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

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.