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



On Wednesday, November 27 Year 5 and 6 pupils took part in a Spelling Bee hosted by Mrs Andrade and Mrs Baisch.

Challenged with spellings such as synonymous, counterfeit, and accommodation, it was an extremely close competition with many tense rounds.

Winner of the Spelling Bee, Moyo in Year 6, triumphed with her correct spelling of the word ‘conscience’.

Commenting on her success, Moyo said: “I really enjoyed taking part in the Spelling Bee and was really surprised to win.

“It was challenging as there were some words I’d never heard of, but it was fun to guess the spellings of these words and apply what I knew about other spellings to my answers.”

“It was great to take part in the competition with my friends.”

Two former St Michael’s pupils have been selected for the final phase of the England Under 16 Hockey Assessments.

Lottie Bingham and Anna Faulstich, who attended St Michael’s until July 2017, have remained great friends and play hockey together at HC Knole Park.

Lottie said “ I loved playing hockey at St Michael’s and I am delighted that Anna, my best friend , has joined me in the England training programme that I was also selected for last year. We are both very jealous that St Michael’s now have a wonderful, new astro pitch at school!“

Both girls were also members of the successful Year 6 St Michael’s who won the regional IAPS and came 5th in the National Finals .

Congratulating the girls on their achievement, Mr Thomas, who taught them at St Michael’s, said: “We are extremely proud of Lottie and Anna and all they have achieved since they left St Michael’s. They were extremely hardworking in all their sports at school and it is great to hear that they have taken their hockey to such a high level. We look forward to hearing how they get at the trials and someday welcoming them back to play on our new pitch.”

Many congratulations to Lottie and Anna, St Michael’s wishes them the best of luck in the next phase of assessments.

A former St Michael’s student has been awarded an Honorary Sports Scholarship to support her excellence in athletics.

Harriet Medlen, who attended the school between 2011 and 2018, has received the scholarship from Sevenoaks School.

Harriet, who is in Year 9 at Sevenoaks School, said: “My time at St Michael’s helped me to develop my love of sport especially athletics and hockey. I have very happy memories of sports days and Mrs Wade taking me to IAPs athletics competitions. I am very grateful to all the teachers at St Michael’s for their encouragement during my time there. I am proud to have achieved a sports scholarship at Sevenoaks School and I am looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.”

And commenting on Harriet’s success, St Michael’s teacher Mrs Wade said: “It is great to hear that Harriet has been awarded an Honorary Sports Scholarship from Sevenoaks School. We are extremely proud of what she has achieved since leaving St Michael’s. Harriet is an excellent games player and an outstanding athlete. She was very hardworking in her sports at St Michael’s and it is great to hear that she continues to achieve highly. Well done, Harriet!”

Don’t judge a book by its cover, it’s the first chapter that holds all the secrets!

                                                       Year 6 and Mrs Yarrow pose with some of the First Chapter Friday books.


“Good readers, make excellent writers.” says St Michael’s Library Assistant, Helen Yarrow, who has launched an exciting reading initiative in the Prep school this term. 


Mrs Yarrow, who joined the St Michael’s team in September 2020, is passionate about books and believes children should read a variety of genres and authors before they choose what’s best for them.


Keen to implement this strategy at St Michael’s, Mrs Yarrow has introduced First Chapter Friday, a project designed to get pupils reading a range of books, rather than the same authors, characters and storylines over again. 


First Chapter Friday sees pupils receive a list of 10 books, suited to the reading proficiency of their year group, each term. Every Friday, pupils read the first chapter of a new book with their form groups before deciding whether to continue reading it in their own time.


Mrs Yarrow said: “The aim of First Chapter Friday is to help the children find a book they really want to read. 


“By exposing the children to books that they wouldn’t normally pick off the bookshelf, it introduces them to a range of subjects, and inevitably fosters their love of reading.”


Helen added: “Some form groups choose to read the chapter independently during the sessions, some listen to their form teachers reading the chapter, and some take turns to read different paragraphs.”


“By inviting pupils to read sections of the chapter out loud, the form tutors are also helping to develop the pupils’ language acquisition and public speaking skills. The challenge has many benefits to it.”



Titles on this term’s First Chapter Friday lists include both fiction and non-fiction books spanning a variety of themes and genres. 


One popular title is  Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill, which Sean C from Year 6 describes as “extremely interesting”. He added: “I really enjoy Shackleton’s Journey because it takes you on an adventure, showing you how Shackleton’s crew survived and what they encountered along the way.


“My favourite part of the book is where it describes how they escaped their sinking ship.


“Since reading it with my form during First Chapter Friday, I’ve enjoyed coming to the library to read more of it at break and lunch times.”



And explaining the planning process behind First Chapter Friday, Mrs Yarrow said: “I create the reading lists using recommendations from websites such as Love Reading for Kids as well as my own research.


“I try to ensure the First Chapter Friday books are 2020 titles to keep them in tune with modern authors and contemporary ideas.”


“This term I’ve included a range of titles focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History, as well as those written by black authors. Such books include The Faraway Truth by Janae Marks, Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly, and The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley.”


She added: “First Chapter Friday encourages form groups to discuss the different topics linked to each book. It is designed to make the sessions an interactive experience which is both fun and educational for the children.” 



Other favourites from Mrs Yarrow’s reading lists include The Battle of Bubble and Squeak by Philippa Pearce, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson. 


Mrs Yarrow said: “Different pupils gravitate towards different books, but there have been some very clear favourites.”


She continued: “I get the children to read the first chapter of the book as it’s in these pages that the author establishes the hook of their novel. 


“Friday Chapter Friday helps pupils recognise the importance of a first chapter and shows them various ways they can make their writing engaging.


“One of the main aims of the initiative is to inspire the children to write their own stories.”