eNews: Friday 11th December 2020

From the Acting Head

This time last year, I wrote an end of term newsletter reflecting on a challenging Michaelmas Term. I likened the Term to training for a marathon – which at the time, I was experiencing literally, for the first time. The challenges of 2020 have gone far beyond what we could have imagined this time last year. I have since run two marathons: one was a solo, virtual event, through a huge storm in headwinds of 40 miles per hour. Looking back, this is almost the perfect metaphor for some of the moments we’ve experienced in 2020!

 

I shared my experiences of the solo, virtual New York marathon with Prep children in assemblies this week. The event was a tough and gritty affair with no crowds or fellow runners to experience the moment with. The conditions were appalling. I battled through the rain, wind and hail, and wanted to quit both before and during the run. With sheer determination, a fair few tears and numerous doubts along the way, I managed to finish. It wasn’t my best time, but, I do genuinely feel that it was my greatest running achievement and one that I will be proud of forever.

 

This year has bought us all much change, challenge and adversity. However, as a school community, we should feel immensely proud of all that has been accomplished. In the face of adversity, we have worked together to ensure the very best for our incredible pupils. This week alone, I have witnessed children performing, singing, sharing, being brave, courageous, making mistakes and knowing that it’s OK and an important part of learning. As adults, we have also all stepped outside of our comfort zones, and for that, we know we have set a great example.

 

Special thanks this week must go to the whole community of teachers, support staff and Estates Team who have helped make our special Christmas celebrations happen. The nativities have been joyous, the carol service was beautiful, the end of term assessments focussed, and the coneball was commendable! Every single member of staff makes an enormous contribution, and I am truly grateful to work with such an excellent, committed team. I hope you enjoy experiencing the magic of a St Michael’s Christmas differently this year and that, as we look forward to a bright 2021, we will embrace the opportunities to join together when it’s safe to do so. If there’s one thing we now know, it’s that different does not mean any less special!

 

There will be one last newsletter, next Wednesday, to round up our end of term celebrations. I am looking forward to an exciting end to the term featuring a festive woodland walk organised by the P&F, dazzling Christmas jumpers and fundraising for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) on Tuesday. I am preparing for my final assemblies, accompanied by Lucy in Year 7, sharing her story of how she was saved by the TVAA. I hope that the children will come home inspired on Monday to make their own contributions to our fundraising efforts for this incredible cause on Tuesday.

 

Please check the Covid-19 notices in this newsletter regarding actions to take if your child becomes symptomatic after the term ends. We are almost there, but will continue to fight these challenges with caution, clean hands and open hearts.

 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you once again for your ongoing support.

 

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

I have watched five Nativities this week, and all the children were at their best. Lines were delivered beautifully and songs sung sweetly or with gusto. I can’t remember a year when every teacher is completely happy with every performance, but this year it has happened. I have so many staff to thank. Perhaps I should say that not only am I proud of all of your children, but I am immensely proud of the talented, hard working team of adults at St Michael’s.

Next Monday and Tuesday, we will be going on a Winter Wonderland walk through our grounds to solve some clues for Santa. Thank you to the P&F, particularly Kerri and Kelly, who have put in so much effort to produce an exciting alternative to the Christmas Bazaar this year.

On Tuesday 15th December, we will all be wearing Christmas jumpers instead of school jumpers or cardigans. This year, we will be supporting the Thames Valley Air Ambulance charity who came to the aid of one of our own St Michael’s pupils last Christmas. Donations on the day will be appreciated.

Wednesday is a half day, so please pick your children up at 11.45am if they do not have any siblings at Prep school. If you have children at Prep, then please come onto the site at 12pm to pick up all your children from the Pre-Prep pick up points. Your Prep school children will be waiting with us. Parents with Prep only children will be coming at 12.15pm in order to stagger the pick-up, so it would be helpful if all Pre-Prep parents could be leaving by 12.15pm. I would like to thank you all for your forbearance over this last term with picking up at the end of the day.

After Christmas, I would like to see Reception children being able to walk down the bridge in the morning, without their parents. Many of them do already so it would be great if you could positively prepare your child for being very “grown up”.

 

Overheard in Pre-Prep:

Child: What’s that? (Pointing to fruit baked in the cake)

Teacher: “It’s rhubarb cake”

Child (turning to another child): “It’s Rudolf cake!”

 

Have a lovely weekend.

 

Zerrin Leech

 

 

Pre-Prep Reminders:

 

  • Christmas jumpers on Tuesday 15th December
  • ½ day on Wednesday 16th December

Staff News

Welcome to…

 

Susan Ward- Governor

Susan was a parent at St Michael’s for three years. Her daughter joined in Year 6, and left at the end of Year 8 with outstanding memories of St Michael’s. Because of this, Susan was keen to stay involved in the school and participate in its future growth.

 

Susan has over 25 years’ experience in financial services, having worked for both JPMorgan and UBS.  Since leaving UBS last year, Susan has been building an advisory business in impact investing and pursuing various start-up opportunities.

 

Susan lives in Sevenoaks with her husband and two daughters. Together they enjoy cycling, walking and other outdoor activities in Kent.

 

 

 

Benjamin Charles – joining the Full Governing Body from 06.01.2021 

 

Ben Charles has been the Principal of King’s School Rochester since April 2019.

Ben is a musician who trained at the Universities of Exeter and Durham before moving into a teaching career which began at another King’s School, this time the cathedral school in Peterborough. At the same time, he sang in the cathedral choir as a Lay Clerk. Ben then moved on to serve as the Director of Music in two HMC schools: Chigwell School in Essex and Millfield in Somerset.

Prior to moving to Kent, Ben was the Senior Deputy Head at The Portsmouth Grammar School where he oversaw pastoral care, safeguarding, school operations and staff welfare. He has a keen interest in sport and has represented County Durham at rugby as a schoolboy, and in music and drama. Ben is married to Helen, also a teacher, and they have four young children.

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

Silas C for playing ‘Happy Birthday’ beautifully on the piano in assembly

Leo H.B for a well presented and detailed ‘Missing’ poster

Isabel E for great enthusiasm and fantastic expression in our play

Viggo W for fabulous perseverance and concentration when learning to sew

Elizabeth W for a beautifully written and eye-catching dragon poster

Nathan H for using fantastic adjectives to describe the missing dragon

Myla B for carefully identifying halves and quarters of given quantities

Headteacher’s Stars

J Pathiwill for a fantastic presentation on Kenya in geography

 

A MacRae for a wonderful piece of writing for English homework

Covid-19 Update – Christmas holidays Test and Trace

 

This week we have received guidance from the Department for Education regarding NHS Test and Trace following the end of term.

 

We need to inform you of the following:

  • Where a pupil tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
  • For the first 6 days after teaching ends (for St Michael’s this will be until 22nd December), if a pupil tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school (by lunchtime on Friday 18th December), the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school.
  • School staff are not asked to remain on-call or conduct any contact tracing more than 6 days after the final day of teaching. This means that we will not be contactable after 22nd December.

 

If your child develops symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, please do let us know that you are arranging a test. This will enable us to be efficient and proactive in our response.

If you do need to contact us after the end of term, please contact the school office on office@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. The office will be open on weekdays between 9am and 3pm. If you have a concern or receive a positive test result over the weekend then please email Mary Bridges on mbridges@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk.

 

Thank you for your ongoing support in keeping us all safe.

School News

 

Christmas at St Michael’s!

It’s been an action-packed week at St Michael’s, filled with Nativities, carol services, music concerts and an infinite amount of Christmas sparkle.

The week began with Kindergarten’s magical retelling of the Nativity story, followed by more glitz and glam from Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

Commenting on the success of the Nativities, Head of Pre-Prep, Mrs Leech said: “I have watched five Nativities this week and all the children were at their best. Lines were delivered beautifully and songs sung sweetly or with gusto. I can’t remember a year when every teacher is totally happy with every performance, but it has happened this year. I have so many staff to thank. Perhaps I should say that not only am I proud of all of your children, but I am immensely proud of the talented, hard working team of adults at St Michael’s.”

Music Teacher Mrs Ravayeh added: “The children completely outperformed themselves and enjoyed every minute of the Nativities. I am bursting with pride.”

Head of Pre-School, Mrs Stibbons said: “This week it’s been lights, camera, action in Kindergarten as the children enjoyed dressing up and taking part in their first staged St Michael’s performance. Just getting onto the stage can be quite daunting for them, so we were very pleased that every child took part. We are all so very proud of the children.”

 

Reception teacher, Mrs Rose added: “The Reception nativity was nothing short of brilliant! The children spoke and sang so clearly and did themselves and us proud, we can’t wait for the parents to be able to see it too.”

Year 1 teacher, Mrs Williams said: “The Year 1 production went really well.  After weeks of practise the children’s performance was a credit to their hard work.  It was particularly lovely to see them all so excited when they were dressed up and ready for their performance.  They sang beautifully and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did.”

KS1 lead, Miss Salmon also said: “We are so proud of the children and their performances in the production – their enthusiasm and excitement completely blew us all away and exceeded any expectations we had of them. Even without an audience to perform to, they gave it their all.”

 

Meanwhile, in the Prep school, pupils performed beautifully as part of the Carol Service.

 

Featuring music from Year 3 all the way through to Year 8, the children gave spectacular performances in both the Prep Chapel and Shoreham Church.

 

Although the pupils could not perform to an audience this year, a professional film company filmed the event and the recordings will be distributed to families soon.

 

Reflecting on the Carol Service, Director of Music, Mr Baird said: “The Carol Service was a wonderful display of our Prep pupils’ talent.

 

“Despite the service being very different to normal, the children rose to the challenge and displayed a lot of Christmas spirit.

 

“A special thank you must go to the Music Department, who have worked incredibly hard with the children, and Sally Beesley who produced spectacular flower arrangements for our Chapel.”

 

Help Lucy save lives this Christmas

Next Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s will host a fundraising day for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy.

 

Determined to help a cause very close to her heart, Lucy has organised a series of events aimed at raising money for the charity-based emergency service.

 

Throughout the day pupils will be invited to participate in a range of activities including wearing a Christmas jumper, doing a sponsored run, and completing brain teaser quizzes in exchange for donations to the TVAA which relies wholly on public contributions.

 

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I’ve planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.

 

“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day will change that.

 

“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”

 

And Lucy’s charity day is driven by her own bond with the charity who saved her life following an accident last Christmas.

 

She said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”

 

Since her accident, Lucy has remained close with three of TVAA’s critical care paramedics, Jo, John and Clare.

 

Lucy said: “Not only did the team come and visit me in hospital during my recovery, but in February this year my family and I were invited to their base to see their helicopters and learn more about their work.

 

“Since then, we’ve kept in close contact with them and have been given the exciting opportunity to take part in their Christmas campaign.

 

“One morning, my mum received a phone call from the TVAA asking if we’d like to tell our story as part of their fundraising appeal.

 

“Despite the accident still being quite fresh, we were keen to get involved as it’s such an amazing charity.”

 

Earlier this year, Lucy and her family were invited to Oxfordshire to talk about their experience in front of the camera.

 

The filming day, which involved interviews with both Lucy and her parents, aimed to raise awareness of the charity’s impact.

 

Lucy said: “It was such a fun day and really made us feel part of the TVAA community.

 

“Afterwards, we were sent several cuts of the video, including a very cool animation of my story which was very realistic.

 

“They kept us in mind throughout the whole process and made us feel very special.”

 

A full breakdown of the fundraising events can be found below. For more information about the TVAA or to view Lucy’s video visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/appeal/.

 

 

Thames Valley Air Ambulance Fundraising Activities 

  • Christmas jumpers – In Prep and Pre-Prep, we are inviting the children and staff to sport their best Christmas jumper and make a donation for the privilege of wearing it! The 15th  is the day of the school Christmas lunches, so this would be a good time to wear them. As with the last charity collection, the donations for Christmas jumpers can be deposited in the buckets at the doors into the buildings as the children arrive in the morning.
  • Sponsored run (Prep) – we are going to be inviting the children to run in teams of (up to) 4 around the shortest XC route on the fields. They will have a set time to complete as many laps as possible in that time. The children can look to have their team sponsored per lap, or have a donation from their sponsor. Sponsorship money raised will need to be brought in the following day.
  • Brain teaser quizzes – there are two quiz sheets that can be purchased for 50p each and you can take them home and try to solve the puzzles as a family. I’m afraid the only prize on offer is the glow of self-fulfilment upon having completed them. Answers will be shared on the last day of term. As parents cannot be in the school buildings at the moment, the quiz sheets can be purchased via homework diaries (please send the 50p/ £1, depending if you want one quiz sheet or both).

 

St Michael’s launches Christmas Reading Challenge

This Christmas, Prep pupils are invited to take part in the St Michael’s Reading Challenge.  There are hard copies of the books in the Prep library for the children to take home with them.

Fun in French Clinic!

In French Clinic this week, Prep pupils have enjoyed solving clues in the French game S-Cape, designed by Marie Allirot.

The educational challenge, which sees pupils answer a series of questions before progressing to the next stage of the task, engaged the pupils which encouraging them to practise their French words and phrases.

French Clinic, which takes place weekly in the Prep school for individual year groups, also offers computer activities and 1-1 support to pupils.

Shoot for the Stars!

Congratulations to Elodie B who has been awarded her 9th Kup White Belt Yellow Stripe after taking her first grading in Taekwondo. Well done, Elodie!

 

Christmas cookies for charity!

Christmas is never complete without cookies, and three St Michael’s pupils have proven just that with a bake sale held last weekend.

Adam O, Olanna E and Luke S, who love baking in their free time, have raised an incredible £1113.70 for charity following the success of their cookie stall which attracted lots of attention on Saturday.

Keen to give back to their local community, the children sold the beautifully packaged treats to friends and neighbours in return for donations to the Kokun Foundation, a children’s charity based in Nigeria, and the Bromley Food Bank. 

St Michael’s teacher, Miss Booth, was also one of the lucky customers to try the children’s delicious cookies.

Commenting on the trio’s triumph, Adam’s mum Mrs Ozigi said: “We cannot express how proud we are of our children! They have done an immense job and we wanted to share how St. Michael’s children are creating an impact despite these difficult times; because it’s still Christmas!”

Past pupil secures Honorary Academic Scholarship 

A former St Michael’s pupil has been awarded an Honorary Academic Scholarship for her excellence across all subjects.

Grace Goodwin, who attended St Michael’s between 2014 and 2019, has received the honour from Sevenoaks School.

Commenting on Grace’s success, her mother Marianthe Goodwin said: “Grace joined Sevenoaks in Year 7 and has really thrived from day one.

“We all knew Grace was doing very well academically as she was awarded the Academic Prize in Year 7 and Year 8. However, just before half term we received a letter awarding Grace an Honorary Academic Scholarship, one of only four which was awarded.

“Grace was delighted and extremely surprised as she had absolutely no idea that she was going to receive it. As an Academic Scholar, Grace is invited to attend the Schickler Society with the other scholars in which they discuss lots of different world issues both current and past, such as gun control and the Cold War.”

Mrs Goodwin added: “Grace had a wonderful and very happy time at St Michael’s and the decision to leave was  a hard one, but we felt it was the right time for Grace.  At St Michael’s she enjoyed all her subjects, especially English and Science.

“She found all the teachers very encouraging and approachable, and felt the growth mindset attitude and community spirit of St Michael’s gave her the confidence to hit challenges head on and not give up.”

“Mrs Bridges among others was particularly encouraging of Grace during her time at St Michael’s and offered amazing pastoral support to pupils.”

And it isn’t just Sevenoaks School that spotted Grace’s academic potential. St Michael’s teacher Mrs Baisch, who taught Grace during her time at the school, said: “Grace is an incredibly creative pupil who loves reading and writing, and produced some beautiful work. The words flew off her pen.

“Grace was also a very good speaker which was shown by her victory in the poetry live senior competition which she won with her reading of Dulce et Decorum est. For a Year 6 pupil, her performance was very impressive.”

“Grace’s scholarship is of no surprise and is something she should be very proud of.”

Send us your stories!

Has your child won an award, passed an extra-curricular exam or accomplished something exciting recently?

We love celebrating our pupils’ amazing achievements and want to showcase them in our weekly newsletter.

International Club enjoy a chocolatey Christmas catch-up

On Friday 4th December, St Michael’s International Club enjoyed a virtual Chocolate Workshop hosted by St Michael’s parent, Naomi Buff from Nourish by Naomi.
The cosy online gathering brought together seven parents who were eager to learn about healthy, but delicious chocolate making techniques.
Throughout the workshop, participants absorbed fascinating information about the origins and health benefits of raw chocolate.
Organiser of the event and Co-Chair of the International Club, Yuliya Folland, said: “Naomi gave us a step-by-step guide to creating indulgent chocolates which are not only suitable for home consumption by chocaholic family members, but perfect Christmas gifts.
“We then learnt how to whip up a healthy, dairy free hot chocolate perfect for an afternoon pick me up. The hour and a half flew by!
“The workshop was very informative, meanwhile creating a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere enjoyed by all those that attended. One thing is for sure – we will never look at a Cadbury chocolate bar in the same way again!”
For more information about the International Club visit www.stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/st-michaels-international-club/.

 

 

The Community Cupboard Christmas Appeal

 

The P & F’s Community Cupboard Christmas Appeal is closing today. It’s a great opportunity to help those most in need in our local community and spread a little festive cheer.

The P&F has set up a PayPal account where you can donate an amount of your choice. Once the appeal is closed, we will then discuss with the charity which items are most in need and we will arrange a bulk delivery to them for the hampers. Whether you give £1 or £100, all funds will be used to buy foods for those in need, with no administrative costs etc.

https://paypal.me/pools/campaign/114915483550141187

Thanks in advance.

Kerri & Kelly, P&F Co-Chairs

 

 

In the Community

Mr Thomas’ Christmas Hockey Camp

Mr Thomas will be holding his Christmas Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 17th December, Friday 18th December, Monday 21st December and Tuesday 22nd December. Monday and Tuesday are fully booked, however there is still limited space available on Thursday and Friday.

Please email Mr Thomas on jnthomas88@outlook.com to reserve your space.

We will be following all England Hockey guidelines and may have to limit the numbers to less than previous camps. Please sign up early to avoid any disappointment.

Click here for the application form. 

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Make sure you’re following all four of our channels to ensure you don’t miss any precious photos and videos. This also includes our new YouTube page featuring videos about St Michael’s and speeches from the pupils.

Latest News

A Sevenoaks food bank is 318 kilos heavier following a donation from St Michael’s.

 

The school surprised charity The Community Cupboard with the generous donation on Monday, February 1 following a Christmas collection for the cause.

 

In total, £965 was raised from parent and staff donations throughout December, which St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P & F) used to organise a Sainsbury’s shop of food and toiletries for the charity.

 

Commenting on the school’s motivation to help the food bank, Co-Chair of St Michael’s P & F, Kelly Downey, said: “Delivering our donation to The Community Cupboard was an amazing and uplifting moment. Being able to bring the school together to contribute to a cause which plays such an important role in our community during this time was very rewarding.”

 

Greeted with three car loads of canned foods, long-life products and toiletries, Kelly also describes how delighted the charity were with the school’s generosity. She added: “The team were really blown away by our donation and thankful for the time we’d taken to raise the money and organise a delivery.

 

“It was a great feeling to be able to put an initial idea from a St Michael’s parent into action, and to see the impact we would be having on the local community.”

 

Kelly added: “We recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to put food on the table for their families. We hope that our donation can be a small step in making a difference for those people.”

 

Since the start of January alone, an additional 22 local families have registered for The Community Cupboard’s support, reflecting the increased pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic across the country. And it is only thanks to generous donations that the charity can continue to provide help to those who need it most.

 

Trustee at The Community Cupboard, David Carter said: “We would like to express our extreme gratitude to St Michael’s for their wonderful donation. We are very lucky to receive regular donations from local groups, but they are rarely to this scale.

 

“The food and toiletries kindly given to us by St Michael’s have allowed us to fully restock our shelves as well as putting plenty of stock on standby for new referrals. The size of this donation will allow us to give substantial food packages to the 22 new families who were referred to us in January. St Michael’s help is invaluable to us and will make a huge difference.”

 

Since its launch in January 2020, The Community Cupboard has continued to help families in Sevenoaks, and has extended its help to cover a 20 mile radius including Edenbridge, Westerham, Surrey, Sidcup, Rochester and Ashford, due to the pandemic.

 

The Trustee added: “We began as a small group of people determined to make a difference locally in an area where food banks were lacking. Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way and our efforts would be needed tenfold. To say we hit the ground running would be an understatement.”

 

Run by four members and six volunteers, The Community Cupboard works tirelessly to deliver parcels to families, and in January alone distributed 3.1 tonnes of food, toiletries and essential items.

 

David said: “We began the charity on the foundation that ‘if we can help, we will’, and with the community’s help, I’m proud to say we are doing just that. We see a lot of hardship and sadness in doing what we do, but it really opens our eyes to the incredible hard work various organisations and charities do in our community. Thanks to generous groups like St Michael’s, we can confidently say ‘yes, we can help you’.”

 

The Community Cupboard are currently taking donations of tinned and long-life food products, as well as toiletries and essential items. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be put towards bulk orders for the charity.

 

The charity is based at The Garage, Gamcock meadow, West Kingdown where a covid secure donation drop off process has been put in place.

 

For more information about The Community Cupboard, or to donate to the charity visit www.thecommunitycupboard.co.uk.

Mr Bridges is on a mission to keep St Michael’s motivated with his latest exercise plan designed to make exercise fun.

The Director of Sport at St Michael’s, who is a very keen runner himself, has created a beginner to 5k plan for anyone wanting to keep fit this lockdown.

The six-week plan, featuring workouts, running challenges and rest days, covers a range of exercises aimed at strengthening all parts of the body.

Mr Bridges said: “I have created this training programme for the St Michael’s community to help anyone who wants to have a go at running during lockdown and safely get to 5k by the time we return to school. The plan is suitable for Prep-aged pupils, parents and staff, including absolute beginners.”

The teacher, who has 15 years’ training as a running and triathlon coach, added: “The programme is designed to build a body capable of running 5k at the end of the six weeks, and what better time to have a go than during lockdown.”

The detailed plan, organised into weeks and week days, follows a key where the letters W (walk) and R (run) appear alongside the number of minutes the activity should take place for. For example, 6 x 1:30w/2:30r represents a 1 minute 30 seconds of walking followed by 2 minutes 30 seconds of running, repeated six times.

Mr Bridges said: “The programme includes progressive long runs from week 3 onwards, the only day where the running is based on distance rather than time.

“On Mondays I will also be sharing a different workout on the St Michael’s PE YouTube channel which pupils can take part in.”

To share your experience of the programme, including photos please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. By sharing this information you give consent to it being shared on St Michael’s social media channels and publications.

 

 

Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head describes the school.

“I’ve always liked St Michael’s and have been visiting it for several years as part of sports fixtures with my previous schools”, Nik Pears said.

“Something that has always impressed me about St Michael’s is the atmosphere and people that belong to it.

“The sense of community you feel when walking through the doors of the school is extraordinary”, he added.

An avid sportsman, experienced leader, and family man, Mr Pears brings with him a wealth of ideas for St Michael’s, including his core value of equipping pupils for life.

Nik , who joined St Michael’s in January 2021, explained: “I am very keen on developing a growth mindset in my pupils. In this ever-changing world, our children need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom.

“Pupils need to be adaptable, resilient and perseverant, and learn to accept their failure and mistakes as important parts of their personal development.

“By equipping children with the right interpersonal skills during their school years, we can set them up for a future in which they may have to fight for their place in the world.”

Nik’s concept of growth mindset can also be applied to his broader vision for the school.

Coming to St Michael’s from his headship at Kent College, Pembury, Nik believes the challenges posed by Covid-19 can teach schools a lot about the importance of flexibility and community.

Mr Pears said: “These unprecedented times have been a huge learning curve for schools.

“Navigating a school through a global crisis was never going to be easy, but it has shown just how necessary it is to put pupils at the heart of every decision.

“As someone who has experienced the period as both a teacher and parent, it is very clear that we are all battling the same storm in different boats.

“It is incredible how people have found new and creative ways to deal with the circumstances. From Zoom concerts, to helping food banks, to keeping each other’s spirits high with funny videos, this period has shown us a lot about community which we will learn from and remember.”

Having belonged to multiple Prep schools himself throughout his education and as a teacher, Nik is excited to be entering this new stage in his career at St Michael’s.

Reflecting on his own school years which saw him attend schools in London, Devon and Dublin, he said: “I always enjoyed school as a child and made the most of every opportunity I was given.

“I particularly enjoyed subjects like music, drama and history and was fascinated by the things that we learnt.

“I was also heavily involved in sports and belonged to the Kent U18 rugby group. Even now you’ll find me in a pair of wellies at the side of the pitch cheering on my pupils and own children.”

Nik added: “I was one of those children who wanted to get stuck into everything, even the things that I found difficult.

“As well as my sports clubs, I belonged to multiple choirs, as well as orchestras where I played the drums, trumpet, piano and guitar.”

Mr Pears also spoke about the impact his own teachers had on his time at school and the person that he is today.

He said: “I had some amazing teachers which taught me a lot of things about life and leadership.

“Sir Anthony Seldon, one of my history teachers, was particularly inspiring and sparked my passion for the subject.

“The Head of my Prep school in Dublin also gave her pupils a lot of time. She was a hero.”

And Nik’s teachers aren’t his only role models in life.

He said: “A man called Phil Wall is also a huge inspiration of mine. Phil is the founder of the charity We See Hope which works with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa.

“Phil’s selflessness and passion for the cause inspired me to become an ambassador for the charity.

“His exceptional leadership, authenticity and integrity is just inspiring.”

Mr Pears also explained how his love of people has guided him to the many leadership roles he has held.

Nik said: “I very much enjoy being with people and having a good laugh. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing family including my wife, Emma and our two children, Jessica and Josiah. Our pet hamster Charlie is also a valued member of the family who kept us well entertained during the first lockdown.”

He added: “Being a leader brings so many opportunities to show warmth, empathy and understanding to others, and I can’t wait to become a member of the St Michael’s community.

“When pupils leave St Michael’s to pursue their senior education, I hope they remember me as someone who was kind, knew them well and valued their opinion.”

 

On Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s hosted a fun-filled charity day for Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA).

Organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy, whose life who saved by the emergency team last Christmas, the school partook in a range of fundraising activities including a fun run, Christmas jumper day, and brain-teaser quizzes.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.

“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day has changed that.

“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”

Amanda McLean, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: “A big thank you to the staff and pupils of St Michael’s for coming up with creative ways to involve everyone in fundraising. In sharing her story, Lucy has helped us spread awareness of what Thames Valley Air Ambulance does. We can only do what we do because of the imagination and generosity of our wonderful fundraisers. We hope you had a lot of fun on your fundraising day!”

Lucy, whose story recently featured in the TVAA’s Christmas appeal, said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”

“It means so much to me that St Michael’s have come together to support this cause.”

The highly successful events saw pupils spread festive joy while raising an impressive £2556.60 for the charity which relies wholly of public donations.

Mrs Bridges, St Michael’s Acting Head, added: “Yesterday was amazing! The whole school had such a great time, and pupils were very excited to take part in a different fundraiser which meant they could enjoy the outdoors, whilst raising money for such an important charity. Everyone gave their all in the sponsored run and it was a brilliant event to watch.”

 

Mrs Wade, Head of Girls’ Games also said: “The children did remarkably well considering the conditions, and ran superbly for Lucy’s cause.”

 

 

And Lucy’s family echoed this gratitude for St Michael’s support. They said: “We wanted to say a huge thank to the St Michael’s community for supporting Lucy’s appeal for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance this Christmas. We’re so grateful to you for getting behind this amazing charity to whom we owe so much. We know from experience that your donations really do save lives. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021!”

For more information about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance or to donate visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/support-us/donate