Head’s Review 2015-16

In July 2016, we welcomed to our Prize Giving the tremendously inspirational speaker, Pauline Sanderson who gave us much to think about, learnt through her experiences of life at the top. Her view from the summit, was that the journey of life must be enjoyed as much as the outcomes. Having undertaken the Longest Climb in the World, from the lowest place on earth to the highest, through mud, ice and even sewage to become a world record breaker, she was in a good place to know.   She bowled us over with her positivity, her wisdom and her energy.

And when she visited St Michael’s she caught something of the special place this is, where, to borrow a phrase, every journey matters and where the confident, kind and sparky pupils love each day and live it to the full. This can’t be achieved without a huge amount of work by staff. The staff here are an incredible team. As an environment to live and work, St Michael’s has got the lot. Staff who care and who can, staff who learn and who love what they do, staff who are talented and work in strong teams, staff who are committed and conscientious, staff who give and take, staff who are flexible and fun.

In my small way from my turret on the hill look out, I too can give a view from the top, a view of what makes the school stand out, a view of the extraordinary journey this academic year and a view of just a part of the collection of talent oozing out of our pupils. Let’s start with scholarships.

Top Performers

Academically, the view from the top is fantastic. The school is delivering in a big way. This year we gained 3 academic scholarships as well as art, music and sport, drama and all-rounder scholarships. The greatest variety of awards since our scholarship board began in 1995. I’m thrilled.

2016
Year 8
R Baillie Academic Exhibition Sutton Valence
C Denny All-rounder award Hurst
M Edwards Art Exhibition King’s Canterbury
B Man Academic Scholarship Ardingly
T Masding Academic Scholarship Tonbridge
M Sabin Drama   Scholarship Sevenoaks
A Savage Sport Scholarship Caterham
Year 7
T Deininger Art Scholarship Cobham Hall
Year 6
H Kiggell Music Exhibition Sevenoaks

 

In addition the following awards were made into Years 7&8 at St Michael’s

H French Sports Scholarship
A Heslop Sports Scholarship
J Hudson Academic/All Rounder Scholarship
Z Hudson Academic Scholarship
A Parker-Swift Art Scholarship
O Pryal Sports Scholarship
N Samuel Music Exhibition
L Weir Music Scholarship
Year 7
J Sabin Drama Scholarship (awarded Easter 2016)
Year 8
A Griffiths Academic Scholarship
M Handy Academic Scholarship
A Kerr Academic Scholarship
J Xie Academic Scholarship

 

On a day to day basis, the Housepoint system is the vehicle for recognizing effort and achievement, kindness and sportsmanship. A total of 165,744 housepoints were won this year. 211 children have worn one of our new 100 HP badges (46 more than last year), 73 have 200 HP badges (60 more than last year). We have awarded 15 300HP badge this year that’s 14 more than last year and 4 children won the coveted smiley star Housepoint badge for the first time in the history of St Michael’s Prep. Congratulations to G French. H Medlen, M van Slingelandt and C Kern. You did it on the last day of term! 223 children have produced work fantastic enough to be awarded a Headteacher’s star worth 10 housepoints. That’s 141 more than last year. My gut feeling is that the incentive produces better work from a greater number of children. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading and admiring the huge variety of pieces presented to me. J Sales won the Special Award badge (think Blue Peter Gold Badge) for his incredible holiday diary and J Xie won one for his incredible Viking Project created within the curiosity curriculum. A Headteacher’s star and 10HP just wasn’t enough. All the star work is featured firstly on my board in a folder in the Library so that other children can aspire to this standard and enjoy what children have done. I am proud of them all.

Top Curriculum

Curriculum changes brought in for 2015-16 included the introduction of an extra lesson in Science in Y7, better timetabling of scholarship classes, the introduction of a reasoning lesson in Years 5&7 and the introduction of Latin into Year 6 for most pupils. Drama was taken out of the Year 8 curriculum and put into an afterschool slot to enable increased time for Science. The Year 8 entrants for the Drama duologue and St Michael’s got talent certainly showed they are doing great work in their Friday club. This year we launched the Curiosity Curriculum with Year 7 pupils, working in conjunction with Christopher Lloyd and John Gordon-Reid. The aim was to provide an opportunity for children to understand more about the history of the world by taking their own journey through self-selected and differentiated challenges covering a range of disciplines and skills.  The project encourages curiosity, creativity and independent thinking and many children have excelled through this style of learning.  Their wallbook records of this learning journey through time will be spectacular reading when they go to senior school interviews. We have committed to continuation of the curiosity curriculum in the next academic year and feel confident that it sets our Year 7 & 8 curriculum apart from our competitors (both locally and nationally).  We know we are the first school in the world to do this project and as pilot school, we have forged a strong a special relationship with Chris and John who are now taking their brilliant idea to other schools. As the projects are completed we will have some exciting work as well as the children’s own experience to share with and inspire the next year’s Y7.

This year Heads of Department have carried out two cycles of a standardised work scrutiny, using inspection framework criteria to inform their judgements. This process generated positive feedback and Heads of Department could identify strengths within their practice as well as identifying areas for development. We are setting largely challenging and personalised next steps for improvement and our marking is regular, up to date and consistent within most departments. The first cycle of work scrutiny highlighted peer and self-assessment as a key area for development across the school.  As a result we invested in purple polishing and progress pens which have inspired pupil engagement in reviewing and developing their work.

The second cycle of work scrutiny had an additional area for analysis which was how effectively teachers are using the house point system. This analysis highlighted some inconsistency across the school and this will now become a focus area for development in the next academic year.

Very Good Results

 

St Michael’s does not take part in National SATs testing but takes part in nationally used benchmarking tests called Progress Test in English (PTE) and Progress Test in Maths (PTM) which are marked externally and provide us with comparative data. The national standard required equates to a score of 100 and to make expected progress a child would need to retain that score the following year. Anything above 100 exceeds national expectations.

 

Nationally assessment is in transition with the removing of National Curriculum levels and the first year, this year, of the new tests. We expect analysis and professional reaction and debate to these tests later in the Michaelmas term. We know that the emphasis on grammar introduced by Gove’s reforms, nationally, is putting many children off literacy lessons and we enjoy the freedom to keep the fun in learning.

Until 2015 the percentage required by the government to make expected progress and reach secondary school readiness at Y6 (end of KS2) was 65%. The government has made expected standards higher at KS2 and raised its expectations to 85% of children who will achieve them in 2016. The data about success in state schools will be published later this term. A rather punitive approach to those schools who do not meet this “floor standard” may see Headteachers in the state sector losing their jobs. I do not feel this is the right approach to managing significant change. Whilst we require the highest of standards, our approach is to hold teachers to account and support with training, scrutiny, feedback and funding. The governors place a great deal of emphasis on questioning the Senior Team about our performance data.

The government does not publish data on KS1 levels but does use the data to measure progress to KS2.

Using benchmarked data to assess our cohorts against national standards, we have discovered much to be proud of.

Yellow    Performance indicates that expected progress has been made (not significantly higher or lower)

Green Performance has exceeded previous performance or higher than comparative group

 

Blue       Performance lower than previous or lower than comparative group

 

Prep School Progress Test in English (PTE)

Current Year Group CAT Verbal SAS Average 2016 PTE Average SAS 2015 PTE Average SAS 2016
3 106.1
4 111.7 109.2 115.3
5 110.4 109.0 108.3
6 113.6 107.0 107.1
7 107.7 Now Yr. 7

 

 

  • Our cohort is stronger than the national average across year groups
  • The results in Year 4 are outstanding. The cohort increased their average score by 6.1 from 109.2 in Year 3 to 115.3 at the end of Year 4
  • The children in Year 5 and 6 have made expected progress in relation to their scores from the previous year
  • The teaching in Year 6 English has enabled the less able children to improve (we have moved from having 6% in the below average category to 2% in this category)
  • English skills: spelling, grammar and punctuation have shown improvement but remain a key focus area for developmentThe work we have done re-launching phonics sessions in a greater number of year groups by having phonics training and consultancy has contributed to better spelling across the school but it’s a work in progress which we are closely tracking. Reading comprehension scores in Year 3 are 8% above national standards. Grammar and punctuation in Year 4 is 22% higher than national standards. In Year 5 Non-narrative Reading Comprehension scores are 14% above national levels and in Year 6 Non-narrative Reading comprehension scores are 18% above national standards. Year 1 and 2 joined with Prep school in completing the Progress through English and Progress through Maths for the first time this year. We cannot use the colour coding for these results because there is not yet a national published standard for KS1 and this is our first year of doing the tests in KS1.
  • Pre-Prep Progress Test in English (PTE)
Average SAS 2016 % Progress since Sept 2015 Expected or Higher than expected
Year 2 English 109.9 78
Year 1 English 114.3 94

 

 

  • Year 1 and 2 were consistently higher than the National Average in phonic knowledge, spelling, grammar & punctuation and reading comprehension.
  • The lower percentage of expected progress in Year 2 in English is because the newly introduced phonics daily in Year 2 only took place for one term. Next year with a whole year of phonics we expect to see greater parity between the maths and English scores. Indeed this is a focus of our development work. Phonics will continue into Years 3 and 4 for those who need it to enable all children to make expected progress and much more than that!
  • Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 started the Read, Write Inc. phonics programme in earnest this year. Having used it to teach phonics in Reception and Year 1 we have extended it to include Kindergarten and Year 2 and now have vertical group teaching. We are pleased with the results so far and will be extending our teaching with the spelling programme next year.

 

The English Department

 

This year the English department ran a trip to the theatre to see ‘Lord of the Flies’ and, in collaboration with the Art department, a visit to Tate Modern which served as inspiration for poetry writing. Reading for pleasure was encouraged through the reading buddies scheme, in which children from Years 6, 7 and 8 gave up their lunchtimes to read with Year 1 and Reception pupils. We also organised paired reading sessions in the Prep school, matching younger readers with older ones. In general, the children were encouraged to read widely through a variety of initiatives such as the library’s golden tickets and the Year 5 and 6 tube maps. National Poetry Day in October was marked by the visit of the performance poet Paul Lyalls, and in March we welcomed author and illustrator Petr Horacek who created a wonderful collage for the Pre-Prep library. Enrichment activities were provided through the creative writing, Junior Journal and debating activities.

It has been brilliant to see the emerging and well received work by senior students hearing children read in Prep. Some strong bonds have been forged between the two parts of the school through this work.

Junior Journal continues to attract budding writers of all ages who enjoy researching and writing about a range of issues. These have ranged from world events such as the Ebola crisis to school events and much-loved teacher interviews.   Finding out, thinking broadly and working as a team are the main focus.

Prep School Progress Test in Maths (PTM)

 

Current Year Group CAT Quantitative SAS Average 2016 PTM Average SAS 2015 PTM Average SAS 2016
3 106.6
4 113.4 110.8 116.7
5 112.1 109.7 112.2
6 113.5 112.2 109.1
7 116.3 Now Yr.7

 

 

  • Our cohort is stronger than the national average across year groups
  • The results in Year 4 are outstanding (also seen in English). The cohort increased their average score by 5.9 from 100.8 in Year 3 to 116.7 at the end of Year 4
  • The Year 5 cohort have also made good progress, increasing their end of Year 4 score by 2.5 from 109.7 to 112.2
  • The current Year 6 cohort have surprisingly had a slight dip. GL Assessment would not classify this as significant. Is this because our Year 6 children have peaked already through 11+ and senior school testing and knew they didn’t “need to sit” these exams?

In maths in Year 3 we are performing 16% better than national standards in problem solving. In Year 4 we are performing 30% better on mathematical reasoning than national standards, an uplift of 14% from last year. And in Year 5 20% better on fluency in conceptual understanding. In Year 6 we are 22% above national achievement levels in ratio and proportion. For an inclusive school, this data is a massive thumbs up. We do not select on entry and everybody is making better progress here than national standards of achievement. I am delighted.

 

 

 

Pre-Prep Progress Test in Maths (PTM)

 

Average SAS 2016 % Progress since Sept 2015 Expected or Higher than expected
Year 2 Maths 108.9 92
Year 1 Maths 118.0 97

In Maths both Year 1 and Year 2 scored higher than the National Average in Facts, Conceptual understanding, problem solving and Mathematical reasoning. A very high percentage make expected or better than expected progress despite this being a non-selective intake.

This close focus on literacy and numeracy across the school continues as a core strand of our School development plan in 2016-17 with training focussed on this in our September INSET days.

 

Benchmarking in the Early Years

 

Our Early Years setting is more and more popular with parents. A significant number of parents ask for more than 2 sessions and some want all day placements. The cycle for the collection of data extends beyond our Trinity term. We look forward to sharing with parents the analysis from the data we submitted to KCC (Kent County Council). On its moderation visit the KCC team again judged our Early Years setting to be outstanding. Our new team next year will have high standards to match.

 

The Science Department

 

In the Science department, Year 8 started the year with their visit to beautiful Lullingstone World Garden where Old Michaelian Tom Hart-Dyke enthralled introduced the pupils to the world’s most dangerous plant, smelliest flower and insectivorous species. Year 5 had a super morning at Combe Bank School to meet Isaac Newton and have his laws demonstrated by children on wheeled chairs! November brought the annual Quiz Club science competition in which St Michael’s entered two competitive teams. The telescope was used to view planets and various astronomy events took place at St Michael’s and Sevenoaks School. Year 6 were on a Mission to Mars: investigating rockets, Martian soil and how to land safely on the Red Planet. In December the Prep School watched Tim Peake take off to become the first British astronaut on the International Space Station and his progress was keenly followed in subsequent lessons. March again brought Sevenoaks School’s fantastic Science Week. In May a team of Year 8s competed in the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry competition and in June a team from the King’s School Canterbury treated a selection of best Year 7 scientists to a writing for science workshop.

 

Top Trips

 

Numbers are important as they convey the huge number of things being organized and enjoyed at school. In 2015-6 we had 32 day trips, as last year. We welcomed 30 visiting groups or individuals to work with children. That’s 3 more than last year and an expert on Internet Safety who worked with children, our parents and parents from Otford and Shoreham Primaries.

Top Sport

 

In Sport we had an excellent year with our performance in match sport similar to last year. There were 521 matches (the new rugby rules pushing up the number by 74 matches). Boys played 319 matches, won 135, (42%) drew 41 and lost 143. Girls played 202, winning over half of them (53%) (107) wins and drawing only 14 with 81 lost. Overall then we won 242 matches (33 more wins than last year) and lost 224 matches (32 more than last year) and had 55 (1 fewer) draws.

Pre-Prep held a slick and miraculously sunny sports day with beautifully prepared children who tried their best, tested themselves to their limits and won and lost graciously, organized meticulously by Jenni Rawlinson

At the Prep Sports Day a record 10 new school records were broken with L Bingham beating the Y5 800 metre record and setting a new school record across all ages! G Fisher’s stunning high jump performance added 3cm to the previous record as he jumped 1.56 m to the delight of the huge crowd around the poles.

Notable team successes this year have been with the U10 girls. The hockey team won the Rose Hill tournament, and the Holmewood House tournament. Many of the same girls were in the U10 netball team who won the Russell House and Kent College tournaments. They had a great year. The U9B team won the Rose Hill B netball tournament and our own St Michael’s tournament. The U8A team won the Hazelwood netball tournament and our girls went back to Hazelwood and won the Years 5-8 girls’ football tournament too.

The U11 boys won our own St Michael’s tournament and later that day the U13 A team won the plate at the New Beacon Tournament whilst other U13 boys won the ESSKIA regional ski race. M Fry was selected for the District Football team. U10 boys won the plate competition at St Michael’s Tournament. Later that year the U10 were winners of the plate at the Sutton Valence Prep rugby tournament and the winners of Solefield U10s rugby plate.   In January, O Pryal and N Thomson in West Kent U11’s squad were the winners of the “Gills Shield”. To round the year off, T Masding and G Fisher took part in the IAPS National Athletics. We are very proud of all these successes.

Top Performing Arts

 

The Christmas productions in Pre-Prep were magnificent. Whether you were the parent nervously watching your child overcoming their stage fright, or glowing with pride at the gains made since their last time on a stage, whether you were watching your child bob enthusiastically to the rhythm of the music or milking their moment of solo glory, I don’t think anyone present at the Reception Nativity could quite believe how much was achieved by the ensemble who performed. The Year 1 and 2 “Straw and Order” was a production with jazzy tunes, clever words and witty jokes and none of us will forget perhaps the funniest lines, delivered by the wise men trio … so wise that

“There’s not a question we can’t answer for you

And lots of lovely ladies say we’re handsome too!”. We loved it

The summer production of “The Mysterious Hat Box” saw the St Michael’s fairy released from the box, took the children on a history tour that revealed some high points in the 90 years of the Queen. It was witty, it was fantastically choreographed by visiting West End star Thierry, it was moving and funny and the children surpassed even my wildest dreams with their acting, their singing and their dancing and I know they will also have learnt a thing or two about the political events of the Queen’s reign, not to mention the range of musical styles it embraced. Some future musical and drama stars were also born that week I feel! Brilliant work by all the children, teachers and especially huge thanks to its creator, director and rehearser, Sally Beesley.

The music department goes from strength to strength. It has continued to revamp facilities, with a complete suite of macs and upgraded practice rooms and a sound-proofed drum room. Our many ensembles and instrumental groups are now so well developed that we can launch an orchestra and a jazz band next year. Exciting times!

We also put on or attended 15 concerts (1 more than last year) including performing abroad on the very successful Vienna tour in squares and in queues as well as booked performances in front of Schönbrunn Palace and at the International School. Years 3 and 4 went to perform in the O2 arena as part of the Young Voices concerts. 248 pupils received individual tuition in musical instruments. (7 more than last year.) That’s 57% of the school.   Everyone in the school has performed in a musical event. Our peripatetic music teachers are an excellent group, many of whom came on the Creative Arts tour to Vienna. Outside of school, Debbie Mumford took lots of pupils to both Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks Arts Festivals where 13 awards were won and 8 of our students were invited back to play in the winners’ concert.

Our violin quartet were the only primary aged group to get the finals of the National Pro Corda Chamber music competition for schools. We were delighted that H Kiggell was picked for the National Youth Orchestra.

The department ran a wonderful Orchestral Day at the end of the Lent term to which visiting pupils from local Primary Schools came. We were delighted to have pupils from five local primary schools as our guests for the day: St Lawrence, St Thomas, Chiddingstone, Platt and Otford, resulting in an orchestra of around one hundred children.

The purpose of the day was to provide opportunities for pupils to explore and rehearse some popular orchestral repertoire in workshops, led by a number of professional musicians, and culminating in a short concert performance at the end of the day. The pieces covered a good balance of musical styles from Baroque to Modern and included: Sarabande by Handel; Jupiter by Holst; Star Wars by Williams and the funky Last Minute Latin by Bellwood.

It was a huge success. Next year we are looking forward to having a Jazz Band day.

We took the strings group to King’s School Canterbury for a successful Strings workshop and performance and held a very successful day here with the Steel band from the Parkwood Hall Academy, a school for children with additional needs with whom we have formed a partnership, who came to give a fantastic concert and led a workshop with Year 7 pupils.

Last year’s review couldn’t include the 62 candidates who took ABRSM exams ranging from grades 1-5. They won 10 distinctions, 21 merits and 31 passes. This year a total of 113 candidates (that’s 30 more than last year and included two members of staff, myself included, taking grade 1 in a new instrument) sat ABRSM examinations across a wide range of instruments and grades (1-7). 14% achieved Distinction, 36%  achieving Merit  and 50% achieving Pass. 5 pupils took theory exams (grades1-5) getting 3 Distinctions and 2 merits, a rise in the standard from last year.

Alongside this 4 candidates took Trinity Guildhall exams with 2 merits in guitar achieved and in drums a distinction and a merit. 7 candidates took LCM exams in Musical Theatre achieving 2 merits and 5 distinctions. What a lot of talent!

The Art department put on a stunning end of Year exhibition with pieces judged exceptional by anyone’s standards. The comments from visitors suggested that the work shown might be more expected in an A Level show. I particularly liked the presentation to showcase all the work by the advanced artists which showed great variety and talent.

Our new head of Drama, Alan Powell has injected some fizz into the year’s programme with the House Drama duologue competition, the launch of St Michael’s Has Got Talent and his work with every year group for the teatime theatre.

Beyond St Michael’s

 

Year 6 pupils have done us proud this year. 19 pupils are staying on at St Michael’s, 6 children are taking up grammar school places, 6 children will transfer to Sevenoaks School, 3 children are going to a non-selective state schools with fine reputations with 20 children transferring into various prestigious independent schools. I congratulate H Kiggell on her music exhibition to Sevenoaks School and every member of Year 6 should feel proud of the marks they have gained and the schools they will join.

Our Year 8 pupils have been awarded places at a fine array of schools. 8 Sevenoaks places with M Sabin winning a Drama Scholarship, 1 off to Tonbridge, T Masding with an Academic Scholarship, 6 off to Sutton Valence and I congratulate R Baillie on his Academic Exhibition there, 1 is going to Caterham, A Savage with a Sports Scholarship, B Man won an Academic Scholarship to Ardingly, C Denny won an All-rounder scholarship to Hurst, and M Edwards secured an Art Exhibition to King’s Canterbury. 3 pupils are off to Wrotham, 1 to King’s Rochester, 1 to Sackville. We will miss all our leaving pupils and we hope they come back to visit.

For all that has been achieved within this academic year, I congratulate everyone: staff for working extremely hard to provide the best and happiest education possible, children for loving every moment and working so hard, and parents for supporting us and your children in all aspects of their life.

 

Top community

 

For all the things pupils spend time doing, there is a strong sense of nurturing self-esteem, the development of the social conscience and the spiritual life of the school. We welcomed Rev Di Rees to the team and to Shoreham village as its parish priest.

 

10 children and 1 member of staff were confirmed by Bishop James in January at a very special service here in our chapel. This was Diane Rees’ first service at the school as chaplain and we thank her for the ways in which she has linked teaching and worship and involved the children in the spiritual life of the school.

We have raised £5,473.05 for charity so far with our biggest fund raiser, the 24 hour Sponsored event moved to the penultimate night of term so this money will be added in next academic year. The School Council has organised the charity fund raising in Prep. This total includes £1223.50 for Sport Relief.  £720.92 for Children in Need, £510.71 for Cancer Research as well as smaller donations to Guy’s and St Thomas’, the Syria Appeal, the British Legion and The Children’s Society. By donating £150 per month to the Shiva Charity we give £1,800 annually to help fund the teachers and materials in the Sanga School, Nepal,

We are the single biggest donor to the Foodbank that we support quietly each week with regular thoughtful giving by the whole of Prep School in turn. I’m very proud of the giving by the school.

 

 Top developments

 

The school began the year with 445 pupils on roll and this rose to 454 by the end of the year.

The student voice continues to develop and this academic year students have been involved in the interview panel for new members of staff. There were, as last year, almost weekly form or pupil led assemblies across the school on subjects as diverse as the Queen’s Birthday and How to encourage Hedgehogs into your garden. Down in Pre-Prep children have written to me to request bespoke assembly themes; from clouds to dog’s bones, from sunsets to how books are made, I have certainly been kept busy on a huge variety of topics, with the research required teaching me as well and pupils a thing or two.

 

The two big developments of the year were firstly the pre and post school care on offer, ably led by Nicky Smith and her team, with Kim Webb providing a tranquil start to the day in Breakfast Club. The children voted on name for the space and their choice of the Hive sums up the happy buzz you find when you visit. With a television-free experience, focussing on creativity, co-operation and companionship, this group has become like a happy family and children who come once, perhaps a little nervously, are welcomed with open arms into the stimulating, happy play activities with such friendliness that they always press parents to let them return.

 

Secondly our swim school, launched in April 2015, goes from strength to strength under the able leadership of Helen Dudman. Over a hundred children enjoy extra-curricular swimming and we now have an invitational swim squad as well as classes for parents and enhanced curricular provision for all ages with high quality specialist teaching. I’m very proud of the enhanced offer we have at school.

Our shiny white art gallery corridor is bursting with brilliant art work now smartly labelled thanks to a donation from kind leaver’s parents, the facilities department oversaw the refurbishment of the dining room with a smart wood look floor and upgraded the entire music department. Meanwhile down in Pre-Prep we have the upgrade and development of the previous Void space for a permanent home to the Hive (our after and pre-school club).

We have funding, space and a construction company lined up to build an astroturf this coming year. All we need now is permission. We have gone to pre-planning and currently have commissioned an impact study. We hope that it will be granted soon and that the school and wider community will benefit.

During the holidays we purchased and set up a new server and organised a hardware upgrade for the IT curriculum and administration functions. Increased investment in iPads has been complemented by investment in a parent portal which will launch this year to give access to pupil data more frequently in the future.

Top People

I mentioned in my opening comments my gratitude to the top team of teachers. Alongside them there are others who deserve mention. The new office team, led by Lucy continues to sort us all out, and the marketing team with Judith Yarnold in her final term at the school have had a ridiculously busy year. With a new website almost ready to launch and a fantastic Old Michelians’ day complete with mixed rounders v staff and a happy evening barbecue, to name but part of what they do, they have much to be proud of.

The parents at the school have excelled themselves in providing so much for the school to enhance what we do. Volunteering to help/ teach/ run clubs/ hear children read/ make artwork/ teach staff / do assemblies/ go on trips/ be in working parties/ test out the website. Our parents this year have also put on an incredible ball, Las Vegas themed complete with magician cutting himself in half, levitating grown humans and some very feathery leggy dancers!

The catering team under Mark Edward’s leadership give us very tasty foods and help us celebrate themed days within the curriculum. Who can forget the snails on French theme day and the cosmopolitan mix served up in Go Global week?

Ian and the Estates team have worked tirelessly, for much of the time without a full complement of manpower to support the school’s events and keep it looking beautiful and they are so often the unsung heroes of the day. I am grateful to Ian and Andrew, Simon, Barry and latterly Jason, for all they do and to Di who amongst her many key roles, oversees their work.

My senior team make a huge contribution to the school. They take on a wide range of leadership roles to ensure the smooth running of all aspects of our provision, delivery on our development objectives and the running of school alongside me. Fraser Wiseman’s commitment and attention to detail in organising the logistics of the weeks and securing the best pastoral experience with his team of year heads and Mary Bridges’ positive and inspirational development of the curriculum bring strength to the whole school. My target, set by Governors, was to strengthen and develop that team and I couldn’t wish for greater support. Their leadership here enables us to get better and better as a school. I particularly congratulate Zerrin on her first year of headship and Rachel Jeffery on a fine year as Deputy Head in Pre-Prep.

The P&F continue to offer strong support to our community. They have organised wonderful events. The Christmas Bazaar, again drew a huge crowd and created fun festive day for all. With Comedy Night in March came an enjoyable evening of fun and humour with a great turnout. Throughout the year the international club has organized a whole range of events and supported school ones with refreshments and fundraising.

I must thank Cat Hodson and Liezl Hamman for their tireless work for the P&F and Jules Benjamin and Kim Hume leading on the International Club.

I would also like to thank the Board of Governors. We have worked well as a team this year and enjoyed really strategic meetings. I would like to thank Paula Carter for all her help, challenge and support. Alongside her, the chairs of the other committees give so much, Julia Tyson, chairing the Staffing and Remuneration Committee and David Evans, chairing the Finance and General Purposes Committee. This year Rashid Chinchanwala has stepped up to take on the role of Vice Chair. It is wonderful to have such a team around me and I and the school community as a whole are grateful for the wisdom, commitment and confidence of all the governors.

For me, at the end of my third year here I can again look back with a sense of pride and achievement. I couldn’t make my journey through each academic year without my husband Johnny. We’ve settled in Shoreham in a house with a lovely view of the cross on the hill and we feel lucky that we belong here. The view from the top at St Michael’s is a fine one and we continue to embrace development and seek the highest standards for everyone as we go with confidence into 2016-17.

 

 

Jill Aisher     September 2016