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

After last week’s “snowmageddon” as it has been inventively called, came “fun in the sun” week. It has been glorious for all the trips and events planned this week and from Jersey we have been glad to receive photographs of our pupils enjoying all of the outside sporting and cultural treats that have been arranged for them, following their Common Entrance mocks week.

All our visiting parents and pupils this week have found Saint Michael’s in the midst of a creative burst. The presentations on Wednesday morning of this term’s challenge project had staff excitedly meeting in corridors to share what they had seen and heard.

Videos, PowerPoints, artefacts and performances are some of the many responses to this term’s challenge project and I have received some nominations already for Headteacher’s stars that lift the standards to yet another level.

Year 6 were quite stunned to meet Frances Osei, who visited on Wednesday morning and came to talk to them about making the right choices in life following his stint in prison for being involved in and not reporting gang crime. Some of the Year 6 were moved to think how changed Francis’s life was by this terrible experience.

Meanwhile the drama room was taken over by a bevy of beautiful Roman ladies (aka Year 4 parents), who came to support Year 4’s Roman Day and join in the hands-on learning in our History Off the Page workshop. Mosaics, wax tablets, oil lamps, jewellery and charms were created and, of course, the physicians learned how to mix their potions, all under the strict supervision of the mistresses in charge of their stalls.  The children thoroughly enjoyed their day – overheard in the corridors “I LOVED it!”  and from one of our parents “Super learning experience!”  Thank you to all the parents who joined us to make this day possible and to Mr Morgan for organising it.

The members of the orchestra who travelled to King’s Rochester enjoyed their rehearsals and performances of “In Dreams / The Black Rider” from Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore and “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter by John Williams.  Sophie said afterwards “We played really great pieces and it sounded cool with all the different orchestral instruments. I really liked the harp glissandi which added a special touch of magic!”

Year 7 were lucky enough to listen to Professor Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London, speaking at New Beacon and found his talk on studying science or medicine as a future career “inspiring”, other comments from the children included “success doesn’t come overnight” and “try and try again until you succeed”.

I’m sure many of you in your workplace are now overfamiliar with the letters GDPR; The General Data Protection Regulation. For those of you who have missed the imminent forthcoming change in data compliance arrangements, the new regulation gives everybody more control over data that organisations have about them. We are asking the very few remaining parents to complete our data check launched last September as a matter of urgency now as our responsibility to hold accurate data about our families is matched by your responsibility to give it to us.

There are still six families in the school who have not returned amended sheets to us. They are yellow to make them easier to spot in that very important pile that you have somewhere in your house.

These families have already received two reminders from the school. Please help our fantastic administration team to close this file.

The proposed new curriculum for next year’s Year 7 met with general excitement from the parents who kindly attended our launch meeting on Wednesday evening and it has been good to get such positive feedback about our plans from both Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. Mrs Shield is organising a small working party from among this year’s Year 6 parents and anyone interested in joining that should be in contact with her directly at lshield@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

I look forward to seeing some of you at the Pre-Prep Mother’s Day assembly next week and at the performance of Lord of the Flies which is coming soon.

Here’s hoping for a more spring-like weekend for you to enjoy.

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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