Head’s Blog 22nd June Friday 22nd June 2018

It is our custom at our weekly staff briefing in Prep to start the meeting by sharing something good that happened in the week before and this week we spent half the meeting sharing joyful stories about trips, opportunities for pupils who learnt and grew through doing something different, excellent feedback from others about our pupils, national standard achievements and much more besides. It’s a great start to the day. In the news section of this letter you will find more details of all of these extraordinary things that were packed into last week, some so close to the end of it that I was unable to write about them in time for last Friday. Increasingly we share our stories in a variety of ways and I do commend to you both my Twitter feed and the school’s Twitter feed because some of our stories only appear there. Click here for the link to St Michael’s Twitter.

On Friday last week H Medlen and B O’Keefe both did extremely well at the IAPS regional athletics and were placed first (14.86 secs in U12 100m) and second (14.20 secs in U12 100m) in their races and went through to the National Finals in the first week of July in Birmingham.

Ishwar, Year 3, came back from Canada where he competed with children from 21 countries in yoga and came away with two gold medals. This weekend he was busy in the poetry recital competition in Sevenoaks where he also won two silver medals. He’s been featured on ITV News, the BBC regional news and there are various TV stations lined up to meet him in the coming weeks. We are very proud of him and the way in which he skips back into school and gets stuck into his work and his friendships with great energy. Today after the school photo he’s off to the Indian High Commission to perform there on International Yoga day.

I very much enjoyed the Kindy and Nursery performances this week.  Accomplished, confident and high quality music making, with real enjoyment by all and for all.  Congratulations to all involved.

There has been a certain amount of additional energy in the school this week as in Prep we receive the latest in the Challenge projects. Apart from the animation of the children when they attend the sessions, the variety of products created continues to astonish us all and we feel as though we have unleashed a huge swell of creativity that will continue to develop and refine itself and be expressed in the most joyful manner. This week I played languages top trumps, looked at a model of the first camera complete with negative image, a life-size model of a gramophone with recorded presentation inside activated on the phone, a model of a Victorian costume Museum, and some huge scale visually impressive presentations on architects, inventions and the history of sweets.

For all that I have seen and had time to admire I know that there are literally dozens more all over the school, that I haven’t yet seen.

One inventive literacy activity taking place in the library to coincide with the World Cup is a story being written by author Tom Palmer, with one chapter being written each day which is influenced by pupil feedback online on the theme of football. One of the children spoke to Mrs Davies, our Librarian, saying “I like this story because it is tense and all the scores from the World Cup affect how the story will end.”

Some of my lunchtime conversations with younger children have been around  what they will do in the “Battle of the Books” where two authors are pitted against one another and children have to write to justify which they believe to be the better writer. Their suggestions and analyses are already beginning to show on the Battle of the Books board and they make interesting reading.

Today we reviewed our whole year with the governors, who attended for a day of training and sharing with staff. I will be paying tribute to all the staff who are moving at Speech Day and two of our governors step down after today’s meeting. But I would like to mention both Roger Overend and Alex Smith here and thank them both for their work for St Michael’s Prep. Roger is retiring from his Headship at King’s Rochester Prep and his position on our Staffing & Remuneration Committee and Governing Body.  He has been a wise and supportive member of our Governing Body and committed many hours to attending in his role.

Alex has been our Safeguarding Governor and has enjoyed scrutinising and supporting the work of Gordon as DSL and Zerrin in Pre-Prep. We thank them most sincerely.


Nicola Holland






We sadly say goodbye this week to Nicola Holland, HR Advisor.  Nicola took on this newly-created role and made it her own.  She has been a positive, cheerful, calm colleague, trustworthy and discreet.  We shall be sorry to see her go. Nicola is moving to a promotion in HR at an insurance company.

Dr James Tuck






Dr Tuck has spent his first year as a teacher refining his craft under the experienced watch of Mrs Sue Billings.  Dr Tuck has fascinated his students with his knowledge of history and secured fine results at CE. We wish him well at Rose Hill.

Mrs Abi Petzsch






After one year at St Michael’s Abi is being whisked off to Chicago where her husband is relocating.  In her short time with us, we have enjoyed her calm companionship, her enthusiasm for leading children towards success and her teamwork.

We wish the Petzsch family all the best.

Messrs Brightman and Brightman

Apart from the obvious truth that these are indeed two bright men, we are sorry to be losing both simultaneously.  Steve, who’s been a games coach since Mr Marsden left, is going to train as a teacher and Luke, who’s been a fantastic gapper, is taking up an apprenticeship at a local garage, Oldbury Motors, where he will train as a mechanic. We’ll miss them both tremendously and thank them for all they’ve done.

And Hellos

Kim d’Albertanson – HR Officer






Kim joins the staff as HR Officer in July 2018.
She previously spent 9 years working for KCC – School Information Management System (SIMS) Support Team as a SIMS Consultant. Her responsibilities included:- Personnel, Staff Performance, DFE Statutory Returns, Financial Management System, Dinner Money and Reporting as well as being a qualified IT trainer, providing Consultancies and SIMS Training to schools.

Prior to this, Kim was a Bursar for 13 years at Thurnham Infant School in Maidstone. Her responsibilities included HR, safeguarding, health & safety, school office administration, as well as setting and monitoring the school’s budget.

Kim is married and has one 27 year old daughter, who is a Project Manager for an IT Company in London, and also an aspiring actress, presently being mentored by Amanda Redman MBE.

Before children, Kim was an Operations Manager for HSBC with responsibility for West Kent branches HR, compliance and audit.

Kim loves to travel, swim and is a keen skier, she is very excited to be joining the staff at St Michael’s Prep in July.

Kirsty Mitchell – Reception Teacher










Kirsty has worked with children for many years be it through volunteering at summer children’s camps, participating in holiday clubs or work experience at primary school during her secondary school education. She always knew she was going to be a teacher and this happened three years ago.

She took a degree in Education Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University and then followed with a PGCE in Primary Education (3-7years). She has experience in Reception and Year 2 and for her three years as a teacher, she has focused on Reception and loved every minute of it.

At her previous school she has run netball club for KS2 and art club for Reception. In her spare time she enjoys arts and crafts, yoga, dance and singing.

Kirsty is really excited to be joining St Michael’s in September and can’t wait to meet her new class.

Claire Briggs – Year 2 Teacher (Maternity Cover)






From a very young age Claire knew that her dream profession was to be a teacher. She has been teaching for over 12 years in the UK. Claire has experience in Years 1-6 however the majority of her experience lies within KS1. Whilst teaching in an inner London school, Claire was Head of KS1, Literacy, RWI, Art and Science. For 6 years she was the Assistant Head of a 2 form entry Primary School in London. She completed her teaching degree in South Africa and then converted this to QTS. Whilst at university Claire majored in Art and RE. She loves watching children’s imaginations come alive through their own art. Claire is married and has two children. She enjoys arts and crafts, running, aerobics and gardening. She is extremely excited to be joining St Michael’s in September.

On Monday we welcome our new staff and pupils for Move Up Day and look forward to seeing you at the evening meetings for Pre-Prep and Year 3.

I hope in the meantime you have some fun outside this weekend.

Jill Aisher

Latest News

As Y5 pupil, C Hunter, explained during Monday’s assembly, Sevenoaks School has organised weekly food/supply collections for those in need during these very uncertain times.  The collections have benefited local organisations such as One Big Family: Helping the Homeless, Friends for Families, The Hygiene Bank, Sevenoaks Food Bank: Loaves & Fishes, Community Cupboard, area primary schools and others.  Miss Cat Davison, the School’s Director of Service and Social Impact, updates its online social media feeds (@sevenoaksimpact on Twitter and Instagram) with the items needed each week.  We hope that you will consider helping with this effort.  Together we can make a huge difference for those living right here in our community!
The details of the collections are provided below.  If you do wish to participate, please ensure that items are unopened and handled with washed or sanitised hands, and that social distancing is strictly adhered to on delivery.
What: Food, Supplies (check social media links for current needs)
When:   Every Tuesday, 9am – 12pm
Where: Outside Claridge House, Sevenoaks School,TN13 1HU
(Claridge House is just to the right of the main entrance of Knole Park on High Street)
On Monday our community-minded pupil also discussed a book collection which took place earlier this year for children in Ghana.  Below are photos of EduSpots centres where the books are available for local communities throughout Ghana.

We’ve been amazed by the phenomenal success of the Art Department’s recent challenge “Painting without Paint”. Set as part of our remote learning programme, children were asked to select a work of art of their choice and to recreate it at home – but without using paint!

The Art Department has been overwhelmed by submissions, which Miss Rodwell, described as “creative, humorous and inventive”. She added “Staff have been impressed by submissions that showed how carefully the children have looked at their chosen artworks in order to create such brilliant responses.”

Posts on our Twitter account have received positive responses from prestigious art galleries, such as the Tate and the National Gallery, with The Lowry in Manchester commenting “Wow, we love this!!” on T Neville’s version of L S Lowry’s “Man Lying on a Wall”. But it’s not just art galleries in the UK, who have responded to the children’s art; their work has been liked by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden and the Mauritshuis in Den Haag. One Year 3 pupil, who was inspired by artist Aja Trier, even reached New York, as permission was sought to post an image of one of her paintings. She was delighted to allow us to feature her work and on seeing J Gagg’s interpretation commented “Oh my gosh that is precious! Please tell the artist I love it! I will post on my Instagram and Facebook. Thank you!” She went on to tell us “I am always so humbled when kids are inspired by my work, but this is next level!”

In order to show you all the wonderful work our pupils have done, we’ve put together an online gallery of the work. Talking about the project and the reaction, Mrs Barratt declared “This is wonderful!” and reactions from other schools included the comment “Excellent work St Michael’s Art Department this is a really fun activity”.

Mrs Bridges told us “I am absolutely delighted, and inspired, by the way that the children have responded to these challenges. Creativity is keeping us connected, not only within our own community but across the world too!”

We can’t wait to see what the department comes up with next. Miss Rodwell is keeping us in suspense “I’ve been working on a new one today …”. We’re sure that our pupils will have even more opportunity to excel!

Click here to view our online gallery of more ingenious images.

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!

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