Head’s Blog 3rd November 2017 Friday 3rd November 2017

A warm, or perhaps I should say more accurately a cold welcome back to all of you after the half term break. I for one, after a pleasant trip to sunnier climes was a little bit shocked to be scraping frost off my car on Monday morning! However once at school the smiles of the children and yes the staff too, soon warmed me up and I found my rhythm at work again.

I have very much enjoyed being in lessons this week and have taken pleasure from watching Nursery children combining fine motor skills, learning about the world, and discussing shapes and numbers as they made pipe cleaner birdfeeders with Cheerios for our feathered friends.

In the pool this week there was hot and focused work going on by Year 4 as they perfected their front crawl, in Year 7 I enjoyed a fine French lesson and today was delighted to be in an outstanding lesson with Year 4 focusing on prayer; what it is and what it does.

The quality of thinking and depth of exploration in just a short time moved me and reminded me what a privilege it is to work with the children and the team at St Michael’s

On Thursday we spoke to the Year 6 pupils and to parents both within and beyond the school about the benefits of Year 7 and 8 at St Michael’s. What that will be like in the future will be changing and it’s an exciting thought that offers of senior school places will take place earlier and that Common Entrance, where it is required, will be for setting purposes only.

We hope that Year 6 parents have received the scholarship booklet and will consider their child making an application to win an award and become a senior pupil leading the other pupils at St Michael’s.

It was a great privilege this Wednesday to be at the first performance by the Belgian piano duo B!z’Art, who cast their spell on the audience with a mixture of storytelling, piano playing and slapstick to encourage the children to “get inside” the music.

Perhaps my favourite moment was when Kian joined in, playing a duet for one of the Mother Goose pieces.   I also enjoyed both the piece called “Blind Man’s Buff”, which was played blindfold and “Beauty and the Beast”, when the rather fetching cascade of curls of the blonde, wig-wearing Beauty, was joined by a fearsomely masked Beast as his theme began to play.

Their piano playing was technically and emotionally very fine and the presentation kept the children engaged for almost an hour.

http://www.duobizart.be/CV1_en.htm

In a week in which spiritually we celebrate All Saints and All Souls in chapel, but threw in Halloween and fireworks night as well, the school has responded by focusing in chapel on mastering fear through faith and self-belief, thinking about how the “light inside“ can make you feel good.

I felt happy to receive post cards from Alex and Amy, telling me what they could hear on their holidays and from Arabella and unsigned from Dubai, telling me all about their fun in the sun.

It was good in Pre-Prep to share what I learnt this summer about puffins on the Westman Isles in Iceland with the children and staff.  The puffins end up in the town, confused by the lights and are hunted by torchlight and kept in boxes.  Our pupils could hardly believe their eyes, seeing the children launching rescued puffins into the skies over the sea.

It was lovely to have 3C sharing their good manners assembly this morning.  An effective and touching presentation, which reminded everyone about manners and respect.  As Ishwar said “Good manners can turn into friendship; friendship can turn into love and love can turn into life”.

We are all looking forward to feeling good tonight when we gather together as a community to celebrate fireworks night and I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can to round off the week with a bang!

Whatever you’re doing this weekend stay safe, keep your pets inside, keep children away from fireworks, and have some fun.

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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