eNews: Friday 20th March 2020

From the Acting Co-Heads

In Malcolm Gladwell’s recent book ‘Talking to Strangers’ he concludes that we, as humans, are more inclined to view situations positively than not. Of course, there will be the occasional person you know that does not fit this mould, but in general we tend to be a resilient, resourceful and positive lot. Always looking for those silver linings.

Now more than ever, as a community, we need to channel this spirit. Dealing with the unknown is tremendously difficult and unnerving for all of us. But what if we took opportunity out of the uncertainty? What if we used this time to further bond together as families and communities, to learn and teach new and different life skills to each other, to continue to help those most in need. To re-connect through disconnection.

There are sound evolutionary social reasons why we’re inclined more towards trust than suspicion. If it was suspicion that formed the basis of all interaction between strangers, we would never have learned to cooperate on such a vast and complex scale. So, although this is the start of a different journey, let’s trust that we’ll be able to guide each other through this tough time with a smile on our face, a helping hand and always keeping an eye out for those silver linings.

We have shared lots of information this week as we plan for St Michael’s to operate remotely. To check all communications and guidance please refer to our Coronavirus Updates area of the website. We look forward to seeing those of you that will be collecting from school today at 4pm on the terrace. We would also like to thank all of you for your support and engagement with the measures that we are putting into place to navigate these challenging times. By maintaining a strong sense of community, we will find our way through this and we will all emerge with new skills and the sense of achievement that we made it.

Very best wishes,

Mary Bridges and Fraser Wiseman


News from the Head of Pre-Prep

It’s difficult to know quite where to start this week. The changes for us all have been so rapid that staff have been meeting every day to try and catch up on the changing picture for education. We now have information for parents on our website (see our Coronavirus advice and information page). We have new emergency numbers, home working, remote learning platforms etc. for continuing your child’s education in a completely different way.

It has given us huge opportunity to look at introducing SeeSaw in Years 1 and 2, which Miss Salmon and I have been keen to do for a while. All children in this age group who have been in school on Thursday and Friday have had teaching on how to use this program to send photos of their work to their teacher. You can of course send this via email to the class teacher should you prefer. We have sent your children home with a learning pack which is full of age-related ideas for them to complete over the next week. We will then be sending out work via Tapestry for our Early Years children and SeeSaw for our Year 1 and 2 children. Wherever possible we will be giving you lots of practical work to do that the children may be able to do by themselves with minimal input from you. We do recognise how busy and stressful this time will be for you all, so please do not panic if you are not able to fit in the homework we are sending home. Teaching staff will be able to answer your emails (during normal working hours) so please ask them for help if you are unsure about something your child is learning.

In Pre-Prep the teachers are most concerned with children continuing to read every day so please continue with this and read lots of stories together.

Overheard: I know what hibernate means. It means they don’t wash their hands before they eat!

I wish you all the best for the coming weeks and I hope it won’t be too long before we can all return to St Michael’s.

Zerrin Leech

Staff News

A very warm welcome to Charlotte Dodson, who will be joining us as a form teacher in Year 3 and English teacher in Year 5 from next week.

Charlotte graduated from the University of Reading with a degree in Meteorology and went on to complete her PGCE at the Institute of Education in London. She worked as Head of Geography and Travel and Tourism at a large state school in Reading before moving to Kent to start a family.

Since having children her interests in teaching have moved to primary education. She has been supply teaching this year in both Pre-Prep and Prep and is thrilled to joining our teaching team for the rest of this academic year.

Charlotte’s two children are currently in Pre-Prep at St Michael’s.

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:

  • School Uniform Shop open online
  • Déjà vu second-hand uniform shop temporary closure

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

Year 4 experienced a fantastic Roman Day this week. Click here to see our gallery of photos.

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Stanley H for working really well during our maths activity on doubling
Oscar for excellent effort in our shape lesson
Myla for an excellent description of a setting for her mythical creature using similies and interesting adjectives
Kieran for great comprehension skills in his reading and really enjoying our class story
Charlie C for super effort with writing recently
Chloe for always being a willing helper
Zack for his enthusiastic approach to school life
Herbie F for doing a brilliant job of catching up on his story writing
Alyssa for fantastic yoga positions and concentration

House Point Cup

Leeds House with a total of 141 points
Tom K collected the Cup on behalf of Leeds House

Music Award

Music Practice Cup: Hugo M

Times Tables Certificates

Silver: Sophie F

100 House Point Certificates

Leeds: Amelia B and Sophie F

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

C Sinclair For having art work displayed at school
R Stevens For having art work displayed at school
S Taylor For having art work displayed at school
N Ogle For having art work displayed at school
T Bax For an amazing Homework Challenge presentation about reduce/reuse/recycle
R Romero For learning all the times tables and division facts
A Ogle For a fabulous historical letter to Robert Peel
S Cook For a fabulous historical letter to Lord Viscount Palmerston
L Poracchia For a fabulous historical letter to Lord John Russell
T Maltarp For the most wonderful display of peer teaching! He was patient and encouraging and I would love to have him as my teacher!

Players of the Match, week commencing 16th March 2020

All matches this week and up to the end of term have now been cancelled.

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

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

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.