eNews: Friday 28th February 2020

From the Acting Co-Heads

The start of a new half term is always a chance to re-set. After a little break and the opportunity for rest and reflection we are ready to go again. In Monday morning’s assembly we talked about aims for the new half term and some pupils shared what they hoped to accomplish. It was lovely to hear excitement about the opportunity for the children to develop their hockey skills, to make progress in a particular subject or to plan to do something for charity and, in turn, help others.

When you have a clear goal or aim, no matter what it is, once you’ve acknowledged it then your next step is to make a plan. It is the actions that we commit to, day in, day out, that will determine how close we get to achieving our aims. We had a great conversation with a child this week about what they feel school is all about. They had lots to say and it was very positive, with a clear focus on learning and succeeding in exams. We concentrate so much on the daily routines, working hard to do well in the final assessment but, in reality, there’s much more to it than that. As staff at St Michael’s, we are here to get your fantastic children to the best place they can be in the next steps of their life. To figure out who they are and how they can be the best version of themselves. It’s the building of the skills that will make our pupils be able to cope with the curveballs that life will throw. Resilience, kindness, empathy, commitment and the ability to work collaboratively. Grit and determination. Looking at life with the wonder of a two year old, as Einstein said, can fill our lives with joy and an infallible energy. And isn’t that what makes the whole thing worthwhile? So, whatever your children hope to achieve this half term, I hope that they can figure out some strategies to get there. And even if they don’t quite make it then we can be pretty confident that they will benefit from developing the commitment and resilience that will bring later success.

Mr Bridges wrote to the parents of the boys in the Prep school this week to explain why we are still looking longingly down on the oh-so-nearly finished AstroTurf, as we have hockey fixtures in the calendar that we have been unable to fulfil. We really have had unprecedented bad weather over the previous months, but we are pleased to say that the end is in sight. We are still reliant on a period of good weather to allow the sand to be evenly distributed, but we are hopeful that the children will be able to get on the new pitch soon. We are looking forward next week to the music scholars’ evening performance at Shoreham Church. We are sure it will be a fantastic event and wish all the performers well this weekend with their final preparations.

We wish you a lovely, restful weekend.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

News from Pre-Prep

• Parents’ Evenings Tuesday 17th March and Thursday 19th March; sign up on Parents’ Evening System from 21.00 on Monday 2nd March 
• Thursday March 5th World Book Day
• Author Alan Durant Wed 4th March. Books available for sale at the end of the school day

We have been into recycling this week. I’ve enjoyed watching Kindergarten children tapping pins into the polystyrene cushioning that packed our new smart board screens and I was delighted to see Reception children making a soft play area for bugs out of all sorts of rubbish. Your cardboard boxes are always being put to good use with our younger years. I know you are all delighted to get them back once a transformation has taken place!

On Wednesday Mrs Briggs has organised for author Alan Durant to hold workshops on writing stories with your children. He will have some of his books for sale at the end of the school day and these can be billed to your school account if you find this an easier payment method.

Thursday is World Book Day and, in common with a lot of schools up and down the country, we will be dressing up as book characters. Please make sure that children still have their school coats and that they can still play outside comfortably in their costumes. Any characters with weapons will of course need to leave those at home on the day.

Coronavirus I know is a concern for you all. Please rest assured that as a school we are taking advice from Public Health England daily and we will continue to ask their advice about any individual family concerns. Meanwhile please help to reinforce our message to the children about washing their hands properly with soap and water.

I will be at the Pre-Prep Heads’ conference next Thursday and Friday so if you have any urgent concerns please contact Miss Jo Salmon who will be looking after Pre-Prep in my absence.

Overheard: Mrs Leech, how many different costumes do you have at home?

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:

  • Mr Lopez’s Archway Easter Football Camp
  • Mr Thomas’ Easter Hockey Camp
  • Small number of tickets left for Little Shop of Horrors
  • Channel 4’s Junior Bake Off – applications open to bakers aged 9-15

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

Lawson for perseverance in swimming and showing huge improvement this week
Adam O for always trying his hardest in swimming and for making brilliant progress
Miranda for lovely independent writing about tigers
Dylan H for excellent listening and participation during all our learning
Grace L for beautiful handwriting
Isla B for good understanding of subtraction
Elodie for trying so hard to read with confidence and expression
Rui for excellent effort in our Maths work this week
Thomas G for good recall of information when exploring non-fiction texts
Grace P for showing resilience in Maths lessons and always trying her very best even when finding things tricky
Nik for settling back into school life beautifully
Elizabeth S for being kind and considerate to others
Sebastian G for good work with odd and even numbers
Sophie N for sharing some interesting facts about owls
Kayla for always working exceptionally hard, especially with her writing
Xavier for an improved effort with the speed at which he works, showing far more resilience
Nia for creating a fantastic model of a rocket, based on the Apollo II Saturn V
James L for working hard to plan and write a letter home from Neil Armstrong while he was in space

House Point Cup

Dover House with a total of 119 points
Eliza collected the Cup on behalf of Dover House

100 House Points

Dover: Eliza
Leeds: Herbie F

Times Tables Certificate

Bronze: Raven

Silver: Eva F

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Adam J
Music Practice Award: Walter
Star Violinist Cup: Taran

Pre-Prep Assembly

Well done to Finley and Olivia, who played “Train Ride” and “Footsteps in the Snow” respectively, in our Assembly.

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

L Shi For having art work displayed at school
T Vafai For having art work displayed at school
S Edwards-Matthews For having art work displayed at school

Players of the Match, week commencing 24th February 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Hockey
U11 A
U11 B
U10 A No Matches for any boys this week
U10 B
U9 A
U9 B
U8 A
U8 B
U8 C
U13 A Netball No Matches
U13 B No Matches
U13 C No Matches
U11 A A Ogle

M Noorpuri

For good all-round play

For making great interceptions

U11 B S Cook For showing good all-round play and skills
U11 C K Fryer Voted for by the opposition
U10 A A Mitchell

E Newton

G Owen

For great defending

For super shooting

For displaying great sportsmanship

U10 B M Amure

N Stinson

Voted for by the opposition

For energised and effective play

U10 C T Carman Voted for by the opposition
U10 D T Bax Voted for by the opposition
U9 A M Pape Voted as player of the tournament by all of the schools
U9 B No Matches
U9 C No Matches
U8 A No Matches
U8 B No Matches
U8 C No Matches

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



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.”