Head’s Blog 4th July 2019 Thursday 4th July 2019

At the season of farewells and celebrations, I am always delighted to mark individual and collective success through the giving of prizes. One could argue that there does seem to be a tension between the idea of singling out people to say well done and being an inclusive school. And when I’m in my scholarship interviews with Year 6 I ask them whether it’s right to give prizes and have scholarships in an inclusive school. The range of answers is quite illuminating. For some the suggestion that there perhaps might not be scholarships in an inclusive world when they are so near to securing one is potentially a most unexpected hurdle and this question precipitates a complex series of emotions in the children. For those who are able to take their own situation out of it, and consider the question purely philosophically, their responses are pleasingly in line with my own thinking on many occasions. Everyone should be given the chance to excel, whatever their ability and excellence has many, many, forms. In catering for those who sit at the very top in their particular area, one is securing an extremely high standard for everyone around them. That is what motivates me and all my colleagues here to offer the astonishing range of high-quality experiences, some of which we will be celebrating and showcasing on Monday and Tuesday at our prize-giving ceremonies.

I am absolutely certain that in meeting the needs of the very best pupils at St Michael’s I am securing the highest quality opportunity for all.

I enjoyed presenting certificates at the Reception end of year celebration on Wednesday. It was clear to everyone there just how far each child has come on their educational journey. They spoke confidently about their highlights and the artwork on the walls was delightfully varied in the responses that children made to what they had enjoyed this year.

An impressive group of parents kindly volunteered to come and explain their professional roles and how they came to have them this week at our Year 8 careers breakfast event. A DJ, a musician, financiers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, medics, engineers, you name it we had them and they presented with energy and spoke highly of the reaction they had from our Year 8 leavers. We are immensely grateful.

In all of the busyness of the last five days of term I do hope that you will have a chance to thank the teachers and assistants who worked most closely with your children , and the office, IT, catering and grounds staff who make everything work so smoothly for us all at one of the many events where we will share some time together.

I very much look forward to seeing many of you at Prep school sports day tomorrow and at the campout and Old Michaelians’ reunion that is set alongside this incredible day. Watch out for the tweets!

This time next week we should all be in the early days of our long summer holidays.

I hope you enjoy the final few days of what is an incredibly busy and rewarding term. Have a great 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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