Head’s Blog 18th May Friday 18th May 2018

For Zerrin and me, the last few weeks have been recruiting season. We both enjoy the chance to meet people from all sorts of different schools and to decide which staff will join us at St Michael’s. One candidate impressed us particularly this week with his creativity and humour and the preparation for his lesson which linked in with French day. It is this sort of attention to detail which makes each day at work such a pleasure for all of us.

Next week I shall be sharing with you details of those long-serving teachers who will be moving on, retiring and moving countries in some cases and after half term we will be sharing the biographies of all our new staff with you. It is always sad to see good friends and colleagues go, but one of the things about St Michael’s is that we do stay in touch and follow their careers with interest and excitement as their professional and personal dreams come true and we know that so many times people will come back and enjoy time with us again.

I’d like to thank the ball committee for the most to terrific ball last weekend. The decorations were delightful, the planting and shrubbery brought on site made a magical contribution to our arrival and the effective adornments inside the splendid marquee set the tone for a special and most enjoyable evening. I for one have so much pleasure from seeing parents and colleagues looking stunning and relaxed. Looking at the photo booth selection, I also learnt quite a lot about their inner selves! Music of a very high quality was performed, disco got everyone on the dancefloor and none of us quite lived up to the standards set by Dance Act at the beginning of the evening for entertainment. The food was delicious and the ball committee and their supporters worked hard before, during and after the ball to make the most wonderful evening for everyone. As if that wasn’t enough, an enormous sum of money was raised for West Kent Mind and I’m delighted with this outcome. I thank all of those who contributed items for the auctions, both silent and noisy and also Oliver Schneider who twisted the arms and clearly perhaps other body parts to elicit this huge amount of money for such a worthy cause.

Three cheers for the entire committee: Andrea Richmond, Claire Schneider-Price, Anna-Marie Mottram, Clare Merralls, Jill Walker, Jo Karir, Jules Walker, Lorna Sharp, Marianthe Goodwin, Melanie Winter, Oliver Schneider-Price, Ruth Batchelor, Tracey Scott, Suzanne Hirst and to Tracey Ashton, Sadie West, Charlie Parkinson and Claire Soper from the P&F who “worked” on the night. Every single one of you is to be congratulated. Magnificent congratulations to Ian and his team, who worked tirelessly and generously to put up and take down the sports hall marquee and prioritised supporting the P&F committee with endless skill and good cheer.

This week has been action-packed as usual, community choir rehearsals and successful athletics match, fabulous French Day, and all sorts of engaging lessons.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of being at the Nursery evening to welcome parents. The whole of the current team spoke with eloquence, humour and wisdom to set out how they work to settle and engage the children; we even had a speech in verse! The parents there came away with a strong sense of the fun to be had in Nursery and how much the staff there love what they do.

It was marvellous to hear about the wedding that Reverend Diane conducted in preparation for the real celebrations on Saturday down in Kindy. We were very lucky to have some wedding clothes lent by the local Otford “Brides Dress Revisited”, one of our parents owns the shop. I understand that rings were exchanged and photos were taken. I look forward to seeing them.

We are delighted to announce the list of all those who are taking up scholarships to their senior schools and into Year 7 at St Michael’s.  We had a record year of scholarship offers, with some children turning down more than one scholarship.  We congratulate each and every child who has won an award and record and celebrate those who have chosen to accept one in this photo and on our honours boards.

Year 8
Name Surname School Award
E Holden Walthamstow Hall Academic Scholarship
Z Hudson Tonbridge School Academic Scholarship
H Martin Truro School Sports Exhibition
N Samuel Tonbridge School Drama Scholarship
L Weir Benenden School Music & Academic Scholarship
Year 6
K Davis Bromley High School Music Scholarship
G French Woldingham Sports Scholarship
C Kern Sevenoaks Academic Scholarship
B Sanderson Bethany School Academic Scholarship
E Willoughby Kent College, Pembury Sports Scholarship
T Bulley St Michaels’s Prep Drama Scholarship & Music Exhibition
K Cameron St Michael’s Prep Sports Scholarship
C Denny St Michael’s Prep Music Exhibition
J Fryer St Michael’s Prep All-Rounder Scholarship
O Goodwin St Michael’s Prep All-Rounder Scholarship
E Hudson St Michael’s Prep Sports Exhibition
E Osborne St Michael’s Prep Music Exhibition
P Parker-Swift St Michael’s Prep Sports Scholarship & Art Exhibition
S Parker-Swift St Michael’s Prep Drama Scholarship
E Powell St Michael’s Prep Sports Exhibition

Last night we were blessed with a very large number of parents and some very talented children as we celebrated with our scholars’ dinner. The scholars programme began four years ago and each year it develops into something bigger and better. Now those who stay on into Years 7 and 8 with a scholarship can be assured of joining a very special group of people and the performances from some of them last night were, frankly, astonishing. Lucy played Chopin on the piano with different time signatures in each hand in a beautifully accomplished performance. Nick gave us one of his scholarship drama monologues, cleverly chosen to show a teacher and pupil relationship both performed by Nick. Our newest drama scholars couldn’t resist giggling at some of the naughty words! Elizabeth talked about her journey to securing an academic scholarship and displayed a great deal of self-awareness, humility, determination, and resilience. Zach, who recently won a top academic scholarship to Tonbridge School, fielded questions from parents, staff and pupils about his experience of preparing for scholarship and it was lovely to hear his confidence and pride and to recognise that he was comfortable sharing the lows as well as the highs.

We were delighted to welcome Kim Wells, Director of Learning and Teaching at Caterham School. He gave a very entertaining talk about turning failure into success and inspired everyone present by his wisdom and excellent delivery. Add to this delicious food, beautiful flowers, thanks to my secretary, Helen, a proud group of parents and some wonderful staff and you have the recipe for a perfect evening. Thank you to Mark, Lisa and Michelle for the wonderful dinner and to our own exceptional deputy, Mary Bridges, who masterminded the whole evening and made it such a success.

The theme of courage, perseverance, willingness to fail resurfaced again in this morning’s assembly at Prep as 3P presented their TV-inspired Xplorers.

Next week I shall be away on inspection from late Tuesday afternoon until Friday morning and whilst I am completely confident that my colleagues and pupils will get on working hard for the week, I know that my absence means that my diary is under pressure and I am happy to book meetings during the last three days of the half term holiday if this helps parents to catch up with me.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the royal family, I know many families will be enjoying the chance to watch the royal wedding on Saturday. On behalf of the children, staff and community at St Michael’s I would like to wish Prince Harry and Meghan every happiness in their married lives. I shall look forward particularly to watching the church service as my own two sons were choristers at St George’s Chapel and occasions such as these were highpoints for me as a parent. I know all the choristers and their parents will be so excited about this weekend and that the music planned will be special.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend I hope you have time to relax and enjoy your family.

Jill Aisher

Latest News

Royal Wedding fever has officially hit the Hive. We’ve been hanging up Union Jack bunting, making flags, crowns and tiaras and have made a beautiful window display of a horse and carriage, guards and flag waving children.

Our mannequin has been dressed in an outfit fit for a princess and looks stunning in her Union Jack playing card and bunting dress.

We’ve iced fairy cakes in red, white and blue and designed delightful porcelain mugs of Prince Harry and Meghan.

The royal theme continued in our wooden blocks area, with a sentry box and Buckingham Palace under construction!

Thank you everyone for making this week royally special.

Mrs N Smith and Miss N Chambers

Once again our pupils (and staff!) were invited to come to school dressed in bleu, blanc et rouge. Throughout the day, Prep pupils were welcomed into lessons in French and some teachers even ran their full lessons en français. As Years 6 and 7 watched a video about the top 10 tourist attractions in France, Year 8 were doing their CE French Listening exam and Years 3, 4 and 5 attended chapel with Rev Diane, who celebrated mass with lots of French words and sentences. The children even had the chance to listen to a French prayer and the Lord’s Prayer in French.

In Pre-Prep, the children dressed up in the colours of the French flag and there were some amazing moustaches and berets. We had a French assembly and we learnt about life in a French School, wonderful places to visit in Paris and some “funny facts” including not being allowed to take snails on a high speed train without a ticket! Children visited the French Café and bought a croissant or pain au chocolat to have with chocolat chaud.

In Prep school, our Year 7 mums kindly prepared a French snack of pain au chocolat and a grenadine (French berry squash). Money raised is going towards a special treat during our Year 7 Paris trip. Merci!

For lunch, children in both parts of the school were lucky enough to sample saucisson, brie, baguette, boeuf bourguignon, haricots verts, purée de pommes de terre, quiches and delicious homemade éclairs au chocolat. Some even tried Mark’s delicious escargots à l’ail! Well done for being so adventurous. C’était fantastique!

A l’année prochaine (Let’s do it again next year!).

Madame Poracchia and Mrs Beesley

Click here to see our gallery of photos


Sunshine, smiles and laughter described the atmosphere in the Hive this week. Our glorious newspaper skirt from last week was modelled by our children on Tuesday and our creative designers have started a new skirt using bin bag liners entwined with patterned fabric, by the end of the day it looked like a gorgeous catwalk outfit.  We’re experimenting with an innovative way of making pictures too, using nothing else but glue.

Innovation didn’t stop there! The wooden blocks have been turned into an amazing Ice cream van, a creative-looking house with windows, a kitchen area where the children were pretending to eat doughnuts and a bedroom with cushions.

In our “real” kitchen, we made delicious cookies with chocolate chips; the smell of fresh baking filled the Hive and gave a warm welcome to everyone who arrived.

We’ve been making the most of the warm weather and the children have been playing badminton, doing the limbo and skipping. Some made daisy chains and we even had chins glowing as buttercups were placed underneath chins to prove many children love butter.

Thank you everyone for a super week and fantastic creations.

Mrs Smith and Miss Chambers



A crime has been committed in the grounds of St Michael’s and Year 2 and 3 detectives are investigating! The Big Write took place last week, the crime scene showed that someone, or something, had come into the school grounds and deposited a range of unusual objects. The maintenance team had dutifully cordoned it off and the children set off in groups to explore the scene, making notes, gathering evidence and discussing what they had found. When they had finished they went back to the school and created “Wanted” posters for who or what they thought had committed the crime. Some of the children described the scene in case we needed it for evidence later. On Friday, Year 2 wrote newspaper reports about what had happened. It was great fun!

Miss Salmon, Miss Farmer, Mrs David, Miss Pearce and Miss Murch

Click here to see our gallery of photos.