eNews: Friday 6th March 2020

From the Acting Co-Heads

At times like this, it can be all too easy to focus on things that draw in our negative thoughts to worst case scenario situations. It is right and proper to think about, consider and prepare for these situations, but we must never lose sight of those things that bring us joy and happiness. This week we have seen much laughter & smiling, both among the children and staff at St Michael’s. Considering the weather we’ve had, this is even more surprising!

Mrs Andrade started the week with a trip to Sevenoaks Bookshop to purchase some new titles for the library. With the amount of reading that is being done in the Prep school, we’re not surprised these have to be updated so regularly.

On Tuesday evening, an audience of family and friends were treated to an evening of outstanding performances by our music scholars and chamber ensembles at Shoreham Church. As Mr Baird commented on the evening, it was an eclectic mix of styles, pace and tempo. However, the overarching theme that ran through the entire evening was quality. The undoubted hard work and effort that had gone into the hours of rehearsal and practice shone through and all present agreed that every performer, and their families, should be rightly proud.

On Wednesday morning, 4M tried very hard, at the end of their assembly to break two world records. Who would have thought trying to stick the most Post-It notes to your face in a minute was so much fun! Our best effort of 22 was a little off the record of 63. The other record did seem achievable though. Mr Morgan was leading the charge to see if he, and two of his form, could beat the record of 12 doughnuts stacked vertically. Alas, the best that could be done in the minute, remaining free-standing for five seconds, was 6. Harder than you think.

Carrying on the delicious sweet treat theme, it was great to see N Stinson organise her own cake sale after school to raise money for WIRES. There is more on this later in the newsletter. It is definitely worth a read.

World Book Day was celebrated across the school this week with the exciting and colourful dressing up in Pre-Prep and the Prep school engaging in a wide and varied selection of book-related activities. There were guest readers in the Library and a book café, where the children were encouraged to pick up and read something they may not always choose to.

Don’t miss the sport section to read the reports about our girls exploits at the IAPS netball tournaments this week. Medals were being proudly worn at pick-up on Thursday.
We wish you a restful (and dry!) weekend.

Mary Bridges and Fraser Wiseman

News from the Head of Pre-Prep

• Parents’ Evenings Tuesday 17th March and Thursday 19th March; sign up on Parents’ Evening System
• Tuesday 10th March – Year 2 and 3 Maths Challenge at Prep

We have had an exciting week at Pre-Prep with a visit from Alan Durant and dressing up for World Book Day. Alan Durant had us all laughing on Wednesday as he told his ‘Ode to Custard’ and discovered that all our children have the same name “AAArrrggghhhhh” (ask your child).

On Thursday I am told that World Book Day was a lot of fun with your children looking splendid. I have seen the photographs as I was at the Pre-Prep Heads’ Conference in Nottingham. Although missing out on the fun at school, it is great to catch up with other Pre-Prep Heads and hear from some inspirational speakers, who are focused on the latest ideas and research around the education and wellbeing of young children.

I hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Z Leech

Di Birmingham Director of Finance and Operations

Di Birmingham has announced that she will be moving on from St Michael’s in June 2020. Di has been with the school for five and a half years and has been an invaluable member of our Senior Leadership Team. She has supported and given counsel to so many of our staff over the years she has worked here, and her door has always been open to us all.

The numerous projects Di has overseen and her stewardship of the school’s finances throughout her years at St Michael’s have taken insightful strategic planning, hard work, determination and the ability to never take no for an answer. With the hard work of her team and Zerrin Leech, the redevelopment of Stable Court has been a huge success and is a wonderful legacy for both pupils and staff. The determination of Di and our Estates Manager, Ian Smith, to build an Astro Turf pitch was inspirational when it often seemed an impossible task. We will now have a facility which will create more opportunities for our pupils and that was at the heart of everything Di achieved, she always had the pupils at the forefront of her mind.

We wish Di well in her new adventure and thank her for all she has done for St Michael’s.

We say goodbye today to our Assistant Estates Manager, Andrew Bannister. Andrew has been with St Michael’s for just under six years and in that time he’s refurbished countless classrooms, the Junior and Senior Landings in the Prep School, maintained the swimming pool and, indeed, together with Mr Smith, the whole school! He’s kept us all cheerful with his sense of humour and dreadful jokes and he’ll be greatly missed. We wish him all the best for his retirement.

Staff News

We’re delighted to welcome Mrs Holly Churchill to St Michael’s as an LSA 1:1 in Pre-Prep.

Holly’s previous jobs have been centred around customer service but she has also been involved with her local school for the past 4 years on a voluntary basis. She has assisted with reading groups, school trips and school events and run or helped to run several extra curricular clubs. More recently she has been spending full days in the classroom assisting children in small groups and on a 1:1 basis.

Holly is a keen musician and enjoys singing and playing the viola. She also enjoys playing and coaching cricket, long distance walking and skiing.

Holly is really looking forward to joining the team at St Michael’s. When she first came to visit the school she was very impressed by the beautiful grounds and everyone she met, staff and pupils, were extremely friendly and welcoming. Holly is excited to have the opportunity to work with children everyday in this beautiful setting.

Sport Relief in Prep School

For Sport Relief on Friday 13th March, the children can wear attire linked to their favourite sport or pastime. This might include long socks, jodhpurs, helmets, etc. If boys or girls would like to wear kit representing a team, I would like to see them wearing their own club kit. A suggested donation of £2 to wear sport kit.

Mr Wiseman

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:

  • Mrs Grayland’s Easter Netball Camp

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

Winston for great concentration during our lesson on capacity
Beatrix for working well in a pair during our positional language lesson
Sylvie for great improvement in her sentence writing
Monty for a fun and informative ‘show and tell’ on how to make cookies and eat them!
Ellie for fantastic reading this week using wonderful expression
Daniel for great work using the beebots
Isabelle D for always giving her very best to lessons and for being a role model to others around her
Niamh for working well in group activities, getting involved and enjoying the company of others
Viggo for outstanding effort in Maths including being very fast in ‘Cowboy Shoot-Out’!
Elizabeth W for excellent improvement in her handwriting
Lottie for working hard on her handwriting
Charlie M for trying to do his best in all areas of the curriculum
Eva F for carefully finding ways to balance equations
Tom K for working well in all subjects and thinking carefully about his behaviour
Alice O for excellent work in all subjects this week
Lev for fantastic teamwork whilst completing work on Lost and Found

Headteacher’s Award

Louisa for beautiful, factual writing about animals

House Point Cup

Rochester House with a total of 173 points
Mickey M collected the Cup on behalf of Rochester House

Times Tables Certificate

Platinum: Florence B & Eva VH
Gold: Lily M
Bronze: Finlay S

Music Awards

Music Practice Cup: Oliva G
Music Practice Award: Tara C
Star Violinist Cup: Elia F

Creative assembly

On Thursday, the Little Strings violin group played for us in assembly. A mixed year group from Reception to Year 2, they performed three beautiful pieces for us involving plucking their violin strings. Well done on a lovely performance!

Reception told us the story of Cinderella. Using mixed untuned percussion, the made the sound effects and sang songs about Cinderella dancing at the ball and about her ugly step sisters. Everybody enjoyed being dressed up and telling the story using instruments on World Book Day.


For more about our day, see our news item and our Twitter page

News from Prep

Headteacher’s Stars

A Ravalli For a wonderful piece of writing about your sister

LAMDA Results

We are thrilled with the results of our most recent exams session, and extremely proud of all who took part, for many it was their first exam, and they approached it bravely. We are delighted, but not surprised, that every student passed their exam, with many given Merits and Distinctions, one student even achieved 97 %! Many congratulations to all our wonderful students, and to the parents helping with line-learning at home!

We may have some spaces from next term if your child would like to start 1:1 or 2:1 lessons with us. Please ask at the office for a registration form, or you can email Kelly Woods, the LAMDA coach at kellywoods500@outlook.com.





Wonderful cake sale in aid of WIRES

Well done to N Stinson, who was determined to do something to help the animals affected by the terrible bush fires in Australia.  Together with friends, B West, G Owen and E Newton, who all donated cakes and B West, R Bedzrah and M Amure, who helped with selling, she raised an amazing £212, every penny of which will go directly to WIRES Australia.

Wonderful initiative and great fundraising!

If you’d like to know more about the work of WIRES, please click here to visit their website. If you’d like to donate to WIRES, please click here.


Sports News & Players of the Match

Match reports and Players of the Match can also be found in the News section of SOCS. Please log in to see the nominations or click this link: http://www.stmichaelsprepsport.co.uk/News.asp?Id=982.

To read about our U11 team’s IAPS Netball tournament this week please click here.

A report of today’s U13 IAPS tournament will be on our News pages next week.

Players of the Match, week commencing 2nd March 2020

Team Name Given for: –
U13 Hockey No match
U12 No match
U11 A No match
U11 B No match
U10 A No match
U10 B No match
U9 Team 1 J Vanderlanh-Mckeown

G Dulski

For good skill

For showing great commitment

U9 Team 2 H Brown & L Karir For great defending
U8 A No match
U8 B No match
U8 C No match
U13 A Football S Davis Voted for by the opposition for scoring 2 goals and showing great skills
U13 B D Stephens

F Arduino

Voted for by the opposition

For great play in several positions

U11 A Netball V Medlen Voted for by the opposition
U11 B C Prongué Voted for by the opposition
U11 C J Bashford Voted for by the opposition
U10 A E Newton

I Pennington Legh

For brilliant shooting
U10 B M Amure

D Patel

For great defending

For good shooting

U10 C T Carman

T Bax

Voted for by the opposition

For good shooting

U9 A No match
U9 B No match
U9 C No match
U8 A No match
U8 B No match
U8 C No match

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.”