St. Michael's School: End of term letter

Rev. John Brucciani, Headmaster, December 2018

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Would that we could keep in better contact with you all, both individually and collectively! Without your kind and generous support, our school would simply not be able to operate.

The summer months of 2018 were very busy with maintenance work—the cost of which many of you helped to cover. We received a letter from the Department of Education towards the end of July giving us deadlines for various building works to be completed. The letter also set deadlines for administrative compliance (risk assessments, new policies, record keeping, etc.) that had been previously judged inadequate. August and September, therefore, were a blur of activity which included the elaboration of numerous risk assessment calculated to identify, isolate and mitigate every possible risk—including mortality itself! The only risk we cannot minimise is the risk of more bureaucracy. History (if the end of the world does not intervene) will label this era as the post-modern-hyper-bureaucratic dark age.

As expected, the third and final government inspection came at the beginning of October—it was an inspection that we simply had to pass. It so happened that the day was also the Feast of our Lady's Maternity. Our Blessed Mother looked after us, and the inspectors too for they left satisfied and even impressed at the progress made.

It seems strange that we have already completed the Michaelmas term. The children have worked well and have enjoyed themselves. It is touching to see that, despite the blank early-morning stare, uncombed hair and the much-needed (but often missing) handkerchief, our pupils are keen to show that they love their teachers and their school. Old students tell us that they miss "the place".

School finances will always be a grave concern. This year, a new bursary system was introduced, which enables the school to better calculate the needs of each family and to adjust billing accordingly. This gives us an accurate picture of tuition income, which, besides donations, is the only income we have.

Tuition covers staff salaries and £80,000 worth of bills. This does not look too bad on paper, but our buildings and installations are in constant need of maintenance, repair and upgrade. As a taste of what is to come: our heating system control panels are failing, and are VERY expensive to replace. We are also in desperate need of proper laundry facilities, which include the purchase of a new commercial washing machine, and the construction of laundry lockers and a work surface for Sister Anna, who presently works in very poor conditions!

Our new Parent–Teacher Association (PTA) will spring into action in January. The PTA will oversee fundraising events and initiatives throughout the year. The first fundraising objectives on the PTA agenda are: a new gym floor and changing rooms; improved classroom equipment and better signposting and lighting across the campus.

The PTA will also organise a Summer Fayre on Monday 6 May 2019 which will be open to the general public. We really do need to bring in money from other sources!

Please sign up to Operation Philomena if you have not done so (contact the school for details or visit the website). You will receive many, many graces. Children are God's favourites and they must be ours too. Please help their families to provide them with a good education.

May God grant you a very happy and holy Christmas.

Fr. John Brucciani

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