Head’s Blog 26th January 2018 Friday 26th January 2018

At last this week has held some sunshine for us and as I write this, the grounds will have the chance to dry out and recover from the battering of the wind and rain. Whatever the weather on the outside, on the inside of the building it’s always sunny at St Michael’s and I’m still enjoying the pleasure of this morning’s performance platform for our beginner musicians in Prep. All of us present took pleasure from the performances themselves, from the standards achieved and personalities shining through.

We were lucky to have assemblies and workshops from the NSPCC this week exploring children’s right to be safe and well-cared for and teaching children how to understand if adults behave inappropriately and how to access support and help. I commend the links sent by Mr Baird and look forward to being able to fundraise to support the teaching of the safeguarding curriculum in more schools. The wellbeing group had an excellent meeting yesterday I understand and are moving forward with their action plan.

It was good to see such large numbers of interested parents at our meeting in Pre-Prep on Wednesday, to discuss our plans for adding a third reception class and developing Stable Court and I’m grateful to all the colleagues who were present and for all the parents who came and were eloquent and thoughtful in their questioning. We were asked if we could hold a daytime meeting for parents unable to come in the evening and would like to invite any of you who prefer this option to attend a meeting on Thursday 1st February at 11:30, when we will set aside an hour and a half to present to you and take your questions. Do let us know if you’re able to come by email to Jane Gray jgray@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

I enjoyed meeting and talking to pupils representing Year 3 over lunch in my office and they provided refreshingly honest feedback on things that made them happy and things that I could do to make them even happier! Hard on the heels of that, I was able to be better informed for my coffee morning with Year 3 parents and it was good to be able to iron out the important issues that bother parents and catch up and clarify information that has been missed or needs better explanation.  Thank you to the Year 3 reps who collated and collected questions and were able to take back, I hope, useful answers.

Following the P & F AGM last week, I would like formally to reiterate the thanks of the P & F to Anna Smith, who has been an outstanding treasurer for them for the last two years. Cheerful, efficient, a magician with pie charts, she brings a great deal of wisdom and commitment to the whole endeavour of the P & F and although she is stepping down from her role and should be congratulated for doing it so successfully, I know we will all benefit from her continuing presence in support of the P & F. It is particularly delightful to report that Anna’s elder son Kobi has been playing at national level tennis recently and, having reached the semi-finals, is now ranked number four in Great Britain for his age. With one more competition to go we join his parents’ excitement at what lies ahead. Congratulations, Kobi.

Next week I shall enjoy interviewing scholars for Years 7 and 8. The standard of their applications is extremely impressive and I particularly enjoy the clear evidence that the vast majority of them have been done unaided by the children and are clearly written from the heart.

I hope this weekend that the sun will continue to shine that you will be able to enjoy some outside time and some time together. Have a great weekend

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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