Head’s Blog 5th October 2018 Friday 5th October 2018

As our site is tinged with gorgeous autumn colours, it has been the season to celebrate harvest. In Pre-Prep Year 1 confidently led the singing and thinking about the gratitude we owe for the food we eat and it did feature a lot of mice, who were also very pleased about harvest!

At the centre of the Pre-Prep display was perhaps the biggest pumpkin I’ve ever seen, which was generously lent to the school by a friend.

Of course my memories of celebrating harvest and yours too, I imagine, had an abundance of fresh food which we would box up and take to any neighbours we knew who were old enough to perhaps be housebound. It’s a very different affair today and as our produce went off to the Trussell Trust food bank, which we support all year round, the extra food we were able to give helped people in financial difficulties and poverty right on our doorsteps. We recognise of course that there should not be poverty on our doorsteps and I hope that some of the pupils within St Michael’s will one day take on the role of making sure it stops in the future.

There was much rejoicing this morning as we showed round some 50 visitors to the school. I am grateful to all the staff who organised the event so seamlessly and for teachers who prepare children to perform and to share their love of what they do; we were grateful to the members of the P&F and the International Club, who joined us. Hats off to the tremendous team of pupils who spoke from the heart to the parents assembled in the chapel and made a moving contribution to showcasing the spirit of St Michael’s.

On Tuesday Mr Wiseman masterminded class and family group photos and I am extraordinarily grateful to him for his patience with a number of late and special requests, which perhaps exceeded what was reasonable. I look forward to seeing the shots when they arrive.

I was lucky enough to be included on the fantastic trip to Christopher Lloyd’s book launch at the Royal Institution last week. You will find an eloquent write-up by Oscar later in this newsletter. Christopher has worked with St Michael’s for some years now and we were invited to this event. He is the inspiration for our staircase leavers’ timeline and, in partnership with us, he launched and developed his “curiosity curriculum” which is now embedded in schools all over the world.

The weekend tournament that St Michael’s hosted went extremely well, I gather, and congratulations to the winners and to all who took part.

West Kent Mind has been at the school twice this week to deliver an assembly about what anger can feel like and the visual image of the bottle of fizzy drink made a good impression and communicated the message very well according to my lunch companions in Year 3. It’s not long now till the parent training that we are hosting. If you are interested in booking onto the next course (this one is full), please liaise with Lorna Sharp (lorna.sharp@westkentmind.org.uk ).

Next week one of our Year 4 classes is trialling the parent portal and the element that excites me the most is the interactive forms that will replace paper, save time and protect the environment. If an absence is needed, permission is requested, or a response for a concert or rehearsal is required, it will be possible to do this online.

I can’t wait!

Trusting that you have an enjoyable weekend together.

Jill Aisher

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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.”

This month St Michael’s Prep is celebrating the opening of its new Astro Turf pitch.

Completed during Summer 2020, the state-of-the-art facility will provide a huge boost to the school’s sporting facilities and allow it to offer a broader range of activities including boys hockey and football to its pupils.

Its floodlights will also enable St Michael’s to host sports matches during evenings, as well as inviting external schools and clubs to enjoy the new pitch throughout the year.

Ben Bridges, Director of Sports at St Michael’s, said: “We’re really excited to use the Astro Turf for the first time this month.

“We feel extremely lucky to be able to offer this to our pupils in both Prep and Pre-prep and are thrilled about the benefits it will bring to our sporting curriculum.

“As well as hockey, the new pitch will allow us to offer many other sports to pupils and will prevent the children from missing lessons due to inclement weather.”

Planning for the Astro Turf began in 2014 and has seen St Michael’s grounds undergo a significant transformation since construction began last summer. During this time pupils were fascinated by the diggers, dumpers and bulldozers which visited the school, while nursery and kindergarten children were treated to close-up views of the machinery.

Mr Bridges added: “Although it was a slightly delayed start due to the poor weather we faced, this feels like the perfect time to put the incredible space to good use.

“This is really going to move sport at St Michael’s to the next level, as well as providing us with opportunities to engage with the local community. We’re excited all round.”

 

The Governors of St. Michael’s Prep School take pleasure in announcing the appointment of Nik Pears as our new Head Teacher with effect from January 2021.

Nik was educated at St Dunstan’s College, London and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He is currently Head of Prep at Kent College Pembury, a post he has held since 2016. Prior to that, he was Headmaster of the Junior School at Sevenoaks Prep for 5 years. Nik is also an ISI inspector and a governor at Dulwich Prep, Cranbrook. We believe that he has the experience and qualities required to lead St Michael’s into the next chapter of its history.

Nik represented Kent U18 group at rugby and has a love of all sports. He is an accomplished musician and has performed at The O2 and Wembley Arenas. He is an Ambassador for “We See Hope”, a charity working with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa. Nik devised The Social Entrepreneurs Project an initiative that challenges young people to turn £10 seed capital into £100 or more with their profits going to support the work of the charity.

We feel very fortunate to have secured Nik’s headship and welcome him and his wife Emma and two children, Jessica and Josiah into the St. Michael’s family from the start of next year. Nik has said

“I am delighted to have been appointed the next Head of St Michael’s Prep. Having lived in the area for the past twenty years, it is a school I have known and long admired for its ambitious and child-centred approach to learning. There is a very special atmosphere in the school and I am excited to become a part of the community, getting to know the children, parents and staff over the months and years ahead. St Michael’s is privileged to have an experienced and committed Senior Leadership Team and I very much look forward to working together with them as we embark on an exciting future for the school.” 

Some of our super St Michael’s Swimmers have won an array of silverware at recent events.

At the Sevenoaks Swimming Club presentation evening, I Pennington Legh was presented with the Kingsbury Cup for U10 girls; A Green was awarded the Kingsbury Cup for U10 boys; E Green received runner up plate for the best U9 boy; S. Taylor was awarded the Mike Radford Trophy for most improved U9 boy; A Ashton was presented with the U9 Individual Medley Cup and U9 trophy for most improved swimmer; B Tovey and J Taylor were both awarded plaques with their positions from the recent Sevenoaks Club Championships.

At the Black Lion Gala, Gillingham, at the start of March our swimmers again came away with medals. A Ashton won three gold, one bronze, one fourth and one sixth medal; A Green three gold and two silver medals; E Green four silver and one bronze medal; S Taylor one silver and one fourth medal and J Taylor a fourth position medal. V Medlen also came away with a medal from the gala.

Well done to all those swimmers; your hard work and dedication is certainly paying off!

Mrs Denton

Swim School Manager

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