Head’s Blog 4th October Friday 4th October 2019

I am delighted to let you know that following our two year focus on well-being at schools we have been accredited with the Wellbeing at School award offered by the National Children’s Bureau with Optimus Education.

I’d like to thank Fraser Wiseman and his change team which comprised staff and parents and I’d like to thank Lorna Sharp from West Kent Mind, who helped us build our training partnership to become the lead school in Kent for the number of trained staff and parents.

If you would like to train in mental health First Aid please do sign up for the next course which is in November

The award takes the school through a period of questioning, reflection, engagement and action to improve outcomes, awareness and signpost sources of help. During this period a great deal of progress has been made. People feel more confident to say they’re struggling if they are and there is no shame attached to expressing such a feeling.

Of course there is a tension for leaders and parents, who also know that resilience is a key component of wellbeing and hand-in-hand by providing challenge, managing disappointment and failure with positivity and making explicit next steps and new opportunities for trying again, children can grow the ability to deal with disappointment and thus alleviate anxiety and stress.

Of course this does not mean to say that we will lose focus in this area, quite the contrary. We recognise that we are at a point within the journey and we will continue to focus on adapting the curriculum for children, so that the vocabulary to articulate things that can cause anxiety is known and mastered by children. We also know and understand that staff and parents must be clear that unless they look after themselves they will be no use to anyone else and they have our blessing in this endeavour!

My assemblies on perseverance in Prep and Pre-Prep have focused on two stories to date, the first is the incredible story of team Hoyt.

For those of you that you that are not aware, Rick and Dick Hoyt raced as a team together in marathons and triathlons over three decades and have demonstrated the most incredible perseverance in the face of extreme challenges with Rick, a quadriplegic sufferer of cerebral palsy, who has to communicate letter by letter through a computer, and his Dad pushing him in a running chair. You can see a glimpse of their incredible story in the weblink below or perhaps order Rick’s book:

One Letter at a Time 

Click here to watch my video from assembly

Next week I shall be out of school on Wednesday and Thursday on an inspection. I’m looking forward to learning something new on my two days away.

I hope that this weekend, wherever you are, you can give yourself the space and time to enjoy the company of your family, let your mind free itself of worry and have some good, wellbeing-inducing fun!

Jill Aisher

 

 

About the Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS)

Developed in partnership with NCB, this whole-school award focuses on ensuring effective practice and provision is in place that promotes the emotional wellbeing and mental health of both staff and pupils.
The award has a focus on changing the long-term culture of a school, and embedding an ethos where mental health is regarded as the responsibility of all.
To achieve this award schools will be expected to demonstrate how they:
• Show their commitment to promoting mental health as part of school life
• Improve the emotional wellbeing of their staff and pupils
• Ensure mental health problems are identified early and appropriate support provided
• Offer provision and interventions that matches the needs of its pupils and staff
• Engage the whole school community in the importance of mental health awareness
• Capture the views of parents, pupils and teachers on mental health issues

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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