Head’s Blog 9th March 2018 Friday 9th March 2018

After last week’s “snowmageddon” as it has been inventively called, came “fun in the sun” week. It has been glorious for all the trips and events planned this week and from Jersey we have been glad to receive photographs of our pupils enjoying all of the outside sporting and cultural treats that have been arranged for them, following their Common Entrance mocks week.

All our visiting parents and pupils this week have found Saint Michael’s in the midst of a creative burst. The presentations on Wednesday morning of this term’s challenge project had staff excitedly meeting in corridors to share what they had seen and heard.

Videos, PowerPoints, artefacts and performances are some of the many responses to this term’s challenge project and I have received some nominations already for Headteacher’s stars that lift the standards to yet another level.

Year 6 were quite stunned to meet Frances Osei, who visited on Wednesday morning and came to talk to them about making the right choices in life following his stint in prison for being involved in and not reporting gang crime. Some of the Year 6 were moved to think how changed Francis’s life was by this terrible experience.

Meanwhile the drama room was taken over by a bevy of beautiful Roman ladies (aka Year 4 parents), who came to support Year 4’s Roman Day and join in the hands-on learning in our History Off the Page workshop. Mosaics, wax tablets, oil lamps, jewellery and charms were created and, of course, the physicians learned how to mix their potions, all under the strict supervision of the mistresses in charge of their stalls.  The children thoroughly enjoyed their day – overheard in the corridors “I LOVED it!”  and from one of our parents “Super learning experience!”  Thank you to all the parents who joined us to make this day possible and to Mr Morgan for organising it.

The members of the orchestra who travelled to King’s Rochester enjoyed their rehearsals and performances of “In Dreams / The Black Rider” from Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore and “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter by John Williams.  Sophie said afterwards “We played really great pieces and it sounded cool with all the different orchestral instruments. I really liked the harp glissandi which added a special touch of magic!”

Year 7 were lucky enough to listen to Professor Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London, speaking at New Beacon and found his talk on studying science or medicine as a future career “inspiring”, other comments from the children included “success doesn’t come overnight” and “try and try again until you succeed”.

I’m sure many of you in your workplace are now overfamiliar with the letters GDPR; The General Data Protection Regulation. For those of you who have missed the imminent forthcoming change in data compliance arrangements, the new regulation gives everybody more control over data that organisations have about them. We are asking the very few remaining parents to complete our data check launched last September as a matter of urgency now as our responsibility to hold accurate data about our families is matched by your responsibility to give it to us.

There are still six families in the school who have not returned amended sheets to us. They are yellow to make them easier to spot in that very important pile that you have somewhere in your house.

These families have already received two reminders from the school. Please help our fantastic administration team to close this file.

The proposed new curriculum for next year’s Year 7 met with general excitement from the parents who kindly attended our launch meeting on Wednesday evening and it has been good to get such positive feedback about our plans from both Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. Mrs Shield is organising a small working party from among this year’s Year 6 parents and anyone interested in joining that should be in contact with her directly at lshield@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

I look forward to seeing some of you at the Pre-Prep Mother’s Day assembly next week and at the performance of Lord of the Flies which is coming soon.

Here’s hoping for a more spring-like weekend for you to enjoy.

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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