Head’s Blog 1st April 2021 Thursday 1st April 2021

It is hard to believe that it is the end term, and my first here at St Michael’s! It has been a total joy to join this remarkable school and already, I feel very much at home here; thank you for your welcome.

We have had a superb finish to a difficult term, and it has been truly wonderful to hear and see the children back on site; learning, having fun together and simply enjoying one another’s company again. What is not to love about this school? St Michael’s offers a truly remarkable environment for children to grow up and the atmosphere here, really is quite special. As you will appreciate, a school is far more than bricks and mortar and whilst we enjoy a remarkable setting and superb facilities, it is the people that really matter. I have been hugely impressed by this community, by the pupils, parents and staff. I have been hugely impressed by the teaching and support staff here and am grateful to my colleagues for their commitment to each child, their hard work and the resilience they have shown over the past few months. It has been a challenging time, but one that we will emerge from stronger and more unified as a community.

We look ahead to the coming term with a renewed sense of optimism as increasingly the country ‘opens up’ once more and as a school we can begin to embark on greater opportunities for our children. We are excited about the term ahead and are planning do as much as possible in terms of the co-curricular life of school – trips, visits, sports fixtures and other fun activities for our children. However, we have come to expect the unexpected and must caveat our plans with an understanding that they are subject to change, should government guidance dictate, or risk be deemed too high. We are mindful that within our community there will be a range of experience related to Covid and we must continue to exercise caution and respect one another’s feelings in this regard.

The end of the Trinity Term at St Michael’s has traditionally been marked by a celebration of sporting endeavour at the Prep Sports Day, followed, in recent years, by a BBQ and then an evening of children and adults alike enjoying time to relax and unwind with friends. The events of the past 12 months have seen our opportunities to spend time with friends and relatives seriously curtailed, but we are planning, with the necessary guidance in place, to still run a Prep School Sports Day that will allow not only child participation across the Prep School, but also parental support and celebration. We are also planning to run the BBQ at the end of the day but have taken the difficult decision that we will not be camping this year. We are all still committed and looking forward to marking the end of this academic year, a year that has presented us all with challenges we could not have possibly envisaged twelve months ago, with the chance to chat, laugh and raise a glass within our spectacular grounds. We very much look forward to welcoming as many of you there as we can when we are permitted to do so.

 

Please do take note of diary dates, as we plan to hold our usual end of term events, including Pre-Prep Sports Day and Prize Giving, Music Concert and Art Exhibition etc. These occasions are likely to take a slightly different form to previous years and we will give more detailed information nearer the time. Your patience and understanding are appreciated as we navigate guidance and various restrictions that are likely to exist. Please rest assured that, as ever we will be creative and work hard to find solutions in order to celebrate and make meaningful the final weeks of term, particularly for those leaving the school in Years 6 and 8.

 

Finally, may I wish you all a wonderful Easter break. I hope that you are able to find time to rest, relax and perhaps even get an appointment at the hairdressers!

 

With best wishes,

 

Nik Pears

 

A message from Mr Pears:

Latest News

We are delighted to announce that former St Michael’s pupil Jess Haynes has selected to join the Loughborough Lightning Superleague Netball team.

Jess, who attended St Michael’s between 2008 and 2014 and returned as a GAP Student in 2019, made her Superleague and Sky Sports debut on Saturday 5th June against Celtic Dragons at the Copperbox Arena in London, after which she was officially announced as Loughborough Lightning squad member No. 102.

Lightning are currently in second place in the Superleague behind Team Bath and have already secured their place in the playoffs.

Jess, whose matches with Lightning will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Netball platforms, said: “I feel so honoured and excited to be given this opportunity. It has been a bit of a whirlwind over the last couple of weeks so it was great to get on court and make my Superleague debut at the Copperbox . I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season with such an amazing squad. I always love coming back to St Michael’s to coach the current pupils, to share my love of sport and to show that dreams do come true!”

Jess joined Loughborough Lightning U21 NPL Squad from London Pulse in September 2020 when she started studying at Nottingham Trent University where she is part of their Performance Sport Programme.

And it was St Michael’s where her passion for netball began. Jess’ mum, Clare, said: “Jess’ year group team were a strong squad who enjoyed a high level of success at both local and national IAPS level. Jess played all sports during her time here where she achieved a great deal of success across the board . She left at the end of Year 8 to continue her education at Kent College Pembury with a Sports Scholarship. Her place in the Loughborough Lightning Super League is a huge opportunity for her.”

Mrs Wade, who coached Jess during her time at St Michael’s, added: “We are extremely proud of Jess and all she has achieved since leaving St Michael’s. I had the delight of watching Jess’ netball skills grow tremendously during her time with us and it is no surprise that Jess’ dedication to the sport has landed her this incredible opportunity. We look forward to hearing about her future successes and seeing her on Sky Sports!”

A swarm of bees, pride of lions and bloom of ladybirds could be seen roaming the school grounds on Friday 28th May as the Prep school celebrated Go Wild Day in aid of local charities Kent Wildlife Trust and Otford Hospices of Hope.

The action-packed charity day, organised by the School Council to raise awareness of the local causes, raised an amazing £727.04.

Mr Baird, Acting Deputy Head, said: “It was amazing to see so many staff and pupils dressing up for this brilliant fundraising event. A big thank you to the School Council and Year 8 prefects who played a key part in the success of the event, and to the pupils for putting so much effort and energy into the activities.”

Throughout the day, pupils took part in fundraising activities including an exotic bring and buy sale where pupils exchanged good quality toys and games. The afternoon events also included a face painting session for the children led by the senior Art Scholars group.

Fundraising & Communications Manager at Otford Hospices of Hope, Jessica McKechie added: “We were delighted to hear that St Michael’s Prep School chose to fundraise for Hospices of Hope with their Go Wild Day. Being supported locally is so important for our charity and we are really grateful to all the children and staff who took part. The funds raised will help us to support our patients with vital care, some of whom are children too and will love to hear about the activities the school arranged in order to help them.”

St Michael’s Go Wild Day forms part of its longterm plan to improve the wildlife around their 90-acre site as well as increasing the school community’s awareness of the importance of conserving nature.

Delighted by St Michael’s efforts, Acting Head of Education and Lifelong Learning at Kent Wildlife Trust, Lee Mason-Baldwin said: “Wow, what a brilliant effort and superb, heart-warming achievement, thank you so much! We love the gorgeous colourful activities and the fun you’ve had to help animals, plants, bugs and birds which is crucial for developing a life-long love of wildlife. Your support will help us on our quest for a wilder Kent, rich in wildlife for everyone to enjoy, forever.”

For more information about St Michael’s Prep School please visit their website: https://www.stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/

 

We are hugely proud to announce that past St Michael’s pupils L Bingham and A Faulstich have been selected for the England Under 16 Hockey Squad.


The Year 10 pupils, who currently attend Weald of Kent Grammar School and Tonbridge Grammar School were announced as members last week following many months of training and assessment.


Congratulating the girls on their achievement, Mrs Wade, who taught them PE during their time at St Michael’s, said: “We are extremely proud of Lottie and Anna and all they have achieved since they left St Michael’s. They were extremely hardworking in all their sports at school and it is great to hear that they have taken their hockey to such a high level. We look forward to hearing about their future success.”


A huge congratulations to both girls on this amazing achievement.

St Michael’s Prep School, Otford was delighted to welcome concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy as the special guest for its Scholars’ Day on Thursday 20th May.

Mr McCarthy, who was the first left-hand-only graduate of the Royal College of Music in its 130-year history, hosted a music masterclass with the school’s Music Scholars, before joining the wider Scholars group for an evening of food and entertainment.

Nicholas said: “It has been so wonderful to work with the pupils today. The performance standard of the Scholars is fantastic and their personalities came across in their performances. It was lovely to see.”

During his visit, the talented musician shared his story with St Michael’s including his performance with band Coldplay at the 2012 Paralympics Closing Ceremony. Nicholas also offered words of encouragement for overcoming setbacks and barriers. He said: “At my first audition I was turned away because they just didn’t believe I could play the piano with one hand. I had to dig deep and find that resilience to carry on achieving my dream. Very quickly that fire built back up and I was determined to prove them wrong.”

Commenting on the success of the event, St Michael’s Deputy Head Mary Bridges said: “We were delighted to host a special event for our current scholars, incoming scholars and our Year 8 pupils who have achieved scholarships at their senior schools. Nicholas words inspired all of us and his performance was absolutely stunning. It was a true mark of excellence.”

To view a highlights reel of the event or watch the full interview with St Michael’s Head Nik Pears and Nicholas McCarthy please visit their YouTube page.

 

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