eNews: Friday 13th March 2020

From the Acting Co-Heads

In an extraordinary week, we welcomed Year 2 to Prep School on Tuesday and they had a magical morning of maths alongside Year 3 followed by lunch as part of their transition programme. We warmly welcomed Francis Osei back to St Michael’s on Thursday to talk to Year 6 about their choices growing up and the importance of good decision making.

Creativity and curiosity were the order of the day as Year 3-6 pupils began sharing their homework challenges on Wednesday. The maths and geography games created by Years 3 and 4 are a huge highlight and it was a joy to see the children playing their own games and developing their learning in such an interactive and fun way. The level of awareness shown by our Year 5 & 6 pupils in response to the Global Awareness themed challenges is impressive and reassuring. These well-informed, confident and forward-thinking children are, quite simply, awesome.

Meanwhile, over in Jersey, the senior pupils are having a fantastic time. They’ve played Football, Hockey and Netball tournaments and have visited the war tunnels, shops, swimming pool and zoo. The children are having a great time making some wonderful memories. Year 7 enjoyed a fantastic trip to Chatham Dockyard on Monday where they enjoyed a variety of STEM workshops. Science week was alight in the Prep School and Year 6 pupils are delighted to have earned their “Bunsen Burner licenses” as part of this. Thank you to the Science department for their continued hard work and innovation. Please do take a moment to enjoy the enthused faces of the children excited in their learning through the fantastic photos shared on Twitter.

We have spent this week focussing on the preparations and processes we will need to put into place in the coming days and weeks. This is a time for support and unity. We will see, as was expressed at yesterday’s government press conference, an increase in cases and individuals both isolating, as a precaution based on symptoms, and those dealing with the virus directly. If you have not yet had the opportunity to watch the press conference in its entirety, we would recommend doing so. We would also ask everyone to read the email sent on Thursday evening with the school’s response to the press conference, as it outlines our initial steps to be taken with regard to the advice issued therein. This is also available on the Message Board in the Parent Portal. As all schools and businesses are finding, we will be navigating a period of time in ‘uncharted waters’. Please rest assured the decisions we make will be done with forethought and consideration. Different settings will approach this in different ways and this does not mean one school is right and one wrong in their response, just different. We look forward to your ongoing support at this time.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman


News from the Head of Pre-Prep

Parents’ Evenings Tuesday 17th March and Thursday 19th March; sign up on Parents’ Evening System from 21.00 on Monday 2nd March.
• Food Bank Collection for Easter – collection from Monday 16th to Thursday 26th March
• Friday 20th March Reception Mother’s Day Assembly 9am

Coronavirus I know is a concern for you all. Please rest assured that as a school we are taking advice from Public Health England daily and we will continue to ask their advice about any individual family concerns. Meanwhile please help to reinforce our message to the children about washing their hands properly with soap and water. Our message to the children has been about washing their hands whilst singing Happy Birthday through twice. I know there are lots of other songs doing the rounds together with videos, so anything you can do to reinforce the message at home is great. Thank you to those families who have self-isolated where they have had any shred of doubt and thank you for informing me when you have taken this decision or indeed sharing your Coronavirus-free test results.

Mrs Halford from the Food Bank will be coming into assembly next Wednesday. She will be talking to the children about Food Banks prior to a collection of food for Easter. With Coronavirus on the increase, I know that Food Banks are concerned about the level of donations. We will start collecting food for the Food Bank for Easter from Monday 16th March. All donations need to be received by Thursday 26th March please.

They would particularly welcome the following:

4 pack toilet rolls, Washing powder / liquid or capsules, J Cloths, tinned custard, tinned rice pudding, dried milk powder, long life juice, large tins of carrots, chocolate spread, jam, tomato ketchup and of course Easter chocolate!

Please make sure you have signed up for parents’ evening either Tuesday 17th or Thursday 19th. These are 15 minute appointments with your child’s class teacher or 10 minute appointments with Miss Rawlinson and Mrs Ravayeh.

I always look forward to our Mother’s Day Assembly. Reception children would like to invite all their mums to their assembly at 9am in our hall. Coffee will be served in the dining room from drop off.

Overheard: I’m never getting married because I’ve got too much to do!

Have a lovely weekend,

Zerrin Leech

On this week’s Message Board

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Message Board to see new important information as follows:

  • Coronavirus – information for parents

On this week’s Community Events page

Please log into our Parents’ Portal and click into the Community Events page to see important community information.

News stories

Our news stories can be found by clicking “News” and “Latest News” on our website. To see our latest articles please click here

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Thomas A for great teamwork and participation during Forest School
Mia for good work during our Maths lesson on money
Uma for becoming more independent during lessons
Conrad for showing great improvement in his handwriting
Abigail L for excellent effort in our lesson about money
Mona Swan for working hard at her letter formation in phonics
Lawson for fantastic progress in Maths and always trying his best
Amelia Rose for good improvement in handwriting
Cleo for consistent hard work in reading, writing and maths
Hugo for trying hard to use more expression in his reading
Luke for speedy work in doubling and halving
Elisa for working really hard with all classwork this week
Lily for carefully measuring the length of items using cm and mm
Daniel W for great work using the beebots
Sophie F for excellent writing when working with Alan Durant
Olivia Gibson for fantastic maths work this week

House Point Cup

Dover House with a total of 126 points
Olanna collected the Cup on behalf of Dover House

Music Award

Music Practice Cup: James L
Music Practice Award: Olanna E
Star Violinist Cup: George W

100 House Points Certificates

Leeds: Genevieve M
Windsor: George W


Festival pieces preview

In assembly Ruaridh, Alice O and Xavi performed for us on the piano. Some of our pianists will be entering the Tunbridge Wells Music Festival this year and we were lucky enough to hear their pieces that they are going to perform for the Festival.

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

J Vanderlanh-McKeown For amazing dancing and participation at the Young Voices Concert
K Loukam For amazing dancing and participation at the Young Voices Concert
L Andrade For completing all of your times tables cards and now knowing up to your 12 times table
J Vanderlanh-McKeown For a wonderful Homework Challenge, showing excellent effort
G Gagg For a beautiful and original Homework Challenge
H Palmer For a very well-conceived and hugely enjoyable card game, which was well presented and managed
T Warren For a fantastic Global Monopoly game, involving huge effort and for managing your group very sensibly
F Merralls For a fabulous Homework Challenge Diarama, poem and presentation on the global warming in Australia
V Medlen For an excellent Homework Challenge poem and koala pouch
J Bashford For excelling yourself during a parent tour
S Andrade For excelling yourself during a parent tour

Players of the Match, week commencing 9th March 2020

Team Name Given for:-
U12A Hockey T Porter Great midfield play
U12B Team Amazing performance
U12C A Edwards-Matthews Good defensive work
U11A M Cameron & L Poracchia Scoring 4 goals and and fantastic defensive play
U11 Chargers A Goodwin Great play
U11 Rams N Brown Great all-round play
U10A L Bowen Great play
U10 Giants C Buff Great passing and defensive work rate
U10 Jets A McCrae & R Thornhill Good disciplined play
U9A S Taylor & C Wilson Great ball carrying
U9B J West Good energy all over the field
U8A S Mottram Great tackling and good goal
U8B O Epps Tireless work rate and strong tackling
U8C J Osbourne & S Doyle Hard work
U11A Netball I Johnson Voted by opposition
U11B M Lewis & S Cook Excellent defending and voted for by opposition
U11C A Mottram Good work rate
U10A A Mitchell Voted by opposition
U10B N Stinson Voted by opposition
U10C T Bax & A Madgett Voted by opposition and for great defence
U9A A Ashton Voted by opposition
U9B E Woods Voted by opposition
U9C L Bakharevski Voted by opposition
U8A E Julio & S Savidge Vote by opposition and great shooting
U8B C Zheung Voted by opposition
U8C F Digweed & A Pink Voted by opposition and good energy on the court

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include King’s Rochester, Oakwood Park Grammar School, Roedean School and Skinners’ School.

Latest News

A Sevenoaks food bank is 318 kilos heavier following a donation from St Michael’s.


The school surprised charity The Community Cupboard with the generous donation on Monday, February 1 following a Christmas collection for the cause.


In total, £965 was raised from parent and staff donations throughout December, which St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P & F) used to organise a Sainsbury’s shop of food and toiletries for the charity.


Commenting on the school’s motivation to help the food bank, Co-Chair of St Michael’s P & F, Kelly Downey, said: “Delivering our donation to The Community Cupboard was an amazing and uplifting moment. Being able to bring the school together to contribute to a cause which plays such an important role in our community during this time was very rewarding.”


Greeted with three car loads of canned foods, long-life products and toiletries, Kelly also describes how delighted the charity were with the school’s generosity. She added: “The team were really blown away by our donation and thankful for the time we’d taken to raise the money and organise a delivery.


“It was a great feeling to be able to put an initial idea from a St Michael’s parent into action, and to see the impact we would be having on the local community.”


Kelly added: “We recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to put food on the table for their families. We hope that our donation can be a small step in making a difference for those people.”


Since the start of January alone, an additional 22 local families have registered for The Community Cupboard’s support, reflecting the increased pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic across the country. And it is only thanks to generous donations that the charity can continue to provide help to those who need it most.


Trustee at The Community Cupboard, David Carter said: “We would like to express our extreme gratitude to St Michael’s for their wonderful donation. We are very lucky to receive regular donations from local groups, but they are rarely to this scale.


“The food and toiletries kindly given to us by St Michael’s have allowed us to fully restock our shelves as well as putting plenty of stock on standby for new referrals. The size of this donation will allow us to give substantial food packages to the 22 new families who were referred to us in January. St Michael’s help is invaluable to us and will make a huge difference.”


Since its launch in January 2020, The Community Cupboard has continued to help families in Sevenoaks, and has extended its help to cover a 20 mile radius including Edenbridge, Westerham, Surrey, Sidcup, Rochester and Ashford, due to the pandemic.


The Trustee added: “We began as a small group of people determined to make a difference locally in an area where food banks were lacking. Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way and our efforts would be needed tenfold. To say we hit the ground running would be an understatement.”


Run by four members and six volunteers, The Community Cupboard works tirelessly to deliver parcels to families, and in January alone distributed 3.1 tonnes of food, toiletries and essential items.


David said: “We began the charity on the foundation that ‘if we can help, we will’, and with the community’s help, I’m proud to say we are doing just that. We see a lot of hardship and sadness in doing what we do, but it really opens our eyes to the incredible hard work various organisations and charities do in our community. Thanks to generous groups like St Michael’s, we can confidently say ‘yes, we can help you’.”


The Community Cupboard are currently taking donations of tinned and long-life food products, as well as toiletries and essential items. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be put towards bulk orders for the charity.


The charity is based at The Garage, Gamcock meadow, West Kingdown where a covid secure donation drop off process has been put in place.


For more information about The Community Cupboard, or to donate to the charity visit www.thecommunitycupboard.co.uk.

Mr Bridges is on a mission to keep St Michael’s motivated with his latest exercise plan designed to make exercise fun.

The Director of Sport at St Michael’s, who is a very keen runner himself, has created a beginner to 5k plan for anyone wanting to keep fit this lockdown.

The six-week plan, featuring workouts, running challenges and rest days, covers a range of exercises aimed at strengthening all parts of the body.

Mr Bridges said: “I have created this training programme for the St Michael’s community to help anyone who wants to have a go at running during lockdown and safely get to 5k by the time we return to school. The plan is suitable for Prep-aged pupils, parents and staff, including absolute beginners.”

The teacher, who has 15 years’ training as a running and triathlon coach, added: “The programme is designed to build a body capable of running 5k at the end of the six weeks, and what better time to have a go than during lockdown.”

The detailed plan, organised into weeks and week days, follows a key where the letters W (walk) and R (run) appear alongside the number of minutes the activity should take place for. For example, 6 x 1:30w/2:30r represents a 1 minute 30 seconds of walking followed by 2 minutes 30 seconds of running, repeated six times.

Mr Bridges said: “The programme includes progressive long runs from week 3 onwards, the only day where the running is based on distance rather than time.

“On Mondays I will also be sharing a different workout on the St Michael’s PE YouTube channel which pupils can take part in.”

To share your experience of the programme, including photos please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. By sharing this information you give consent to it being shared on St Michael’s social media channels and publications.



Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head describes the school.

“I’ve always liked St Michael’s and have been visiting it for several years as part of sports fixtures with my previous schools”, Nik Pears said.

“Something that has always impressed me about St Michael’s is the atmosphere and people that belong to it.

“The sense of community you feel when walking through the doors of the school is extraordinary”, he added.

An avid sportsman, experienced leader, and family man, Mr Pears brings with him a wealth of ideas for St Michael’s, including his core value of equipping pupils for life.

Nik , who joined St Michael’s in January 2021, explained: “I am very keen on developing a growth mindset in my pupils. In this ever-changing world, our children need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom.

“Pupils need to be adaptable, resilient and perseverant, and learn to accept their failure and mistakes as important parts of their personal development.

“By equipping children with the right interpersonal skills during their school years, we can set them up for a future in which they may have to fight for their place in the world.”

Nik’s concept of growth mindset can also be applied to his broader vision for the school.

Coming to St Michael’s from his headship at Kent College, Pembury, Nik believes the challenges posed by Covid-19 can teach schools a lot about the importance of flexibility and community.

Mr Pears said: “These unprecedented times have been a huge learning curve for schools.

“Navigating a school through a global crisis was never going to be easy, but it has shown just how necessary it is to put pupils at the heart of every decision.

“As someone who has experienced the period as both a teacher and parent, it is very clear that we are all battling the same storm in different boats.

“It is incredible how people have found new and creative ways to deal with the circumstances. From Zoom concerts, to helping food banks, to keeping each other’s spirits high with funny videos, this period has shown us a lot about community which we will learn from and remember.”

Having belonged to multiple Prep schools himself throughout his education and as a teacher, Nik is excited to be entering this new stage in his career at St Michael’s.

Reflecting on his own school years which saw him attend schools in London, Devon and Dublin, he said: “I always enjoyed school as a child and made the most of every opportunity I was given.

“I particularly enjoyed subjects like music, drama and history and was fascinated by the things that we learnt.

“I was also heavily involved in sports and belonged to the Kent U18 rugby group. Even now you’ll find me in a pair of wellies at the side of the pitch cheering on my pupils and own children.”

Nik added: “I was one of those children who wanted to get stuck into everything, even the things that I found difficult.

“As well as my sports clubs, I belonged to multiple choirs, as well as orchestras where I played the drums, trumpet, piano and guitar.”

Mr Pears also spoke about the impact his own teachers had on his time at school and the person that he is today.

He said: “I had some amazing teachers which taught me a lot of things about life and leadership.

“Sir Anthony Seldon, one of my history teachers, was particularly inspiring and sparked my passion for the subject.

“The Head of my Prep school in Dublin also gave her pupils a lot of time. She was a hero.”

And Nik’s teachers aren’t his only role models in life.

He said: “A man called Phil Wall is also a huge inspiration of mine. Phil is the founder of the charity We See Hope which works with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa.

“Phil’s selflessness and passion for the cause inspired me to become an ambassador for the charity.

“His exceptional leadership, authenticity and integrity is just inspiring.”

Mr Pears also explained how his love of people has guided him to the many leadership roles he has held.

Nik said: “I very much enjoy being with people and having a good laugh. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing family including my wife, Emma and our two children, Jessica and Josiah. Our pet hamster Charlie is also a valued member of the family who kept us well entertained during the first lockdown.”

He added: “Being a leader brings so many opportunities to show warmth, empathy and understanding to others, and I can’t wait to become a member of the St Michael’s community.

“When pupils leave St Michael’s to pursue their senior education, I hope they remember me as someone who was kind, knew them well and valued their opinion.”


On Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s hosted a fun-filled charity day for Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA).

Organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy, whose life who saved by the emergency team last Christmas, the school partook in a range of fundraising activities including a fun run, Christmas jumper day, and brain-teaser quizzes.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.

“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day has changed that.

“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”

Amanda McLean, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: “A big thank you to the staff and pupils of St Michael’s for coming up with creative ways to involve everyone in fundraising. In sharing her story, Lucy has helped us spread awareness of what Thames Valley Air Ambulance does. We can only do what we do because of the imagination and generosity of our wonderful fundraisers. We hope you had a lot of fun on your fundraising day!”

Lucy, whose story recently featured in the TVAA’s Christmas appeal, said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”

“It means so much to me that St Michael’s have come together to support this cause.”

The highly successful events saw pupils spread festive joy while raising an impressive £2556.60 for the charity which relies wholly of public donations.

Mrs Bridges, St Michael’s Acting Head, added: “Yesterday was amazing! The whole school had such a great time, and pupils were very excited to take part in a different fundraiser which meant they could enjoy the outdoors, whilst raising money for such an important charity. Everyone gave their all in the sponsored run and it was a brilliant event to watch.”


Mrs Wade, Head of Girls’ Games also said: “The children did remarkably well considering the conditions, and ran superbly for Lucy’s cause.”



And Lucy’s family echoed this gratitude for St Michael’s support. They said: “We wanted to say a huge thank to the St Michael’s community for supporting Lucy’s appeal for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance this Christmas. We’re so grateful to you for getting behind this amazing charity to whom we owe so much. We know from experience that your donations really do save lives. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021!”

For more information about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance or to donate visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/support-us/donate