Head’s Blog Friday 20th January 2017

It has been a busy week in both parts of the school. Up in Prep we have been celebrating Global Citizenship Week and woven across all the curriculum have been glimpses of lives elsewhere in the world to help make greater sense of our good fortune here. Looking at children and the beds they sleep in around the world provided the pupils in Year 5 and some of Year 6 with the shocking realisation of the inequalities in a very effective way that led to a great deal of debate in PSHE and RE. With a stimulating visit for Year 3 to Bore Place and from an array of specialist speakers over the week I commend to you the full article later in this edition of e-news.

 

We’re committed to developing a generation of passionate, articulate young people who feel moved and driven to make a difference,  not only in school or the local community but also in the world as a whole. In my assembly on Monday, Martin Luther King day, we learnt about the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama and the actions of Rosa Parks in triggering this powerful movement for change. It was fabulous later in the week when,  exploring the use of child labour and slavery in the fashion industry,  a pupil suggested people could boycott brands that permit this to continue. Our study of Martin Luther King taught us how much his faith was bound up in his political action. His relentless and intelligent pursuit of equal treatment for all, which ultimately cost him his life,  was rooted in his Christian beliefs about peaceful protest as being the only form of legitimate protest and when Mr Powell powerfully delivered part of his “I have a dream” speech in assembly it was perhaps no surprise that it included text from the bible, also familiar to us through Handel’s Messiah.

 

On Thursday when Bishop James came to St Michael’s to confirm the nine candidates who chose to make their vows, he spoke of the kind of love we might offer to one another as being the kind of love that might include a readiness to die for others. Whilst I very much hope for this never to be something any one of us might actually be called to do, he captured again some of the passion that Martin Luther King lived with and asked us to think about how we might show love to those who do not treat us well. That is a challenge we can all think about regardless of our faith.

 

It was lovely that the confirmands had so much support as they made their vows and took their first communion and we look forward to the ways in which they will show their faith in their actions and lives. Please hold in your thoughts this week, Charlotte, Harry and Harry, Oliver, Gabriel, Luke, Danny, Oscar and George.

 

The week both started and finished on a distinct high. The digital leaders had a personal training session from the Apple Experts in Bluewater and impressed the trainers with their bright, quick and insightful comments and questions. A wonderful trip to Brighton College for a strings day for 16  of our musicians was a highlight which you can also read about here.

 

Mrs Chugg’s assembly at the end of the week gave a fascinating insight into what has been an exciting and meticulously planned cross-curricular extravaganza and I think my only regret is that I’m not actually 10 again and a pupil at St Michael’s.

 

I hope you enjoy a special time together with your family this weekend. Perhaps it might include your children teaching you some of the things they have been learning about this week at school.  

 

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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