Having prepared for a Compliance Inspection last week, you are no doubt aware that we had a call from ISI, on Monday, to inform us that the school was to undergo the inspection on Wednesday and Thursday this week. For the staff who have been working towards this for months, there was a mixture of relief that we could show how good we are and anxiety that everything would be okay.
Often, there is a mis-understanding about a Compliance Inspection, as it can be confused with an Educational Quality Inspection. Independent schools are inspected every three years, with Compliance and Educational Quality inspections alternating.
The focussed Compliance Inspection looks at the requirements of the statutory framework for education, as published by the Department for Education, and decides if the school is meeting expectations.
Inspectors review in detail paperwork, logs, registers, communications, complaints and other records. They also privately interview staff, parents, Governors and pupils, as well as reviewing the parent, pupil and staff questionnaires.
Areas inspected include:
• Quality of education provided
• Welfare, health & safety of pupils
• Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils
• Premises and accommodation
• Suitability of staff & governors
• Provision of information
• Manner in which complaints are handled
• Quality of leadership & management
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff and Governors for their contribution to the inspection, particularly the Senior Leadership Team of the school and those staff directly involved in meeting inspectors. I would also like to thank the huge number of parents who replied to the questionnaire.
A focussed Compliance Inspection is a pass or fail judgement by inspectors and there are no grades. A full report will be sent to the school in 5-6 weeks, when we will hear if we have passed and remain compliant. All parents will receive a copy of the report and it will be posted on our website. In the meantime, we are very hopeful of a good result!
I wish you all an enjoyable and relaxing weekend, particularly the staff!
BEd, MA (IAPS)
From the Acting Co-Heads
Team work makes the dream work! We would like to extend a huge thank you to the entire St Michael’s community who have all worked incredibly hard this week during our inspection. There have been many long hours worked, double and triple checks made, questions asked, discussions held and paperwork readied. The feeling across the school has been of commitment, because we are all so proud of St Michael’s and want to make sure that can be recognised through the formal process of inspection. We look forward to the report but it was excellent to hear that the inspectors could see and feel the strong sense of belief that the staff and the pupils have in St Michael’s.
We are currently in the process of seeing our Year 6 scholarship applicants giving their all to the practical and academic assessments. We are very proud of the children for putting themselves forward and entering into a challenging and rigorous process. Feeling the balance of anticipation, nerves and determination to succeed is an excellent experience and, regardless of the result, will help their preparation for future events. In our introductory session this morning we talked about the qualities of resilience, respect, leadership, co-operation, openness to learning and positivity. I was impressed with the engagement of every child and would like to congratulate them for taking on this challenge.
The theme of challenge was also reinforced in an inspiring assembly this morning led with an infectious energy by the writer, film-maker and adventurer Matt Dickinson. Matt asked us all to raise our hands if we have a crazy goal in life and it was exciting to see a huge amount of hands shoot up in the audience. His advice to the children and staff was to hold onto that goal, make a plan and stick with it! I hope this sparks some brilliant conversations at home this weekend about goals in life and aiming big. As Mr Bridges would say, if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough!
Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman
News from Pre-Prep
• Fri 31st Jan Year 2 parents – Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am • Fri 7th Jan Year 1 parents Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am • Fri 28th Feb Reception parents Maths workshop 8.45-9.30am
Another busy week at St Michael’s, the highlight being our Compliance inspection. My thanks go to all the staff who have gone the extra mile in the last few weeks to ensure everything at school was top notch.
I know some parents may have thought they had missed a concert for Chinese New Year but this is a celebration we do in school with the children only, so you haven’t missed out! Thank you to Mrs Ravayeh for a Chinese musical story with Year 1. Kindergarten were also lucky to have two Chinese parents in who explained to the children all about the Year of the Rat. They bought in dumplings and seaweed for the children to try.
It has been good to hear questions from your class reps in the last couple of weeks. I know they have been getting back to you all. I am concerned to hear that some parents think playtime is a problem. Please let me reassure you that children are having happy playtimes in the garden and if any of you would like to come and watch for a while please get in touch.
Please see the dates above or our calendar for the Maths workshops for parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. These will be held on Friday mornings after drop-off. If you would like to know a little more about how we are teaching your children, please pop in to the dining room on the relevant date.
As a reminder, please ensure children’s long hair is tied back during the school day. This is for safety reasons as well as reducing the likelihood of spreading head lice.
Overheard: Are these the chat up lines of the next generation?
Child A: Soooo, what do you do at the weekend?
Child B: Stuff
Child A: Soooo, what do you do in your spare time?
Child B: More stuff
Have a lovely weekend,
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:
Choir rehearsal tracks
New 1:1 slots for Speech and Drama available with Mrs Woods
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.
Our news stories can be found by clicking “News” and “Latest News” on our website. To see our latest articles please click here
Aadhya S for beautiful writing and a fantastic effort with her phonics
Theia H for wonderful phonics and writing
Sophia E for excellent addition with a hundred square
Jonas S for beautiful sentence writing
Siena L for brilliant listening during music
Theo B for being a ray of sunshine in the class
Louisa S for working hard at being a kind friend
Adam O for working hard to improve his cursive handwriting
Iris L for working hard when adding two numbers together by counting on from the largest number
Charlie C for a beautiful fantasy home picture done with pastels
Hans Emil P for super number bond work
Abigail S for reading with lovely expression
Charlie M for working hard on his handwriting
Cole D for always having a smile on his face even when things get tricky
Elizabeth A for being a great friend, always extremely helpful and polite
Eliza M for listening carefully and working hard on writing a historic Polar Explorer Survival Kit
Amelia N for mastering the art of pointillism in her artwork
100 House Points
House Points Cup
Dover House with a total of 116 points
Jake collected the Cup on behalf of Dover House
Times Tables Certificates
Gold: Jake L
17th January – Music Practice Cup was awarded to: Jake L Music Practice Cup: Ruaridh O Music Practice Award: Adam J Star Violinist Cup: Kayla K
Music and Celebration Assemblies
We heard some beautiful performances in our music and celebration assemblies. Well done, everyone!
News from Prep
For learning all times tables and division facts
For completing your entire maths home learning booklet accurately, in addition to normal homework
Upcoming events include Oakwood Park Grammar School, St Olave’s Grammar School and Skinners’ School.
Rose Hill School Future Schools’ Evening
Rose Hill School (Coniston Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SY; Telephone: 01892-525591) are holding a Future Schools’ Evening on Tuesday 28th January from 7pm. They would be delighted to welcome any St Michael’s parents, who would like to join them.
Over twenty independent secondary schools will be in attendance, including Tonbridge School, Sevenoaks School, Bede’s, Bethany School and Hurstpierpoint College.
Mr Bridges is on a mission to keep St Michael’s motivated with his latest exercise plan designed to make exercise fun.
The Director of Sport at St Michael’s, who is a very keen runner himself, has created a beginner to 5k plan for anyone wanting to keep fit this lockdown.
The six-week plan, featuring workouts, running challenges and rest days, covers a range of exercises aimed at strengthening all parts of the body.
Mr Bridges said: “I have created this training programme for the St Michael’s community to help anyone who wants to have a go at running during lockdown and safely get to 5k by the time we return to school. The plan is suitable for Prep-aged pupils, parents and staff, including absolute beginners.”
The teacher, who has 15 years’ training as a running and triathlon coach, added: “The programme is designed to build a body capable of running 5k at the end of the six weeks, and what better time to have a go than during lockdown.”
The detailed plan, organised into weeks and week days, follows a key where the letters W (walk) and R (run) appear alongside the number of minutes the activity should take place for. For example, 6 x 1:30w/2:30r represents a 1 minute 30 seconds of walking followed by 2 minutes 30 seconds of running, repeated six times.
Mr Bridges said: “The programme includes progressive long runs from week 3 onwards, the only day where the running is based on distance rather than time.
“On Mondays I will also be sharing a different workout on the St Michael’s PE YouTube channel which pupils can take part in.”
To share your experience of the programme, including photos please email firstname.lastname@example.org. By sharing this information you give consent to it being shared on St Michael’s social media channels and publications.
On Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s hosted a fun-filled charity day for Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA).
Organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy, whose life who saved by the emergency team last Christmas, the school partook in a range of fundraising activities including a fun run, Christmas jumper day, and brain-teaser quizzes.
Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.
“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day has changed that.
“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”
Amanda McLean, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: “A big thank you to the staff and pupils of St Michael’s for coming up with creative ways to involve everyone in fundraising. In sharing her story, Lucy has helped us spread awareness of what Thames Valley Air Ambulance does. We can only do what we do because of the imagination and generosity of our wonderful fundraisers. We hope you had a lot of fun on your fundraising day!”
Lucy, whose story recently featured in the TVAA’s Christmas appeal, said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”
“It means so much to me that St Michael’s have come together to support this cause.”
The highly successful events saw pupils spread festive joy while raising an impressive £2556.60 for the charity which relies wholly of public donations.
Mrs Bridges, St Michael’s Acting Head, added: “Yesterday was amazing! The whole school had such a great time, and pupils were very excited to take part in a different fundraiser which meant they could enjoy the outdoors, whilst raising money for such an important charity. Everyone gave their all in the sponsored run and it was a brilliant event to watch.”
Mrs Wade, Head of Girls’ Games also said: “The children did remarkably well considering the conditions, and ran superbly for Lucy’s cause.”
And Lucy’s family echoed this gratitude for St Michael’s support. They said: “We wanted to say a huge thank to the St Michael’s community for supporting Lucy’s appeal for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance this Christmas. We’re so grateful to you for getting behind this amazing charity to whom we owe so much. We know from experience that your donations really do save lives. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021!”
This Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s will host a fundraising day for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy.
Determined to help a cause very close to her heart, Lucy has organised a series of events aimed at raising money for the charity-based emergency service.
Throughout the day pupils will be invited to participate in a range of activities including wearing a Christmas jumper, doing a sponsored run, and completing brain teaser quizzes in exchange for donations to the TVAA which relies wholly on public contributions.
Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I’ve planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.
“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day will change that.
“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”
And Lucy’s charity day is driven by her own bond with the charity who saved her life following an accident last Christmas.
She said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”
Since her accident, Lucy has remained close with three of TVAA’s critical care paramedics, Jo, John and Clare.
Lucy said: “Not only did the team come and visit me in hospital during my recovery, but in February this year my family and I were invited to their base to see their helicopters and learn more about their work.
“Since then, we’ve kept in close contact with them and have been given the exciting opportunity to take part in their Christmas campaign.
“One morning, my mum received a phone call from the TVAA asking if we’d like to tell our story as part of their fundraising appeal.
“Despite the accident still being quite fresh, we were keen to get involved as it’s such an amazing charity.”
Earlier this year, Lucy and her family were invited to Oxfordshire to talk about their experience in front of the camera.
The filming day, which involved interviews with both Lucy and her parents, aimed to raise awareness of the charity’s impact.
Lucy said: “It was such a fun day and really made us feel part of the TVAA community.
“Afterwards, we were sent several cuts of the video, including a very cool animation of my story which was very realistic.
“They kept us in mind throughout the whole process and made us feel very special.”
Thames Valley Air Ambulance Fundraising Activities
Christmas jumpers – In Prep and Pre-Prep, we are inviting the children and staff to sport their best Christmas jumper and make a donation for the privilege of wearing it! The 15th is the day of the school Christmas lunches, so this would be a good time to wear them. As with the last charity collection, the donations for Christmas jumpers can be deposited in the buckets at the doors into the buildings as the children arrive in the morning.
Sponsored run (Prep) – we are going to be inviting the children to run in teams of (up to) 4 around the shortest XC route on the fields. They will have a set time to complete as many laps as possible in that time. The children can look to have their team sponsored per lap, or have a donation from their sponsor. Sponsorship money raised will need to be brought in the following day.
Brain teaser quizzes – there are two quiz sheets that can be purchased for 50p each and you can take them home and try to solve the puzzles as a family. I’m afraid the only prize on offer is the glow of self-fulfilment upon having completed them. Answers will be shared on the last day of term. As parents cannot be in the school buildings at the moment, the quiz sheets can be purchased via homework diaries (please send the 50p/ £1, depending if you want one quiz sheet or both).
A former St Michael’s pupil has been awarded an Honorary Academic Scholarship for her excellence across all subjects.
Grace Goodwin, who attended St Michael’s between 2014 and 2019, has received the honour from Sevenoaks School.
Commenting on Grace’s success, her mother Marianthe Goodwin said: “Grace joined Sevenoaks in Year 7 and has really thrived from day one.
“We all knew Grace was doing very well academically as she was awarded the Academic Prize in Year 7 and Year 8. However, just before half term we received a letter awarding Grace an Honorary Academic Scholarship, one of only four which was awarded.
“Grace was delighted and extremely surprised as she had absolutely no idea that she was going to receive it. As an Academic Scholar, Grace is invited to attend the Schickler Society with the other scholars in which they discuss lots of different world issues both current and past, such as gun control and the Cold War.”
Mrs Goodwin added: “Grace had a wonderful and very happy time at St Michael’s and the decision to leave was a hard one, but we felt it was the right time for Grace. At St Michael’s she enjoyed all her subjects, especially English and Science.
“She found all the teachers very encouraging and approachable, and felt the growth mindset attitude and community spirit of St Michael’s gave her the confidence to hit challenges head on and not give up.
“Mrs Bridges among others was particularly encouraging of Grace during her time at St Michael’s and offered amazing pastoral support to pupils.”
And it isn’t just Sevenoaks School that spotted Grace’s academic potential. St Michael’s teacher Mrs Baisch, who taught Grace during her time at the school, said: “Grace is an incredibly creative pupil who loves reading and writing, and produced some beautiful work. The words flew off her pen.
“Grace was also a very good speaker which was shown by her victory in the poetry live senior competition which she won with her reading of Dulce et Decorum est. For a Year 6 pupil, her performance was very impressive.
“Grace’s scholarship is of no surprise and is something she should be very proud of.”
My son began his journey at St Michael's last Friday in the Nursery class and, one week on, I have to write to say how impressed I am and how thrilled we are with our decision to send him to such an amazing school.
The approach to settling them in has been perfect!
St Michael’s is a wonderful school. Fantastic teachers, a nurturing environment. It has suited our three children who are all very different in their academic and pastoral needs. Thank you.
Year 6 Parent
St Michael's is a place where I can let my imagination run wild.
Year 6 pupil
We were struck by the warmth and kindness of everyone we met; pupils as well as staff. We believe in giving our son the right start and instilling in him the joy of learning and satisfaction from achievement. We can see this happening at St Michael’s
My daughter has had such a wonderful school life at St.Michael’s. We really couldn’t have asked for a better school for her in terms of academic life, extra-curricular activities and friendship groups. We still can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by and that she will soon be leaving!