Head’s Blog 14th February 2019 Thursday 14th February 2019

As we race towards the half-year point, I very much hope that most of you will have the opportunity to spend time with your children, draw breath and have some fun.

 

Last Saturday, as many of you were doing the aforementioned, my senior colleagues and I spent a training day together offsite thinking about accountability to one another and looking at the ways we can exploit our differences on the team to bring about collegiate decision-making of a different order.

 

The school’s journey is only as strong as our own as a team and it was fantastic to have the time and space to listen to one another and make some important plans for tackling some of the issues ahead and become closer in the process.

There was a great deal of bonding and fun happening at the discos on Friday night. There was a wonderful atmosphere in both junior and senior discos, with joyful responses to the music and a good deal of fun and sparkle!

This week in assemblies, I have returned to my environmental theme and we looked at reducing plastic in the bathroom. It was interesting that most of the children did not know what shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet and in perhaps one of the more memorable moments of my career at St Michael’s the whole of Prep school was heard to be saying in unison, “pee, paper and poo” are the things you put down the loo!

 

So that means; no cotton wool, no baby buds, no facial and baby wipes, no plasters and in fact surprisingly, no sanitary products.

 

All of these can clog up the sewerage system and when they overflow because of that they do end up in rivers and the sea so please make sure you have a bin in your bathroom.

 

Alongside that, we looked at the prevalence of microbeads before the law that banned these in the UK in October 2018. If, like me, you have some beauty products from before that date you may well still have microbeads in your bathroom and they should not be flushed down the loo or the sink in any form. The link below takes you to a site where you can check the existence of microbeads in many very famous beauty products with top-level brands which I found most surprising when I discovered it as part of my research through Friends of the Earth. https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/product-lists/

 

Decisions that can be taken in families to reduce the products that rely on plastics in the bathroom are to

  • stop buying liquid soap and return to bars
  • consider buying shampoo bars from Lush, their inventor
  • consider buying Truthpaste which is toothpaste in a jar
  • when choosing things like lip balm choose metal containers not plastic ones from the range on sale
  • switch to cotton or silk floss rather than plastic and under no circumstance put it down the toilet

 

I wish you the greatest of luck in modifying your bathroom behaviours. Let’s see if we can, in each of our homes, make a difference to our beautiful planet.

 

We finished the half term with a wonderful Pre-Prep concert where an orchestra of strings, recorders and percussion played two rhythmic and challenging pieces and up in Prep a glorious interhouse music competition with many wonderful moments and I congratulate each child who participated as well as the house leaders on organising and inspiring such enjoyable rehearsals for the whole group performances. Where else would you find all ages joined in joyful song and teachers alongside them also having a lot of fun? Our former colleague, Diane Day, had a very challenging task choosing the winners I felt, and her feedback was positive and thoughtful. I will not forget the focus, energy and fun of all the House songs, nor the sudden preponderance of shark outfits and accoutrements.  The shiny-eyed, winning “We’re all in this together” from Rochester, alongside the staff’s surprise entry seemed to sum up the whole competition beautifully.

 

I hope you have a great half-term. You may spot some of us out and about in Sevenoaks on Friday as the staff training is around team bonding and we’re doing a treasure hunt around the town.

 

Have a lovely holiday.

 

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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