Head’s Blog Friday 13th January 2017

In a week where we went from enjoying temperatures fit for spring, to arctic, swirling, settling snow, I know that for many, the journey home yesterday took on epic and scary proportions; sliding cars, abandoned vehicles, snowy walks.

Perhaps amidst the evening came thoughts for those who have this and homelessness or hunger to contend with, perhaps gratitude that for much of the time journeys are so easy, perhaps excitement at the possibilities for play that lie ahead!

Whatever your story, we would love to have your snow-inspired thoughts this week. I’ve already had two evening emails expressing gratitude for Ian and the team who were amazing yesterday and are every day; out gritting, ploughing snow, even feeding the staff who became trapped for a period at school this evening; always giving and putting others first. We all want to thank you and your team and family.

It was fantastic to be up and running as usual today. There was a great spirit amongst the staff and most children got here eventually. We had an awesome time out on the field building snowmen, making snow angels and having a huge snowball fight. “This is the best day ever at St Michael’s” said Isabelle in Year 3. Even some of the teachers joined in. As the pictures show there’s no day like a snow day!

This week we have also been thinking about the giving of gifts at Epiphany, how the symbolism of riches, prayer and death were rather astonishingly encapsulated in the three kings’ gifts and how we might consider the value of unusual and personal gifts and whether we too can give more.

Not through spending money or flashing amazing items about, but through little touches, thoughtfulness, going beyond what is expected. We certainly had a lot of that tonight.

One group who give a great deal are the Parents and Friends committee and we enjoyed a lively and positive meeting on Wednesday evening, with lots of great ideas being discussed and a review of a very successful year of events. I congratulate everyone involved in P&F, whether as Rep or committee member, and all of you who support them.

It was pleasure to meet both parents and children from Year 3 this week. Although perhaps the children were more wide-eyed and excited to be chatting in my office over lunch, the parents were also on good form when we met! We had so much to talk through that we will reconvene in two weeks’ time.

I thoroughly enjoyed lunching with Year 8 last Friday, when we discussed a variety of topics, which inevitably included Senior School applications and much more besides. Perhaps the highlight of this week was watching young Sophie who came to dance for me. I had a private dance performance with passion, talent and intensity which touched me greatly. Next week we look forward to receiving Bishop James on Thursday to confirm our 9 candidates. All children in Years 6, 7 and 8 will be supporting them as they make their promises and parents, godparents and friends and family are all most welcome.

Weather permitting, we will be assessing our young scholarship candidates this weekend and we always look forward to sharing what they are able to achieve through this process.

Congratulations to Henry Martin who has been selected to represent England in Fencing. We are so very proud, and many congratulations too to Oliver Pryal who is selected for the Kent Winter Cricket squad.

This term we will soon be starting our Senior School planning meetings with Year 5. Expect a letter and do get in touch to book your appointment.

For those of you who are children at heart, enjoy the snow this weekend. For the rest of you… stay safe and warm.

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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