Head’s Blog 19th January 2018 Friday 19th January 2018

For a week starting with the day that the nation names “Blue Monday” it’s been pretty multicoloured here and pretty multicultural too.

The children enjoyed finishing the week representing a fine array of countries and they have been encouraged to teach others something about the country they have chosen to represent. I loved the “Hello to all the children of the world” song that Pre-Prep children were singing this week, which encourages interest in twelve countries and their languages and it has been mastered with impressive ease.

Year 8 rounded off an interesting week of workshops and visiting speakers with their assembly on sustainability, based on their Common Entrance projects and their residential trip to Bore Place.

I particularly enjoyed the visit from Mike Fawcett on Thursday from the diocese of Rochester, to talk about church based links with other parts of the world, which we are about to embark upon.

His lively presentation of the village we might link with in Tanzania was enjoyed by all and it was lovely that Jake could model for us clothes worn by Masai Warriors, whilst Daniel and Diya sported some fine handmade shirts for girls and boys. I was excited to hold a very valuable Masai spear. Bradley demonstrated with a fine rhythm a beautiful handmade drum, whose skin was held across the baobab fruit body with black thorns.

Organising a themed week is a huge piece of work and I would like particularly to thank Ali Chugg for inspiring and encouraging such full participation from all corners of the school. You may have noticed that we are currently advertising for a new Head of Geography and it is perhaps fitting to acknowledge this week that this is because Ali and her husband will be moving to Burma in the summer where Dan is to become the British ambassador. We congratulate Dan on this appointment and all of us know that this will be a challenging and privileged position, in which they will make a huge difference to a country that does need support and we wish them every success and happiness.

Zerrin Leech and I look forward to meeting any parents interested in finding out more about our decision to open a third Reception class this September. We are excited by the prospect of having classes of 18 coming through Pre-Prep and strengthening the reputation of the school.

Parents have suggested we also hold morning slots for parents to come and find out more and I think this is an excellent suggestion. I will announce the dates next week.

This weekend some of our senior students in Year 6 are being assessed for scholarships into Year 7 here. Since our scholarship programme was introduced in my first year of headship here, we have seen considerable success in our scholarship rates to senior schools and I believe that offering a challenging curriculum for the very top students actually enhances it for every single child.

Visitors always comment on the buzz around the school on a normal day and we all love being a part of that every day.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend I hope the sun shines on you and I look forward to seeing many of you next week. 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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