Head’s Blog 26th January 2018 Friday 26th January 2018

At last this week has held some sunshine for us and as I write this, the grounds will have the chance to dry out and recover from the battering of the wind and rain. Whatever the weather on the outside, on the inside of the building it’s always sunny at St Michael’s and I’m still enjoying the pleasure of this morning’s performance platform for our beginner musicians in Prep. All of us present took pleasure from the performances themselves, from the standards achieved and personalities shining through.

We were lucky to have assemblies and workshops from the NSPCC this week exploring children’s right to be safe and well-cared for and teaching children how to understand if adults behave inappropriately and how to access support and help. I commend the links sent by Mr Baird and look forward to being able to fundraise to support the teaching of the safeguarding curriculum in more schools. The wellbeing group had an excellent meeting yesterday I understand and are moving forward with their action plan.

It was good to see such large numbers of interested parents at our meeting in Pre-Prep on Wednesday, to discuss our plans for adding a third reception class and developing Stable Court and I’m grateful to all the colleagues who were present and for all the parents who came and were eloquent and thoughtful in their questioning. We were asked if we could hold a daytime meeting for parents unable to come in the evening and would like to invite any of you who prefer this option to attend a meeting on Thursday 1st February at 11:30, when we will set aside an hour and a half to present to you and take your questions. Do let us know if you’re able to come by email to Jane Gray jgray@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

I enjoyed meeting and talking to pupils representing Year 3 over lunch in my office and they provided refreshingly honest feedback on things that made them happy and things that I could do to make them even happier! Hard on the heels of that, I was able to be better informed for my coffee morning with Year 3 parents and it was good to be able to iron out the important issues that bother parents and catch up and clarify information that has been missed or needs better explanation.  Thank you to the Year 3 reps who collated and collected questions and were able to take back, I hope, useful answers.

Following the P & F AGM last week, I would like formally to reiterate the thanks of the P & F to Anna Smith, who has been an outstanding treasurer for them for the last two years. Cheerful, efficient, a magician with pie charts, she brings a great deal of wisdom and commitment to the whole endeavour of the P & F and although she is stepping down from her role and should be congratulated for doing it so successfully, I know we will all benefit from her continuing presence in support of the P & F. It is particularly delightful to report that Anna’s elder son Kobi has been playing at national level tennis recently and, having reached the semi-finals, is now ranked number four in Great Britain for his age. With one more competition to go we join his parents’ excitement at what lies ahead. Congratulations, Kobi.

Next week I shall enjoy interviewing scholars for Years 7 and 8. The standard of their applications is extremely impressive and I particularly enjoy the clear evidence that the vast majority of them have been done unaided by the children and are clearly written from the heart.

I hope this weekend that the sun will continue to shine that you will be able to enjoy some outside time and some time together. 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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