eNews: Friday 24th January 2020

From Graham Malcolm, Interim Executive Head

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!

Graham Malcolm


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,

Zerrin Leech

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.

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

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

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

William P

Adam J

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

Music Awards

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

Headteacher’s Stars

M Pape For learning all times tables and division facts
R Romero For completing your entire maths home learning booklet accurately, in addition to normal homework

ABRSM Exam Results

N Ogle Piano Prep test Pass
C Zheng Singing Prep test Pass
D Macedo Percussion 1 Merit
G Wall Percussion 1 Merit
L Poracchia Percussion 1 Merit
N Staples Singing 2 Pass
E Hudson Singing 2 Merit
L Poracchia Singing 3 Merit
E Newton Singing 3 Merit
O Scott Descant recorder 3 Merit
J Pathiwill Singing 3 Merit
L Shi Singing 3 Merit
S Bendle Singing 3 Distinction
T Neville Singing 4 Pass
A Scott Singing 4 Merit
O Crane Singing 4 Merit

Players of the Match, week commencing 20th January 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Rugby F Smith For strong running with the ball and for scoring 2 tries
U12 The whole team For great rucking and scoring tries
U11 A S Ward For excellent tackling and attitude
U11 B T Anglin For good all-round play
U10 A L Bowen For solid defence and understanding attacking lines
U10 B E Short For great tackling
U9 A S Taylor For direct running and solid tackling
U9 B T Warren & J West For great attacking play
U8 A W Pennington Legh For great support running
U8 B S Jalan For good running with the ball in hand
U8 C H Haaxman For great team work
U13 A Netball A Mourgue D’Algue

E Ward

Voted for by the opposition

For great driving towards the ball in the centre court

U13 B A Moore

F Arduino

Voted for by the opposition

For amazing marking and making great interceptions

U13 C F Griffin

L Shi

Voted for by the opposition

For great work in the circle

U11 A V Medlen For great shooting
U11 B E Harrison

C Prongué

Voted for by the opposition

For excellent centre court play

U11 C F Merralls For aggressive and enthusiastic midcourt play
U10 A A Stevens For great defending
U10 B A Ravalli Voted by opposition for good all-round play
U10 C No Match
U9 A M Pape For good all-round play and voted for by the opposition
U9 B A Brown

M Elliott

Voted for by the opposition

For great attacking play

U9 C K Rutherford Voted for by the opposition
U8 A C Selvey-Clinton

E Julio

Voted for by the opposition

For being a very versatile player

U8 B G Cheetham Voted for by the opposition for good all-round play
U8 C E Moriarty

B Ravalli

Voted for by the opposition

For making some great interceptions

Senior School Open Days, Scholarships and Events

These can now be found on our Senior School page. 

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.

Please register in advance with clare.rowton@rosehillschool.co.uk 

Latest News

A Sevenoaks food bank is 318 kilos heavier following a donation from St Michael’s.


The school surprised charity The Community Cupboard with the generous donation on Monday, February 1 following a Christmas collection for the cause.


In total, £965 was raised from parent and staff donations throughout December, which St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P & F) used to organise a Sainsbury’s shop of food and toiletries for the charity.


Commenting on the school’s motivation to help the food bank, Co-Chair of St Michael’s P & F, Kelly Downey, said: “Delivering our donation to The Community Cupboard was an amazing and uplifting moment. Being able to bring the school together to contribute to a cause which plays such an important role in our community during this time was very rewarding.”


Greeted with three car loads of canned foods, long-life products and toiletries, Kelly also describes how delighted the charity were with the school’s generosity. She added: “The team were really blown away by our donation and thankful for the time we’d taken to raise the money and organise a delivery.


“It was a great feeling to be able to put an initial idea from a St Michael’s parent into action, and to see the impact we would be having on the local community.”


Kelly added: “We recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to put food on the table for their families. We hope that our donation can be a small step in making a difference for those people.”


Since the start of January alone, an additional 22 local families have registered for The Community Cupboard’s support, reflecting the increased pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic across the country. And it is only thanks to generous donations that the charity can continue to provide help to those who need it most.


Trustee at The Community Cupboard, David Carter said: “We would like to express our extreme gratitude to St Michael’s for their wonderful donation. We are very lucky to receive regular donations from local groups, but they are rarely to this scale.


“The food and toiletries kindly given to us by St Michael’s have allowed us to fully restock our shelves as well as putting plenty of stock on standby for new referrals. The size of this donation will allow us to give substantial food packages to the 22 new families who were referred to us in January. St Michael’s help is invaluable to us and will make a huge difference.”


Since its launch in January 2020, The Community Cupboard has continued to help families in Sevenoaks, and has extended its help to cover a 20 mile radius including Edenbridge, Westerham, Surrey, Sidcup, Rochester and Ashford, due to the pandemic.


The Trustee added: “We began as a small group of people determined to make a difference locally in an area where food banks were lacking. Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way and our efforts would be needed tenfold. To say we hit the ground running would be an understatement.”


Run by four members and six volunteers, The Community Cupboard works tirelessly to deliver parcels to families, and in January alone distributed 3.1 tonnes of food, toiletries and essential items.


David said: “We began the charity on the foundation that ‘if we can help, we will’, and with the community’s help, I’m proud to say we are doing just that. We see a lot of hardship and sadness in doing what we do, but it really opens our eyes to the incredible hard work various organisations and charities do in our community. Thanks to generous groups like St Michael’s, we can confidently say ‘yes, we can help you’.”


The Community Cupboard are currently taking donations of tinned and long-life food products, as well as toiletries and essential items. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be put towards bulk orders for the charity.


The charity is based at The Garage, Gamcock meadow, West Kingdown where a covid secure donation drop off process has been put in place.


For more information about The Community Cupboard, or to donate to the charity visit www.thecommunitycupboard.co.uk.

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 tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. By sharing this information you give consent to it being shared on St Michael’s social media channels and publications.



Warm, welcoming and impressive. That’s how St Michael’s new Head describes the school.

“I’ve always liked St Michael’s and have been visiting it for several years as part of sports fixtures with my previous schools”, Nik Pears said.

“Something that has always impressed me about St Michael’s is the atmosphere and people that belong to it.

“The sense of community you feel when walking through the doors of the school is extraordinary”, he added.

An avid sportsman, experienced leader, and family man, Mr Pears brings with him a wealth of ideas for St Michael’s, including his core value of equipping pupils for life.

Nik , who joined St Michael’s in January 2021, explained: “I am very keen on developing a growth mindset in my pupils. In this ever-changing world, our children need to be prepared for life outside of the classroom.

“Pupils need to be adaptable, resilient and perseverant, and learn to accept their failure and mistakes as important parts of their personal development.

“By equipping children with the right interpersonal skills during their school years, we can set them up for a future in which they may have to fight for their place in the world.”

Nik’s concept of growth mindset can also be applied to his broader vision for the school.

Coming to St Michael’s from his headship at Kent College, Pembury, Nik believes the challenges posed by Covid-19 can teach schools a lot about the importance of flexibility and community.

Mr Pears said: “These unprecedented times have been a huge learning curve for schools.

“Navigating a school through a global crisis was never going to be easy, but it has shown just how necessary it is to put pupils at the heart of every decision.

“As someone who has experienced the period as both a teacher and parent, it is very clear that we are all battling the same storm in different boats.

“It is incredible how people have found new and creative ways to deal with the circumstances. From Zoom concerts, to helping food banks, to keeping each other’s spirits high with funny videos, this period has shown us a lot about community which we will learn from and remember.”

Having belonged to multiple Prep schools himself throughout his education and as a teacher, Nik is excited to be entering this new stage in his career at St Michael’s.

Reflecting on his own school years which saw him attend schools in London, Devon and Dublin, he said: “I always enjoyed school as a child and made the most of every opportunity I was given.

“I particularly enjoyed subjects like music, drama and history and was fascinated by the things that we learnt.

“I was also heavily involved in sports and belonged to the Kent U18 rugby group. Even now you’ll find me in a pair of wellies at the side of the pitch cheering on my pupils and own children.”

Nik added: “I was one of those children who wanted to get stuck into everything, even the things that I found difficult.

“As well as my sports clubs, I belonged to multiple choirs, as well as orchestras where I played the drums, trumpet, piano and guitar.”

Mr Pears also spoke about the impact his own teachers had on his time at school and the person that he is today.

He said: “I had some amazing teachers which taught me a lot of things about life and leadership.

“Sir Anthony Seldon, one of my history teachers, was particularly inspiring and sparked my passion for the subject.

“The Head of my Prep school in Dublin also gave her pupils a lot of time. She was a hero.”

And Nik’s teachers aren’t his only role models in life.

He said: “A man called Phil Wall is also a huge inspiration of mine. Phil is the founder of the charity We See Hope which works with orphans and vulnerable young people in sub Saharan Africa.

“Phil’s selflessness and passion for the cause inspired me to become an ambassador for the charity.

“His exceptional leadership, authenticity and integrity is just inspiring.”

Mr Pears also explained how his love of people has guided him to the many leadership roles he has held.

Nik said: “I very much enjoy being with people and having a good laugh. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing family including my wife, Emma and our two children, Jessica and Josiah. Our pet hamster Charlie is also a valued member of the family who kept us well entertained during the first lockdown.”

He added: “Being a leader brings so many opportunities to show warmth, empathy and understanding to others, and I can’t wait to become a member of the St Michael’s community.

“When pupils leave St Michael’s to pursue their senior education, I hope they remember me as someone who was kind, knew them well and valued their opinion.”


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!”

For more information about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance or to donate visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/support-us/donate