eNews: Friday 3rd July 2020

From the Acting Head

Welcome to the final newsletter of an incredible year in many ways.  A year of challenge, change, learning, growing, distancing and dancing (or should I say, Friday Freestyling!). 525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year? Perhaps we can all measure it individually, on what we’ve each achieved, contributed and learned.

 

This week we celebrated the end of an era for our Year 2 and Year 6 pupils, and I look forward to the opportunity to do the same with our oldest pupils on Monday afternoon. Different to what we have experienced before but incredibly personal, these events have been tailor-made for the children moving on. Our Year 6 event, held outside in front of the Prep School, was a moving and magical ceremony where the clouds shared their appreciation through the shedding of raindrops! I hinted that each drop was a little bit of magic falling on us all to mark the occasion. When the raindrops fell bigger and heavier during Alex’s incredible saxophone performance, it was clearly a hearty round of applause from the skies above! Congratulations to all of the pupils reaching these milestones in their school career. They should be proud of all of their achievements, and I thank them all for their contributions to St Michael’s. A highlight of Prize Giving is the legendary gap student film of the year. Miss Haynes pulled together a brilliant collection of footage from the year, and it was amazing to see the vast amount of adventures, opportunities and events that we have enjoyed despite the time spent away from school. This film will be shared with the rest of the school on Tuesday along with prizes for children in other year groups.

 

In the last newsletter of the Michaelmas Term, I suggested that a school term was comparable to marathon training. Now that the year is coming to an end, we are now approaching the finish line. We’ve done the hard work, the training, faced the moments of fear and battled through the days when it doesn’t go to plan. There’s been frustration, incredible challenge and moments when we’ve all had doubts about making the final mile. As a community, we’ve paced ourselves much better than I did back in February when I ran the 26.2 miles around Seville! I thank you all for the support you’ve given throughout and hope you will all share in the success we’ve achieved.

 

The most important thing is not that we’ve experienced the “marathon” it’s that we’ve learnt so many valuable lessons during that time that the next marathon will be easier, we’ll be more accomplished. We’ll pace it even better, and we’ll enjoy it more. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. And from the most testing year we’ve all had in recent memory I don’t doubt we will all emerge stronger, more resilient humans with far more appreciation of what is really important to us: Family, community and our well-being. Love; that’s how we should measure the year. Now let’s use this summer to reset and recharge and start September, wherever we are, with our eyes wide open and ready for the new next. Knowing we’re better prepared than we ever thought we could be before 2020 started!

 

My Head’s Review will be delivered to you at the end of the summer break to enable a chance to reflect before we begin the ‘new next’ academic year. All that’s left for me to say is one final thank you to every single member of our community. From the children to the staff, the volunteers, parents, friends and family members. All of you have you played your part, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride as much as I have! I wish you all a happy and healthy summer break full of love.

Mary Bridges

From the Head of Pre-Prep

This is the last newsletter of the school year. What a strange year it has been. It looks like the government are keen to bring all the children back into schools in September in as near normal classes as we can. For St Michael’s, with class sizes of 18, we will not have a problem in welcoming all children back into their correct classes with their new teacher and teaching assistant. If year groups can be together it will enable our children to play together with their friends from the neighbouring classes which will be lovely.

This week we have celebrated the milestones of Year 6 and Year 2 as they move on to the next stage in their lives. These celebrations have been particularly poignant as we have not been able to invite parents as we would usually do. Both Prize Givings were unique and ones that we will not forget. Mrs Thornton arranged for these events to be filmed so Year 2 parents will be receiving this shortly.

There are so many people to thank at this time of year. To all of those who support the “front of house” teaching and teaching assistants, I would like to say a huge thank you as the school could not run without our amazing Estates team, Admin team, Admissions & Marketing, Finance, Catering, Cleaners, Counsellors, and the volunteers who hear our children read, raise money in P&F and run Déjà vu. Thank you all.

A reminder to you all that we finish term next Tuesday 7th at 12.00. I recognise that pick up may be tricky so please be patient with us. Those of you who have children at Prep school, please arrive at the allocated time for Prep and then make your way to Pre-Prep. For those of you with surnames A-J please arrive between 12.00 and 12.15 and for those of you with surnames K-Z please aim to arrive between 12.15 and 12.30.

Overheard:

Child: What have you got in your hair?

Adult: I don’t know, what have I got in my hair?

Child: You’ve got old in your hair!

If I don’t get to see you before we break up, I wish you a safe and healthy summer holiday.

Zerrin Leech

Staff News

Hello

We’re delighted to welcome Julie Webster to St Michael’s. Julie will be the new PA to the Headteacher from September.

Julie tell us that she is looking forward to joining St. Michael’s Prep School, having worked in different administrative roles across the public and private sector, including just under ten years’ experience within education, that included the role of School Secretary and Examiniations Officer, Office Manager and PA to the Headteacher.

 

She has two  boys, the eldest now working in London and the youngest completing a Masters’ Degree. Julie loves being outdoors, walking the love of her life, Ozzy, a Jack Russell Terrier but she also enjoys reading, crafts and travel – fortunate to have travelled to some amazing places, she is hoping to return to her favourite destination, Iceland in the near future.

Congratulations

 

We are delighted to announce that Andrew Dodd is taking on the role of IT Strategy Lead. Andrew’s first passion for teaching is in the field of science, but as a leader and manager it has always been IT.  He began leading on ICT in his first year of teaching at a three form entry junior school and quickly became involved with the county advisory service (ASK), offering “Hands on Support” to local schools and eventually becoming a primary ICT consultant working with a patch of nearly 100 schools in Kent. A move into the independent sector followed, as Head of ICT across the Schools at Somerhill, before a spell in Dubai as Leader of Learning Technologies for two newly opened schools.  After a break from leadership, he is now excited to have the opportunity to support the development and effective use of IT at St Michael’s.

And Goodbye

Jess Haynes

As we reach the end of the academic year it is time to say goodbye to our gap student, Jess Haynes. Jess first left us in 2014 as a St Michael’s pupil moving on to Kent College with a sports scholarship. We were delighted to welcome her back to be our gap student for 2019-20 and now she leaves us again to start her degree in Sports Science & Coaching at Nottingham Trent University. Jess has made an outstanding contribution to the school this year and her infectious energy, enthusiasm and commitment has benefited both pupils and staff. She has been a huge support to both Prep and Pre-Prep and we will all miss her hugely. We wish Jess every success in her next chapter and thank her for the joy and fun she has bought to us all this year. 

 

Karen Voce

Karen Voce will be retiring from her role as Marketing Assistant on 31st August to spend more time with her family and travel the world. Karen has worked tirelessly for St Michael’s, her dedication and loyalty to the School, its families, pupils and staff has been truly inspiring. She is a true professional, a Michaelian through and through, and is always willing to offer advice and guidance to all of us. I know that everyone will miss her, her wisdom and wicked sense of humour and we all hope she will still come back and see us.  Karen has many landmarks in her career at St Michael’s but I would like to thank her personally for her continual support, the yearly magazine, her management of Twitter, the organisation of two highly successful Senior School Fairs, the management of the website and, of course, the weekly newsletter. 

 Enjoy the travelling and think of your friends back at St Michael’s!

School News

On Monday, we would like the children to wear rainbow colours (either as individuals or as a coordinated bubble!) as a final fundraiser for the year. This will be in support of the NHS and children can bring a donation for this with them on the day.

Zerrin Leech and Fraser Wiseman

School Shop Summer Opening

The school shop will be open throughout the Summer for all your back to school needs but visits to the shop will be by appointment only as will our click and collect service.

 

For the latest information please visit   www.sturdyclothing.co.uk/st-michaels and click on the opening times and info button.

 

We encourage current parents to take advantage of the click and collect service unless you have a large number of items to buy.  With this in mind, we have created a sizing guide which can be found under the uniform downloads section which we hope you find useful.

 

For larger purchases, if you wish to book an appointment, please visit our website and click on the link found via the opening times and info button.

 

Should you need any further help, please do not hesitate to e-mail us at stmichaels@sturdyclothing.co.uk or call 07713 632284 with any queries or concerns you may have and we will do our best to help.

 

Déjà Vu Summer Opening

Déjà Vu will be open to receive donations of old uniform at the following times over the summer holidays:

 

10th July, 10-12

 

17th July, 9.30-11.30

 

24th July, 2-4

 

31st July, 9.30-11.30

 

14th August, 12-2

 

2nd September, 2-4

 

4th September, 9.30-11.30

 

Please could you bring donations and leave them on the table outside the second hand shop.

 

We do not sell anything with the old logo on, white shirts/blouses, grey shorts and trousers (other than the Pre-Prep cord shorts), or any shoes or sports equipment so please could you take these items directly to the charity bin in the Nursery car park or to your local charity shop.

 

Headteacher’s Stars

S Doyle For fantastic resilience with poetry and for producing some lovely writing
E Hudson For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
I Sharma For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
A Digweed For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
J Bomphrey For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
J Cosgrove For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
E Newton For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
W Deacon For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Cogmed
E Newton For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Nessy
L Shi For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Nessy
E Soper For demonstrating excellent commitment in order to complete Nessy
A Saini For incredible effort, engagement and enthusiasm throughout remote learning

Touch, Type, Read and Spell Summer Holiday Courses

Please click here for information about summer courses offered by Tunbridge Wells TTRS Centre.

Sports News

Our wonderful swimmers have been at it again breaking numerous school records this year. We held off announcing due to the current situation, in the hope we might have been back in the pool, but certificates were awarded last week. Huge congratulations to A Ashton and S Taylor in Year 4, E Green and I Pennington Legh in Year 5, A Green in Year 6, A Mourgue D’Algue and O Bowen in Year 7 and P Parker Swift in Year 8 who all broke school records this year in the pool.

Mrs Denton

Mr Thomas’ Summer Hockey Camp

Mr Thomas will be holding his Summer Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch from Monday 17th – Thursday 20th August, 10am – 3pm

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

Please note the following from the organisers: We are hoping that all government restrictions will be lifted by then. We will be following all England Hockey guidelines and may have to limit the numbers to much less that we normally would. Please sign up early to avoid any disappointment.

Senior School Virtual Tours and Open Days

Many Senior Schools are offering virtual tours and Open Days at the moment. We’ll be updating our Senior Schools Information page as we hear about them. Most of the schools are offering traditional Open Days from September and booking forms for both traditional and virtual open events are available on their websites. Links to the schools are available on our Senior Schools Information page.

The following schools are currently offering virtual Open Days or Tours:

Ardingly

Bethany School

Brighton College

Caterham School

Christ’s Hospital

Cobham Hall

Dover College

Eastbourne College

Haileybury

King’s Canterbury

King’s Rochester

Lingfield College

Radnor House

St Catherine’s School, Bramley

Sevenoaks School

Tonbridge School

Wellington College

Whitgift School – click here for your Virtual Open Event Invitation

 

 

Latest News

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

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.

Well done!

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!