Head’s Blog 8th December 2017 Friday 8th December 2017

I am not sure if there is a collective noun for nativity plays but if there isn’t there should be and I think it would be “a delectation of…”

 

Those of you with more than one child at St Michael’s will have experienced a veritable delectation of nativities this week and I did too.

 

The Nursery nativity with its counting songs and simple actions was brilliantly directed by Kâren Stibbons in full puppet master mode and the children were captivated by the opportunity to make the noises of the animals and join in the songs as much as the adults were captivated by their performance.

 

Kindy’s performance of what I call “Round the Back” was also at the front, down the sides and in the middle (!) and they certainly loved their costumes and the fact that mums and dads and grannies and grandads were there to admire their performance.

 

Reception’s wonderful” Christmas Celebration” delighted us with the traditional Nativity story, complemented by songs, sung with enthusiasm and panache, although one young performer was less than impressed that Mrs Leech invited our parents and grandparents to join in at the end!

 

Years 1 & 2 gave an assured performance of “A Midwife Crisis” with a veritable panoply of witty and fast-paced lines that they had mastered and were clearly enjoying in their singing.

With a large number of solo performance opportunities and a great deal of enjoyment therein, the audience caught a sense of fun as well as having admiration for what was achieved.

In all of this lies the dedicated work of Sally Beesley who is phenomenal. Each year group staff team joins me in thanking her for training all the children to sing with pleasure and for our delight.

 

On Wednesday evening when the lights went down for Year 3’s production of “Christmas is Forever”, the dashing Jane Blonde was drafted in to rescue and release Father Christmas from his evil kidnapper. Each class took turns to take the story from start to finish and there was a great deal to be proud of: assured and lively singing, a sense of timing for the jokes, the overcoming of nerves to stand on stage and be heard, and the milking of certain scenes by several children who definitely feel at home on stage and may turn out to make it their future.

 

No one present could fail to be impressed and the energy of everyone was palpable. I congratulate Alan, Gordon, Lauren, Seppie and Anna and all the mums and dads who help with costumes, Mark for help with catering and the drama scholars who helped with the technical aspects.  It was a joyful affair and one of many this week.

 

This morning’s Christmas concert at breakfast time set off the weekend in snazzy Christmas style. The showcase of ensembles, groups and bands which now regularly rehearse and perform is amazing. And the journeys of the performers in those bands is a pleasure to behold. Repertoire chosen is increasingly complex and demanding and the standards achieved are impressively high.

 

One of the joys of this annual event is the relaxed atmosphere created by Mr Baird and his team, which expresses itself visibly in the array of festive adornments sported by each performer. I must confess that I’m guilty of breaking one of the Ten Commandments today as there were some incredible festive sunglasses which I particularly coveted!

 

Alongside the incredible week of nativities of course, we were launched into Christmas at the P&F Christmas Fair which was a happy, successful and exciting occasion for all those present. We are truly grateful to Claire, Sadie, Tracey, Anna, Charlie and Jules for their fantastic work making it happen and to the army of helpers, who came, smiled, decorated, organised, sold, cooked, took money, cleared up and served up Christmas in style.  Thank you from all of us at St Michael’s for another fabulous fair.

 

We do hope to see you at our very special carol service on Wednesday evening at Shoreham church.

 

As we take time to reflect on the central message of the Nativity story we shall also take turns to sing, pray and celebrate together the true meaning of Christmas.

 

I very much look forward to seeing you there.

 

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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