Acting Head’s Blog 12th June Friday 12th June 2020

One of my favourite feelings is the excitement and buzz of a St Michael’s school day.  I know that our teachers feel the same, and there is nothing we want more than a return to school for all of our pupils. Following the recent government announcement, we know that you will all be very keen for news about our plans to bring the children back to St Michael’s. Please rest assured that all staff are working towards this goal but, with the current government guidelines, this is not an easy task. Our aim is for all children to be back in school before our final day of term on the 7th July and we are now able to plan to welcome children in Years 2-5 back on the 22nd June. We will write to families with children in those year groups early next week to explain how this will work and, in the meantime it would be helpful for us to gauge your initial thoughts as to whether you will be planning to send your child into school. Please click here to complete the following survey to support us in our planning. The survey closes at 9.00pm on Tuesday 16th June.

On Tuesday, in the statement by Gavin Williamson, we found out more about the potential options for our pupils but, to say it was ambiguous could be described as an understatement. For the record, he said: ‘While we are not able to welcome all primary children back for a full month before the summer, we continue to work with the sector on the next steps where we’d like to see schools who have the capacity to bring back more children in those smaller class sizes to do so if they are able to before the summer holidays.’

Our biggest challenge with this information is enabling our Year 7 & 8 pupils to return, as the government guidelines refer to primary aged children. We are communicating with our advisory bodies and insurers daily to see what we are able to achieve for our senior pupils, and we hope to see them soon. As it currently stands, we are unable to invite Year 7 & 8 children back on site as it would be in contravention of the guidelines. We expect further guidance to be released early next week and, as soon as we are able, we will share our plans for those pupils.

An exciting aspect of emerging from this time is to learn what the positive impact on us all will be. We have been absolutely delighted with the growth and development that we have seen in our returning pupils, and it is exciting to see how much they have progressed. We are confident that, despite losing many of the co-curricular opportunities that the summer term brings, we have made superb progress through the curriculum and our children will be well placed for their next steps come September.

As a school, we are also looking ahead, thinking about the lessons that we have learnt through this process and how we can use them to make what we do even better. From the logistical elements of our new rolling pick up to the ‘flipped learning’ approach that has been extremely powerful in developing independence in our learners, we know that there are many ways to enhance further what we do. As Dr Seuss said, “sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” and our job now is to make all these moments bring value to our future.

As we think about a brighter future and learning from our experiences, the St Michael’s ethos of encouraging our pupils to challenge the way we think about things and to not be afraid to talk about it is increasingly relevant. As a school, we aim for every member of our community to value the power of learning. Our children can, and will, make this world a better place.

Mary Bridges

 

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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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