eNews: Friday 5th March 2021

From the Head

Dear Parents,

Firstly, let me say how pleased I am to be welcoming back children to school on Monday 8th March. The combined staff team have been working hard, across all areas of school life, in preparation for having everyone back on site. As you will appreciate, it is especially exciting for me as I will finally get to turn a list of names, or even faces on a screen, into people that I can meet in human form!

It has been lovely meeting some of our Year 7 and 8 pupils who have been in school today to have their Lateral Flow Tests undertaken ahead of Monday. They have been overwhelmingly positive about the return to school, with perhaps the only hesitation being the early morning starts. No doubt they will all get back into it very quickly and life will be back to ‘normal’ again very soon.

You have already been sent information pertaining to the return to school, including drop off and pick up times etc., but I would just remind you of the importance of maintaining social distance when ‘on site’ and ask that you refrain from entering school buildings, unless you have prior consent. It is also important that you leave the school grounds promptly after drop-off and pick-up and that as a community, we continue to adhere to general public health guidance over the coming weeks. It is of paramount importance that if you are in any doubt about the health of your child, whether symptomatic of Covid-19 or otherwise, you do not send them into school.

Whilst we are mindful that it is impossible to eradicate all risk, we are confident that having carefully followed Government issued guidance, updated Risk Assessments, Health and Safety protocols, Safeguarding, Hygiene and Medical policies and procedures, we can continue to offer an environment for our children and staff that is safe and enjoyable to work and learn in.

I know I speak on behalf of the whole St Michael’s Prep team when I say we are very much looking forward to seeing you and your children next week. As ever, if you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to ask and we will do our best to assist you.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Nik Pears


A message from Mr Pears to pupils:



From the Head of Pre-Prep 

Dear Parents,

All the staff are so looking forward to the children returning to school next week. It’s just not the same without them. The Pre-Prep staff have been into school today and have got everything ready for Monday. There will of course be a period of adjustment as the children get used to school routines again, but we will very quickly be focussed on catching up where there may be gaps. I know there won’t be too many of these as you have been working very hard to facilitate the lessons that have been set.

You should have all received my letter about dropping off and collection times. Please adhere to these as closely as possible to prevent too much build-up of traffic. Please remember to display your family name clearly in your car as this can help us get your children ready. If you can attach it to your passenger sun visor it is more visible than on the dashboard.

As a reminder please keep your children at home if they are unwell. This is vital to the wellbeing of the school community. We will be reinforcing the importance of washing hands properly and classroom cleaning will be taking place through the day as well as after school.

I’ve seen some lovely pictures of World Book Day with some great dressing up outfits. Well done to everyone who joined in. It’s always interesting to see some of the lesser known stories reviewed by children. I shared “Snail’s Legs” by Damian Harvey with the Critical Workers group in school and they were rather surprised to find that unusually for a children’s story, it doesn’t have a happy ending.

Overheard in Pre-Prep: “You can’t really marry a dog on a Wednesday.”

Have a good weekend and enjoy getting ready for school,

Zerrin Leech

Head’s Stars

A Booth-Wakenell (Year 3) for thoughtful in depth planning and creativity towards the Reading Robot DT challenge

F Samworth (Year 3) for brilliant work in researching, designing and making a bridge to support a toy car in DT

A Stevens (Year 6) for making tremendous progress in English

E Schwark (Year 6) for an amazing poster about the Crystal Palace exhibition

L Lutzow (Year 6) for a terrific video reflecting a day in the life of a Victorian child


Webinar with Kim Wells

Following on from our webinar with Dr Aric Sigman in February, we were delighted to host another session for parents and staff on Tuesday evening. Our guest this time was Mr Kim Wells, Director of Learning and Teaching at Caterham School.

Kim’s session on coaching skills to support home learning  was excellent and very well received by all who attended.

Kim drew on his expertise as an Associate Certified Coach with the ICF, his extensive teaching experience and as a parent of two young children.

Kim covered coaching techniques to ensure that you can:

  • Develop your child’s academic resilience
  • Encourage ‘struggle’ as an effective way of learning
  • Avoid teaching children ‘learned helplessness’
  • Help children to own their own learning

This practical webinar on how to support your children with the work they do at home has been recorded and will be sent to parents via email.

We would also like to draw your attention to some suggested reading on the topic:

Mindset, Carol Dweck

The Growth Mindset Pocketbook, Professor Barry Hymer

Coaching for Performance, John Whitmore

The Inner Game of Golf, Tim Gallwey

The Little Book of Coaching Models, Tim Gallwey

Mindset, Carol Dweck

Growth Mindset Pocket Book, Barry Hymer

Bounce, Matthew Syed

Grit, Angela Duckworth


Remote Learning 

St Michael’s pupils have been working hard in their final week of Remote Learning. They have made music, created insect art and even innovated their own roller coasters.


Critical Workers groups

Meanwhile, in school our Critical Workers group has enjoyed their last quiet week together, featuring World Book Day celebrations and special story times.

Whole School News

Freestyle Friday!

Presenting… this week’s World Book Day-themed Freestyle Friday dance. Thank you to everyone who has submitted clips for and supported our Freestyle Friday videos this term.

Those who have been loyal viewers of Freestyle Friday may also have spotted a familiar lego mask in all of the videos. But who was under it? Watch this video to find out!


Send us your stories!

Has your child won an award, passed an extra-curricular exam or accomplished something exciting recently?

We love celebrating our pupils’ amazing achievements and want to showcase them in our weekly newsletter. Email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk to submit your child’s achievement.

In the Community


Mr Lopez’s Easter Football Camp

Mr Lopez will be holding his Easter Camp from Tuesday 13th – Friday 16th April 10am – 3pm.  Click here for full details and a booking form. Book early as places are limited!


Mrs Grayland’s Easter Netball Camp

Mrs Grayland will be running another one of her fun netball camps this Easter.  Please see the below flyer for more information and sign up via this booking form.  Numbers are limited and demand is high so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Mr Thomas’ Easter Hockey Camp

Mr Thomas will be holding his Easter Hockey Camp at Hollybush Hockey Pitch. It is currently full up on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th April, however there are still spaces left for Monday 12th and  Tuesday 13th April. Spaces are going fast!

The consent form can be found here: Easter 2021 Hockey Camp. Please email Mr Thomas on jnthomas88@outlook.com to reserve your space.

Please note the following from the organisers: We are hoping that all government restrictions will be lifted by then. We will be following all England Hockey guidelines and may have to limit the numbers to much less that we normally would. Please sign up early to avoid any disappointment.

Junior Bake Off!

Please find details of a Junior Bake Off competition for children aged 9 to 15 below.

Senior Schools Information

Kent College, Pembury

Virtual Open Mornings: Tuesday 2nd March and Saturday 6th March at 9.30am.

These live events on Zoom have proven popular with families and are an opportunity to meet Julie Lodrick, Headmistress, and James Mossman and Gaelle Sullivan, Deputy Heads to learn more about life at Kent College. Booking can be made via Kent College’s website.


Sevenoaks School

Join Sevenoaks School for their Virtual Open Day on Saturday 13th March at 12pm. 

To book your place click here.


Tonbridge School

Join Tonbridge School for their Virtual Open Morning on Saturday 13th March.


Follow us on social media!

It’s important that we stay connected as a community during this time, so make sure you are following St Michael’s social media channels for important updates and content throughout the Lent Term.

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