Head’s Blog 18th October Friday 18th October 2019

In a week such as this one, I am reminded daily of what a privilege it is to be leading this magnificent school. The fact is I’m surrounded by talent, both in your children and in those who teach them and work alongside them.

Whether it’s the richness of provision on offer, the trips out to interesting places, or the meetings where our main focus is on supporting the children, there is a life and a buzz and a general sense of deep respect for what each child can do and where they are on their journey. Each day in Prep this week there has been a concert for a specific age group. Sadly I have only been able to attend one of these in full, but I know that there has been enormous pleasure derived on each occasion both from the parents and supporters of children performing and from the audience as a whole at the feast of musical offerings and there’s been respect for the variety showcased and for the confidence to share something quite personal with others. Meanwhile in Pre-Prep, children have been excited to visit Godstone Farm and Knole Park and enjoyed the adventure as much as the destination.

We heard the following from the children:

“I loved the piglets because they were so small and cute!”

“I loved the tractor ride when we saw the duck pond and all the ducks”

“I loved the pigs’ butts”

“It was the best day ever!”

 

This week draws to a close with the fantastic Senior Schools Fair which, as those of you who were here will know, was a truly impressive occasion with incredible benefits to both the schools present and the parents who came. I’d like to thank Karen Voce, Jenni Lovell and Jane Thornton for meticulously masterminding the whole event, the many staff who came and helped, Ian and the Estates Team and Mark and the catering team. We had a great deal of wonderful feedback.

This week also brought news to our Year 6 pupils of their results in the 11+ exams for Kent County Council and, for some, this will have brought huge pleasure and pride and for others perhaps anxiety. I spoke to all the children this morning about being sensitive to the needs of others this week on Friday after 11+ day, which is often a tricky day for some children. My own beliefs are that it is an exam that suits fast-working bright children and that there are plenty of bright children who prefer to work quietly and slowly and it alas does not suit this particular style. So if your child has not managed to get over that hurdle, please do come and talk to us about the next steps and be as positive as you can about the future, because I can assure you there are plenty of fantastic alternatives.

I hope you all have a wonderful half-term. Don’t forget to buy your fireworks tickets for Friday 8th November; see our Message Board for details.

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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