Head’s Blog 2nd September Monday 2nd September 2019

Building for the Future; Some thoughts about community as we start the new year.  

If you had been lucky enough to have stood in front of the new church our friends in Chunyu, Tanzania are building, you would marvel not only in its construction but what it represents about community. Firstly each brick is fashioned by hand for the building. Secondly each brick has been laid with manpower from the congregation. Thirdly the church is being built because the current church can’t fit in everyone who wants to come. Fourthly some of the bricks have been paid for by money sent to our friends in Chunyu, from the village, from the church here and our schools.

In any relationship, there is learning and discovery, there are questions and sometimes difficult answers and there is growth and connection. Thus our partnership brings with it opportunities for us to learn, discover, ask questions, listen to the answers and be inspired to take action.

Mirroring in some ways the brick by brick growth of the church in Chunyu, in our schools and in our village, there is building happening for the future. In the village, crowd funding has enabled works to start on the new Learning Space for the school and the photos now give a little sense of what will be achieved once work is underway. Up on the hill we are converting a disused stable block into three new classrooms. Alongside the church is a splendid new extension, beautifully crafted with respect for the old and stylish designs for the new, which will help us meet the needs of all visitors, seeking the peace to say a prayer, wanting the company of other people, celebrating markers of the church and farming year, for those who are baptised or laid to rest and their families and those who marry here.

In all of these projects there is someone with vision and drive, and a whole team of volunteers and professionals who make the vision a reality. But what is much, much more important than the bricks and the space are the possibilities that these buildings offer for growth and connection.

A huge number of people have generously given money, time, talents to get these four projects going. New understanding is already growing about the potential to deliver a shared experience in each of our new spaces, whether it be as in Chunyu, enough space for everyone to attend a service, or in the village school, the possibility for children to make music and share their thinking in the Learning Space, whether it enables children to enjoy bright new classrooms at St Michael’s  or encourage community groups to be based in our church room and grow connections and opportunities. Whilst undoubtedly the bricks and mortar aspect are crucial parts of the projects, it is the people and what they might learn and do and share and how they might grow and connect which is really what the future is all about.

Jill Aisher (Tanzania Partnership team member)


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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