Head’s Blog 21st April 2017 Friday 21st April 2017

Welcome back! I do hope you all had a Happy Easter break and spent quality time together as a family.  Welcome to our new pupils, Grace, Freddie and Clara. We hope you will be very happy here. Welcome also to our two new teachers, Sara Lake in Nursery and Rebecca Small as Head of Maths. They both bring a bit of fizz and a lot of experience to the school.  Holidays are such a wonderful opportunity for thinking and I’ve been blessed with a lovely two week break away in the Isles of Scilly.

I think there have been a few strands of thought that have dominated my moments watching the sun go down.

Firstly, how blessed we are in our lives in Kent as a community which is prosperous and largely safe because we are able to travel and have a change of scene when for far too many fellow human beings, the need to travel and change is associated with flight and fear and how draining and distressing this must be.

Secondly how much we can learn from taking the time to be outside and to look around us. I enjoyed collecting shells and learning how they grow, seeing a “Common” (aka extremely rare in England) Rock thrush and observing and photographing a Scilly Shrew (Britain’s smallest mammal)

Thirdly how important it is to interact as families, to talk and sing and play games together, to walk and be outside.  I find it particularly sad it is to see families in restaurants, all of whom are glued to electronic devices of one sort or another. I would urge all parents to make absolutely sure that as children are pushed around in pushchairs that they look around and observe the interesting sights around, that at meals and at tables in restaurants that you talk and play games and that screen time, which we are learning as a society can be detrimental to mental health and good relationships is kept to a minimum.

The children have been quick to tell me all the wonderful times they had on holiday, whether on the school ski-trip, having time to play and rest, or seeing relatives and friends.

A few of the children achieved some amazing sporting successes over the break; most notable in Prep was Henry Martin who took part in the Challenge Wratislava Fencing tournament in the English team.  Henry was part of a 30 strong England Sabre fencing team.  He did extremely well, coming 26th out of 130 fencers in the Under 13 category. He was the highest placed England Team Fencer and he still has another year in this category, so this is an exceptional result.

http://www.challengewratislavia.pl/en/results/current

You will find Henry under 27th March, U13 Boys’ Sabre. We are proud and delighted.

Congratulations too to Ishwar Sharma in Year 2, who has been invited to represent Great Britain in the World Games Yoga Championship to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal from June 15th to 18th 2017. He will be taking part in the sub junior level section of the yoga championship. Over the holidays Ishwar was awarded ‘ UK Talented Kid Of The Year Award’ by UK Telugu Association. Telugu is a Dravidian language native to India. It stands alongside Hindi, English, and Bengali as one of the few languages with official status in more than one Indian state. This Saturday, Ishwar is taking part in the national yoga championship www.ukysf.co.uk and we wish him well in this. Happily, in Prep on Monday he will be demonstrating some of the yoga that has brought him these triumphs in our assembly.

Ishwar has also been featured in Yoga Magazine OM, one of the leading yoga journals. Read OM’s article here

I hope that those St Michael’s parents attending the special tour and lunch at Sevenoaks school this weekend will enjoy this exclusive event and be impressed by what is on offer at Sevenoaks. We have a brilliant working relationship with the school and for our ablest children it is a great fit.

Using the Adventure Playground

At the end of term there was a second accident, this time by a Pre-Prep child using the monkey bars, which led to a broken arm. Having reviewed this accident formally, we would like to clarify that all users of the Adventure Playground out of hours must be supervised by an adult at all times. Children who have been collected by parents and are waiting for pick-up of Prep pupils are often allowed to play unsupervised by their parents and this must not happen. An adult must be there on the playground area. The monkey bars particularly, have rules for use which are displayed on signs on the bars themselves. Because they are not designed to be used by Pre-Prep children at all as the drop is too great for a small child to land safely, an adult must be underneath the child to catch them if they fall.

Other rules which have been explained to the children are as follows:

Do not use the monkey bars if they are wet

ONE CHILD ON THE BARS AT ANY TIME

Do not hang upside down or pull people off the equipment

Once on the ground, move away from underneath to help others land safely

Make sure you are strong enough to miss a bar if you are challenging yourself

Pre-Prep Children cannot use these bars without an adult ready to catch them

Some schools ban children from the adventure play area out of hours and some fence off the area so that it cannot be accessed. We do not wish to do this but you must help us to enable this to be available for all.

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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