Head’s Blog 14th February 2019 Thursday 14th February 2019

As we race towards the half-year point, I very much hope that most of you will have the opportunity to spend time with your children, draw breath and have some fun.

 

Last Saturday, as many of you were doing the aforementioned, my senior colleagues and I spent a training day together offsite thinking about accountability to one another and looking at the ways we can exploit our differences on the team to bring about collegiate decision-making of a different order.

 

The school’s journey is only as strong as our own as a team and it was fantastic to have the time and space to listen to one another and make some important plans for tackling some of the issues ahead and become closer in the process.

There was a great deal of bonding and fun happening at the discos on Friday night. There was a wonderful atmosphere in both junior and senior discos, with joyful responses to the music and a good deal of fun and sparkle!

This week in assemblies, I have returned to my environmental theme and we looked at reducing plastic in the bathroom. It was interesting that most of the children did not know what shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet and in perhaps one of the more memorable moments of my career at St Michael’s the whole of Prep school was heard to be saying in unison, “pee, paper and poo” are the things you put down the loo!

 

So that means; no cotton wool, no baby buds, no facial and baby wipes, no plasters and in fact surprisingly, no sanitary products.

 

All of these can clog up the sewerage system and when they overflow because of that they do end up in rivers and the sea so please make sure you have a bin in your bathroom.

 

Alongside that, we looked at the prevalence of microbeads before the law that banned these in the UK in October 2018. If, like me, you have some beauty products from before that date you may well still have microbeads in your bathroom and they should not be flushed down the loo or the sink in any form. The link below takes you to a site where you can check the existence of microbeads in many very famous beauty products with top-level brands which I found most surprising when I discovered it as part of my research through Friends of the Earth. https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/product-lists/

 

Decisions that can be taken in families to reduce the products that rely on plastics in the bathroom are to

  • stop buying liquid soap and return to bars
  • consider buying shampoo bars from Lush, their inventor
  • consider buying Truthpaste which is toothpaste in a jar
  • when choosing things like lip balm choose metal containers not plastic ones from the range on sale
  • switch to cotton or silk floss rather than plastic and under no circumstance put it down the toilet

 

I wish you the greatest of luck in modifying your bathroom behaviours. Let’s see if we can, in each of our homes, make a difference to our beautiful planet.

 

We finished the half term with a wonderful Pre-Prep concert where an orchestra of strings, recorders and percussion played two rhythmic and challenging pieces and up in Prep a glorious interhouse music competition with many wonderful moments and I congratulate each child who participated as well as the house leaders on organising and inspiring such enjoyable rehearsals for the whole group performances. Where else would you find all ages joined in joyful song and teachers alongside them also having a lot of fun? Our former colleague, Diane Day, had a very challenging task choosing the winners I felt, and her feedback was positive and thoughtful. I will not forget the focus, energy and fun of all the House songs, nor the sudden preponderance of shark outfits and accoutrements.  The shiny-eyed, winning “We’re all in this together” from Rochester, alongside the staff’s surprise entry seemed to sum up the whole competition beautifully.

 

I hope you have a great half-term. You may spot some of us out and about in Sevenoaks on Friday as the staff training is around team bonding and we’re doing a treasure hunt around the town.

 

Have a lovely holiday.

 

Jill Aisher

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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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