Head’s Blog 21st September Friday 21st September 2018

Last week with my “Headteacher for the day” companion, Lucy, over lunch the discussion turned to whether she was enjoying herself and Lucy explained that she would very much like to be the most important person in the school which she believed the Headteacher was. It was interesting to hear this because that is not how I perceive myself and I explained to her that actually that’s not what a Headteacher is. Everybody in the school has their role to play and every role is important and every single person matters to the school including pupils, teachers, all kitchen, estates, learning support and admin staff as well as parents and governors. As we set out this year to really think about inclusion, equal opportunities and diversity as a focus, for me this is a fundamental truth about how a strong community thinks and behaves.

This week I know many of you have enjoyed meeting senior staff and teachers in Pre-Prep for the coffee mornings to settle you all in to your new year groups and in Prep we enjoyed meeting the Year 7 parents.

I’ve enjoyed watching a lot of football, firstly at the Saturday tournament, which was a lovely occasion and thank you to all the sports department for their participation and organisation of this, and secondly on my trip to The Hawthorns where I was delighted to share lunch with the Head, Adrian Floyd, a former colleague and see two out of our three teams winning.

It was lovely to see so many gathered together for a positive and fun P and F meeting with Oliver Schneider in the chair surrounded by women! Thank you for agreeing to fund generously some exciting projects and we look forward to them gathering pace. Thanks to all who work tirelessly to arrange the events and to those who will come forward and do their bit .

Bishop Jacob’s visit on Tuesday was a colourful affair and his thoughts on the contrasts he was experiencing in England compared to his home in Tanzania were very clear. Our children and the children in Shoreham Village School are incredibly lucky to have everything they need to support their learning, whereas the children in the new schools they have built in Mpwapwa, Tanzania still may only have to write resting on their knees or not even have anything to write with or on at all. Their class size is officially 45 but can be much more and there are classes that take place under trees or on dirt floors. For me certainly attending the partnership service on Sunday, the reception in Shoreham for Bishop Jacob on Monday and hearing him speak and reflect thoughtfully on the strengths of the partnership, it will be amazing to have a personal relationship with such an influential leader and to make friends in this distant place. Having the opportunities for learning and working together and making a difference, is really incredibly exciting.

Reverend Diane is now hopefully in Tanzania and she and Gillian Lovatt-Young from Shoreham Village School have begun their Tanzanian adventure.

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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