Head’s Blog 29th March 2019 Friday 29th March 2019

As this Lent term draws to a close I wish you all an excellent and restful Easter holiday.

The pace of the final week of term certainly lends itself to being a great contrast to the upcoming period of rest.

The explosion of talent showcased in the school production of “Emil and the Detectives” met with universal acclaim from all those who were privileged to attend.

Our drama room, with its intimate, raked seating installed became a space transformed to take the audience back to Berlin pre-war.

Parents, siblings, friends of the school, governors and guests were all astonished by the standards achieved by all the children. The ensemble work, the theatricality, the physical techniques, the soundscape, choreography, lighting, set, music and direction were all of the highest quality. As I said to staff, one phenomenal imagination was at work to create this piece with the help of some phenomenally talented children. What was created revealed hours and hours of care, time and commitment from everyone involved and a huge amount of learning. The bringing together of the whole company of supporters and backstage assistants, costume changers, make up and hair artists, bar tenders, and backstage crew, reunited many old friends and we thank them for being part of the team that put on this extraordinary show.

The children were energised, focused, joyful, talented and very mature in their interpretations of their roles. Our pleasure in seeing what they achieved cannot be underestimated, whether in extended, sustained solo performances, such as the roles of Emil, Pony and Mr Snow, or part of the group of children or adults, whether creating movement in a crowd or on a tram, or creating a mood or emotion, the ensemble work was tight and extraordinarily accomplished. Particular thanks go to all those who built the set, designed the programme, procured props and clothes and a particular mention to Rachael Newton who assisted and prompted at all rehearsals, Ali Landgrebe, our wardrobe mistress, and her team, Mary Bridges who choreographed the dancing sequences and ably stood in for a pupil, Emily the producer and congratulations and thanks to Alan Powell for being the best Head of Drama anyone could wish to have and for achieving and enabling something so spectacularly special. Congratulations to every single person involved.

The Cast of Emil and the Detectives

Director Mr A Powell
Producer Miss E Aisher
Stage Manager Mrs R Newton
Assistant Stage Manager Mr J Sabin
Choreographer Mrs M Bridges
Sound Mr T Everett
Lighting Mr J Mitchell
Wardrobe Mistress Mrs A Landgrebe
Assistant Wardrobe Mistress Mrs G Dandeniya
Hair and Make-up Mistress Miss B Campbell
Hair and Make-up Miss H Campbell, Ms K Woods and Mrs O Begg
Set Design Mrs A Begbey
Set Construction Mr B Buggs and the School Estates Team
Props Mrs A Begbey
Programme Mrs L Andrade
Poster and Programme Art Mrs A Begbey
Front of House Manager Mrs L Shield
Bar Mr B Seath and Mr C Shield
The Cast
Ida Tischbein S Edwards-Matthews
Mrs Wirth A Moore
Mr Snow J Crossley
Grandma Tischbein E Ward
Miss Zeittel/Miss Closs T Elliott
Man from the 177 O Goodwin
Mrs Gans A Anglin
Mr Tuesday R Friis
Mrs Tuesday O Crane
Station Master T Sales
Emil Tischbein T Bulley
Pony I Davies
Toots H Soper
Professor R Landgrebe
Tuesday L Blincoe
Hilde E Collings
Helga E Jones
Arnie F Smith
Archie H Plank
Silent Isaac E Hudson
Petzold S Parker-Swift
Gerda S Friis
Berlin Street Kids
N Brown
S Andrade
N Dandeniya
M Lewis
S Ward
V Medlen
Mlle Dubois F Ashdown
Mme Mimi Miss E Balcombe
The Dancers
M Noorpuri
C Prongué
L Fraser
C Sinclair
K Fryer
A Ogle
G Schneider-Price
S Fraser
A Bowyer
L Summers
C Sturges
S Williamson
C M Pape
O Neave
F Arduino
I Gascoyne-Day
Mrs M Bridges
I Neave
L Shi
D El Angbawi
P Singh


Thank you to Mrs S Maltarp, Mrs R Winter, Miss H Darlington, Mrs R Baisch, Mrs J Poracchia and Mr O Chugg.

Thank you to Mr I Smith and the estates team, the office staff, the marketing department and all our parents and members of staff who gave up their time to help with the production of the show.

Last week I gave my last assembly on how to get rid of plastic and took as my theme the birthday party.

I’ve asked the team to put my assembly PowerPoint on the Parent Portal for anyone who would like to see it. Certainly there are some good ideas about recycling wrapping paper, using ribbon instead of Sellotape, so that re-use of the wrapping paper is possible, creating your own decorations, and some funky videos of people doing just that, considering using normal plates and glasses as opposed to themed plastic or waxed paper ones, making your own party bags and putting in them something small and environmentally friendly like a packet of seeds for the child to grow and finally specific advice for parents.

So parents could consider….

  • Getting together as a group to buy or make decorations that don’t use plastic and it could be shared by the year group on a loan basis
  • Abandoning party bags altogether or, if you do have them, making them out of recycled paper
  • Considering cupcakes to take home or something to plant in the garden that attracts insects
  • Asking some parents to come and help wash up your real plates and cups so that the end of the party is not the beginning of your nightmare!

It’s been nice to have such positive feedback from the parents who have taken the time to be in touch about my plastics theme and I know that the children take seriously some of the ideas and wish to incorporate them in your household routines. Later this year I intend to run a short survey about changing plastic use in your house so that I can gauge the impact of talking to children week by week about things that matter to me and to our world.

My theme in my final assembly will touch upon the miracle and the shock of Easter.

The virgin birth and the resurrection are two of the most astonishing stories of all time and in re-visiting them year after year we still can find something fresh to say and to think about from within the depths of these stories. For me, I think my sense of what Easter is about is the bringing of hope. In the depths of despair and at a time in which it seemed that everything had come to a final end, there arose such a miracle that brought new hope, new life and regeneration to the disciples learning from their great teacher.

I hope that Easter is a time for new hope for you and that you can rejoice in the time that you have together.

Our Salzburg trip sets off the day before term starts and I shall be away enjoying the music and culture of this beautiful city and the companionship of your talented offspring. In my absence, my deputies and my secretary Helen will be pleased to help anyone who needs it and I hope that many of you will follow our travels and adventures on my Twitter feed.

I wish you all a very happy Easter 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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