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




Sunsets and sizzling sausages set the tone for the new term last Friday as Year 7 pupils celebrated the start of their senior education journey.

The annual event, traditionally held as a Camp Out, was delivered as a fun-filled barbecue night which the children enjoyed with teachers including St Michael’s Acting Head, Mrs Bridges.

Throughout the evening pupils tucked into dinner cooked by Deputy Head Mr Wiseman, and toasted marshmallows on an open fire.

And to make use of their new term energy, games and group bonding activites were carried out, followed by a walk up the school’s famous Warren where the sunset was relished in all of its glory.

Reflecting on the sucess of the event, Head of Year 7 and 8, Mrs Shield, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to camp this year, but that did not dampen anybody’s spirits.

“One of the highlights of the evening was our twilight walk to the top of the Warren where we marvelled at the beautiful site that our school occupies.

“We viewed the bats swirling the skies in the dusk of late summer and ended the evening with a well-deserved hot chocolate – not forgetting the squirty cream and yet more marshmallows.

“Life-long friendships were made and re-established after the long summer break.”

This month St Michael’s Prep is celebrating the opening of its new Astro Turf pitch.

Completed during Summer 2020, the state-of-the-art facility will provide a huge boost to the school’s sporting facilities and allow it to offer a broader range of activities including boys hockey and football to its pupils.

Its floodlights will also enable St Michael’s to host sports matches during evenings, as well as inviting external schools and clubs to enjoy the new pitch throughout the year.

Ben Bridges, Director of Sports at St Michael’s, said: “We’re really excited to use the Astro Turf for the first time this month.

“We feel extremely lucky to be able to offer this to our pupils in both Prep and Pre-prep and are thrilled about the benefits it will bring to our sporting curriculum.

“As well as hockey, the new pitch will allow us to offer many other sports to pupils and will prevent the children from missing lessons due to inclement weather.”

Planning for the Astro Turf began in 2014 and has seen St Michael’s grounds undergo a significant transformation since construction began last summer. During this time pupils were fascinated by the diggers, dumpers and bulldozers which visited the school, while nursery and kindergarten children were treated to close-up views of the machinery.

Mr Bridges added: “Although it was a slightly delayed start due to the poor weather we faced, this feels like the perfect time to put the incredible space to good use.

“This is really going to move sport at St Michael’s to the next level, as well as providing us with opportunities to engage with the local community. We’re excited all round.”


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

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