Head’s Blog 23rd February 2018 Friday 23rd February 2018

No current pupil or parent at St Michael’s can be unaware of the fantastic news of Lizzy Yarnold’s second gold at the Winter Olympics. We tweeted a congratulatory video message for her and have been delighted that parents have joined in and liked our tweets.

We keep everything crossed for Tom Bosworth this weekend as he takes part in the IAAF Glasgow Indoor Championships race walk on Sunday afternoon. Coverage is on BBC2 at 2.45pm. Everyone at St Michael’s is wishing him the very best of luck.

This week has been extremely busy and I’m sorry if there are those among you awaiting a response to an email from me. It will happen!

I enjoyed meeting Year 6 for lunch on Tuesday. They were reflective and positive and honest and open; all qualities we strive to encourage here. Meeting the Year 6 Parent Reps on Thursday was also enjoyable and helpful.

In Prep this week I talked to the children about different forms of online attention. We thought about different scenarios, where children receive attention online, in order to distinguish between healthy attention and “bad” attention. Some children may choose to take up my challenge to write a poem, that might help other children to remember what behaviours encourage good attention online. Do ask them to tell you what they learnt.

The digital leaders’ trip to the Apple Store this week was a great success and they came back enthused from their training session with the Apple educators.

Next week we are holding an information evening on Wednesday for anyone interested in learning more about our plans to change the Year 7 & 8 curriculum, now that Common Entrance is no longer a requirement for entry into the top schools.

We had a good clutch of scholarship announcements from senior schools just before half term and whilst not all of these will be accepted we very much look forward to publishing our scholarship results when acceptances are confirmed later this month.

In Pre-Prep this morning we looked at the symbolism of our school crest and its relationship to the name of the school. Well done to Millie and Priya for asking for this assembly when they were in Reception.

There has been a good deal of talk about guns in schools, inevitably fuelled by President Trump’s suggestions this week. Arthur in Year 4 engaged me in some great debate on the subject yesterday at lunch with his friends and earnestly told me that in the States children get shot in schools because anyone can buy a gun. However, English children don’t get shot in schools because we have strict gun laws; he drew his strong and well-argued conclusion from these facts. I was surprised and pleased at the level of debate, justification, interest and insight and frankly very impressed. All our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible tragedy which we all believe could and should have been prevented. Our own lockdown procedures are now almost ready to share and to hold a drill for and I am only sad that we live in times where preparation for such events is now a part of every school calendar.

Excitement is building as the weekend approaches for many children in Prep, who will be attending the disco tonight. As a child myself, the Christmas party dance was my favourite day of the year and I look forward to our young people letting their hair down and having a lot of fun. This weekend, while Miss Booth has her Aerobathon at school, Mrs Bridges and I and I’m sure many of you will be attending the Dance Act show at the Stag theatre in which many St Michael’s pupils will be performing.

Whatever you are doing this weekend have fun and enjoy the sunshine before the big freeze next week.

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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