Head’s Blog Friday 27th January 2017

It was fantastic to be able to share in the fun that had been had by all the visiting pupils and staff on Tuesday for our Jazz day. It was amazing. The Pre-Prep Hall was crammed with musicians and most of the workshop leaders were St Michael’s staff taking sectionals for  brass, woodwind, piano, drums and song. The happy buzz (and frankly at times blare!) from the rehearsal phase lent a special funky feeling to the day and it was tremendous to hear what could be achieved by talented young people coming to work together to provide such enjoyment for themselves and for the proud assembled audience of parents and teachers.

Big brassy “thank yous” to all our peripatetic staff involved, ably led by Gordon and Sally; Matt, Jack, Jo, Emily and  Rob and to Sue and Pete for lending us their professional expertise for the day and coming to join us and for all the musical parents who came in to swell the sound.

In the background there was estates involvement getting seating, instruments and stands there, catering contributions from Mark and Andrea, goodie bags and publicity from the marketing team and we enjoyed hosting those members of the district and parish councils who came along too. Very much St Michael’s does talent.  

It’s been good to share in celebrating Chinese new year this week with an amazing Chinese lunch on Wednesday , complete with fortune cookies and surprise prizes hidden in the dining room. Pre-Prep look forward to their Chinese themed day next week and there will be some amazing photos to share of the visitors’ workshops.

I’ve been enjoying watching lessons a lot this week. Seeing first-hand what my colleagues can create and deliver in such short time slots is a constant marvel and delight and watching children engage, persevere, succeed and reflect is an exciting privilege.

Next week we are going to have a trial run of the survey you will get from ISI for an Inspection. There aren’t many questions to answer but you can help us to be ready by answering them all honestly and taking part. The real survey answers, when sent by ISI, won’t come to us but will shape the focus of part of the Inspection.  We also look forward next week to seeing many of the Prep children at the discos next Friday, before and after which there will be a chance for you to buy your P and F Comedy Night tickets.

The snow antics of a week ago have found their way into the press as has our launch of this year’s Curiosity Curriculum for Year 7.

I enjoyed sharing the enormous wasp nest that was recently removed from my loft at home with the children in Pre-Prep over the assemblies these past two weeks. They have been able to look first hand at its incredible construction and learn about the life cycle of the social wasps as well as seeing gruesome videos of some of the burrowing predatory wasps that tackle cicadas and tarantulas. The Prep will be getting their wasp induction on Monday!  Having two assemblies a week for the past 16 years means that pretty well anything I see, do or learn ends up transforming itself into an assembly some time. But I must say my brain and pupils (as in your children!)  have become the repositories of the most bizarre collection of facts. So how many of you knew that wasps can determine the gender of their offspring and that social wasps lay six female wasps first so that they can build the hive?  How can I have got to the age of 54 without knowing this?!

For those parents and families heading off for tournaments this weekend, enjoy… For those keeping warm inside I wish you equal pleasure.

 

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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