Head’s Blog 15th September 2017 Friday 15th September 2017

Head's Blog 15th September 2017

It has been fabulous to see so many smiling faces as the new school year starts. We welcome all new children to the school and very much look forward to getting to know their talents and interests. There has certainly been some excellent feedback from new children, two of whom told me on Thursday morning in the playground that this school was “much better” than their old ones! I’m grateful to all my colleagues who have spent a lot of time thinking about managing the transition and welcome of everyone new.
As a staff we have been focusing on the developments that lie ahead:
1. Ensure every lesson meets the needs of every pupil
2. Review the curriculum for Year 7&8
3. Develop well-being and mental health provision and understanding throughout the school
4. Consider ways to expand provision at the school.
Our newest recruits to the school, Dr Dodd in science, Dr Tuck in classics, Mrs Petzsch in Year 4 and Mr Brightman (Junior) are settling well and make great additions to the team in Prep, while down in Pre-Prep Mrs Spierenburg and Miss Collier have made a great start to their work in Kindergarten.
Thank you to the children who sent me postcards from their interesting holiday locations. Any child is welcome to write to me at any time on any issue. They may enjoy posting their letters in the red postboxes in either school or in the High Street!
Often the best ideas come from children and it is really important that everybody understands that their voice is central to our process at St Michael’s.
As I write this we are gearing up for our first welcome evening for Year 3 parents. If you are challenged to attend things in the evening please do try to make this event for your year group a priority as there is so much to be gained from meeting the staff who look after your children, as well as hearing the key information about how to support them and what is new in your child’s year group. It’s also a great opportunity to meet other parents of children in your child’s class.
We are pleased to share photographs of Miss Shaw’s wedding to Daniel and Mrs Bent’s new granddaughter Arianna Lily, born in China this summer.  We also congratulate Rachael Newton on completing her TEFL course and look forward to the ways in which this qualification will support work with our children who have English as an additional language.
As part of our work on well-being, the school is applying for a Well-Being at Schools Award, which launches on 15th September. Through audits, improvements, additional provision and changing our focus in certain parts of the curriculum, we as a community will be working towards making well-being more central in everything we do.
I shared with staff a touching poem by Natasha who at the time of writing was in Year 2 and wrote;
When the sadness rises and the happiness falls all the colours turn black and grey
When the happiness rises and the sadness falls everything is rainbow… your heart too
We’re thinking about that rainbow and making sure we have rainbow every day at St Michael’s by focussing with staff and children on behaviour and language that makes other people feel good. We look forward to sharing with you the ways in which you can get involved in this project.
I hope many of you have found the time since your children came back to school to sit down and read my review of 2016 to 17. I certainly felt proud when I read it and I look forward to working hard with the team here to take all our plans forward. I was sorry to realise that I had omitted the section provided for IT and therefore, with apologies to Miss Booth, have included it on the following page.
It was terrific last Friday to meet so many Old Michaelians, many of whom were delightfully young. All of them were drawn back by the immense sense of warmth and inclusion that they felt when they were pupils here and by many experiences that drew them together. I certainly met some very influential and talented individuals and we are proud that they are part of the St Michael’s story.
As we think of people in parts of the world where Mother Nature has wrought havoc on their lives, we look forward to a weekend of family time, with little in the way of issues to deal with.
I look forward to seeing some of you at the football tournament on Saturday and many others at the welcome events in the coming weeks.
Have a great weekend.
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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