film about his grandfather for his challenge homework project and we are delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile charity.

There is great excitement brewing amongst the parent body about this weekend’s spring ball and I congratulate everyone involved in this huge operation and thank all the estates team here, who have stopped what they normally do to help put up the splendid marquee.

I look forward to seeing many of you on the dance floor! Have a great weekend.

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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