eNews: Thursday 11th February 2021

From the Head

Dear Parents,

As we approach the half term break, I have been reflecting on the many things we have achieved as a school community so far this term.

Beginning the year in a lockdown has posed challenges for us all, but I am so proud of the resilience and adaptability St Michael’s staff, pupils and parents have shown during this time. I have been delighted by the determined attitude our teachers and families continue to give to Remote Learning, and hugely impressed by the care our staff and on-site teams have shown to our Critical Worker and Early Years children. Thank you so much for your continued support, feedback and words of encouragement as we navigate through this difficult period together. I am hopeful of a return to school on 8 March and whilst it has been good to hold assemblies and drop in on some class registrations, I cannot wait to get to meet everyone properly!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a healthy and restful break with your families – enjoy the snow!

Nik Pears
A message from Mr Pears to pupils:

From the Head of Pre-Prep 

Dear Parents,

Half term is finally here and I am sure you are all ready for a break from online lessons and all the organisation that this must entail with your family. Enjoy the breathing space just as the teachers will do. Fingers crossed that the next half term is brighter, sunnier and full of joyous children returning to school.

For those children in school, we have spent time in the snow building snowmen and made snowballs, of course. Today we raced with pancakes in preparation for Shrove Tuesday next week. Grateful thanks to TJ Smith who made lots of thick, rubbery pancakes for the occasion!

Your children should all receive a little gift from Pre-Prep over the half term. I would like to thank Coolings Garden Centre and Thompson & Morgan seed company for part of this.

Overheard in Pre-Prep:

Breaking up for half term- “When the school is broken what do you do?”

Have a good half term,

Zerrin Leech

Staff News

Welcome to…

Mrs Claire Clarke–  Music Peri – Singing Teacher

Mrs Claire Clarke currently teaches singing in three thriving music departments, at the Rochester Grammar School, Rainham Mark Grammar School and at Kent College, Pembury. She graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire with a first class degree in Music. Singing is her first study but she also attained Grade 8 in both violin and piano.

Her passion for singing started with 10 years in a church choir leading to becoming the youngest member of the Royal Choral Society at age 16. She enjoys sharing that sentiment with her students and aims to boost their confidence and above all, make their lessons fun! She is fortunate to have a busy career in music combining peripatetic teaching with performing regularly. With over 20 years of experience as a professional singer to share and inspire her students, she mostly now sings with Cameo Opera but has also appeared as one of the 3 Sopranos and as guest soloist with Sussex Concert Orchestra.

In her spare time, Claire does Zumba to keep fit and enjoys spending time with her family, taking part in sailing and other water sports.

She is really looking forward to meeting and working with the children at St. Michael’s.

Head’s Stars

J Lascelles (Year 3) for making an amazing boat model

A Booth-Wakenell (Year 3) for creating an excellent Antartica game

M Martins (Year 3) for consistently working incredibly hard throughout remote learning and for an amazing Ode to Pizza

M Coustache (Year 3) for an incredible attitude towards Remote Learning

X Noorpuri (Year 3) for amazing effort and an Ode to a Grand Piano

S Friis (Year 3) for research on Mary Anning and creating a lovely poster about her

A O’Brien (Year 3) for her enthusiasm and beautiful illustrations of the story: ‘Jesus Heals a Paralysed Man’

F Jenkins (Year 4) for an amazing Roman Army recruitment video

J Gagg (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

E Nash (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

M Blincoe (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

F Digweed (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

G Cheetham (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

D Verdemato (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

M Walker (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

W Noble (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

S Johnson (Year 4) for fantastic contributions to Remote Learning

F Jenkins (Year 4) for an amazing roman Army recruitment video

R Romero (Year 5) for conducting a fantastic interview with Lucy from ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ about her initial meeting with Mr Tumnus in Narnia

C Wilson (Year 5) for a fantastic interview with Mr Tumnus from ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’

D Macedo (Year 6) for an original and creative realisation of the Super Mario Bros theme and sound effects using music technology

E Schwark (Year 6) for superb work in using the Beepbox online synthesiser to interpret a musical score with great accuracy

E Green (Year 6) for fantastic work using Beepbox and creating the Super Mario theme tune

L Lutzow (Year 6) for taking up, and making excellent progress on the trapeze!

T Neville (Year 7) for outstanding studio work in recording and developing his ideas for the Dr Who theme experimental music project

L Watson (Year 8) for a fantastic composition project in his Film music portfolio to portray fear

E Ward (Year 8) for incredible attention to detail in composing a cartoon soundtrack with clever use of musical clichés



Remote Learning 

St Michael’s pupils have been working hard in their Remote Learning lessons this week. They have made fantastic DT projects, practised instruments and got creative in the snow.

Send in your photos

To send us photos or videos of your child taking part in Remote Learning, please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk along with your child’s name, year group and a short description of the photograph. All content sent to this email address may feature on St Michael’s social media and in other publications.

Critical Workers groups

Meanwhile, in school our Critical Workers groups have shared lots of special moments together including lots of playing in the snow.


Whole School News

Freestyle Friday!

Presenting… this week’s Freestyle Friday dance to ‘You’ve Got the Love’ by Florence + The MachineThank you to everyone who submitted their clips, we hope you enjoy watching this video.

The next theme is: We Go Together!

We will be dancing to: ‘We Go Together’ from Grease

Being with friends and family is something we are missing dearly at the time, so our next dance will celebrate the power of Freestyle Friday to bring the St Michael’s family together.

If your child would like to be involved, please send a 5-10 second video clip of your child dancing to tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk to be considered for the final video. Please can we ask parents to be mindful of what their child is wearing in the video, and to ensure that their clothing and dance moves are appropriate for distribution to the school community and on St Michael’s social media channels.

The deadline for the next Freestyle Friday video is after the half term on Wednesday 24th February at 12pm. Please film all videos in landscape and not portrait. You do not need to worry about sound in the video as all clips will be muted before being put with a backing track.

Lockdown Life Hacks

This week, St Michael’s parent Sarah Johnston shares her tips for staying positive during lockdown and how tips from her childhood teachers have helped her do just that.

Year 8 pupil Daisy also gives her Lockdown Life Hack, inspired by this week’s snow fall.

To submit your Lockdown Life Hack, please email a 30 second to 1 minute video clip to tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. Videos submitted may be used on St Michael’s website and social media. Videos from pupils, parents and staff are welcome.

World Book Day

World Book Day is on Thursday 4th March this year, which falls within the current period of Remote Learning. We will nevertheless be celebrating the joy that reading brings, albeit in a different way this year.
The assembly on Monday 1st March with Mr Pears will take place as normal, but assemblies for the rest of the week will be given over to story times within bubbles (Years 3/4, Years 5/6 and Years 7/8). Every day, each bubble will have a different guest reader but it will be the instalments from the same book being read over the four days. In a break with our usual policy, children will be invited to settle down with a drink and snack to make the experience extra-special. Please be aware that these story times may last between ten and twenty minutes depending on the length of the book.
Further information about how these story time sessions will work on Teams will be shared after the half term holiday.
In Pre-Prep, the entire day will be dedicated to book-related activities, with dressing-up encouraged. More details will be communicated closer to the time.
For those who love to dress up, there will also be an opportunity to don a costume and dance with a book in a book-themed Freestyle Friday (released on Thursday 4th March to coincide with World Book Day itself). Again, there will be more information about this shared with the St Michael’s community closer to the time.
Mrs Andrade

Shoot for the Stars!

Lena’s terrific trapeze tricks 

Congratulations to Lena in Year 6 who gave a fantastic performance on her trapeze bar last week. Please enjoy this short video.


Genevieve comes first at Chichester Festival

A huge congratulations to Genevieve in Year 4 who achieved first place in her music category at this year’s virtual Chichester Festival. The judges described Genevieve’s guitar performance as outstanding.


Send us your stories!

Has your child won an award, passed an extra-curricular exam or accomplished something exciting recently?

We love celebrating our pupils’ amazing achievements and want to showcase them in our weekly newsletter. Email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk to submit your child’s achievement.

Senior Schools Information

Eastbourne College

Join Eastbourne College for their Virtual Open Morning on Saturday 27th February, from 9am – 11am. 

University of York study

The Department of Psychology at the University of York is currently running a fully-online research study aimed at better understanding and raising awareness of the cognitive impact of the postpartum period on new parents.

They are looking for parents with a youngest child under the age of 6 to take part.

Follow us on social media!

It’s important that we stay connected as a community during this time, so make sure you are following St Michael’s social media channels for important updates and content throughout the Lent Term.

Latest News

We are delighted to announce that former St Michael’s pupil Jess Haynes has selected to join the Loughborough Lightning Superleague Netball team.

Jess, who attended St Michael’s between 2008 and 2014 and returned as a GAP Student in 2019, made her Superleague and Sky Sports debut on Saturday 5th June against Celtic Dragons at the Copperbox Arena in London, after which she was officially announced as Loughborough Lightning squad member No. 102.

Lightning are currently in second place in the Superleague behind Team Bath and have already secured their place in the playoffs.

Jess, whose matches with Lightning will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Netball platforms, said: “I feel so honoured and excited to be given this opportunity. It has been a bit of a whirlwind over the last couple of weeks so it was great to get on court and make my Superleague debut at the Copperbox . I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season with such an amazing squad. I always love coming back to St Michael’s to coach the current pupils, to share my love of sport and to show that dreams do come true!”

Jess joined Loughborough Lightning U21 NPL Squad from London Pulse in September 2020 when she started studying at Nottingham Trent University where she is part of their Performance Sport Programme.

And it was St Michael’s where her passion for netball began. Jess’ mum, Clare, said: “Jess’ year group team were a strong squad who enjoyed a high level of success at both local and national IAPS level. Jess played all sports during her time here where she achieved a great deal of success across the board . She left at the end of Year 8 to continue her education at Kent College Pembury with a Sports Scholarship. Her place in the Loughborough Lightning Super League is a huge opportunity for her.”

Mrs Wade, who coached Jess during her time at St Michael’s, added: “We are extremely proud of Jess and all she has achieved since leaving St Michael’s. I had the delight of watching Jess’ netball skills grow tremendously during her time with us and it is no surprise that Jess’ dedication to the sport has landed her this incredible opportunity. We look forward to hearing about her future successes and seeing her on Sky Sports!”

A swarm of bees, pride of lions and bloom of ladybirds could be seen roaming the school grounds on Friday 28th May as the Prep school celebrated Go Wild Day in aid of local charities Kent Wildlife Trust and Otford Hospices of Hope.

The action-packed charity day, organised by the School Council to raise awareness of the local causes, raised an amazing £727.04.

Mr Baird, Acting Deputy Head, said: “It was amazing to see so many staff and pupils dressing up for this brilliant fundraising event. A big thank you to the School Council and Year 8 prefects who played a key part in the success of the event, and to the pupils for putting so much effort and energy into the activities.”

Throughout the day, pupils took part in fundraising activities including an exotic bring and buy sale where pupils exchanged good quality toys and games. The afternoon events also included a face painting session for the children led by the senior Art Scholars group.

Fundraising & Communications Manager at Otford Hospices of Hope, Jessica McKechie added: “We were delighted to hear that St Michael’s Prep School chose to fundraise for Hospices of Hope with their Go Wild Day. Being supported locally is so important for our charity and we are really grateful to all the children and staff who took part. The funds raised will help us to support our patients with vital care, some of whom are children too and will love to hear about the activities the school arranged in order to help them.”

St Michael’s Go Wild Day forms part of its longterm plan to improve the wildlife around their 90-acre site as well as increasing the school community’s awareness of the importance of conserving nature.

Delighted by St Michael’s efforts, Acting Head of Education and Lifelong Learning at Kent Wildlife Trust, Lee Mason-Baldwin said: “Wow, what a brilliant effort and superb, heart-warming achievement, thank you so much! We love the gorgeous colourful activities and the fun you’ve had to help animals, plants, bugs and birds which is crucial for developing a life-long love of wildlife. Your support will help us on our quest for a wilder Kent, rich in wildlife for everyone to enjoy, forever.”

For more information about St Michael’s Prep School please visit their website: https://www.stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/


We are hugely proud to announce that past St Michael’s pupils L Bingham and A Faulstich have been selected for the England Under 16 Hockey Squad.

The Year 10 pupils, who currently attend Weald of Kent Grammar School and Tonbridge Grammar School were announced as members last week following many months of training and assessment.

Congratulating the girls on their achievement, Mrs Wade, who taught them PE during their time 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 about their future success.”

A huge congratulations to both girls on this amazing achievement.

St Michael’s Prep School, Otford was delighted to welcome concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy as the special guest for its Scholars’ Day on Thursday 20th May.

Mr McCarthy, who was the first left-hand-only graduate of the Royal College of Music in its 130-year history, hosted a music masterclass with the school’s Music Scholars, before joining the wider Scholars group for an evening of food and entertainment.

Nicholas said: “It has been so wonderful to work with the pupils today. The performance standard of the Scholars is fantastic and their personalities came across in their performances. It was lovely to see.”

During his visit, the talented musician shared his story with St Michael’s including his performance with band Coldplay at the 2012 Paralympics Closing Ceremony. Nicholas also offered words of encouragement for overcoming setbacks and barriers. He said: “At my first audition I was turned away because they just didn’t believe I could play the piano with one hand. I had to dig deep and find that resilience to carry on achieving my dream. Very quickly that fire built back up and I was determined to prove them wrong.”

Commenting on the success of the event, St Michael’s Deputy Head Mary Bridges said: “We were delighted to host a special event for our current scholars, incoming scholars and our Year 8 pupils who have achieved scholarships at their senior schools. Nicholas words inspired all of us and his performance was absolutely stunning. It was a true mark of excellence.”

To view a highlights reel of the event or watch the full interview with St Michael’s Head Nik Pears and Nicholas McCarthy please visit their YouTube page.