Head’s Blog 18th October Friday 18th October 2019

In a week such as this one, I am reminded daily of what a privilege it is to be leading this magnificent school. The fact is I’m surrounded by talent, both in your children and in those who teach them and work alongside them.

Whether it’s the richness of provision on offer, the trips out to interesting places, or the meetings where our main focus is on supporting the children, there is a life and a buzz and a general sense of deep respect for what each child can do and where they are on their journey. Each day in Prep this week there has been a concert for a specific age group. Sadly I have only been able to attend one of these in full, but I know that there has been enormous pleasure derived on each occasion both from the parents and supporters of children performing and from the audience as a whole at the feast of musical offerings and there’s been respect for the variety showcased and for the confidence to share something quite personal with others. Meanwhile in Pre-Prep, children have been excited to visit Godstone Farm and Knole Park and enjoyed the adventure as much as the destination.

We heard the following from the children:

“I loved the piglets because they were so small and cute!”

“I loved the tractor ride when we saw the duck pond and all the ducks”

“I loved the pigs’ butts”

“It was the best day ever!”

 

This week draws to a close with the fantastic Senior Schools Fair which, as those of you who were here will know, was a truly impressive occasion with incredible benefits to both the schools present and the parents who came. I’d like to thank Karen Voce, Jenni Lovell and Jane Thornton for meticulously masterminding the whole event, the many staff who came and helped, Ian and the Estates Team and Mark and the catering team. We had a great deal of wonderful feedback.

This week also brought news to our Year 6 pupils of their results in the 11+ exams for Kent County Council and, for some, this will have brought huge pleasure and pride and for others perhaps anxiety. I spoke to all the children this morning about being sensitive to the needs of others this week on Friday after 11+ day, which is often a tricky day for some children. My own beliefs are that it is an exam that suits fast-working bright children and that there are plenty of bright children who prefer to work quietly and slowly and it alas does not suit this particular style. So if your child has not managed to get over that hurdle, please do come and talk to us about the next steps and be as positive as you can about the future, because I can assure you there are plenty of fantastic alternatives.

I hope you all have a wonderful half-term. Don’t forget to buy your fireworks tickets for Friday 8th November; see our Message Board for details.

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.”

Weekly eNewsletter