Head’s Blog Friday 27th January 2017

It was fantastic to be able to share in the fun that had been had by all the visiting pupils and staff on Tuesday for our Jazz day. It was amazing. The Pre-Prep Hall was crammed with musicians and most of the workshop leaders were St Michael’s staff taking sectionals for  brass, woodwind, piano, drums and song. The happy buzz (and frankly at times blare!) from the rehearsal phase lent a special funky feeling to the day and it was tremendous to hear what could be achieved by talented young people coming to work together to provide such enjoyment for themselves and for the proud assembled audience of parents and teachers.

Big brassy “thank yous” to all our peripatetic staff involved, ably led by Gordon and Sally; Matt, Jack, Jo, Emily and  Rob and to Sue and Pete for lending us their professional expertise for the day and coming to join us and for all the musical parents who came in to swell the sound.

In the background there was estates involvement getting seating, instruments and stands there, catering contributions from Mark and Andrea, goodie bags and publicity from the marketing team and we enjoyed hosting those members of the district and parish councils who came along too. Very much St Michael’s does talent.  

It’s been good to share in celebrating Chinese new year this week with an amazing Chinese lunch on Wednesday , complete with fortune cookies and surprise prizes hidden in the dining room. Pre-Prep look forward to their Chinese themed day next week and there will be some amazing photos to share of the visitors’ workshops.

I’ve been enjoying watching lessons a lot this week. Seeing first-hand what my colleagues can create and deliver in such short time slots is a constant marvel and delight and watching children engage, persevere, succeed and reflect is an exciting privilege.

Next week we are going to have a trial run of the survey you will get from ISI for an Inspection. There aren’t many questions to answer but you can help us to be ready by answering them all honestly and taking part. The real survey answers, when sent by ISI, won’t come to us but will shape the focus of part of the Inspection.  We also look forward next week to seeing many of the Prep children at the discos next Friday, before and after which there will be a chance for you to buy your P and F Comedy Night tickets.

The snow antics of a week ago have found their way into the press as has our launch of this year’s Curiosity Curriculum for Year 7.

I enjoyed sharing the enormous wasp nest that was recently removed from my loft at home with the children in Pre-Prep over the assemblies these past two weeks. They have been able to look first hand at its incredible construction and learn about the life cycle of the social wasps as well as seeing gruesome videos of some of the burrowing predatory wasps that tackle cicadas and tarantulas. The Prep will be getting their wasp induction on Monday!  Having two assemblies a week for the past 16 years means that pretty well anything I see, do or learn ends up transforming itself into an assembly some time. But I must say my brain and pupils (as in your children!)  have become the repositories of the most bizarre collection of facts. So how many of you knew that wasps can determine the gender of their offspring and that social wasps lay six female wasps first so that they can build the hive?  How can I have got to the age of 54 without knowing this?!

For those parents and families heading off for tournaments this weekend, enjoy… For those keeping warm inside I wish you equal pleasure.


Jill Aisher

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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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