Head’s Blog Friday 10th February 2017

Thank you to everyone who responded to our trial run survey. 139 respondents replied on behalf of the 187 families at the school. After half term I will write more about the information we received. Most scores were in the 90% agreed or more which is very pleasing!

As Internet safety awareness week has rolled on, pupils have been focussing on ways to keep safe online and have engaged in a number of e-safety activities which you can read about later in this newsletter.

Perhaps the highlight of my week was the amazing House Drama Duologue Competition. For anyone there it was a total treat. For the families of those performing and for the staff we had such joy and such pride in what was achieved by every pair on stage, whether the Year 3s flexing their dramatic muscles and revealing their “other side” or the humorous dialogues chosen by older students keen to entertain, or the challenging renditions of Dickens and Austen, delivered with assurance , maturity and genuine understanding, or the slightly surreal sketch where two wolves discussed the stereotyping they experience as they are portrayed  in literature. There could have been so many winners, our judge Anita Louise Combe , hotfoot from the West End stage picked some corkers but it was hard to select them from among so much talent. Congratulations to all who took part and thank you to the audience who buzzed with excitement. Drama is very much alive and kicking at St Michael’s

As we storm towards the half term lull I would like to thank all the children for working so hard this year so far and the staff who make the learning so enjoyable. Meeting some parents about to relocate to Europe this morning, they said “You must be very proud of all your teachers here”. I most certainly am.

Two special people are planning their retreat from St Michael’s and before I introduce you to their successors I would like to thank Sue Ringrose and Sally Worby for all that they have done and will continue to do until such time as they move on to their new lives.

Sue Ringrose leaves us at Easter for a part time maths leadership role at the lovely school at Skipper’s Hill and Sally Worby will retire and move to the West Country in the summer.

 Sue joined the staff in 1998 as a part-time head of ICT under Peter Roots and quickly established herself as a dedicated and able teacher, with a firm grasp on how IT should be developed and expanded and the drive to take IT at school forward. Her own children enjoyed being pupils at St Michael’s and when Sue leaves here a major chapter of her life will be closing. Sue is a high performing and dedicated member of staff, who in the latter part of her career here made a strong contribution to the School leadership team as well as taking on the maths department and securing, alongside her team,  fantastic results from students at CE. Over more than two decades at the school, Sue has given a great deal to St Michael’s, through her musical talents and gifts, through her passion for her charitable work for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and before she took over maths her management of IT was quite transformational. Many generations have much to be grateful for. Sue took on timetabling, and implemented the migration to SIMS, as well as leading training for staff and masterminding various roll outs of systems. Sue has prepared for handing over with exemplary dedication and we will be sorry to see her go. We hope that she will enjoy a more balanced working week and that we continue to see her here whenever she wishes to visit. 

Sally Worby came to us in September 2012 from Bethany School and has proved a capable, organised, enthusiastic and selfless member of the teaching team here. Under her leadership , the science department has been a “happening” department and broadened its work to include astronomy, competitions, and visiting senior school masterclasses for our pupils and those in other schools. We are indebted to Sally for the contact with Christopher Lloyd and our introduction of the Curiosity Curriculum in Year 7 and we were the first school in the world to adopt it.  Sally is committed not only to her subject and her team, but has also made a significant contribution to the wellbeing and success of the Year 7 & 8 pupils in her role as Head of Year and Form Tutor. Her wisdom and good sense  have enabled many pupils to meet challenges with excellent and practical support.  As she moves away from Kent in the summer, down to the West Country, we wish her every happiness in her new life.  

This weekend many of our Year 6s will be learning what offers they have from senior schools. After half term our own scholarship results will be published. We look forward to sharing with you the successes of our students in their exams.

I trust that each one of you will enjoy a restful half term.  If you are off to colder or warmer places, go safely, enjoy your time together and we look forward to welcoming you back on 20th February.

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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