I’m still getting used to submitting the newsletter from my home and not with the busy sounds of pupils outside my office. The physical separation we are currently experiencing is new for us all, but our goals and priorities remain the same: our amazing pupils, your wonderful children. We are all working extremely hard to do our very best, and in that we are united.
In times of difficulty, one sure-fire way to help us find security and calm is through gratitude. Earlier this year, I read Christine Carter’s ‘The Sweet Spot’ with the aim of finding maximum productivity alongside energy and happiness. It can be challenging to maintain a calm, creative and positive outlook when faced with difficult and uncomfortable tasks. However, making time to reflect on the good parts of each day can have a significant impact on our mindset, mood and outlook. This week I have been especially grateful for the messages of positive feedback that have brightened my inbox. It is lovely to experience your gratitude for the hard work and efforts of our committed teachers and support staff. I continue to be inspired by things that they are doing each day: carefully planned lessons and learning opportunities, extensive feedback promoting engagement, and positive interaction and support for colleagues, parents and pupils. So thank you, for recognising that although things are different, they are done with experience, wisdom and a whole lot of love for our precious children.
There is no doubt that when we return to school, things cannot go back to exactly how they were before. I am excited to see what this could look like. We will have all upskilled and adapted to new ways of working and interacting with each other. You have all been into my home and attended my assembly! I never thought I would write that sentence! Let’s continue to enjoy the best bits of this time in the knowledge that everything we do in the future will have added wisdom and experience with the potential to be even better than before.
From the Head of Pre-Prep
I have had some more positive emails this week and a good Zoom conversation with the Year 1 Reps so I can see that you are all beginning to get to grips with home learning through Tapestry and Seesaw. I know that it is a stressful time for you all, but I would like to say what a good job you are doing of listening to our video clips and following our instructions. Give yourselves a pat on the back!
Looking at some of the work the children are doing at home and some of the lovely video clips of the children really helps St Michael’s teachers. We are all missing your children. The buildings are not the same with only a handful of children in them. Thank you for your understanding if your child’s work is not marked every day as several teachers have their own children at home to teach as well as getting work organised for the next week and being on the rota to come into school to teach key workers’ children.
If you haven’t looked at St Michael’s on Twitter for a while, I urge you to look at some of the Prep school artwork that was posted this week. There are some very clever interpretations of famous paintings and they have attracted some great interest from galleries and artists. It shows just how St Michael’s is about developing the whole child and giving them an all-round education. Well done to everyone who took part.
If any of you would like to share overheard comments from your children at home, I am happy to share them in the newsletter if you wish to email them to me. They will of course be anonymous.
Let’s hope the sun shines this weekend.
We’re delighted to announce that Emily Balcombe has been appointed as part-time teacher in the Music Department, teaching pupils in Years 3-5.
Emily has worked as a singing teacher at St Michael’s for the last 10 years, and is absolutely delighted to now have the opportunity to work with all of the year 3-5 pupils in their class music lessons.
She grew up in a very musical family and often performed in concerts around the country with her siblings. Singing has always been a real passion of Emily’s, and she deems herself lucky to have worked with some fantastic choirs. She has also taught in theatre schools, coaching children for lots of different West End shows.
Emily lives in Tonbridge with her family, and enjoys going to the theatre, dancing, and socialising with her friends.
Fantastic Fundraising for the NHS
We’re so proud of our Year 6 pupil, L Clapham, who has raised funds for his local NHS Trust. Here’s his story:
Going bald for the NHS
I didn’t want a haircut at home during lockdown. However, seeing the doctors and nurses risk their lives every day tackling the coronavirus, I wanted to show them my appreciation. I know we are fortunate with our situation, but others are not so lucky.
I hoped being filmed going bald could raise a little money for the NHS. It would also be fun seeing the transformation to my head.
I have raised £622.50 for the local Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS charitable trust fund. This was much more than I thought we would get.
On the day of the haircut I was a little nervous when the shaver came out. Friends and family had nominated my little sister to do most of the shaving. It was OK though; I still have two ears.
It’s actually great not having to brush my hair. Stroking it feels very satisfying – I might even go bald again in the future!
St Michael’s P&F
There are two important announcements from the P&F on our Message Board and Community page, including a St Michael’s radio station for the children and an incredible yoga effort to raise funds for one of the charities which would have been supported by the Summer Ball.
Our Prep School Art Challenge has been a phenomenal success, with galleries and artists from all over the world responding to your images. Read more about it in our article and see more images on our Twitter page and in our online gallery.
As you can see, the Art Department have received an overwhelming number of images from you all. Please don’t worry if you don’t see your picture in the gallery yet, it’s still a work in progress!
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!
My son began his journey at St Michael's last Friday in the Nursery class and, one week on, I have to write to say how impressed I am and how thrilled we are with our decision to send him to such an amazing school.
The approach to settling them in has been perfect!
St Michael’s is a wonderful school. Fantastic teachers, a nurturing environment. It has suited our three children who are all very different in their academic and pastoral needs. Thank you.
Year 6 Parent
St Michael's is a place where I can let my imagination run wild.
Year 6 pupil
We were struck by the warmth and kindness of everyone we met; pupils as well as staff. We believe in giving our son the right start and instilling in him the joy of learning and satisfaction from achievement. We can see this happening at St Michael’s
My daughter has had such a wonderful school life at St.Michael’s. We really couldn’t have asked for a better school for her in terms of academic life, extra-curricular activities and friendship groups. We still can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by and that she will soon be leaving!