Head’s Blog 9th February 2018 Friday 9th February 2018

This short holiday is a great time to pause, reflect, and rest after a busy half term. I hope you have a good rest and some fun with your children. I was delighted last Friday to be at the Year 2 bench ball tournament, which was very well-organised and very well-supported by parents. It was lovely to see the teamwork and a clear understanding of how to win and play well, even if the teamwork consisted of passing from boy to boy or a girl to girl! I was impressed by their throwing and catching skills and by the extent to which they looked for a place to play.

Friday evening’s drama duologue competition was another moment of great pleasure at St Michael’s, as parents gathered to watch and frankly marvel at the achievements of the pairs competing for the winners’ crystal trophy. Again, since last year, the children’s understanding has moved on about polish and preparation. It works well for the juniors to be present at the senior competition and understand how they might still further refine what they do. Judging and deciding the winners was an unenviable task and I would like to congratulate every single pair that participated.  Hats off too, to the pupils who still attended, even though their own partner was unwell and they could not compete. You can read more in Mr Powell’s article later in this newsletter.

Enjoying performance seems to be the theme of the week and we have had many enthusiastic and delighted emails from parents who attended the Year 3&4 O2 trip on Monday night. Mr Wiseman did a good job tweeting photos and film as the day went along and it was interesting to learn from the Czerkawska family that film footage from Monday night, shared on Facebook, even made the TV news in South Africa because one of the songs was about rain in Africa which is currently very much needed

https://m.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/watch-heartrending-moment-thousands-of-uk-kids-sing-for-rain-in-cape-town-20180207

On Wednesday evening, The Ten, our a cappella choir, enjoyed a trip to Cadogan Hall with more than generous staff to pupil ratios, to a concert performed by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers; a veritable baroque feast, which included Vivaldi’s Gloria,  which later on this year we shall be singing in our final end of year concert. Our pupils were the only children at the concert and drew comment from surrounding concertgoers because of their focus and clear enjoyment as well as exemplary behaviour. It was delightful that the conductor came out to meet our party briefly after the concert. You can see photos on my Twitter feed.

This weekend Year 6 will be receiving offers of places from many different schools and parents are free to call me on Monday or Tuesday when I shall be at work and available to talk things through. Our own scholarship results were mailed to families yesterday too and we look forward very much to a vibrant and successful Year 7 and 8 with, we hope,  many of those currently in Year 6 staying on.

It was fun to have lunch with Year 5 on Tuesday and meet parent reps the following morning for coffee. I’m always pleased to talk about life in the school and get feedback from those living it. There is a great deal of positivity amongst them about their experience here and they are challenged to find something that they think should be better. Their candour, however, can help us to tweak small things here and there and clarify expectations when these are not being met, so it’s a vital part of a reflective process of self-evaluation.

Sometimes, when I meet parents, I am told things that are being discussed in the car park that are so far removed from the reality of school that it’s very difficult to understand how these rumours started. If you do hear anything that makes you worried or anxious about St Michael’s, please do come and check out with me whether what you’ve heard is true. Real partnership with parents lies at the heart of everything we do with your children and we listen and we change if people have good ideas that will make the school better.

This week’s fable was that if you want to go to Sevenoaks you have to leave St Michael’s. It is an extraordinary thought that this is a real concern for parents. It is not true. Over the last few years approximately one third of our cohort has left St Michael’s for Sevenoaks over two entry points and we have a very strong links with the school, whose own staff often place their children here. We have a governor from Sevenoaks School at all times on governing body and Sevenoaks School recommends St Michael’s to parents looking for places at schools, which will prepare them well for entry.

Today the school is unusually quiet as you all begin your half term and I and my colleagues set out to visit other schools to exchange ideas and develop our provision. I hope that you have a wonderful break and look forward to seeing you fresh-faced and raring to go on Monday 19th.

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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