Head’s Blog 4th July 2019 Thursday 4th July 2019

At the season of farewells and celebrations, I am always delighted to mark individual and collective success through the giving of prizes. One could argue that there does seem to be a tension between the idea of singling out people to say well done and being an inclusive school. And when I’m in my scholarship interviews with Year 6 I ask them whether it’s right to give prizes and have scholarships in an inclusive school. The range of answers is quite illuminating. For some the suggestion that there perhaps might not be scholarships in an inclusive world when they are so near to securing one is potentially a most unexpected hurdle and this question precipitates a complex series of emotions in the children. For those who are able to take their own situation out of it, and consider the question purely philosophically, their responses are pleasingly in line with my own thinking on many occasions. Everyone should be given the chance to excel, whatever their ability and excellence has many, many, forms. In catering for those who sit at the very top in their particular area, one is securing an extremely high standard for everyone around them. That is what motivates me and all my colleagues here to offer the astonishing range of high-quality experiences, some of which we will be celebrating and showcasing on Monday and Tuesday at our prize-giving ceremonies.

I am absolutely certain that in meeting the needs of the very best pupils at St Michael’s I am securing the highest quality opportunity for all.

I enjoyed presenting certificates at the Reception end of year celebration on Wednesday. It was clear to everyone there just how far each child has come on their educational journey. They spoke confidently about their highlights and the artwork on the walls was delightfully varied in the responses that children made to what they had enjoyed this year.

An impressive group of parents kindly volunteered to come and explain their professional roles and how they came to have them this week at our Year 8 careers breakfast event. A DJ, a musician, financiers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, medics, engineers, you name it we had them and they presented with energy and spoke highly of the reaction they had from our Year 8 leavers. We are immensely grateful.

In all of the busyness of the last five days of term I do hope that you will have a chance to thank the teachers and assistants who worked most closely with your children , and the office, IT, catering and grounds staff who make everything work so smoothly for us all at one of the many events where we will share some time together.

I very much look forward to seeing many of you at Prep school sports day tomorrow and at the campout and Old Michaelians’ reunion that is set alongside this incredible day. Watch out for the tweets!

This time next week we should all be in the early days of our long summer holidays.

I hope you enjoy the final few days of what is an incredibly busy and rewarding term. 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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