Head’s Blog 4th May Friday 4th May 2018

In chapel today we prayed for those starting exams or tests. For some children of all ages, being asked to show what they can do with no help can be daunting or stressful and for others it can be exciting and even fun.  For us the most important thing is that children feel confident that we only want to know what they can do on their own.

Keeping a rhythm and routine is an important way to support your children as they approach tests and exams. We wish everyone with impending tests the very best of luck.

Working with parents is an important part of what we do and it is delightful to get to know families really, really well. There are however, some formalities that need to be observed. Firstly attendance at school is compulsory unless you home educate your child. I remain concerned at the number of requests I receive for absence from school for non-essential reasons and whilst we do have a good relationship with parents and support you in bringing up your children, I would request that everybody tries to keep these absence requests to the absolute minimum. Can I please remind parents that a request for absence involves asking permission from the Headteacher and I do not expect, nor is it legal for me to allow, parents to email the form teacher instead of me  and inform us that a child will be off unless, of course, they are ill. An absence request at the very least involves a question and an answer.

The topic of selection for teams has featured a great deal this week and I would like to put some context on some of the conversations that have taken place between parents and the sports department. We are totally committed to sport for all, to learning through teamwork through winning and losing graciously, to experiencing competitive sport at all levels and through sport, growing healthy, happy, active and successful children.

Some parents have very strong views about what team they believe their child should be picked for and I must make it clear that these decisions are made at school by staff who teach the children, watch the children, set standards for the children and have expectations of the children.

The beauty of having so many teams is that children can experience success and win and lose at the appropriate level for their skills. Some children progress quickly up the teams as their skills are honed. Some remain faithful members of the teams into which they were first put.

We are just as proud of the children in our F teams as in our A teams and children have won house points and nominations as man or player of the match for great leadership, team play or sportsmanship in a number of different teams for both girls and boys.

I have complete faith in the department to pick the appropriate teams, playing children up or down according to the evidence from lessons and their attitude towards instruction and improvement.

As parents, please try hard to support your child and their teacher by your encouragement at the pitch side and by positive talk about how they performed in and for their team.

With the long and hopefully sunny bank holiday weekend ahead of us I wish you all a pleasant extra day of rest and family time. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday. Have a great bank holiday weekend.

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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