Head’s Blog Friday 10th February 2017

Thank you to everyone who responded to our trial run survey. 139 respondents replied on behalf of the 187 families at the school. After half term I will write more about the information we received. Most scores were in the 90% agreed or more which is very pleasing!

As Internet safety awareness week has rolled on, pupils have been focussing on ways to keep safe online and have engaged in a number of e-safety activities which you can read about later in this newsletter.

Perhaps the highlight of my week was the amazing House Drama Duologue Competition. For anyone there it was a total treat. For the families of those performing and for the staff we had such joy and such pride in what was achieved by every pair on stage, whether the Year 3s flexing their dramatic muscles and revealing their “other side” or the humorous dialogues chosen by older students keen to entertain, or the challenging renditions of Dickens and Austen, delivered with assurance , maturity and genuine understanding, or the slightly surreal sketch where two wolves discussed the stereotyping they experience as they are portrayed  in literature. There could have been so many winners, our judge Anita Louise Combe , hotfoot from the West End stage picked some corkers but it was hard to select them from among so much talent. Congratulations to all who took part and thank you to the audience who buzzed with excitement. Drama is very much alive and kicking at St Michael’s

As we storm towards the half term lull I would like to thank all the children for working so hard this year so far and the staff who make the learning so enjoyable. Meeting some parents about to relocate to Europe this morning, they said “You must be very proud of all your teachers here”. I most certainly am.

Two special people are planning their retreat from St Michael’s and before I introduce you to their successors I would like to thank Sue Ringrose and Sally Worby for all that they have done and will continue to do until such time as they move on to their new lives.

Sue Ringrose leaves us at Easter for a part time maths leadership role at the lovely school at Skipper’s Hill and Sally Worby will retire and move to the West Country in the summer.

 Sue joined the staff in 1998 as a part-time head of ICT under Peter Roots and quickly established herself as a dedicated and able teacher, with a firm grasp on how IT should be developed and expanded and the drive to take IT at school forward. Her own children enjoyed being pupils at St Michael’s and when Sue leaves here a major chapter of her life will be closing. Sue is a high performing and dedicated member of staff, who in the latter part of her career here made a strong contribution to the School leadership team as well as taking on the maths department and securing, alongside her team,  fantastic results from students at CE. Over more than two decades at the school, Sue has given a great deal to St Michael’s, through her musical talents and gifts, through her passion for her charitable work for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and before she took over maths her management of IT was quite transformational. Many generations have much to be grateful for. Sue took on timetabling, and implemented the migration to SIMS, as well as leading training for staff and masterminding various roll outs of systems. Sue has prepared for handing over with exemplary dedication and we will be sorry to see her go. We hope that she will enjoy a more balanced working week and that we continue to see her here whenever she wishes to visit. 

Sally Worby came to us in September 2012 from Bethany School and has proved a capable, organised, enthusiastic and selfless member of the teaching team here. Under her leadership , the science department has been a “happening” department and broadened its work to include astronomy, competitions, and visiting senior school masterclasses for our pupils and those in other schools. We are indebted to Sally for the contact with Christopher Lloyd and our introduction of the Curiosity Curriculum in Year 7 and we were the first school in the world to adopt it.  Sally is committed not only to her subject and her team, but has also made a significant contribution to the wellbeing and success of the Year 7 & 8 pupils in her role as Head of Year and Form Tutor. Her wisdom and good sense  have enabled many pupils to meet challenges with excellent and practical support.  As she moves away from Kent in the summer, down to the West Country, we wish her every happiness in her new life.  

This weekend many of our Year 6s will be learning what offers they have from senior schools. After half term our own scholarship results will be published. We look forward to sharing with you the successes of our students in their exams.

I trust that each one of you will enjoy a restful half term.  If you are off to colder or warmer places, go safely, enjoy your time together and we look forward to welcoming you back on 20th February.

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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