A Word from Jill Aisher Friday 2nd December 2016

A Word from Mrs Aisher

Having met some delightful prospective families this week, I have been reminded about what a special place we work in. Quite apart from the stunning view, there is an energy in lessons and an engagement from pupils that speaks volumes about the imaginative ways they are being taught.

I enjoyed my time in Nursery recently watching paint mixing and painting with balls rolling on paper in trays…concentration faces galore and miraculously, despite total freedom to explore with the paint, not too much mess!

 

Last Saturday’s P and F Christmas Bazaar was a happy, successful and entertaining occasion. The school was buzzing with excitement and the huge number of former pupils who came back to enjoy a taste of “St Michael’s does Christmas” speaks volumes about the quality of what was on offer. I really wanted to be 10 again because the inflatable bungee run, laser quest and beat the goalie (with speed camera) shoot out area were all very popular, as was the bouncy castle. Of course, when I was 10 none of these things actually existed! Many congratulations to Claire Soper and Sadie West and their amazing team of helpers: Anna Smith, Charlie Parkinson-Bonard, Jules Benjamin, and Tracey Ashton.

 

The chance to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas was afforded this week at the advent chapel service on Tuesday and the beautiful Christingle service with a great deal of impressive pupil participation.

 

Today in Prep we have been bringing a cuddly animal to school and raising money for the RSPCA, chosen by the School Council for our charity day. I was happy that my cuddly puffin from the RSPB arrived in time for the assembly, and that’s a whole other story…

 

The Nursery Nativity showcased a great deal of talent in singing and jigging about and almost achieved uniformity of contributions in the jangly rendition of Jingle Bells. It always warms my heart to see the children embracing the Christmas story in song and action and, although I’m not sure all of the action was in the script, this is one of the many pleasures of being surrounded by young learners and inspiring colleagues.

 

Our cake and carols with Year 2 was a joyful occasion. I often reflect on the very high standards of music-making that children are enabled to enjoy and the chance to sing and play together is one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy throughout our lives. From the opening performance of the three part violin ensemble through the impressive recorder group’s offerings to the final moving and in turn hilarious, closing numbers, we had Christmas with attitude!  

I’ve had three gifts sent up from The Hive in the last fortnight as they swing into biscuit baking mode, now that there is a kitchen annexe. Icing and decorating bakes are a great way to relax and unwind in the Hive.

 

I imagine this weekend is the crunch one in your preparations for Christmas. Good luck with that and in your busyness remember that the gift of a child is to be celebrated by enjoying your own children, as we do each day here (enjoy yours that is!). Whatever you are doing this weekend, have fun.

 

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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