Head’s Blog 28th April 2017 Friday 28th April 2017

It’s been a lively week at school and a lovely one too. The school has been alive with the sound of music, tour music rehearsals, show music rehearsals and a lot of people working hard for the next grade this summer. I’m going for Grade 2 myself and I’m a bit nervous now with 2 months to go!

I awarded on Monday my Headteacher’s Special award badge (think St Michael’s meets Blue Peter) to H Martin and I Sharma for representing England in their chosen sports. We will keep you up to date with their next competitions.

Highlights of my week have included, seeing the bean and seed packets growing in Year 2, watching a phonics session in Year 3, listening to the magical performance poetry from Valerie Bloom as she whipped the pupils on a tour of life as a child in Jamaica and involved them in her show, planning for the future development of the Hive, listening to most thoughtful prayers in chapel today, being part of a productive and fun P and F meeting on Tuesday evening with some cracking pie charts and some cracking of jokes too and finally, taking receipt of my kit bag and instructions for the Music Tour next week. What a wonderful trip is planned.

The rather lovely lady from “Muddy Stilettos” very much loved her time here and wrote with a bit of fizz about what St Michael’s is like. It’s fun when you take visitors round on a normal day because normal here is so very full of things to be proud of.  We do seem to have had a great deal of interest in visiting the school and we will be welcoming some lovely new students next year to join our “family”.

Amongst my colleagues in the state sector a bit of crisis is looming, the new funding formula is definitely impacting on staffing levels, provision for special needs, the ability to provide certain subjects, and there are redundancies sweeping across the sector as well as a recruitment crisis building.

The National Association of Head teachers in the run up to the election have today produced a document which will feature widely five priorities that my colleagues leading in the state sector are grappling with and want politicians to take seriously.

  1. To fund education fully and fairly, reversing the £3bn real terms cuts that schools are facing and providing enough money to make the new national funding formula a success.
  2. To put forward a national strategy for teacher recruitment and retention that recognises teachers as high-status professionals and guarantees enough teachers for every school.
  3. To adopt fair methods to hold schools to account, recognising that test and exam results are only part of the picture when judging a pupil’s success or a school’s effectiveness.
  4. To value a broad range of subjects in the school day so that pupils’ opportunities are not limited and they are properly prepared for adult life.
  5. To make sure that schools are supported by health and social care services to allow schools to fulfil their role to promote pupil wellbeing rather than making up for cuts to other services.

We of course wholeheartedly endorse those priorities but our experience is very different as we plan for next year. And for that good fortune, we are very blessed.

As I set off for Bruges with my colleagues in the Music department, we will keep in touch on Twitter. Do follow me @StMichaelsHead.  I leave you in the capable hands of my colleagues and would crave your patience if wanting to be in touch while I focus on the tour party for a week.

Enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday. At least it promises not to repeat the “hail stopped play” experience we had on Wednesday which was unusual for the time of year, to say the least. I recommend avoiding traffic jams by staying at home and if you have one, enjoying your gardens or parks.  Do spare a thought for the tour meeting at school at 6.00 am!

Have a great extended weekend.

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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