Head’s Blog 28th April 2017 Friday 28th April 2017

It’s been a lively week at school and a lovely one too. The school has been alive with the sound of music, tour music rehearsals, show music rehearsals and a lot of people working hard for the next grade this summer. I’m going for Grade 2 myself and I’m a bit nervous now with 2 months to go!

I awarded on Monday my Headteacher’s Special award badge (think St Michael’s meets Blue Peter) to H Martin and I Sharma for representing England in their chosen sports. We will keep you up to date with their next competitions.

Highlights of my week have included, seeing the bean and seed packets growing in Year 2, watching a phonics session in Year 3, listening to the magical performance poetry from Valerie Bloom as she whipped the pupils on a tour of life as a child in Jamaica and involved them in her show, planning for the future development of the Hive, listening to most thoughtful prayers in chapel today, being part of a productive and fun P and F meeting on Tuesday evening with some cracking pie charts and some cracking of jokes too and finally, taking receipt of my kit bag and instructions for the Music Tour next week. What a wonderful trip is planned.

The rather lovely lady from “Muddy Stilettos” very much loved her time here and wrote with a bit of fizz about what St Michael’s is like. It’s fun when you take visitors round on a normal day because normal here is so very full of things to be proud of.  We do seem to have had a great deal of interest in visiting the school and we will be welcoming some lovely new students next year to join our “family”.

Amongst my colleagues in the state sector a bit of crisis is looming, the new funding formula is definitely impacting on staffing levels, provision for special needs, the ability to provide certain subjects, and there are redundancies sweeping across the sector as well as a recruitment crisis building.

The National Association of Head teachers in the run up to the election have today produced a document which will feature widely five priorities that my colleagues leading in the state sector are grappling with and want politicians to take seriously.

  1. To fund education fully and fairly, reversing the £3bn real terms cuts that schools are facing and providing enough money to make the new national funding formula a success.
  2. To put forward a national strategy for teacher recruitment and retention that recognises teachers as high-status professionals and guarantees enough teachers for every school.
  3. To adopt fair methods to hold schools to account, recognising that test and exam results are only part of the picture when judging a pupil’s success or a school’s effectiveness.
  4. To value a broad range of subjects in the school day so that pupils’ opportunities are not limited and they are properly prepared for adult life.
  5. To make sure that schools are supported by health and social care services to allow schools to fulfil their role to promote pupil wellbeing rather than making up for cuts to other services.

We of course wholeheartedly endorse those priorities but our experience is very different as we plan for next year. And for that good fortune, we are very blessed.

As I set off for Bruges with my colleagues in the Music department, we will keep in touch on Twitter. Do follow me @StMichaelsHead.  I leave you in the capable hands of my colleagues and would crave your patience if wanting to be in touch while I focus on the tour party for a week.

Enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday. At least it promises not to repeat the “hail stopped play” experience we had on Wednesday which was unusual for the time of year, to say the least. I recommend avoiding traffic jams by staying at home and if you have one, enjoying your gardens or parks.  Do spare a thought for the tour meeting at school at 6.00 am!

Have a great extended 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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