Head’s Blog Friday 13th January 2017

In a week where we went from enjoying temperatures fit for spring, to arctic, swirling, settling snow, I know that for many, the journey home yesterday took on epic and scary proportions; sliding cars, abandoned vehicles, snowy walks.

Perhaps amidst the evening came thoughts for those who have this and homelessness or hunger to contend with, perhaps gratitude that for much of the time journeys are so easy, perhaps excitement at the possibilities for play that lie ahead!

Whatever your story, we would love to have your snow-inspired thoughts this week. I’ve already had two evening emails expressing gratitude for Ian and the team who were amazing yesterday and are every day; out gritting, ploughing snow, even feeding the staff who became trapped for a period at school this evening; always giving and putting others first. We all want to thank you and your team and family.

It was fantastic to be up and running as usual today. There was a great spirit amongst the staff and most children got here eventually. We had an awesome time out on the field building snowmen, making snow angels and having a huge snowball fight. “This is the best day ever at St Michael’s” said Isabelle in Year 3. Even some of the teachers joined in. As the pictures show there’s no day like a snow day!

This week we have also been thinking about the giving of gifts at Epiphany, how the symbolism of riches, prayer and death were rather astonishingly encapsulated in the three kings’ gifts and how we might consider the value of unusual and personal gifts and whether we too can give more.

Not through spending money or flashing amazing items about, but through little touches, thoughtfulness, going beyond what is expected. We certainly had a lot of that tonight.

One group who give a great deal are the Parents and Friends committee and we enjoyed a lively and positive meeting on Wednesday evening, with lots of great ideas being discussed and a review of a very successful year of events. I congratulate everyone involved in P&F, whether as Rep or committee member, and all of you who support them.

It was pleasure to meet both parents and children from Year 3 this week. Although perhaps the children were more wide-eyed and excited to be chatting in my office over lunch, the parents were also on good form when we met! We had so much to talk through that we will reconvene in two weeks’ time.

I thoroughly enjoyed lunching with Year 8 last Friday, when we discussed a variety of topics, which inevitably included Senior School applications and much more besides. Perhaps the highlight of this week was watching young Sophie who came to dance for me. I had a private dance performance with passion, talent and intensity which touched me greatly. Next week we look forward to receiving Bishop James on Thursday to confirm our 9 candidates. All children in Years 6, 7 and 8 will be supporting them as they make their promises and parents, godparents and friends and family are all most welcome.

Weather permitting, we will be assessing our young scholarship candidates this weekend and we always look forward to sharing what they are able to achieve through this process.

Congratulations to Henry Martin who has been selected to represent England in Fencing. We are so very proud, and many congratulations too to Oliver Pryal who is selected for the Kent Winter Cricket squad.

This term we will soon be starting our Senior School planning meetings with Year 5. Expect a letter and do get in touch to book your appointment.

For those of you who are children at heart, enjoy the snow this weekend. For the rest of you… stay safe and warm.

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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