Head’s Blog 7th September Friday 7th September 2018

Shiny black shoes, smiles and some nervousness greeted me yesterday aplenty. The admissions team masterminded a fantastic transition into St Michael’s yesterday for all our new pupils whom we very much look forward to getting to know better, along with their families. We are delighted to be working alongside such a fantastic new team of staff who are extremely well qualified and incredibly good at what they do.

The school is looking fabulous. It’s been gorgeous weather so we can enjoy the great outside facilities that we have and the organisation this year has surpassed all previous years. I thank every member of my team for the work they’ve done to prepare for this year, welcome new colleagues and children and for the work they will do with your children and you.

I hope you received or extracted from your child’s bag on Thursday or today the envelope containing the handbooks for parents in Early Years, Pre-Prep and Prep.
There is so much information in these booklets, which are re-published each year, and we really hope that we still have everything you need to know. Children in Prep and Pre-Prep receive one handbook per family (two if they have a child in each part of the school). Children in the Early Years receive both the Early Years handbook and the Pre-Prep one. The oldest child is the one who is given the book(s).

Alongside this newsletter this week is a separate document for those who are new to the school to introduce all the staff who are also new.

Today you will be receiving a letter to explain our new online homework system which will be using the SIMS parent app. I’m sure there will be a few teething problems but nothing we can’t sort. Homework starts next week for the whole school and, from Monday, if you download the app and follow the instructions you are given over the weekend, you will be able to log in and see homework that has been set and know when it is due and if it is late. We are excited about how this will streamline communications between us and enable parents to support their children in their organisation.
Technical support will be given by Emily Aisher and the letter goes out today to explain everything you need to know.

Please remember that group emails are sent from a program which does not receive replies. If you press reply no one will look at it! Please do communicate with the normal full email of the person you need to contact.

From next week we will be starting our welcome evenings for different year groups and coffee mornings in Pre-Prep. If you’re a parent of a child in year three we very much look forward to seeing you on Thursday evening at 7 pm. Please read the letter from Mrs Bridges and Mrs Dodd about this which is coming out today. We hope that we will see as many of you as possible and that you will feel encouraged and confident of what a special place you and your children are part of.

The Year 7s are getting excited ahead of their camp out tonight. It’s a wonderful evening of fun and bonding and adventure. It’s going to be a glorious evening and I’m looking forward to joining them later on.

Clubs and activities and music lessons start next week and interventions and support groups the week after that.

Year 8 are off next week for their three day residential geography trip to the Olympic Park and Bore Place. We don’t stand still at St Michael’s!

I hope for parents, with the 11+ out of the way and just two days of school belongings to manage, that this week has been a happy and productive start to the Michaelmas term.

Children in Prep and Pre-prep have been thinking about ways to behave and things to say that make people feel good so I do hope they’ll be practising on you this weekend!

Have a good one.

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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