eNews: Friday 13th November 2020

From the Acting Head

It has been a wonderful week at school, helped by the bright November sunshine which warmed us up as we enjoyed time outside. I was out of school for a few days on a training course which was a superb opportunity to reflect on our practice. I relished the chance to be back in the (virtual) classroom and have returned to school feeling refreshed and inspired to move forwards and think about new developments for the pupils at St Michael’s.


One event that I was extremely sorry to miss whilst on my training this week, was our remembrance service held on Wednesday. It is always such a special event, and I know that this year was no different. The children and staff experienced a moving commemoration as well as comradeship in remembering those who gave so much for our freedom today. As I cannot share my own personal reflection of the service, I have recruited two guest writers from Year 5. Please enjoy their reflection of the service below. I would like to thank Mr Wiseman for his efforts in organising the event with careful attention to detail, Reverend Adie for her thoughtful words and prayer, Mr Baird and Miss Balcombe for the beautiful music, and to Miss Booth for her moving reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’.


Whilst the school was in full flow, I was expanding my knowledge of motivation and people; what drives us and the children we teach. Our ultimate aim is to foster intrinsic motivation. We want our pupils to fall in love with the process; that’s the essence of intrinsic motivation, the “doing”. Rather than doing it for a pat on the back, a medal or some other outcome, just applying themselves to a task, and enjoying that process is enough. Whether it be solving a particularly challenging maths problem or participating in the bleep test, we try to encourage our pupils to believe that how they do anything is how they do everything. You can’t just apply yourselves to the things you’re already good at! Where’s the fun in that? The drive has to come from within. The more we foster this type of motivation, the more the pupils are, without even realising it, building a certain kind of person and a certain kind of character. One whose default is effort and passion over outcomes. Because the secret is, when you focus on the process, the outcomes take care of themselves.


We ended the week dressed head to toe in spots to mark Children in Need today. There has been much excitement about dressing up, and it was a delight to see the incredible array of colours, onesies and huge smiles at drop off this morning! Thank you for your support; we raised an incredible £1178.32 across the school.


I wish you a fabulous weekend!


Mary Bridges


Our Remembrance Service

by Elodie G and Matilda M

As you all know, we had our remembrance service on Wednesday at 10:45am. We thank Mr Wiseman for organising this and allowing us to remember important people from our school that made a difference to this world. Mr Wiseman told us all about Flying Officer Edgar Ernest Vincent Barwood who was born in India and later attended St Michael’s Prep School. At the age of 17 he joined the RAFVR as a pilot. During a night training flight on the 6th August 1994, Edgar was attempting a turn to re-join his squadron formation over Cheshire, flying an Oxford Airspeed AS.10 aircraft. Tragically, his aircraft hit the ground at speed, killing him instantly. He was just 19 years old.

Reverend Adie shared a prayer about how lucky we are to be here at this time. This made us feel grateful for our lives. Miss Booth shared an emotional reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’ filled with lots of expression. Her poppy dress was amazing and she even had a poppy mask to go with it. We really enjoyed the Chamber Choir’s performance. It started with a solo performed by Sam W followed by the group singing in separate bubbles. It was sorrowful yet moving, and nice to have a song to lift our spirits.

We had two minutes silence when we remembered the Old Michaelians that fought in the war. The bell chimed 11 times, representing the time that the war ended.

The Head Girl, Head Boy and Mr Wiseman were the first to lay their poppy wreaths at the foot of the Tommy solider and then everyone else was called to lay their poppies. It was a really special remembrance service as it reminded us to be grateful for life, despite the challenges that it brings.

From the Head of Pre-Prep

Thank you for your generous donations to Children in Need. Pre-Prep is awash with bears, unicorns, superheroes and spots! Miss Rawlinson has kept all the children entertained with games and circuits in the hall.

Parents’ Evenings are next Tuesday 17th and Thursday 19th November. I hope you have all managed to sign-up via the Parents’ Evening System. Meetings will be 10 minutes long and will cut off at this time so that your child’s teacher can move onto the next meeting. You will see a countdown clock on the screen. If you need to speak to your class teacher at greater length, please email them separately after the meeting to arrange another appointment.

Just a gentle reminder that there should be no smoking on the school grounds, including e-cigarettes.

Thank you all for wearing masks once you get out of your cars and drop-off or collect your children. Some of the staff do have health concerns or are supporting family members who are vulnerable, so it is hugely helpful that they feel any risks are minimised. Staff have been alarmed when hearing tales from children of parties and sleepovers, but we are hopeful that these are from imaginative children who are still learning the difference between days, weeks and months!

It has been so helpful to see family names clearly displayed in your cars at pick up. This is helping me to radio staff to get your children ready for collection. I’m afraid I am car blind so I don’t remember which car belongs to which family. You are welcome to start filling up the spaces in the car park if you are arriving on site before we have brought the children out but please be aware that these are just spaces for quick collections.

Overheard in Pre-Prep: “I once saw Pluto in Disneyland but I was a bit confused because he was standing up and dogs don’t stand up!”

Zerrin Leech




Headteacher’s Stars


Xander S (Year 4) was awarded a Headteacher’s Star for achieving 100% in a Science test on Teeth and Digestion.

Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners

Emma R for great work during our Number of the Week lesson

Teddy T for working hard during our phonics lessons

Saskia E for working hard to write sentences with smaller letters, with wonderful finger spaces

William T for fantastic counting whilst adding two numbers together

Leo C for fantastic writing

Arian S for excellent effort with her reading

Mia Y for super effort to increase length and detail of her writing

Espen A for consistently working hard in every lesson and giving 100% effort

Aadhya S for super effort in all subjects, particularly in spelling Word Wall words

Nina T for an enthusiastic presentation about the Netherlands

Uma S for working hard on her reading

Sylvie Fittall for lovely ideas for her story map

Iris L for carefully using arrays to show multiplication

William P for using fantastic expression when reciting a poem

Kim V for excellent recall of The Owl and the Pussy Cat

Zi Chen G for brilliant maths work on multiplication arrays

Zack E.A for fantastic maths work on multiplication arrays

Lottie E for always being enthusiastic about learning and participating in whole class discussions

School News

In memory of the fallen 

On Wednesday 11th November Prep and Pre-Prep took part in remembrance events to honour those who gave their lives for our country. In Pre-Prep, the pupils took part in a minute’s silence as well as other remembrance activities such as poppy paintings, while the Prep school took part in a remembrance service led by Mr Wiseman.

During the service, which featured prayers read by Reverend Adie, a reading of ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Miss Booth, and a performance by the Chamber Choir, Mr Wiseman shared the story of an Old Michaelian who lost his life in World War 2.

Mr Wiseman read:

“We remember all of the men and women who have fallen in defence of their country, but today, at St Michael’s, among all of our Old Michaelians, we remember Edgar Ernest Vincent Barwood. Edgar was known as Marc to his friends and indeed, many of the memories shared about him refer to him as Marc. He was born to Vincent and Ellen Barwood in India in 1924. Upon the families return to England, Marc was enrolled at St Michael’s, starting in Year 3 in 1931. He spent the next six years working his way up through the school, taking advantage of all that St Michael’s had to offer, much of these benefits being the same then as they are for you now; outdoor space and sport. Marc was a keen sportsman and enjoyed his time on the sports field, but was also a keen mathematician.  

When he left Year 8 in 1937, the world was moving quickly towards conflict. Marc left St Michael’s and took up a place at Christ’s Hospital school with an Open Scholarship. The outbreak of the second world war in 1939, was in Marc’s second year at Christ’s hospital and when he left there in 1942, as a 17 year old, Britain was a besieged island. Along with thousands of other young men and women, Marc joined the war effort to defend Britain and trained to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves.  

Marc qualified as a pilot and was attached to a squadron based in the north of England. Two months after the D-day landings and while allied forces were gaining a foothold in mainland Europe, Marc was operating within a training squadron, developing their night flying skills in preparation for sorties over Europe.  

On the 6th of August, 1944, while carry out a turning manoeuvre in his Oxford Airspeed aircraft over Cheshire, Marc lost control of his plane and it hit the ground at speed, killing him instantly. He was 19 years old.”






Pupils wear spots for Pudsey!

Kaleidoscopes of colour filled our corridors today as pupils dressed in their best spots and onesies for Children In Need. The annual event, which typically sees St Michael’s raise hundreds of pounds for charity, brought joy and colour to a grey November day. Pre-Prep also enjoyed a fun, Children in Need-themed obstacle course organised by Miss Rawlinson where dinosaurs, uniforms and even koala bears did their best jumping, climbing and crawling.


P & F News

Stonepitts donate to P & F for every tree bought by St Michael’s


From Saturday 21st November Stonepitts Farm will be selling Christmas Trees from its Farm Shop in the yard, as well as its online channels: www.stonepitts.com.


For every Christmas tree sold to a St Michael’s parent or staff member, a £2 contribution will be made to the P & F. This donation equally applies if you buy from Stonepitts Farm Shop or online site. Stonepitts’ friendly staff will be following careful precautions and Government Guidelines at all times.


Additionally, while Stonepitts for Help for Heroes is ongoing, (which raised £1,350 for the charity in 2019), the team will be donating to the Stag Theatre Charity this year who is need of their support.


We hope you enjoy participating in Stonepitts’ 15th year of the scheme.


For more information contact Stonepitts Farm.


Community Curry night

Last Saturday St Michael’s families united via Zoom for a curry masterclass led by local cooking school, The Cooking Apple.

The event, organised by the P & F, saw participants create a delicious Punjabi Curry bursting with delicious rich spices and flavours.

And guided by Pip from The Cooking Apple, families followed a step by step demonstration, while tailoring the dish to their preferred heat.

Reflecting on the success of the event, co-chair of the P & F, Kerri O’Dwyer said: “It was wonderful to have Pip bring parents together from across the school and to do something different. It was fun, relaxed and everyone had a laugh. But most importantly Pip managed to get us to create something delicious!”


Wellbeing for Parents

As we come to the end of 2020, we have been reflecting on how many challenges St. Michael’s staff, parents and pupils have had to face this year. We are aware that many of these challenges are ongoing and in order to meet them it is important that we offer as much support to St. Michael’s families as possible. Earlier in the year, staff at St. Michael’s received a session on staff wellbeing from our counsellor Elizabeth Baughan. We have now asked Elizabeth to  provide two sessions for parents which will be accessed via the Parents’ Portal.  The first session, which will be available early in December, will be on parent wellbeing – recognising that for parents to be able to support their children, they must also look after themselves.  The session will focus on self-care, relationship balance, work-life balance and management of stress and anxiety.  The second session, to be released in January, will look at ways in which parents can help their children with emotional wellbeing, stress management, behavioural challenges and developing resilience in the face of uncertainty.

At the end of both sessions Elizabeth will provide links to sources of support and helpful websites.

Key Dates



ISEB pre-test dates for the Michaelmas Term:

Friday 27th November

Shoot for the Stars!


Amelie is star of the pitch

During the October half term break Amelie. G (Year 1) received a trophy for her contribution to the Chipstead Football Club Wildcats. Amelie was awarded The Star of the Week trophy during her first week with the club and was commended for getting stuck in with confidence and making an excellent effort. Congratulations, Amelie!


Blue Peter Badge for Katie

Katie from Year 7 has been awarded a Blue Peter Music badge for her commitment to playing the clarinet, piano and recorder. Having  submitted her application to Blue Peter over the summer, she was delighted to receive a badge in the post this week. Well done, Katie!

Music Exam Results 

The following pupils have recently received the results of various music exams, some of which were taken as performance exams.  A performance exam is a new format that many of the examining boards are now offering where video footage is submitted of the children playing their piece, as opposed to there being an examiner in the room. We are delighted that all the children coped so well with the various challenges that taking exams in lockdown brings.


S. Friis                    Violin                       Grade 3               Merit

P. Mahil                  Violin                      Grade 3               Pass

S. Taylor               Jazz sax                     Grade 3               Merit

W. Deacon              Guitar                     Grade 2                Distinction

S. Taylor                 Piano                       Grade 2                Merit

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.

In the Community

Mr Thomas’ Christmas Hockey Camp

Mr Thomas will be holding his Christmas Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 17th December, Friday 18th December, Monday 21st December and Tuesday 22nd December

Please email Mr Thomas on jnthomas88@outlook.com to reserve your space.

We will be following all England Hockey guidelines and may have to limit the numbers to less than previous camps. Please sign up early to avoid any disappointment.

Click here for the application form. 

Follow us on social media!

Love seeing your children’s smiley faces on our social media pages?

Make sure you’re following all four of our channels to ensure you don’t miss any precious photos and videos. This also includes our new YouTube page featuring videos about St Michael’s and speeches from the pupils.

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.”