Head’s Blog 15th September 2017 Friday 15th September 2017

Head's Blog 15th September 2017

It has been fabulous to see so many smiling faces as the new school year starts. We welcome all new children to the school and very much look forward to getting to know their talents and interests. There has certainly been some excellent feedback from new children, two of whom told me on Thursday morning in the playground that this school was “much better” than their old ones! I’m grateful to all my colleagues who have spent a lot of time thinking about managing the transition and welcome of everyone new.
As a staff we have been focusing on the developments that lie ahead:
1. Ensure every lesson meets the needs of every pupil
2. Review the curriculum for Year 7&8
3. Develop well-being and mental health provision and understanding throughout the school
4. Consider ways to expand provision at the school.
Our newest recruits to the school, Dr Dodd in science, Dr Tuck in classics, Mrs Petzsch in Year 4 and Mr Brightman (Junior) are settling well and make great additions to the team in Prep, while down in Pre-Prep Mrs Spierenburg and Miss Collier have made a great start to their work in Kindergarten.
Thank you to the children who sent me postcards from their interesting holiday locations. Any child is welcome to write to me at any time on any issue. They may enjoy posting their letters in the red postboxes in either school or in the High Street!
Often the best ideas come from children and it is really important that everybody understands that their voice is central to our process at St Michael’s.
As I write this we are gearing up for our first welcome evening for Year 3 parents. If you are challenged to attend things in the evening please do try to make this event for your year group a priority as there is so much to be gained from meeting the staff who look after your children, as well as hearing the key information about how to support them and what is new in your child’s year group. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other parents of children in your child’s class.
We are pleased to share photographs of Miss Shaw’s wedding to Daniel and Mrs Bent’s new granddaughter Arianna Lily, born in China this summer.  We also congratulate Rachael Newton on completing her TEFL course and look forward to the ways in which this qualification will support work with our children who have English as an additional language.
As part of our work on well-being, the school is applying for a Well-Being at Schools Award, which launches on 15th September. Through audits, improvements, additional provision and changing our focus in certain parts of the curriculum, we as a community will be working towards making well-being more central in everything we do.
I shared with staff a touching poem by Natasha who at the time of writing was in Year 2 and wrote;
When the sadness rises and the happiness falls all the colours turn black and grey
When the happiness rises and the sadness falls everything is rainbow… your heart too
We’re thinking about that rainbow and making sure we have rainbow every day at St Michael’s by focussing with staff and children on behaviour and language that makes other people feel good. We look forward to sharing with you the ways in which you can get involved in this project.
I hope many of you have found the time since your children came back to school to sit down and read my review of 2016 to 17. I certainly felt proud when I read it and I look forward to working hard with the team here to take all our plans forward. I was sorry to realise that I had omitted the section provided for IT and therefore, with apologies to Miss Booth, have included it on the following page.
It was terrific last Friday to meet so many Old Michaelians, many of whom were delightfully young. All of them were drawn back by the immense sense of warmth and inclusion that they felt when they were pupils here and by many experiences that drew them together. I certainly met some very influential and talented individuals and we are proud that they are part of the St Michael’s story.
As we think of people in parts of the world where Mother Nature has wrought havoc on their lives, we look forward to a weekend of family time, with little in the way of issues to deal with.
I look forward to seeing some of you at the football tournament on Saturday and many others at the welcome events in the coming weeks.
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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