Head’s Blog 8th February 2019 Friday 8th February 2019

Happy Year of the Pig to all.  It’s been wonderful to share the celebrations and join the party! I’m proud of the rich international dimension that our parents bring.

In another life I once interviewed a lady who had been out of work for a very long time. On asking the question “What is your proudest professional moment?” there was a sharp intake of breath and the lady replied in the most disapproving tone “pride is a sin”.

I recognise that there are generations of people who were taught that but I would not agree that it is appropriate to teach it now. Pride at accomplishment is a great contributor to self-esteem and this week there have been some fantastic opportunities for children to feel proud. For the first two days of the week many children took music exams which they have been preparing for some time. I hope that they and you are proud of these milestones.

On Wednesday evening at the Interhouse Drama Duologue competition, we were given an astonishing array of sophisticated and emotionally mature performances from the Year 3 “Romeo and Juliet” balcony scene to the winning senior entry’s extract from “Blood Brothers”.

Frankly it was an unbelievable privilege to be in the room and the young people who got up and performed demonstrated phenomenal commitment, talent and understanding of what was required that can only be born of inspirational teaching. The winning junior entry, a powerful and word perfect performance of Prospero and Caliban’s exchange at the start of “The Tempest” delivered with thunderous confidence by Year 4’s A McRae and I Sharma was simply jaw-dropping.

So yes I feel pride and I want to tell everybody I meet how proud I was of every single child in that competition. Congratulations to all involved and to Alan Powell for creating the context in which this is “normal”. Our grateful thanks to Kate Weston for coming to judge this exceptional evening’s competition.

Throughout the week pupils have been thinking about the issue of having permission in the context of online and internet safety. The current culture of sharing is one in which modified images are the norm and may create a false sense of what is real and true and where some more unguarded moments may one day come back to haunt people if the sharing is too personal.

Pupils in Pre-Prep and in Prep have been thinking about whether they have permission to share images and information about their friends and in Prep we have watched some videos where children discuss what it feels like to have images of them shared online without their permission.

As parents in this digital age, if we are on social media, we of course have shared images of our children, probably because we are proud of them but sometimes to share their calamities and this week I have learnt a new word which I am happy to appropriate into my repertoire; “Sharenting”.

As is indicated by this word, sharenting involves parenting in a digital manner and sharing images of children regularly. Perhaps we should pause for thought about how we have sought permission to share. Did we ask our children? Do they even know? If they don’t, is this right?

The following video links might help you explore these ideas further and the third link is the one I showed to Prep school, where children are talking about how, on occasions their friends or their parents have embarrassed them with the images they have posted online and the comments these have generated.

https://www.bbc.com/ownit/its-personal/max-and-harvey-social-media-rules

https://www.bbc.com/ownit/its-personal/oti-mabuse-the-trouble-with-sharing

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/38841469

Of course with so many families spread across the globe the internet and photo sharing is a wonderful thing but perhaps we do need to come back to the fundamental principle that the person in the photo does have rights over how it is used and we as parents ought to start asking permission before we post.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend enjoy every minute and perhaps consider do I really need to share?

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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