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

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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