Head’s Blog 24th March 2017 Friday 24th March 2017

My D-J son, Jack in the States has an as yet unreleased track called “I’ve got music in my soul” which I think is his best yet and I felt this week that St Michael’s truly has exactly that. There are times when something extraordinarily special happens here which children truly appreciate and the Big Sing that took place on Wednesday was utterly amazing. Gordon Baird, Jack Bennett, Sally Beesley, Jackie Dennett and Emily Balcombe, helped by the marketing and admissions team in so many administrative ways put on a fabulous collaborative singing experience in which the children expressed themselves in music, words and actions to such a high standard that it was almost impossible not to shed a tear. The joyful faces and the energy and accuracy of four musically complex and witty songs that held the audience enthralled were a privilege to behold. We are delighted to have hosted such a successful singing day and to  have welcomed our five neighbouring primaries to be a part of it.

 

Music continued to flow out the next day when Pre-Prep hosted an end of term concert and we enjoyed again this morning very touching words and happy singing , both solo and ensemble as Reception treated their mothers to a special assembly . Up in Prep, amid the red nose fun, came our Interhouse Music  competition with a morning of solo sections of breath-taking quality, a huge well of support for one another among the performers and enormous pleasure offered to the audience.  

 

The afternoon final sing off, involving every child was both exhilarating and hugely impressive. I congratulate everyone on their preparation and polished performances.

 

I’m not sure about the hills but the corridors and halls of St Michael’s have definitely been alive with the sound of music. Would that I too could have been a pupil here!

 

In a week which produced such shocks and reminders of the differing perspectives on peace, right and wrong,  my colleagues and I join with the many who have condemned the attacks in London. For the children whose parents won’t now ever go  to pick them up from school and for those who lost their lives and have been injured, we grieve too. I think we all feel that strength and courage can come from uniting together to keep calm and carry on doing everything as normal.

 

Of course the week began in a much more jubilant mode and it is good that we have been distracted by the huge variety of special moments in the week. The Inspection Report sent to you all on Monday is truly wonderful and my only disappointment is that the word Outstanding is no longer ISI’s top descriptor! For those of you who haven’t yet studied it yet, I commend it to you. We are judged Excellent for pupils’ academic and other achievements and Excellent for pupils’ personal development as well as being fully compliant. These judgements are hard won and I’m immensely grateful to every child, parent and member of staff who took part in the inspection, prepared for it and showed off what they can do in the days the inspectors were here.

 

As we move towards the weekend with the holiday beckoning beyond, this will be our last e-news of term. I wish you a very Happy Easter and peace, calm and rest as well as joy and fun together this holiday.

 

 

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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