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.
This month St Michael’s Prep is celebrating the opening of its new Astro Turf pitch.
Completed during Summer 2020, the state-of-the-art facility will provide a huge boost to the school’s sporting facilities and allow it to offer a broader range of activities including boys hockey and football to its pupils.
Its floodlights will also enable St Michael’s to host sports matches during evenings, as well as inviting external schools and clubs to enjoy the new pitch throughout the year.
Ben Bridges, Director of Sports at St Michael’s, said: “We’re really excited to use the Astro Turf for the first time this month.
“We feel extremely lucky to be able to offer this to our pupils in both Prep and Pre-prep and are thrilled about the benefits it will bring to our sporting curriculum.
“As well as hockey, the new pitch will allow us to offer many other sports to pupils and will prevent the children from missing lessons due to inclement weather.”
Planning for the Astro Turf began in 2014 and has seen St Michael’s grounds undergo a significant transformation since construction began last summer. During this time pupils were fascinated by the diggers, dumpers and bulldozers which visited the school, while nursery and kindergarten children were treated to close-up views of the machinery.
Mr Bridges added: “Although it was a slightly delayed start due to the poor weather we faced, this feels like the perfect time to put the incredible space to good use.
“This is really going to move sport at St Michael’s to the next level, as well as providing us with opportunities to engage with the local community. We’re excited all round.”
The Governors of St. Michael’s Prep School take pleasure in announcing the appointment of Nik Pears as our new Head Teacher with effect from January 2021.
Nik was educated at St Dunstan’s College, London and is a graduate of Cambridge University. He is currently Head of Prep at Kent College Pembury, a post he has held since 2016. Prior to that, he was Headmaster of the Junior School at Sevenoaks Prep for 5 years. Nik is also an ISI inspector and a governor at Dulwich Prep, Cranbrook. We believe that he has the experience and qualities required to lead St Michael’s into the next chapter of its history.
Nik represented Kent U18 group at rugby and has a love of all sports. He is an accomplished musician and has performed at The O2 and Wembley Arenas. He is an Ambassador for “We See Hope”, a charity working with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa. Nik devised The Social Entrepreneurs Project an initiative that challenges young people to turn £10 seed capital into £100 or more with their profits going to support the work of the charity.
We feel very fortunate to have secured Nik’s headship and welcome him and his wife Emma and two children, Jessica and Josiah into the St. Michael’s family from the start of next year. Nik has said
“I am delighted to have been appointed the next Head of St Michael’s Prep. Having lived in the area for the past twenty years, it is a school I have known and long admired for its ambitious and child-centred approach to learning. There is a very special atmosphere in the school and I am excited to become a part of the community, getting to know the children, parents and staff over the months and years ahead. St Michael’s is privileged to have an experienced and committed Senior Leadership Team and I very much look forward to working together with them as we embark on an exciting future for the school.”
Some of our super St Michael’s Swimmers have won an array of silverware at recent events.
At the Sevenoaks Swimming Club presentation evening, I Pennington Legh was presented with the Kingsbury Cup for U10 girls; A Green was awarded the Kingsbury Cup for U10 boys; E Green received runner up plate for the best U9 boy; S. Taylor was awarded the Mike Radford Trophy for most improved U9 boy; A Ashton was presented with the U9 Individual Medley Cup and U9 trophy for most improved swimmer; B Tovey and J Taylor were both awarded plaques with their positions from the recent Sevenoaks Club Championships.
At the Black Lion Gala, Gillingham, at the start of March our swimmers again came away with medals. A Ashton won three gold, one bronze, one fourth and one sixth medal; A Green three gold and two silver medals; E Green four silver and one bronze medal; S Taylor one silver and one fourth medal and J Taylor a fourth position medal. V Medlen also came away with a medal from the gala.
Well done to all those swimmers; your hard work and dedication is certainly paying off!
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!