eNews: Friday 6th December 2019

From the Deputies

Engagement is the theme of the year at St Michael’s and over the course of this week we have witnessed it everywhere! From the amazing assault courses to the superb range of stalls (via the delicious food and mulled wine offerings) there was celebration amongst the community at the Christmas Bazaar and the start of the festive season was well and truly underway. We would like to offer our congratulations to the P&F Christmas Bazaar committee and all the Year Reps for their tireless work in making it happen.

On Tuesday the Year 3 pupils dazzled us with their creativity and fun at the challenging and comic panto. Hooray to Mr Powell, the Year 3 team and the children for their command of a complex storyline which told the tale of friendship and perseverance. We warmly welcomed Year 2 to the Prep School on Thursday as they joined Year 3 for the Christingle Service. During this time of advent it allows us time and space to reflect and we thank Rev. Di for leading her last in-school service so thoughtfully.

Treasure boxes unravelling tales of old, scrapbooks with historic headlines and confident, thought provoking presentations were just a few of the delights that we witnessed through the sharing of the homework challenges. It was, as always, a delight to uncover the curious journeys that our pupils have been on. WOW indeed – the dopamine hit surged through the school as we all learnt new things and saw our children flourish in their moment to share and to shine.

We rounded off the week with a breakfast concert laden with musical treats (and refreshments to match) this morning. It was great to see so many of you here to support the pupils and enjoy the music. Congratulations to Mr Baird and his hugely talented team for all that you do to enable this to happen. The numbers of children involved with huge smiles on their faces is testament to all that goes on behind the scenes.

Looking ahead to next week there are, inevitably, some changes to the normal routines. We urge you to read all communications from school. Those of you with Prep school children involved in the Carol Service rehearsals at Shoreham Church will need to follow the instructions in the email from Mr Baird regarding drop-off. The rest of the children at school need to be in school uniform and trainers. However, Tuesday is Christmas jumper day for everyone! This isn’t a charity event and is completely optional. Children may swap their school jumper or cardigan for a festive themed one.

We wish you a wonderful weekend.

Mrs Bridges and Mr Wiseman

Staff News

We’re delighted to welcome Lindsey MacRae to the staff of St Michael’s as our new Religious Studies teacher in Prep.

Lindsey has been teaching in secondary schools for 6 years, following a career as a commercial property lawyer.

Her interests include yoga, gardening and literature and she has two children at St Michael’s: Austin and Amelia.

Lindsey is excited about developing our investigative approach to Religious Studies, encouraging the children to consider and question faith and morality in the context of the major world religions and, in doing so, to develop self-knowledge and a sense of their own place in the world.

A warm welcome, too, to new peripatetic violin teacher, Sarah Harris.

Sarah studied viola at the Purcell School and Royal Academy of Music, subsequently enjoying a career as an orchestral viola player, performing with some of the UK’s top opera and ballet companies.

Combining a playing career with violin and viola tuition, she has become an experienced, dedicated and highly skilled teacher. She currently works as a peripatetic violin teacher for a number of primary schools in South London and she has just been appointed as violin teacher for the Junior Guildhall String programme in Felsted, Essex.

On her visit to St Michael’s Sarah was impressed by the ethos and commitment of the school towards an instrumental education and, as such, she is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the string students here and is very much looking forward to becoming immersed in the school’s vibrant musical community.

News from Pre-Prep

• Christmas Parties Tuesday 10th December
• Christmas jumpers Tuesday 10th December
• Break up 12.00 Wednesday 11th December
• School uniform
• NO AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES 9th,10th, 11th December
• Return to school Tuesday 7th January

It has been such a lovely week watching all your children perform in their Christmas concerts and Nativities. They really rise to the occasion with you as an audience. I would like to thank all my staff who work so hard to get these performances ready for you. I would especially like to thank Louise Ravayeh who has been thrown into her first St Michael’s Christmas season and has done a wonderful job.

I wish to congratulate Jacqui Cain who has been working hard over the last few years to become a qualified Play Therapist. She will be finishing her role as a teaching assistant at Christmas but luckily for us she will still be with us on Tuesdays and Wednesdays helping any children and families who need her calm, kind, listening ear to help them move forward.

Can I remind you all of the school uniform, details of which can be found in the Parent Handbook. There are too many children now arriving at school in a range of coats, hats and gloves that are not school ones. School shoes, school hair accessories too please. Nursery and Kindergarten are the only exceptions to this.

Please note there will be no after school activities in the week beginning Monday 9th December, apart from the additional session of Archway Football and Sports Initiative with Mr Lopez on Monday 9th in the Pre-Prep Hall.

On Tuesday 10th December we have our Christmas Jumper Day. Children are invited to wear a Christmas jumper with their school uniform instead of their school jumpers/cardigans. The children will be enjoying their Christmas Lunch up in Prep school as well as having their year group parties!

A reminder on Tuesday too, please bring a named, disposable “party plate” containing some party food and a drink for your child only. Please can we ask that you do not include items that need to be refrigerated as we cannot accommodate this. As always, please ensure you do not include ant nut-based products.

Overheard: Looking at the developing Astro site.
All those diggers and tractors have “Smith” written on them.
That’s because they belong to Mr Smith. (Our Estates Manager – he’s going to get a bigger garage!)

Have a magical Christmas and see you all in the New Year.

Zerrin Leech

Old Michaelians

With some great events to look forward to, we are delighted to announce that we have made it easier for former pupils, staff, parents and friends to join the Old Michaelians.

Our Old Michaelians pages on the website (click here) now contain the following:

• A “Join the Old Michaelians” form, which can be completed and submitted, ensuring that everyone who wishes to be kept informed of our events and OM news can be added to our database.
• A “Contact Old Michaelians” form, on which we ask for news and photos for publication on our OM page.

If you know of any former members of the St Michael’s community, who would like to stay in touch with us, please do let them know about our association – we’d love to hear from them!

Driving on the school site

It has come to my attention that there have been a number of near-misses at the morning drop off when cars are queuing in the 8:55-9:05 time slot. At this time, the queue of cars waiting to drop off can stretch back beyond the school front gates. When this happens, some drivers take it upon themselves to drive on the right side of the road to join the Pre-Prep drop off lane.

Can I take this opportunity to emphasise to parents that only the section of road after the junction with the road up from Pre-Prep is one way. Between the public highway (Row Dow) and this junction, it is two way and parents must not drive on the right-hand lane.

Thank you.

Mr Wiseman

Reminder – cake ingredients

Could we please remind parents that any cakes brought in for celebrations must not contain nuts, traces of nuts or be produced in a factory which handles nuts.  This includes the toppings, sometimes put on home made cakes.

We like the children to be able to share their cakes with their friends, but are unable to allow them to do so unless they are guaranteed nut-free.

Thank you.

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:

  • Everest Michaelmas Library Challenge – for Prep pupils

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.

Pre-Prep Awards

Gold Stars

Krisha for beautiful singing and actions during our Nativity
Abigail L for trying so hard in the Nativity
Ayla for great number work this week
Thomas G for good ideas in our English lessons
Grace P for working hard to solve number sentences
Robert M for excellent progress with reading
Jessica H for outstanding progress in reading
Sophie N for always being an enthusiastic helper
Olanna E & Ava M for always being a willing helper
Jake L for accurate work using halves and quarters
Raven for carefully explaining to the class the differences between a moth and a butterfly
Mickey for fantastic effort and perseverance with all his work
James L for writing an imaginative story for his homework
Viggo W for great effort with dancing in the Nativity practice

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Silas
Music Practice Award: Zak E-A
Star Violinist Cup: Sophie F

House Point Cup

Leeds House with a total of 138 points
Sophie F collected the Cup on behalf of Leeds House

Times Tables Certificates

Bronze – Alex H

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Special Award

S Ward For achieving a place in the National Youth Boys Choir

Headteacher’s Stars

M Lewis For a fantastic piece of art work, inspired by Malala, with extensive background research & personal insight
I Mannsberger For an informative & engaging presentation about volcanoes
L Bowen For a confident presentation of a well-researched volcano project, complete with quiz
A-L El-Alami For an outstanding presentation & diary about your family history, sharing their moving story in a mature way
L Karir For an excellent presentation about your family tree, with confident commentary
A Brown For a wonderful album about your family, which was very well researched & presented
S Ward For fantastic English homework with superb writing
A Clapham For a wonderful presentation which brought the story of your Great, Great Grandad to life
M Pape For an excellent verbal presentation about your Great Grandmother
L Poracchia For an amazing project about computers
S Connolly For a wonderful project about Iceland, complete with model volcano
N Brown For an excellent project book about life at St Michael’s
F Merralls For a fabulous model of Anne Frank’s attic
P Malin For a well-rehearsed and confident presentation of your ‘Olympic Gold’ Homework Challenge



Players of the Match, week commencing 2nd December 2019

Team Name Given for: –
1st Rugby K Cameron For great all-round play
2nd J Maloney & X Prongué For tough tackling
U11 A T Smith For all good all-round performance
U11 B A Goodwin & D Little For good tackling
U10 A F Lloyd For tough tackling in a no-nonsense style
U10 B E Short & L Lattimer For superb running and tackling
U9 A The whole team For unbelievable play
U9 B J West For great tackling
U8 A The whole team For a great performance
U8 B T Staples For scoring 3 tries
U8 C D Verdemato For supportive communication
U13 A Netball
U13 B
U11 A
U11 B No Matches for Girls
U10 A
U10 B
U10 C
U10 D
U9 A
U9 B
U9 C
U8 Green
U8 Black
U8 Blue

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, Skinners’ School and Whitgift 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.”