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

This week before I set off for my interesting inspection, I continued my environmental theme for the children in Prep with my focus on how to reduce plastic in the bedroom.

For many children the most obvious source of plastic will be the variety of games and toys made of plastic that they have In their bedrooms. And of course the ones made of plastic will give both pleasure and opportunities to learn despite the fact that the material from which they are made will not break down for 1000 years. So all of us in choosing and selecting toys in the future must give thought to the materials from which they are made as well as their educational or play value.
Alongside this of course could be consideration of acquiring toys secondhand from charity shops, family and friends and indeed passing on, as routine, unwanted toys for rainy day boxes at school or charity shops or perhaps by holding a garage sale of your own for a favourite charity.

My greatest surprise however has been in discovering the prevalence of plastic in our clothes as of course all synthetic materials are indeed a form of plastic. Nylon, acrylic, polyester; all easy to wear and easy to wash clothing but there is a cost to the planet in these clothes that we are only just beginning to explore.

It is suggested that as a result of one wash 17 million tiny fibres of synthetic material are released into the water systems and our water treatment facilities do not have filters small enough to trap such particles. They have been found in mussels, water, in the sand on our beaches and in the air and we do not know yet what will happen to our digestive system now that we routinely eat these fibres.

Practical things that each of us can do are as follows:

  • Fill the washing machine and do not run it half full
  • Wear clothes for longer before you wash them
  • Always wash at low temperatures
  • Reduce spin speeds
  • Buy natural products, when shopping for clothes and if not finding natural products talk to the shop manager and let them know that you will be leaving without making a purchase because of this
  • Buy and wear second hand clothes.
  • Free yourself from the fashion mentality that requires us to buy more and more clothes

I have purchased something that I did not know existed this week to help prevent the fibres getting into the water stream in my house. It’s called a Guppy bag and is a large mesh bag with a very fine material into which I shall place my synthetic clothes and from which I look forward to extracting fibres which make their way to the seams of the bag after every wash. I shall experiment with keeping them in a jar to see how many I get!

Do join me in this endeavour if you fancy a challenge!

It is likely that the fibres in our oceans soak up dangerous chemicals and therefore provide them in a more concentrated format, thus when ingested they become part of our food chain and present risk to our livers and kidneys and nervous system.

I very much hope that some of our pupils at St Michael’s today will go on to be the scientists that keep this topic on the agenda and explore the impact, or that they will become textile scientists to investigate more environmentally friendly materials.

You might find this nine minute video, part of which I shared with the children, an interesting point for discussion in your house this weekend  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41adXNYDgeE

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!

Weekly eNewsletter