Head’s Blog 1st December 2017 Friday 1st December 2017

I don’t know about you, but the sight of the Christmas trees with the white lights makes me feel a little bit skippy inside.

Thank you to the P&F for providing us with the trees and so much more besides. Of course tomorrow we will have the P & F Christmas Fair, which will I’m sure, be a happy, community event. None of the things the P&F does go unnoticed and I am eternally grateful for the cheerful way in which a whole army of helpers swings into action and goes the extra mile.

I hope to see many of you somewhere between Santa’s grotto, the exciting children’s activities in the hall and all the stalls in between.

The Fair starts at 12 noon and the raffle and other prizes are drawn shortly before it finishes at 3pm.

On Friday we gathered together with Year 2 and 3 parents for the Christingle service, presented by children and staff. I love watching the concentration on faces as the children carefully walk with their lit Christingles and blow them out. It was lovely this year to hear the children telling their story, reading prayers they had written themselves and I gather that they also took ownership of the rehearsal schedule in their own free time.

Well done to all of them. It was a special occasion.

In the remaining two weeks of term there will be plenty more to celebrate. Please do look at our calendar and decide when you will come to join us.

Year 8 are coming to the end of their mock examination week. They’ve worked hard and it is almost as important that they learn from their mistakes as that they take stock of what they can remember.

Staff news
I’m sorry to let you know that Mrs Sarah Stokes, Year 4 teacher will be leaving us at the end of this term. The whole family is moving to Copenhagen where Mr Stokes has been working for some time. The Stokes family have been an important part of St Michael’s and we will be sorry to see Sarah and Sophie moving from the school.

Sarah has given much to the English department and then to the Year 4 team which she joined with her job share partner Mrs Newman. Throughout her time, she has run and loved the Junior Journal, offering to the children a voice to be heard way beyond the walls of the school. I have been proud of the way this has developed under her stewardship and it will be one of many legacies to the school.

We will miss Sarah and Sophie a great deal and we hope that through the wonders of modern technology we might continue the special relationship we have through Skype and the Internet. We look forward to hearing all about their adventures in Europe.

I’m delighted to let you know that next week a new school nurse, Mrs Carlton, joins our team She will be working three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).


Mrs Carlton told us “I am very much looking forward to joining St Michael’s as School Nurse. I have been qualified as a nurse for 13 years and spent the majority of my career working in the paediatric department at the Royal Brompton Hospital, but I also have experience working in a special needs school.

I have two young children who keep me busy at home and I am also a very keen baker (I won our village bake off this year!). I also enjoy running.”

Whatever you’re doing this weekend make sure it includes coming to St Michael’s for the Christmas Fair. See you there!

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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