We had a ‘Heinz’ day on Monday this week: 57 children off with illness! You know you are in the season of coughs, colds and flu when you have a fifth of the Prep children and staff all off on one day. We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while many of the children and staff are battling some fairly unpleasant bugs. We wish everyone still struggling a very speedy recovery. We would also like to extend, publicly, our thanks to the staff who have all stepped up in this difficult time of cover lessons and duties. It is truly heartening to see the commitment to St Michael’s when faced with difficult times.
The illness bug that has run its way through a large proportion of the children and staff has caused a substantial increase in pressure on many aspects of the running of the school. We ask for your patience when waiting for a response to an email or request. We will endeavour to get back to you in our normal time frame, but this may not always be possible.
Election fever hit St Michael’s this week as the Year 8 children have been very busy on their campaign trails and have successfully generated huge excitement and engagement across the school. Today we hold our own election and it will be interesting to see how the votes go when they are announced on Monday (keep your eye on the Twitter feed for updates). Over the course of this week our four Year 8 candidates have stated their parties’ aims in lunchtime broadcasts to an energised lunch hall.
It has been refreshing to see a friendly and open contest amongst our own candidates, which is in contrast to what we are observing in the public arena. As so often is the case, it is the children that lead the way.
As we look towards the weekend and the Christmas Bazaar, we would like to wish the volunteers from the P&F committee, the parent reps and the volunteer parents who are all giving up time to make this event happen, all the best. This is one of the highlights of the St Michael’s calendar, if not only for the opportunity to hear the trained voices of the staff choir… or is that strained voices?!
Have a lovely weekend, we look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow.
Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman
We understand from communication via other local schools that Kent Police have received intelligence that some individuals may be planning to cause disruption at tonight’s Christmas lights event in Sevenoaks.
Fraser Wiseman contacted Kent Police this morning and they confirmed that there will be the appropriate number of officers and CCTV at the event. We all hope that the evening will run smoothly and without incident but we wanted to bring this to your attention so that if you are attending with your children you can be extra vigilant.
Sadly, we will say goodbye to Revd Diane at the end of term. Diane joined us in September 2015 and has made a real impact in many areas during those four years. She has been instrumental in introducing and implementing the new enquiry-based curriculum in Years 3-6 and has recently enjoyed delivering the new St Michael’s Diploma work to Year 7. She has led thoughtful worship in both Prep and Pre-Prep, including preparing children (and staff) for Confirmation and Baptism. Each year, Diane has enjoyed finding readings and prayers around a theme for the Carol Service. We have also seen the introduction of a new school Hymn Book under Diane’s direction, which includes the new Eucharistic Prayer for children, as well as prayers modern and traditional at the back. Her wider responsibilities have included taking a gifted and talented maths group in Pre-Prep, as well as doing some weddings and baptisms in Kindergarten! She has also provided essential pastoral care to the whole St Michael’s community.
Over the past year, Diane’s adventures have taken her beyond the parish of Shoreham to Tanzania, where she has led a three-way partnership between Shoreham Village School, Shoreham Parish and St Michael’s, linking us to St Joseph’s, Chunyu and Chunyu primary and secondary schools. Pupils and teachers in both countries are continuing to benefit from learning about the rich diversity in our lives and cultures.
Diane will continue as Vicar of Shoreham Church and will also further our partnership with Mpwapwa. We will work hard to continue the 20-year association between St Michael’s and Shoreham Church. She hopes to come back to offer some supply teaching. Diane may also pick up on her former career as an Educational Psychologist and will definitely spend more time on her passion of glass-making. We wish Diane, Alain and Joseph all the very best for the future and look forward to Diane’s Carol Service in Shoreham Church on 10th December.
We are delighted to welcome Katherine Keen to St Michael’s, teaching Year 3 in a job-share with Mrs Macintosh.
Katherine joins us with several years of teaching experience within the state and independent sectors. She has taught all year groups from Reception to Year 8. After graduating from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2003, she began her teaching career at St James Hatcham CE School, New Cross. Here she was the Head of Key Stage One and a member of Senior Management, as well as the English, ICT, PSHE and Gifted and Talented subject leader.
In 2007, she moved on to teach at Riverston Independent Day School. Here, much of her experience has been with students with special educational needs. She held a variety of posts at Riverston, including ‘Senior Mistress of The Lower School’ for seven years. Katherine also held the posts of NQT mentor, English subject leader, choir leader and intervention teacher.
Katherine has a strong interest in positive mental health in children and recently undertook CPCAB training in levels 2 & 3 Counselling studies. She is a calm, experienced and creative teacher, who enjoys seeing children reach their full potential and leave school each day feeling happy and accomplished.
Katherine’s hobbies include: Metafit, walking, yoga, reading, attending concerts and the theatre and listening to music. She is excited about joining the teaching staff at St Michael’s after visiting us and experiencing such enthusiasm for learning from the children. She is very much looking forward to working with the Year 3 children and parents and being part of our school community.
The classrooms are now beginning to look very festive as your children produce cards and decorations in preparation for Christmas. We are so lucky that our curriculum allows time for our children to be creative in so many ways.
We have a very busy week next week with all our Nativities. We will be serving coffee and tea in the dining room 15 minutes before each performance. For the 2 afternoon performances the children who are currently in the choir will be singing alongside the other year group’s performers, so some of you may have children singing twice. If your child is in choir, they will be wearing their school uniform so please don’t worry about additional costumes.
Don’t forget the P&F Christmas Bazaar this Saturday. A huge amount of work goes into this by the parents on the P&F Committee and all the parent reps, so a big thank you to all the people who are involved. Sadly this is the first year I won’t be attending as I agreed to run a safeguarding training workshop for Tonbridge Child Contact Centre. I’m sure the staff and community choir won’t miss me!
Overheard: When babies are born they can’t sit up, that’s why they have babysitters.
I look forward to welcoming you all next week to our Nativities.
On this week’s Message Board
Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Message Board to see new important information as follows:
P&F Christmas Bazaar tomorrow, 30th November!
School Uniform Shop – extra Christmas opening time
On this week’s Community Events page
Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Community Events page to see important community information,
Miranda for wonderful have-a-go writing of some very long words
Dylan for great reading in phonics
Uma for showing great improvement in her handwriting
Conrad for beautiful singing in our Nativity practice
Ellie S for an informative and confident show and tell
Aadhya for working so hard and showing good understanding in our measuring lesson
Lawson for working hard with his handwriting and practising at home too
Isabelle D for thinking of interesting questions in our English lesson and remembering to use question marks
Max H for a great clear speaking voice in the Nativity practice
Sebastian G for trying hard with his phonics
Ruaridh for learning his lines and cues for the performance
Kayla for a noticeable improvement with her reading and writing
Aiden for using lovely expression when delivering his lines in the Nativity practice
Amelia N for having a positive attitude towards all her learning
Herbie F for working extremely hard on his maths homework and presenting it neatly
Music Practice Cup: Alice O Music Practice Award: Xavi Star Violinist Cup: Amelia-Rose
House Point Cup
Windsor House with a total of 111 points Finlay S collected the Cup on behalf of Windsor House
Learn to Swim Level 1
William M Learn to Swim Level 2
Iris L Learn to Swim Level 3
News from Prep
For a very dramatic piece of History writing
For a very dramatic piece of History writing
For a very dramatic piece of History writing
Global Child Prodigy Award for Year 5 pupil
Congratulations to I Sharma, who has been selected as one of the 100 children worldwide to be awarded the Global Child Prodigy Award 2020 in the category of “Yoga”. He will receive his award in Delhi in January from Nobel Peace Laureate Dr Kailash Satyarthi.
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!
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.
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!
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!