Head’s Blog 6th October 2017 Friday 6th October 2017

I have found myself again this week marvelling at the maturity of our children when interacting with their peers and visitors to the school. As we come to the close of another busy and full week, I reflect on another successful Open Day that saw 36 visiting families join us for a taste of the St Michael’s experience. The feedback from our visitors was warm and generous and they reinforced what we feel about our school.  I am delighted to share the following comments with you:

“It was such an uplifting experience to see St Michael’s yesterday and the pupils genuinely seem to enjoy their learning experience there.”

“I came out very impressed and enthusiastic about the opportunity of our son joining your school next Sept in Year 5.”

“My husband and I absolutely loved St Michael’s and both agree that it is our first choice school for our son (and our second child – due to be born in February 2018).”

“My tour guides were wonderful and they gave me a good idea of their schedule and work spaces. The art room and swimming pool were really impressive as were of course the grounds. The junior school looked well organised and I loved speaking to the teachers, hearing their view and seeing the children in their normal routine.”

My thanks go to Jane Thornton, Sara Martin and Karen Voce for flawless organisation, Laura Shield for assistance with our guides and to our speakers from Years 3 to 7 who so eloquently put into their own words what being at St Michael’s means to them. I would also like to thank Mary Bridges for stepping in and being my ‘voice’, as I had carelessly lost mine over the weekend and Mr Wiseman for picking up several areas of my work behind the scenes! Our splendid new prospectus, which was distributed to our visitors on Wednesday, seamlessly linked to the reality presented on the tours around both the Pre-Prep and Prep school. Please do look at a copy when you are next in either part of the school. We are very proud of it. Congratulations to K Denny, whose drawing of the school has been selected for the envelope.

Last weekend, under another morning of glorious sunshine, the Games Department hosted their second annual 5-a-side football tournament, this time for the U10 age group. Both the St Michael’s A and B teams reached finals, with the A team sharing the spoils with Sutton Valence in the Plate final, finishing on a draw, and the B team losing 1-0 in a closely contested B team cup final against Russell House. My thanks to Mr Thomas and Boys Games Department for a well-run tournament and to Mrs Wade for running the scorer’s table.

On Monday and Tuesday, Years 3 and 4 respectively, were visited by Making Mini Medics to learn the basics of first aid. Starting these essential life skills early will give all the children the confidence to react positively when faced with what can be a frightening situation, at any age.

On Tuesday evening, we hosted both current and prospective parents for our senior years’ information evening. Mrs Shield, along with current and past pupils, delivered an engaging and informative presentation about life in Years 7&8, including the opportunities for scholarship, responsibility and personal growth. It is always an enriching experience to see our children grow and thrive as they reach the senior years at St Michael’s and then to also invite them back to share their experiences once they have made that confident stride to senior school at 13. An e-book was created by Darryl Edwards, whom I also thank, for the evening and this will soon be available from iTunes to download for any parents, who missed the presentation.

I do hope to see many of you at the evening talk about Mental Health by Natasha Devon MBE on Monday at 7.00 pm. We are lucky to have her here and I’m really looking forward to how she will kick-start our renewed focus on mental health.

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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