eNews: Friday 13th September 2019

From the Head

It has been a phenomenally busy week but great fun too. I enjoyed getting to see the emerging personalities at the Year 7 camp out on Friday night, as the new Year 7 joined in so that they were almost indistinguishable as new, such was the welcome that they were shown. Hats off to Fraser Wiseman who masterminded the logistics and to all the team of teachers who came to make it fun.

Thank you to the many parents who have attended the coffee mornings in Pre-Prep and the welcome evenings in Prep this week. We have a few more such events next week and in the week after that. Do look out for what’s in the calendar.

Settling into a new environment can take longer than just a few days, however, and I am mindful that if a child has moved schools, or perhaps countries and house, that this can be almost overwhelming and progress towards confidence will take longer. There might be tears, there might be anxiety and quite possibly some large differences in the content covered or novelties in the way things are done. We are here to help and strong routines and confident parents will help us and your child.

From a well-being perspective, it is of course okay to find things daunting when they are different and all of our new members of staff are expending more emotional energy understanding new routines and getting on top of new expectations.

During this academic year, we expect that ISI, the Independent Schools Inspectorate will visit us with very short notice to check that we are a compliant school. Compliance, as I am sure you are aware, is enshrined in a great deal of law but also best practice and inspectors when they come will want your views on what you see and what your experience is.

As the school has very strong routines, good governance and well-established staff expectations, we expect to meet all the standards in this inspection. But you can help us by letting us know if there’s anything that you see, hear or experience that is not what you would expect.

I hope very much that you have a restful and enjoyable weekend. I’m looking forward to being a tiny speck on your TV screens as part of the Prom in the Park for the last night of the Proms so if you’re watching I’ll give you a wave!

Jill Aisher

News from Pre-Prep

Nursery Parents’ Coffee mornings Monday 16th Sept at 8.45am & 11.15am
Nursery Parents’ Coffee mornings Tuesday 17th Sept at 8.45am & 11.15am
Kindergarten Parents’ Coffee morning Wednesday 18th Sept at 8.45 in the dining room

We have had a busy first full week at Pre-Prep. We are settling into Stable Court, welcoming lots of new children to the St Michael’s family and enjoying our very youngest children coming in to play with mummy or daddy, grandparents or nannies.

Year 2 met the “animal lady” on Thursday; she brought with her a range of wonderful animals and insects. The meercat is going to be a particular focus of study over the coming weeks.

Next week I have coffee mornings with Nursery parents on Monday and Tuesday and Kindergarten parents on Wednesday. There are two times for Nursery on Monday and Tuesday depending on which attendance group you are in. We will be slightly flexible with the times to accommodate the settling in of your children.

Please be aware that the construction of our Astroturf is now well under way and there are all sorts of wonderful machinery coming on site. I would ask you to keep hold of your children’s hands and please stick to the proper paths and zebra crossings at all times. Considerate parking is also required to get plant in and out of our site. Mr Smith would like to assure you that the building company will not have any lorries coming to St Michael’s at core drop off and pick up times.

Overheard: (Lunchtime) Is this sparkling water because I prefer still?

Have a good weekend,

Zerrin Leech

Corrections to the Parents’ Handbook

Prep Office Opening Hours

The Prep School Office is open from 8am until 9am and from 3pm until 5pm.

Pre-Prep Office Email

To email the Pre-Prep office, please use PrePrepOffice@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

Safety on Site

We are delighted to have commenced the construction of our long-awaited AstroTurf pitch. At the moment, Smith’s, our contractor, have delivered plant and other vehicles outside normal school hours and will continue to do this for as long as possible. The overriding focus for the school community is the safety of the site, during this construction phase.

The area that Smiths are working in is securely enclosed in temporary ‘Heras’ fencing. However, we are asking parents to be especially vigilant with small children around the site.

At some point, a large amount of aggregate materials will need to be delivered to the site to be laid as the sub-base for the pitch. These materials will be delivered in multiple large lorries and, although we are working closely with Smith’s to have this part of project completed during Half Term, we need to forewarn parents this could potentially overrun into the days either side of half term. We may need to employ traffic management systems on Row Dow during this time to alleviate congestion, but please rest assured that we will keep everyone up to date with any developments of this nature.

Di Birmingham

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:

  • St Michael’s Running Club sign up
  • Senior Schools Fair information and booking link

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.

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Sam S for trying so hard at every activity
Sophia E for always doing the right thing
Krisha for fantastic listening and great focus on the carpet
Jonas for always doing the right thing and helping others
Rui for being very kind to his new friends
Daniel W for listening well in class and making good choices
Isabelle for listening and following instructions and getting all her tasks done on time
Misha for excellent enthusiasm, trying hard in everything he does with a smile
Elizabeth W for great kindness, listening and excellent participation
Ava M for lovely manners in the dining room
Aiden W for being a very caring friend
Elisa for setting a good example and working exceptionally hard
Herbie for careful listening and great participation
Amelia B for a lovely holiday diary all about her summer holidays
Olanna / Thomas D / Niamh G / Isla / Conrad / Kim / Elizabeth S / Cole / Lily / Siena / Peter / Edgar / Miranda / Bram / Bonham / Oscar / Abigail L / Louisa S / Ellie S / Nina
for settling into St. Michael’s so well

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Alexander H
Music Practice Award: Silas

House Point Cup

Dover House with a total of 99 points
Archie B collected the Cup on behalf of Dover House


News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

T Bulley For exceptional chemistry analysis
L Poracchia For an excellent challenge project about the pilgrimage you made

ABRSM Exam Results

B Bachelor Piano PT PASS
S Johnson Piano PT PASS
M Macedo Piano PT PASS
S Mottram Piano PT PASS
B Tovey Descant Recorder PT PASS
A Brown Cello PT PASS
C Merralls Cello PT PASS
E Bingham Singing 1 MERIT
M Elliott Singing 1 MERIT
A Peterkin Singing 1 DISTINCTION
C Sinclair Singing 1 PASS
S Ward Singing 1 DISTINCTION
T Warren Singing 1 MERIT
L Lutzow Flute 1 DISTINCTION
G Owen Flute 1 MERIT
W Deacon Jazz Piano 1 MERIT
S Edwards-Matthews Piano 1 MERIT
M Elliott Piano 1 MERIT
I Johnson Piano 1 MERIT
S Friis Violin 1 DISTINCTION
M Murray Violin 1 MERIT
I Davis Jazz Clarinet 1 PASS
A Lutzow Jazz Clarinet 1 MERIT
K Cameron Jazz Alto Sax 1 PASS
J Fryer Jazz Alto Sax 1 PASS
F Giannakis Trumpet 1 PASS
I Johnson Trumpet 1 MERIT
M Lewis Singing 2 MERIT
G Owen Singing 2 DISTINCTION
S Parker-Swift Singing 2 PASS
P Mahil Violin 2 MERIT
V Medlen Piano 2 MERIT
E Harrison Violin 2 DISTINCTION
A Stevens Violin 2 MERIT
K Fryer Jazz Clarinet 2 MERIT
F Ashdown Singing 3 DISTINCTION
T Bulley Singing 3 MERIT
G Wall Descant Recorder 3 PASS
E Harrison Piano 3 MERIT
S Cook Violin 3 MERIT
T Maltarp Violin 3 PASS
O Stuart Violin 3 PASS
O Goodwin Cello 3 MERIT
R Landgrebe Singing 4 DISTINCTION
S Newton Singing 4 MERIT
J Fryer Descant Recorder 4 PASS
A Scott Jazz Alto Sax 4 DISTINCTION
S Newton Cello 4 MERIT
S Edwards-Matthews Singing 5 DISTINCTION
R Landgrebe Piano 5 PASS
E Ward Singing 6 DISTINCTION

Senior School Open Days

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

Upcoming events include Bishop Challoner School, Christ’s Hospital, Cobham Hall, Haileybury, Kent College Pembury, King’s Canterbury, King’s Rochester, Sevenoaks School, Skinners’ School, Tonbridge Girls’ Grammar and Whitgift School.

We’re delighted to announce that our Senior Schools Fair will return to St Michael’s on Thursday 17th October 2019. Keep an eye on our Senior Schools Information page for details.

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.”