Head’s Blog 10th July 2019 Wednesday 10th July 2019

As the academic year hurtles to a close, it is almost time to take a step back and have a well-earned rest. We have, all of us, worked so hard this year.

Our last few days have been spectacularly enjoyable, complex to create but beautifully simple to enjoy.

The Prep Sports Day on Friday ran like clockwork, with stunning weather to match the superb organisation. The houses marched out in style and competed with ambition and mutual support and respect. It was exciting to see some new records set, equalled and old ones broken:

Year 7&8 1500m     P Parker-Swift – 6.2.8.21min (from 6.29.35)

Year 6 High Jump   S Newton – 1.49m (from 1.41m)

Year 5 High Jump   M Cameron – 1.38m (from 1.37m)

Year 5 100m              J Wiseman (=record 14.19)

Congratulations to all the winners and to all who pushed themselves to their own limits.

Thank you and congratulations too, to Cal Wade, whose immaculate organisation triumphed on the day and all staff who worked hard to make it happen and to be such a fun day.

The evening celebrations and the gorgeous weather led to a convivial evening of barbecue, sizzled and served by a strong staff team, time to play freely, chat, enjoy a drink and then the excitement of the all-night camp out. It was good to see children playing and laughing in mixed age groups, enjoying the space and the warm summer sun. An enormous debt of gratitude is owed to Fraser Wiseman, who masterminded the logistics and the practicalities of the camp out, plotting pitches, shopping for food and drink, cooking, cleaning and staying awake to look after everyone. A merry band of colleagues joined him to serve and clear and to each person involved a very warm and heartfelt thank you.

On Monday we were treated to the talents of Pre-Prep, when they performed their “Plastic Pirates” songs for us. I later very much enjoyed the whole environmentally on-message show, with not only plenty of opportunity for solo and ensemble work, but also the sea of underwater creatures colourfully bedecked. It was great that Zerrin Leech is fit to return to work to congratulate the pupils and staff on an excellent year in Pre-Prep. I’m proud of each and every one of them.

Alongside our super sports day, we held a magnificent Old Michaelians’ Day and met, for the first time in one case, some interesting former pupils who have lead very successful lives in different professions and regard the school with fondness and a deep connection, born of the fact that they boarded here. One of our Old Michaelian visitors explained that when he transferred to his fine independent senior school he struggled to not be boarding and felt that there was something missing.

Today’s struggle I think, for pupils, and particularly today, the last day of term, is to actually say goodbye. But of course this isn’t ultimately necessary because although they won’t be with us every day, all staff and pupils will always have a place at St Michael’s. We want to be in touch. We want to hear your news we want to engage on social media and we want to follow the careers of our spectacularly successful and varied cohort of leavers as they go out to make their mark on their next schools and the world beyond.

It was easy to detect how splendid our pupils are at last night’s Prize Giving. It was utterly delightful to welcome Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to the stage and he certainly showed us the art of feeling comfortable performing.

Laurence’s nephews attend St Michael’s and we were absolutely thrilled that he agreed to come and present the prizes to our lucky winners this year. From the moment he arrived, Laurence was bubbling with humour and quips that put the children on stage very much at their ease. Having declared that our marquee was quite retro and suggesting that perhaps we had too much fabric around the window apertures, he went on to talk with some passion about the charity MERU which his father set up to assist severely disabled children with the simple tasks of life by making and engineering tools to support their independence. Laurence kindly waived his appearance fee (phew!) and instead asked the school to make a donation to MERU to continue the good work. Laurence made us laugh and gave us food for thought about creativity and following your dreams, about being unconventional and passionate and he certainly demonstrated that being funny gets you places. If there are parents that would also like show the measure of their enjoyment of last night’s occasion they would be most welcome to do so at the following link https://fundraising.qef.org.uk/donate/donate-qef. Please be generous .

I shall be writing to you all towards the end of the summer to send you my Head’s Review of the year and update you on the progress of Stable Court and the Astroturf.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy summer holiday.

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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