Acting Head’s Blog 15th May 2020 Friday 15th May 2020

The unknown has always been a source of apprehension and anxiety to the majority of us and, although we are often told to embrace it and step outside our comfort zone it can be easier said than done. It’s doubtful that there has ever been a greater unknown in our lifetimes than the situation we currently find ourselves in. And now we begin preparations for some to return to school while some will remain at home.

Perhaps it is the perceived magnitude of it. I was once told that if we were to imagine the lifetime of Earth as the time on a 24-hour clock then the entire existence of man would be relegated to 1 second within 24 hours. And even within our own, hopefully long and enjoyable lives, this immediate situation will be measured in months rather than years. Life may not be the same after we emerge but humans are the most adaptable species ever to have existed. We will grow from this.

I have enjoyed seeing growth in our pupils and the community this week. Growth in the development of their independent work, mindsets, confidence and engagement with online learning. We have also seen growth in our offer following the valuable feedback we have received from staff and parents. Extra live clinics, study rooms for Years 7&8, a virtual concert and our first ever whole school silent disco! The number of interactions between staff and pupils on Seesaw and Tapestry is growing daily and, on my latest check, there were 6,703 comments added to Seesaw in the last 7 days!

I have been pleased to be in touch with parents this week, hearing your views and finding out how things are going at home. There will be an additional short survey coming this afternoon with the learning plans for next week, I ask that you all follow the link and take part. This situation requires all of the skills and knowledge we collectively have as a community to negotiate our way through. Fortunately, we are all working towards the same goal. At the root of this all is a strong, adaptive, malleable, insightful group of people co-operating together for the ultimate benefit of the pupils of St Michael’s. It’s not easy. But with open minds, dialogues and hearts we will continue to grow and emerge from that ‘comfort zone chrysalis’ as something new, bolder and hopefully better. But most importantly together.

I look forward to being ‘together’ with many of you at the P&F quiz night next Wednesday and thank the committee for creating this opportunity for us to have some fun.

Please look out for school communications early next week which will outline how we will implement the government advice and guidance for those children who are able to return to school in the first phase after half term.

I wish you all an enjoyable weekend

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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