Acting Head’s Blog 26th June Friday 26th June 2020

Improvise, adapt, overcome. I often hear Mr Orpin use this army phrase to instil a sense of positivity amongst the children or staff when we are faced with a challenge or in search of a solution. Adaptation has been a key theme this week for all staff and pupils, whether they have been working from home or in school.

 

It was a joy to see many of our pupils back in school on Monday, and life felt a little more like it should. Pupils, teachers, friends and colleagues sharing in learning, adventure and fun. We did face the issue of a power cut which lasted for a few hours, but we adapted by getting back to basics and shared longer discussions, planning on paper and learning outside.

 

For our new in-school learning model, the St Michael’s day is very different for children in Prep School. Rather than moving around the building and learning from subject specialists, our children are enjoying the company of one classroom teacher. On Wednesday some of our maths teaching team delivered an exciting History day, planned by Mrs Baisch. Doing something differently doesn’t mean it has less value. It was wonderful for me to hear the children talking about Mary I and Mary Queen of Scots over lunch! Their interest and excitement were palpable, and they had some great ideas about how we can learn from the past.  Mr Powell has moved to an outside classroom underneath the shade of the trees on the Field of Hope. It is a beautiful setting and utilising new and different parts of the school grounds has been a very positive experience for us all.

 

Our Pre-Prep children adapted to a new style sports day which they enjoyed today in the glorious sunshine. Congratulations to all of the children who relished their turn and time on the track, cheered on brilliantly by their classmates and teachers. The Prep children also enjoyed showing their support during their break times.  A huge thank you goes to Miss Rawlinson for organising this special occasion.

The children at home have adapted to a different way of working, and I was pleased to receive questions about how they can maximise their learning. It is important to us all that the community bond remains strong and St Michael’s will be standing strong with open arms for a socially distanced air hug whenever our pupils at home are able and ready to return.

 

Adaptation is about evolution, and we are keenly looking ahead to the new academic year. The P & F are in the process of recruiting class reps for next year, and I look forward to meeting the new team in September. I would also like to take this opportunity to warmly thank our current class reps for the extra mile they have gone in this challenging year. They have provided a strong and supportive link between school and home, and we highly value their input. If you are interested in getting involved next year, please check Classlist for information.

 

Adapting to change can be tough, but our children, staff and parents have responded with impressive resilience and grit. For me, seeing the children arriving with big smiles and steely determination each morning at drop off and in my assembly for those at home, has been brilliant, and inspiring. This morning I asked all of the children to give me one word to describe their week back at school and the responses were fantastic, capturing this new, different school experience. The children expressed their week as: different, joyful, good, happy, amazing, exquisite, hot, sociable, confusing, fabulous, sporty, peaceful, unusual, brilliant, interesting, entertaining and perfect! I think we’ve all done well!

 

Enjoy a wonderful weekend.

Mary Bridges

Latest News

 

 

 

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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