Head’s Blog 13th October 2017 Friday 13th October 2017

As we look forward to a two week break following this busy half term, perhaps it is right to focus on the well-being that springs from rest. We were lucky on Monday to welcome Natasha Devon MBE and to listen to her wise and informed presentation about the three core elements that lead to well-being; Critical thinking, stress coping mechanisms and emotional  literacy. In response to this, all the staff have thought about the opportunities we already have for teaching in these three areas and as part of our well-being award we will put together a document so that parents can be clear about the contribution the school makes to the well-being agenda. As an immediate reaction, it is clear that our focus on higher-order thinking, questioning, giving choices to children and listening to their views already makes a strong start. With a wide, balanced and varied curriculum focusing on high-quality experiences and opportunities in sport, music, art and drama, we also enable stress management to take place although I feel as a school we can develop this further and we will.

 

Giving children as much information about the link between chemistry, brain function and emotion is high on our agenda through PSHE and assembly work. But there is inevitably a tension between providing a calm, ordered, regular routine and the events that we plan at school that become the memories of children and so we welcome feedback from children and parents on whether we’ve got that balance right.

 

This morning following on from Natasha’s themes I spoke to Pre-Prep about the different kinds of listening we do and how important it is, whether for pleasure, taking part in conversations, for information, instructions, or to find out how people feel. Perhaps the last thing; listening to people and encouraging them to express their feelings and refocus on experiences that make them feel joyful, is our most important task of all. I have invited children in Pre-Prep, if they would like, to send me a postcard from their holiday destinations or homes and tell me about some of the things they can hear when they listen carefully.

 

Certainly in Pre-Prep there has been an overdose of joyful events and exciting trips this week as each class in turn went out for a day’s adventure. I’m only sorry that the coach of a visiting sports team caused considerable stress and inconvenience for our parents accessing and leaving the site on Thursday evening.  We’ll be in touch with the school to ask them not to use a coach on their next visit to us.

 

Many parents and grandparents in Prep took great pleasure from the performers’ platform and breakfast on Wednesday morning, showcasing a variety of performance-ready pieces across the full range of instruments and voices. The act of listening to performance and appreciating what other people can share is a special and moving part of the life of pupils and staff at St Michael’s and it was wonderful that several of our new students shared performance with us and gave us much pleasure.

 

Yesterday we mailed the results of the 11+ to parents of children in Year 6. For some there is great excitement and relief whilst others may not have quite done themselves justice in this exam. We hope that we can support those families that need to appeal and that we can refocus the children for whom 11+ was a long shot and who will be best served by a non-selective environment. Our own Year 7 and 8 give unparalleled support, challenge and experiences to children who stay and my heartfelt wish is that parents will give this serious consideration amongst all of the choices that lie before them. After the half term holiday we will be exploring with Year 6 the opportunity to apply for scholarships here and to become a senior pupil at St Michael’s and we are holding a coffee morning for those interested in finding out more about Year 7 and 8 both within the community and beyond it on November 2nd. In the meantime, have a super half term holiday, do enjoy the change of pace and scene and come back safely.

 

Jill Aisher

Latest News

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

Well done to our doubles girls, E Julio and S Savidge, who also played in last weekend’s Junior Orange Ball Tournament in Sevenoaks. They played four matches, won two, beating Sevenoaks Prep and Lady Boswell’s and lost two to the eventual finalists Amherst and Granville.

This was a great performance by the girls, particularly in the light of little experience of Orange Ball competition.

Well done!

With around 20 pairs competing, representing 9 schools, pupils S Taylor, D Booth, J Vanderlanh-McKeown and J McDonnell were proud to represent St Michael’s at the Sevenoaks Junior Orange Ball Doubles, held at the Sennock Centre in Sevenoaks on Saturday 7th March.

S Taylor and D Booth started their Orange Ball tournament well with a win against Lady Boswell’s, before losing to a very strong team from Sevenoaks Primary. They followed with a close match against Amhurst Primary which they lost 7-6 and needed two wins from their remaining games to make the final stage. They won the first quite easily against Russell House and then had a tight match against Sevenoaks Prep. It was neck and neck throughout, but they kept their cool and won 7-6.

Their tally of three wins to two losses saw our Year 4 pair through to the play-offs. They had two games against a Year 5 pair from Sevenoaks Prep and New Beacon. They lost both games narrowly, 7-6 and 7-5, finishing 6th overall, which was a good performance given they’re at the younger end of the Orange grouping and the standard of the competition was high.

J Vanderlanh-McKeown and J McDonnell both demonstrated strong teamwork, good sportsmanship and skills. They came up against some strong competition from the other schools but never gave up and kept competing to the end with some great saves, serves and volley. The boys also showed respect towards others and maintained a positive attitude at all times. Both boys really enjoyed the tournament and look forward to improving their position at the next one.
It was great to see both pairs supporting each other throughout the games! Very well done, keep up the good work!

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