We’ve ended the week with cold rain and grey skies, but it’s been a vibrant and colourful week of learning nevertheless! Christmas spirit is tangible throughout the school, and this week we lit the fire in the Prep reception which has warmed our souls and is a beautiful site alongside the magnificent Christmas tree.
On Tuesday, we enjoyed a wonderful Christingle service for Years 2 and 3 pupils. The pupils sang beautifully and with infectious enthusiasm, which I hope you have enjoyed through the video recordings of the events. I was dancing in my study when the Year 3s were rehearsing outside; they had so much spirit! The Christingle service focuses on bringing light and hope to those who might need it around the world. It was touching to hear the wishes that the children had written for all of you this Christmas: hope, love, peace, justice and a merry Christmas were among them. I really do hope they come true.
We have also enjoyed our first Nativity plays this week courtesy of Nursery. It was an absolute joy to see the children sing their Christmas songs, and I was as mesmerised as them by Mrs Stibbon’s enchanting story. Mrs Ravayeh’s music was terrific, and I was incredibly impressed by the children’s focus, engagement and actions which accompanied each song. Thank you to all of the team for creating this wonderful event for the children and such a lovely performance for us to enjoy.
I look forward to seeing more performances in Pre-Prep next week; I know that the children have been rehearsing incredibly hard and I am sure you will look forward to watching their performances on video in due course. In Prep School, the Music Scholars performed around the Christmas tree as part of the Crackin’ Christmas Concert. The festive music performances are always a highlight for me. I hope that you will enjoy an evening watching the videos together as a family, and that it will be memorable and unique in this new format.
I wish you all a fantastic weekend and I look forward to seeing the children on Monday morning for their last full week of the Michaelmas Term.
From the Head of Pre-Prep
The first Nativities performed by Nursery have been delightful and I am sure next week will be no exception. I am sorry you will not be able to come in to see them this year, but we will endeavour to film each performance and share the relevant one with you. I would like to say a huge thank you to all the Pre-Prep staff who always work so hard to bring these performances together; from organising the scripts, to sorting positions, costumes, music, singing and actions. Mrs Ravayeh needs a special mention for her hard work on the music for all five different year groups!
The Jersey Tour happens each year for the seniors at Prep school. They usually have a chance to fundraise at the Fireworks Night and the Christmas Bazaar. This year they haven’t been able to do this, so they have arranged a competition for the children: Guess How Many Sweets are in the Jar has been running this week and will continue through to next week. Children need to bring in £1 for every guess they wish to make, with the winner being the child with a guess closest to the right number of sweets. Thursday 10th December will be the last day for guesses.
On Tuesday 15th December we will all be wearing Christmas jumpers instead of school jumpers or cardigans. This year we will be supporting the Thames Valley Air Ambulance charity who came to the aid of one of our own St Michael’s pupils last Christmas. Donations on the day will be appreciated.
Overheard in Pre-Prep:
“My Dad was born in Bethlehem.”
“Was your Dad Jesus?”
“Yes, then he died and came back as my Dad!”
Have a lovely Tier 3 weekend.
Key Dates for Pre-Prep:
Thursday 10th December:
AM Christmas Parties for Nursery and Kindergarten
Friday 11th December:
AM Christmas Parties for Nursery and Kindergarten
PM Christmas Parties for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2
Please don’t forget to bring in a plate of food for your child (labelled) which must be nut-free. This includes products such as Nutella and sesame seeds.
From the Deputy Head
Uniform and clothing
I have noticed that there are more and more non-uniform coats, hats and gloves coming into school now the weather is getting colder.
Only senior pupils are allowed to wear non-uniform coats and have non-uniform school bags.
I am also growing increasingly concerned by the apparent epidemic of foot problems that seem to be sweeping the school, especially Years 6, 7 and 8. There has been a marked increase in the number of children found to be wearing trainers (when they should have shoes on) and their response has, more often than not, been that they have sore feet, and this is the reason for their wearing of trainers. Alas, when asked, there does not appear to be any professional medical advice or note to back this up. I would ask that if your child is genuinely suffering from feet issues, please book them to see a podiatrist and inform the school of this so we are aware. If they do not have any feet issues, I expect them to be wearing school shoes to school.
Pre-Prep Gold Star Winners
Arya G for lovely ideas about how to rescue Old Bear
Siena L for trying to read with more expression
Henry G for saying his words brilliantly during rehearsal
Noah L for great participation in all of our activities
Matthew D for fantastic and enthusiastic participation in every activity
Ian V for wonderful singing and dancing in our rehearsal
Louis N for trying so hard with his reading
Millie I.W for becoming so much more independent in class
Winston G for fantastic doubling work in maths
Theia H for having the voice of an angel and singing her solo piece beautifully
Ellie S for a great improvement in her handwriting
Elodie B for super effort and singing during our rehearsals
Oliver A for saying his lines so clearly
Peter S for always being polite and offering to help
Olivia K for working exceptionally hard in areas of the curriculum
Adam O for confidently working on problems involving 2D and 3D shapes
Abigail T for knowing her Nativity lines and cues really well
Lucy T for showing a good understanding of punctuation
Luke S for working hard in all subjects and making great contributions to whole class discussions
Charlie M for fantastic maths work on 2D shapes and remembering their properties
C Dulski for showing wonderful kindness to classmates
G Wilson for a fantastic guitar performance in class
A O’Brien for writing her own book at home
I Giannakis for writing her own book at home
E Fitta for writing her own book at home
T Bax for exceptional effort and engagement in French studies
M Amure for winning the Year 5 & 6 Spelling Bee
J Mayhew for winning the Year 3 & 4 Spelling Bee
The following Art Scholars have also been awarded Headteacher’s Stars for creating fantastic lino prints:
A Morgue D’Algue
Years 2 and 3 Christingle services
This week Years 2 and 3 took part in Christingle services held in the Prep school chapel. Featuring poems, performances and outdoor singing from the pupils, the services were a beautiful celebration of Christmas and a very positive start to December. Although parents were not able to attend the services this year, a film of the event has been sent to Years 2 and 3 families, which we hope will create a special viewing experience at home.
All materials for the pupils’ Christingles were kindly donated to St Michael’s by The Children’s Society. The charity said: “Outstanding from Years 2 and 3! Christingle is all about shining hope and light in the darkest moments, thank you all for helping us spread joy and for your support.”
Highlights of the event can be viewed on the St Michael’s YouTube page:
Christmas at St Michael’s!
This week saw the start of St Michael’s festive celebrations, beginning with the Nursery Nativities and Prep music concert performances.
On Thursday and Friday, the Nursery groups took part in musical re-tellings of the Nativity story featuring 13 different Christmas songs and a range of musical instruments. The children sung beautifully and had a lot of fun performing their well-rehearsed songs and actions with their teachers.
St Michael’s Head of Pre-School, Mrs Stibbons said: “We have certainly had lots of fun in our rehearsalsand experiencing the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of the children is a huge highlight for the teachers.”
Meanwhile, Prep pupils have also been spreading Christmas joy with spectacular performances of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night and Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree by the Junior String group, Chamber Music group and Music Scholars group. We look forward to sharing the final concert with parents via film, later this term.
Spelling Bee success for Josie!
On Friday 4th December, Years 3 and 4 pupils took part in a Spelling Bee hosted by Mrs Andrade.
Challenged with spellings such as phenomenon, privilege, sincerely and secretary, it was a tricky competition
Winner of the Spelling Bee, Josie in Year 4, triumphed with her correct spelling of the word ‘bargain’.
Well done, Josie!
Jersey Tour sweet fundraiser
The Year 8 Jersey Tour is always an important event of the calendar which the pupils fundraise for at Fireworks Night and the Christmas Bazaar. Sadly, St Michael’s Prep in Jersey have had to cancel the tour this year due to the Covid-19 epidemic. We are still hopeful of being able to provide some kind of replacement trips and visits package for our Year 8s (dependent on restrictions) and have therefore looked at different ways of fund-raising to help this happen.
Over the next week, Pre-Prep and Prep pupils will be invited to Guess How Many Sweets are in the Jar in exchange for a £1 donation.
We hope that this fun competition will help to spread some Christmas joy among the children, meanwhile raising money for this very important end-of-year activity.
Déjà Vu uniform shop
Déjà Vu is open again at the usual times of 8.15-9.15am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with one customer allowed in the shop at a time. Masks must be worn when in the shop.
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In the Community
Mr Thomas’ Christmas Hockey Camp
Mr Thomas will be holding his Christmas Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch on Thursday 17th December, Friday 18th December, Monday 21st December and Tuesday 22nd December
Love seeing your children’s smiley faces on our social media pages?
Make sure you’re following all four of our channels to ensure you don’t miss any precious photos and videos. This also includes our new YouTube page featuring videos about St Michael’s and speeches from the pupils.
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.