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

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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