Friday 30th June 2017 Friday 30th June 2017

We all recognise that the summer term and particularly the end of that, is a very busy time for everyone in schools, whether it is children making preparations for transition, meeting new people and teachers and bidding farewell to their friends, or staff collecting their thoughts and expressing their views on the performance of children in reports. Whether it is parents attending concerts and shows and prize-giving and picnics or whether it’s governors feeling satisfaction at another successful year. Whatever your experience of the end of this academic year at St Michael’s, I hope it has been special. I have the privilege of a front row seat at some of the best shows in town. The nursery singsong on Tuesday was a happy occasion on which children enjoyed in many different ways, not all of them forward facing, the songs they have been taught this year. No-one can have failed to be impressed at the words and actions they have mastered. On Wednesday we were treated to the Pre-Prep performance of “Pirates versus Mermaids”, a feisty and funny show which played to the strengths of so many children and revealed a new dimension to others. With a stylish set created by Mrs Halfacre and amazing costumes supplied by parents, the shimmering mermaids and the fearsome pirates had to come together to solve the problem of Pirate Scarypants’ fear of water. Who better to show them and teach them how to swim then the elegant mermaids?

The children without exception enjoyed their moment. There was some fantastic shimmying from the reception crabs complete with clawed headdresses and from the splendid starfish, the scary sharks and from the huge array of octopi. Hats off (and there were a lot of hats) to Mrs Beesley, Miss Salmon and the staff in the Pre-Prep for an inspired choice and an excellent production.

Today’s Kindergarten concert made those of us who had been at both Nursery and Kindy’s concerts aware of just how much progress is made in those first two years. The children presented songs on the theme of the growth and development of a butterfly, including some impressive scientific words and displayed great rhythmic skills, as well as fine voices and wonderful memories. With words and actions, they entertained us beautifully for half an hour this morning and it was a wonderful end to a happy year in Kindy.

Of course Thursday evening saw us gathered together formally for the Prep school prize-giving. We welcomed former teachers including former headmaster Paul Cox, who saw the first recipient of his newly offered prize for cross country and we celebrated the talents of the many other successful people to be rewarded in public on this occasion. Each year I have a few communications on the subject of how prize-giving fits in with an inclusive agenda. I am absolutely clear about the value of such an event in the calendar of the school. This year we added awards for cross country, global citizenship and separated effort and progress to be two separate prizes for each year.

In the variety of awards made, the whole spectrum of talent is included and those who leave us at the end of Year 6 and Year 8, it is fitting that they receive our good wishes and a small gift.

Fuzz Caan, international Olympic coach was an entertaining and fascinating speaker.  He spoke eloquently of the synergy between his beliefs about the five “P”s: Planning, Preparation, Process, Permission, Passion and our school motto “Perseverance, Wisdom, Gratitude”.  We were delighted that he could join us.

It is always fun to see the film review of the year. This is a relatively new tradition in the school and falls to the gap student to make each year. I think you will agree that this year’s set new standards.

And as I write my final lines this week, Sports Day is playing itself out. At the end of this day new records will have been set and new children will glow with pride.

Last week on our field the happiest night of the year, the 24-hour event campout was attended by so many parents and children and there was a great deal of warmth, both from the weather and from the warm atmosphere of sharing a special evening together. My grateful thanks to Rhys Morgan and Joel Thomas who organised the daytime and Fraser Wiseman and Steve Wade who organised the night time.

For many children and parents this was the absolute highlight of the year.

This is the final newsletter of the school year as next week we break up on Wednesday. During the holidays I will send you an update with the achievements of the children in their final week and the Head’s Review. This is a formal document that summarises all the achievements of the past academic year and gives parents an analysis of the school’s performance and the direction in which we travel. Can I remind you that next week, when there are no clubs, children are collected from three different doors: Year 3 come out of the main front doors, Years 6 and 7 come out of the chapel doors and Years 4, 5 & 8 come out through the white doors. For those of you with children in lots of years you will have to walk up and down the path! We hope you understand that this keeps all the children safe as the whole school is dismissed simultaneously. On the last day of term, we finish before lunch and the school field is hired in the afternoon. We hope that all parents will be able to pick the children up and there is no Hive on the last day. I wish you the happiest of summer holidays and wherever you go, safe travels and a safe return. For those of you leaving St Michael’s as parents, children or staff, thank you for all you have given to the school and come back and see us soon.

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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