eNews: Friday 3rd April 2020

From the Acting Head

The common end of term emotional state is usually a heady mix of pride and exhaustion and today is no different. We can also add to that the awareness that we’re in the midst of tackling a challenge like no other at the moment. One of my favourite sayings ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’ has never felt more apt as we are all living within that area that lies outside of our comfort zones at present. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you for the efforts you’ve made to get us to the end of the term with a strong community spirit and a real connection. I think it’s probably true that, in the last few weeks, we’ve all done things that we’ve never done before. Remote learning, online interviews, Youtube lessons, a virtual assembly and a whole school Friday Freestyle disco, twice! The openness, positivity, resilience and commitment shown by all parts of the school community has been nothing short of inspiring. We’ve had to feel the fear and do it anyway and for that, we should all be proud.

Mary Bridges

 

Staff News

I am delighted to announce that Gordon Baird has been appointed as our new Deputy Head (Teaching & Learning). Gordon will be utilising his expertise and skills in inspirational educational leadership to pave the way in our virtual learning model for the Trinity Term. Gordon’s career has been characterised by creativity, innovation, a love of learning and successful collaboration. Those who have been lucky to see the incredible impact that Gordon has had on the music department at St Michael’s will know what an exciting move this will be for both him and the school.

It also gives me great pleasure to announce that Lucinda Cook will be taking on the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead in the Prep School. Lucinda’s outstanding communication skills and empathetic nature will ensure that this crucial role is fulfilled with expertise and sensitivity. Lucinda’s superb relationships with staff, parents and pupils have transformed the AEN department, improving outcomes for pupils. We are thrilled that she will be expanding her leadership within the school and congratulate her on securing this position.

Mary Bridges

I’m also pleased to announce that our lovely Prep school Librarian, Sue Davies will be joining the Year 3 team. Sue will be job-sharing with Katherine Keen as a Year 3 Form Teacher from September.

Many of our Prep school families already know Sue, through her innovative challenges and events in the Library.  However, you may not know that she has over 20 years of teaching experience to bring to the classroom.

Having graduated from Reading University with a BA(Ed) in History with QTS, Sue worked for 8 years in a primary School in St Mary Cray, Orpington, progressing to Foundation Stage Leader.  Over her teaching career, Sue has worked in state schools in Kent and more recently held an advisory role for the Kent Children’s Centres across Sevenoaks and Swanley, working with schools, pre-schools and families. She took on the role of Librarian at St Michael’s four years ago, while she supported her own children through primary school.

Sue lives in Kemsing with her husband, two boys and a Dachshund. She loves reading, cooking and running to relax and unwind. She told us “I’m really keen to get back into the classroom and to join the Year 3 team; there’s no school where I’d rather work!”

 

From the Head of Pre-Prep

I am sure your skills as teachers are improving. Some of you may even be considering a change of career! There has been an enormous amount of work flooding though the gates of Seesaw and Tapestry this week. Teachers have been experiencing several 100 pieces uploaded each day. They are struggling to keep up with the demands of marking and commenting. Please be understanding if not everything your child produces receives a comment. Teachers are working hard to ensure fairness across all their pupils.

This is now the end of the Lent term so I hope you can enjoy a slight change of routine. You will not need to check all the home-school tasks being set and the film clips from your child’s teacher. Teachers will be busy adapting their planning and activities for the Trinity term. We have learnt a lot over the last 2 weeks and have listened to your comments.

I want to say well done to TJ and Ian Smith’s son Aaron, who shaved his hair off this week for Age UK in their bid to support the elderly through Covid19. I’m sure it won’t be too long before those curly locks reappear.

What a hugely emotional time this has been for us all. It has been lovely to hear from those of you who have managed to share positive experiences of having more time to play with your children, go for family walks and all sit down to eat meals together. I know many of you will be saddened not to see your extended families this Easter, but you are in my thoughts and I wish you all a safe Easter holiday. I look forward to a time when we can all be back together again.

Best wishes,

Zerrin

 

School News and Galleries

Thank you all for the wonderful photos and videos you’ve been sending us. We’re so impressed with everything you’ve achieved over the last two weeks and we’ve done our best to celebrate your achievements on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

We’ve created another gallery of this week’s photos for you to see everything in one go – we hope you enjoy looking at it.

 

 

Headteacher’s Stars

N Dandeniya For an excellent homework challenge about fake news
E Brewer For a superb homework challenge on the Human Impact in Africa
E Ernoult For a superb homework challenge on the Human Impact in Africa
E Soper For a well-designed and informative global game – creative, well made and interesting
L Blincoe For a fantastic rap and video promoting ways to stay safe during the Covid-19 outbreak
J McDonnell For creating a great game about the 7 Wonders of the World – excellent effort, interesting and well thought out
A Clapham For creating a very interesting and informative game about the oceans
G Bashford For creating a clever and enjoyable card game about the countries of the world. The game was excellent for the effort and joy he put into delivering his game
E Short For a superb piece of Science work, completed during remote learning
F Giannakis For an outstanding video, made as part of the Geography remote learning activity
J Bomphrey For an incredible oil painting, showing the human impact on polar bears

Latest News

 

 

 

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