Head’s Blog 8th March 2019 Friday 8th March 2019

This week before I set off for my interesting inspection, I continued my environmental theme for the children in Prep with my focus on how to reduce plastic in the bedroom.

For many children the most obvious source of plastic will be the variety of games and toys made of plastic that they have In their bedrooms. And of course the ones made of plastic will give both pleasure and opportunities to learn despite the fact that the material from which they are made will not break down for 1000 years. So all of us in choosing and selecting toys in the future must give thought to the materials from which they are made as well as their educational or play value.
Alongside this of course could be consideration of acquiring toys secondhand from charity shops, family and friends and indeed passing on, as routine, unwanted toys for rainy day boxes at school or charity shops or perhaps by holding a garage sale of your own for a favourite charity.

My greatest surprise however has been in discovering the prevalence of plastic in our clothes as of course all synthetic materials are indeed a form of plastic. Nylon, acrylic, polyester; all easy to wear and easy to wash clothing but there is a cost to the planet in these clothes that we are only just beginning to explore.

It is suggested that as a result of one wash 17 million tiny fibres of synthetic material are released into the water systems and our water treatment facilities do not have filters small enough to trap such particles. They have been found in mussels, water, in the sand on our beaches and in the air and we do not know yet what will happen to our digestive system now that we routinely eat these fibres.

Practical things that each of us can do are as follows:

  • Fill the washing machine and do not run it half full
  • Wear clothes for longer before you wash them
  • Always wash at low temperatures
  • Reduce spin speeds
  • Buy natural products, when shopping for clothes and if not finding natural products talk to the shop manager and let them know that you will be leaving without making a purchase because of this
  • Buy and wear second hand clothes.
  • Free yourself from the fashion mentality that requires us to buy more and more clothes

I have purchased something that I did not know existed this week to help prevent the fibres getting into the water stream in my house. It’s called a Guppy bag and is a large mesh bag with a very fine material into which I shall place my synthetic clothes and from which I look forward to extracting fibres which make their way to the seams of the bag after every wash. I shall experiment with keeping them in a jar to see how many I get!

Do join me in this endeavour if you fancy a challenge!

It is likely that the fibres in our oceans soak up dangerous chemicals and therefore provide them in a more concentrated format, thus when ingested they become part of our food chain and present risk to our livers and kidneys and nervous system.

I very much hope that some of our pupils at St Michael’s today will go on to be the scientists that keep this topic on the agenda and explore the impact, or that they will become textile scientists to investigate more environmentally friendly materials.

You might find this nine minute video, part of which I shared with the children, an interesting point for discussion in your house this weekend  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41adXNYDgeE

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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