Head’s Blog 4th May Friday 4th May 2018

In chapel today we prayed for those starting exams or tests. For some children of all ages, being asked to show what they can do with no help can be daunting or stressful and for others it can be exciting and even fun.  For us the most important thing is that children feel confident that we only want to know what they can do on their own.

Keeping a rhythm and routine is an important way to support your children as they approach tests and exams. We wish everyone with impending tests the very best of luck.

Working with parents is an important part of what we do and it is delightful to get to know families really, really well. There are however, some formalities that need to be observed. Firstly attendance at school is compulsory unless you home educate your child. I remain concerned at the number of requests I receive for absence from school for non-essential reasons and whilst we do have a good relationship with parents and support you in bringing up your children, I would request that everybody tries to keep these absence requests to the absolute minimum. Can I please remind parents that a request for absence involves asking permission from the Headteacher and I do not expect, nor is it legal for me to allow, parents to email the form teacher instead of me  and inform us that a child will be off unless, of course, they are ill. An absence request at the very least involves a question and an answer.

The topic of selection for teams has featured a great deal this week and I would like to put some context on some of the conversations that have taken place between parents and the sports department. We are totally committed to sport for all, to learning through teamwork through winning and losing graciously, to experiencing competitive sport at all levels and through sport, growing healthy, happy, active and successful children.

Some parents have very strong views about what team they believe their child should be picked for and I must make it clear that these decisions are made at school by staff who teach the children, watch the children, set standards for the children and have expectations of the children.

The beauty of having so many teams is that children can experience success and win and lose at the appropriate level for their skills. Some children progress quickly up the teams as their skills are honed. Some remain faithful members of the teams into which they were first put.

We are just as proud of the children in our F teams as in our A teams and children have won house points and nominations as man or player of the match for great leadership, team play or sportsmanship in a number of different teams for both girls and boys.

I have complete faith in the department to pick the appropriate teams, playing children up or down according to the evidence from lessons and their attitude towards instruction and improvement.

As parents, please try hard to support your child and their teacher by your encouragement at the pitch side and by positive talk about how they performed in and for their team.

With the long and hopefully sunny bank holiday weekend ahead of us I wish you all a pleasant extra day of rest and family time. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday. Have a great bank holiday 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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