Head’s Blog 23rd February 2018 Friday 23rd February 2018

No current pupil or parent at St Michael’s can be unaware of the fantastic news of Lizzy Yarnold’s second gold at the Winter Olympics. We tweeted a congratulatory video message for her and have been delighted that parents have joined in and liked our tweets.

We keep everything crossed for Tom Bosworth this weekend as he takes part in the IAAF Glasgow Indoor Championships race walk on Sunday afternoon. Coverage is on BBC2 at 2.45pm. Everyone at St Michael’s is wishing him the very best of luck.

This week has been extremely busy and I’m sorry if there are those among you awaiting a response to an email from me. It will happen!

I enjoyed meeting Year 6 for lunch on Tuesday. They were reflective and positive and honest and open; all qualities we strive to encourage here. Meeting the Year 6 Parent Reps on Thursday was also enjoyable and helpful.

In Prep this week I talked to the children about different forms of online attention. We thought about different scenarios, where children receive attention online, in order to distinguish between healthy attention and “bad” attention. Some children may choose to take up my challenge to write a poem, that might help other children to remember what behaviours encourage good attention online. Do ask them to tell you what they learnt.

The digital leaders’ trip to the Apple Store this week was a great success and they came back enthused from their training session with the Apple educators.

Next week we are holding an information evening on Wednesday for anyone interested in learning more about our plans to change the Year 7 & 8 curriculum, now that Common Entrance is no longer a requirement for entry into the top schools.

We had a good clutch of scholarship announcements from senior schools just before half term and whilst not all of these will be accepted we very much look forward to publishing our scholarship results when acceptances are confirmed later this month.

In Pre-Prep this morning we looked at the symbolism of our school crest and its relationship to the name of the school. Well done to Millie and Priya for asking for this assembly when they were in Reception.

There has been a good deal of talk about guns in schools, inevitably fuelled by President Trump’s suggestions this week. Arthur in Year 4 engaged me in some great debate on the subject yesterday at lunch with his friends and earnestly told me that in the States children get shot in schools because anyone can buy a gun. However, English children don’t get shot in schools because we have strict gun laws; he drew his strong and well-argued conclusion from these facts. I was surprised and pleased at the level of debate, justification, interest and insight and frankly very impressed. All our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible tragedy which we all believe could and should have been prevented. Our own lockdown procedures are now almost ready to share and to hold a drill for and I am only sad that we live in times where preparation for such events is now a part of every school calendar.

Excitement is building as the weekend approaches for many children in Prep, who will be attending the disco tonight. As a child myself, the Christmas party dance was my favourite day of the year and I look forward to our young people letting their hair down and having a lot of fun. This weekend, while Miss Booth has her Aerobathon at school, Mrs Bridges and I and I’m sure many of you will be attending the Dance Act show at the Stag theatre in which many St Michael’s pupils will be performing.

Whatever you are doing this weekend have fun and enjoy the sunshine before the big freeze next week.

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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