Head’s Review 2016-17

                          Head’s Review 2016-17

When ISI visited St Michael’s in February / March we enjoyed welcoming them into our busy, buzzy school. What they saw made them happy and it certainly made us happy! To be judged Excellent in both pupils’ academic and other development as well as in pupils’ personal development is a welcome endorsement of what we believe about our school. We attract and retain some of the most excellent teaching staff, we welcome a talented team of support staff who in turn support excellent outcomes for all children and as the results from our standardised tests show this summer, what we have done to respond to last year’s data and the areas for development it showed, have been, on the whole, resoundingly successful. Our systems are focused on consistent improvement and now we will drill down into new areas highlighted by this year’s data whilst recognizing and applauding the staff who are so fully invested in giving every child the very best. I believe that excellence is achieved in every sphere by catering for the top and aiming to enable the very best outcomes, creating opportunities at the highest level. Sometimes this is by participation in regional, then national and international sport, or by putting on semi-professional productions, by entering, writing, science, maths and language competitions, or by sharing our teachers’ excellence through collaborative outreach projects, by identifying scholars and high achievers and by developing a growth mindset in the students to give them the space and courage to become resilient learners.

In my younger days as a teacher, my project on differentiation brought me surprises. In giving children choices and setting out clearly what excellence and challenge looked like, more children chose to do the harder things and everyone exceeded expectations. Our moderated tests in Years 1-6 show that applying this approach school wide is working. That isn’t to say that we’ve done everything we can do. Like our pupils, we can always strive to be even better and this relentless focus on improvement drives the school forward and improves outcomes for all pupils.

Excellent Achievers

This year we achieved the highest number of scholarships to senior schools with fifteen scholarships and exhibitions across Y6&8. 35% of our Y8 pupils won awards to their senior schools. This is the highest number of scholarships in one year on the board and doesn’t include the further 6 won that haven’t been taken up.

Name and Year Group Scholarship Type School
Fraser Bailey Sport Scholarship Caterham School
Oliver Chugg Drama Scholarship Sevenoaks School
Conor Driscoll Sport Scholarship Sevenoaks School
Max Fry Sport Scholarship Caterham School
Amelie Griffiths Academic Scholarship Caterham School
Joshua Sabin Drama Scholarship Caterham School
Audrey Thompson Academic Exhibition Walthamstow Hall
John Xie Academic Scholarship Sevenoaks School
Jessica Allen Drama Scholarship Cobham Hall
William Craddock Performing Arts Scholarship Caterham School
Lachlan Edwards Music Scholarship Sevenoaks School
Imogen Gascoyne-Day Drama Scholarship Radnor House
Isabella Hassan Art & Design & Sport Scholarships Caterham School
Elena Rozo Music Scholarship Cobham Hall
Annabel Welsh Sports Exhibition Walthamstow Hall


In addition, the following awards were made into Y7 at St Michael’s

George Schooley Sport Scholarship St Michael’s Prep School
Ella-Sophia Chugg Drama Scholarship & Art Exhibition St Michael’s Prep School
James Crossley Sport & Drama Scholarship St Michael’s Prep School
Kit Denny Art Exhibition St Michael’s Prep School
Ryan Friis All-Rounder Scholarship St Michael’s Prep School


On a day to day basis, the Housepoint system is the vehicle for recognizing effort and achievement, kindness and sportsmanship. A total of 35,039 housepoints were won this year.  161 children have worn one of our 100 HP badges, 49 have 200 HP badges. We have awarded 9 300HP badge this year and 2 children won the coveted smiley star 400 Housepoint badge. Congratulations to 184 children have produced work fantastic enough to be awarded a Headteacher’s star worth 10 housepoints. I’ve very much enjoyed reading and admiring the huge variety of pieces presented to me. Some of the visual element to work produced has been noticeably impressive. Special mentions must go to Henry Martin (Y7)  for winning the Silver Medal for the Under 12 Boys’ Sabre British Youth Championships in Sheffield and representing England in the Challenge Wratislava Tournament in U13 category competing a year young and being the highest placed English fencer in the team of 30. We have been delighted also that Ishwar Sharma (Y2) has represented the UK in the World Yoga championships in Nepal aged just 7.  It was fantastic that both these boys shared their physical talents in presentation assemblies which their fellow pupils very much enjoyed.  The community is proud of them both.



Excellent Curriculum

Curriculum changes brought in for 2016-17 6 included the introduction of an extra lesson of Latin in Y7, the introduction of phonics and spelling schemes into the whole school, the undertaking of a major production through the club slot all year, the timetabling of the curiosity curriculum in the Y7 Lent term and we were delighted to have achieved team and individual wins in the first Curiosity Club Convention.

A target for 2016-17 was to ensure that the provision for our scholars is first class.  We developed a programme of events and activities for the scholars to ensure that they are immersed in opportunity through being a scholar and feel challenged, fulfilled and developed in this role.  The additional opportunities have supported the development of first class skills and we are delighted with the results with 35% of Y8 children achieving a scholarship to their senior school (compared to 17% in 2014 before the scholarship programme was launched).

We celebrated the work of scholars in a celebration evening in May which included performances of scholarship work and a keynote speech on the topic of excellence by Mark Weatheritt one of our Governors from Tonbridge.  The evening was well received and will become a highlight in the scholars’ calendar and a special tradition at St Michael’s.


Excellent Results


St Michael’s does not take part in National SATs testing but takes part in nationally used benchmarking tests called Progress Test in English (PTE) and Progress Test in Maths (PTM) which are marked externally and provide us with comparative data. The national standard required equates to a score of 100 and to make expected progress a child would need to retain that score the following year. Anything above 100 exceeds national expectations and shows children making more than expected progress.


Whilst we require the highest of standards, we hold teachers to account and support with training, scrutiny, feedback and funding. The governors place a great deal of emphasis on questioning the Senior Team about our performance data.

Yellow Performance indicates that expected progress has been made (not significantly higher or lower)

Green     Performance has exceeded previous performance


Blue       Performance lower than previous year






Progress Test in English (PTE)

Current Year Group CAT Verbal SAS Average 2016 PTE Average SAS 2015 PTE Average SAS 2016 PTE Average SAS 2017 Differential
1 108.4
2 114.3 112.2 -2.1
3 109.9 114.6 +5.6
4 107.1 106.1 112.4 +6.3
5 117.2 109.2 115.3 113.9 -1.4
6 113.9 109.0 108.3 109.3 +1
7 107.0 107.1 No test in Yr7
Average differential +1.88


  • Our cohort is stronger than the national average across all year groups
  • Y1 is the first year we do this test so we do not have a differential.
  • Results for Y1 whilst not as good as last year’s are still considerably above national expectations.
  • Y2 were consistently higher than national average in phonic knowledge, spelling, grammar, punctuation and reading comprehension but did not perform as well as last year. This will need exploration for next year.
  • The results in Y3 & 4 are outstanding. Both year groups increased their average scores by +5.6 and +6.3 since the previous year.  This occurred in Y4 in 2016 but not in Y3 which shows positive development in the transition year for Prep School.
  • The children in Y5 and 6 have made expected progress in relation to their scores from the previous year


Progress Test in Maths (PTM)

Current Year Group CAT Quantitative SAS Average 2016 PTM Average SAS 2015 PTM Average SAS 2016 PTM Average SAS 2017 Differential
1 115.3
2 118 113.5 -4.5
3 108.8 117.2 +8.4
4 106.7 106.6 110.9 +4.3
5 114.2 110.8 116.7 119.2 +2.5
6 112.6 109.7 112.2 109.5 -2.7
7 112.2 109.1 No test in Yr7
Average differential  + 1.6


  • Our cohort is stronger than the national average across all year groups
  • Year1 and 2 scored higher than national average in Facts, Conceptual Understanding, Problem solving and mathematical reasoning, Number and Measurement with Y2 also scoring higher in Geometry and Statistics but Year 2 didn’t test as well in Year 2 as they did in Year 1
  • The results in Y5 are outstanding. The cohort increased their average by +2.5 and it is important to remember that the same year group had a +5.9 increase in 2016, meaning + 8.4 across two academic years.  Their PTM average is also 5 points higher than their CAT quantitative average.
  • The results in Years 3&4 are excellent (also seen in English). The year groups increased their averages by +8.4 and +4.3 respectively.
  • This is the second year running that we have seen a +2.5 increase in Y5 suggesting that the curriculum and teaching is very good.
  • As in Y6 in 2016 we see perhaps a slight dip about the Y6 cohort, we believe because our Y6 children have peaked already through 11+ and senior school testing.

Feedback from staff and analysis of their performance throughout the year would suggest that this is the case.  The year group has consistently performed well in termly tests and their average from the half termly testing is 68% which is a 3% increase on their average in Y5

  • In terms of curriculum content (number, measurement, geometry, statistics) we have consistently performed above national expectations by 20% across all Prep year groups and all categories


Excellent Departments


Maths:  This has been a busy and successful year for the maths department. 7 pupils got A* in maths at CE and two of those were at level 3 with one of these candidates scoring 97%. Pupils from Y5 and Y6 took part in the Somerhill Maths Race Challenge, where they had to test their mathematical skills against other schools. It was highly competitive and everyone thoroughly enjoyed applying their problem solving skills in a pressured environment against the clock. Both teams did very well against 20 other schools; the Y5 team (C. Kern, T.Adesanya, K.Pathiwill and H. Medlen) achieved 3rd place and Y6 (H.Scott, L.Handy, L.Edwards and R. Friis) finished in 6th place. Both teams were a credit to the school and should be very proud of their achievement.


The maths department has also been making the most of the recent sunshine and we have enjoyed a number of practical lessons; Y5 enjoyed collecting data about vehicles in the school car park and presenting their findings using their ICT skills, Y6 were put to the test in using a variety of tools to measure the school sports pitches (rounders, football, running track etc.) and create an accurate scale drawing of each, and Y7 have investigated the relationship between running speed and length of jump out on the long jump pit.



English: This has been a busy and successful year for the English department. ISI coincided their visit with World Book Day which allowed us to showcase our school-wide passion for reading. In Prep, staff shared their favourite childhood books with the children in a special assembly, while in Pre-Prep children were treated to a reading of the hilariously funny ‘The Book with No Pictures,’ amongst other stories. Pre-Prep spent the rest of the day engaged in book-related learning while in Prep there was a special library café during break and lunchtimes in which children were able to relax with a good book, drink and biscuit.


Throughout the year, reading has featured high on the agenda, with paired reading sessions occurring every half term and children from Years 6 and 7 reading with Reception and Y1 pupils weekly. Our new librarian, Sue Davies, has set up a pop-up outdoor library to take advantage of the summer weather, while other initiatives such as the reading challenge have provided motivation for pupils to read widely across genres.


Continuing the reading theme, we have welcomed parents to hear readers in Years 3-5 and also established guided reading groups run by teaching assistants. In the curriculum meetings at the start of the year, guides explaining how best to support and extend their children’s reading were handed out to parents with the aim of encouraging dialogue about reading at home. Further opportunities to discuss books have been provided by book dating sessions in English lessons and by the continuation of the popular reading tube map initiative.


In April, the Caribbean-born, Kent-based poet and author Valerie Bloom visited the school, performing her joyful poetry to both Pre-Prep and Prep children. She also ran a writing workshop for selected children in Years 3 and 4.


There has been a real buzz about writing thanks to the introduction of our biannual Big Write Events. The first of these, in December, saw evidence of Father Christmas crashing in the woods. Y3 and 4 pupils had to investigate what might have happened and write about it in any way they wished. Later on in the year, we staged an archaeological dig which also gave rise to some imaginative writing.


For the older pupils, the English department introduced ‘slow writing’, in which pupils followed a formulate to produce what were very poetic descriptions of snowfall, amongst other things.


Pupils continue to engage enthusiastically with writing outside the classroom, too. Our annual creative writing competition saw a record number of entries this year. The theme of freedom was interpreted in many inventive ways; many children chose to enter their story in the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition, too, with several progressing through to the second round. The Junior Journal activity continues to go from strength to strength, as does the Creative Writing activity.


Enrichment activities this year have included the BBC School Report Day for scholars in Years 7 and 8; drama workshops on Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ for Y6; and a week of lessons exploring the theme of creativity for Y8, culminating in a range of mostly edible creations prepared for homework.


Considerable investment has been made in the Read Write Inc phonics and spelling schemes used in Key Stages 1 and 2 this year. These have been well-received by both children and teachers and the progress that the children have made has been encouraging. We are looking forward to seeing further evidence of progress, particularly with spelling, through the next academic year.


It’s been another busy year for Junior Journal.  The team has reported on school events such as the House Drama Competition and Sponsored Event.  Teachers have been rigorously interviewed and there has even been a serialised story, ‘The Legend of St Michael’s’, each month.  Worldwide events, such as Donald Trump’s election and children’s rights to an education, have also caught our reporters’ attention. The Junior Journal tile on the school website is very much established and everyone has enjoyed lots of discussion and research.

Science: Y8 started the year with their trip to Lullingstone World Gardens, where Old Michaelian Tom Hart-Dyke guided them through the world of plants and his daring exploits in Central and South America in search of orchids. Y7 were treated to an exciting talk on states of matter by Dr Fryer, whose research has shown that there are many different types of ice, some harder than concrete! The pupils went on to learn how to make a solar panel from pipes and painted glass. Y6 did an exciting mini beast hunt, where they discovered that ‘bugs’ are actually just one a type of insect. Later they investigated changes of state, including what happens when a bar of soap is microwaved. Y5 were the solar system; standing at specific distances from our watermelon ‘Sun’ they held up fruits of various sizes to represent the planets. The Science Notice Board constantly changed topics with photographs, information and quizzes linked to science events. In March the Science Department again incubated eggs and we followed the development of our babies until they were old enough to go back to the farm. The chicks visited Pre Prep and Y3 and 4 in the Prep School and everyone watched them on the corridor screens.


Science Week in March was Fabulous Food: Y3 were challenged to make a light-weight platform to hold a cream egg under helium balloons, Y4 investigated changes of state by turning cream into butter. Y5 had fun with forces – flinging fluffy marshmallows with homemade catapults. Y6 rose to the challenge of investigating how yeast is used in bread production; Y7 tested ‘Sod’s law’ by tumbling jammy toast and lucky Y8 made yogurt, and both Y7 and 8 took part in their very own Bushtucker Trial by tasting insects – fancy a nibble of a Mopane worm anyone..?

The week’s finale was launching a weather balloon with GoPro on-board!


Geography: In geography changes to the curriculum have included that global locational knowledge is included in each year group and we have introduced an inter-house global location quiz which will be repeated annually. Each year group also have a locational study and in Y6 we formed our first international school link and collaborative project with Y K Pao School in Shanghai, China. The children corresponded by email and shared details about their school lives, while reflecting on their own experiences. We have further developed our cross-curricular collaboration, most evident during our successful Global Citizenship week in January.


In geography, we continued with our successful C.E. trips – Y8 visited the Olympic Park for their fieldwork project and Y7 visited Seven Sisters in East Sussex to study rivers and coasts. During our Global Citizenship week, we welcomed visitors from One Day Creative for workshops on British Values for Y4, India for Y5 and Martin Luther King for Y7 and 8. We welcomed Empathy Action for a workshop with Y6, looking at inequality and global distribution of food and resources and Y3 visited Bore Place to see sustainable farming first hand and discover more about Fair Trade.


Our global ambassadors programme was launched with children selected to represent each class from Y3-8. Since January, they have worked together to research and learn about people who have made a difference globally. They have met once a week for a shared lunch where they discuss issues and share inspiring stories. They have identified issues that are important to them and worked in cross year group teams to produce information to raise awareness about these issues. They have advocated on: the environment, poverty, refugees and endangered animals and they have shared idea about how we, and our community, can take action to make a difference. The global ambassadors have also started to track the child initiated actions taken around the school.

The geography department worked with the P and F to create 3 unique geographical signposts, located around the campus and showing children and visitors the direction and distance to a huge range of global locations. These create interest, stimulate curiosity and comparison and link directly to our CE curriculum. A book of questions regarding the locations can be signed out from the Prep School reception. The geography department has also worked with the International Club to plan a world map to show visually and celebrate the extent of our international community. Finally, the geography department has developed relationships with Bore Place and Empathy Action and will build on these links with these strong, local, ethical organisations, which share similar philosophies to our own.


We are delighted that we have been awarded the intermediate level British Council’s International School Award.  https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/international-learning/international-school-award

We received this feedback ‘Your school is clearly motivated and committed to developing an international dimension to your curriculum and whole-school ethos…Good luck with your school’s international journey!’ and some ideas for next steps. We are excited to move forward to the next level of accreditation.



Religious Studies: September 2016 saw the introduction of a new, enquiry-based RS curriculum in Y3 to 6.

The modules cover Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, with one major world religion taught alongside Christianity each year. Christianity, which takes up about half the teaching time, is taught in all the year groups, with Christmas and Easter being explored in a new way every year, enabling the children’s learning to develop in a progressive way. The teaching on Christianity is supported by what the children learn and do in Chapel. This year we have decided to focus on Sikhism in Y3, Judaism in Y4, Hinduism in Y5 and Islam in Y6. Next year we hope to include some work on Buddhism too. The opportunity to revisit Christmas and Easter with each year group but in slightly different ways has also been refreshing and has enabled all of us to discover some new insights and has been to quote the pupils ‘interesting and fun’.


The enquiry based scheme also allows us to discuss and think about some bigger issues, such as what belonging, commitment, promises etc. might mean, and has enabled some important connections to be made between what we learn about in the classroom and how we behave and think.


In Common Entrance RS got the highest number of candidates scoring A* of all departments, with 8A*. This is 50% of the students.


Assemblies and Chapel Services

Developments include; learning new hymns and prayers, pupil participation in leading readings and prayers and the facility to leave prayer requests, which are then incorporated into the intercessions during the service.

In Pre-Prep, assemblies often involve action as well as music. In the Autumn term we learned some new Fischy songs, which involved movement, actions and lots of singing. Fischy Music supports emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing in children through song, so we had assemblies on the themes of inclusion, kindness, acceptance of ourselves and others, friendship and being thankful. During the second two terms we have used some of Jesus’ parables as our focus – acting out the story of the Loaves and Fishes, the Good Shepherd and Jesus meeting Zacchaeus have been particularly memorable.


Carol Service at St. Peter and St. Paul, Shoreham

The school Carol Service was, once again, a really special and memorable event. Pupils from all years were involved in singing, playing music and retelling the Christmas story in poems and readings. In addition, Y3 had written a Christmas Acrostic, Y5 had written an A to Z of Christmas that was both funny and profound, and six Y6 pupils read the prayers written by the three tutor groups in the year.


Confirmation Service and Confirmation Group

In Y6, pupils are given the opportunity to get confirmed if they wish. They learn something about Baptism and Confirmation in lessons during the Autumn term and then over Christmas are asked to discuss with their parents whether this is something they want to do. Nine children decided to get confirmed this year, eight from Y6 O. Baker, H. Sayers,

  1. Schooley, D. Bassett, H. Madden, L. McWilliams, C. Wiseman, O. Stuart and G. Day from Y8. The prayers at that service as in many services were led by the previous year’s confirmands and for me this was the most moving part of the service.

The Confirmation Group met on Thursday lunchtimes for the remainder of the Lent Term. They were an enthusiastic and thoughtful bunch; we had some very good discussions, as well reading the Bible and praying together. Pupils who have been confirmed are also involved in being Servers at the communion service.


French:  This has been a busy, successful year for the MFL Department. We are finally up to date with all our paperwork and are very proud of our new Schemes of Work and Department Handbook. This year, we emphasised on the Speaking and all year groups were asked to present orally in French. We think that by introducing a speaking assessment from an early age onwards, our pupils will be more and more confident. To help the little ones, we bought puppets and a theatre stand that even got used by Y7 and Y8 students!


In March, the MFL Department took all the Y6 pupils to the French Institute in London where they had a great day out. We spent the morning completing a range of language-based activities relating to the film, Le Tableau, ‘the Painting’. The children worked in small groups and their teachers for the day were very complimentary about their engagement and French accents!  After a picnic lunch, we had a private viewing of the film. It was beautifully animated, with a terrific sound track. The children were completely gripped throughout. There were a number of moral and social issues raised and it was satisfying that it had a happy ending. We had time to eat a delicious French croissant before getting back to Victoria.


On the European Day of Languages, the MFL department ran an international assembly and launched a poster competition won by J. Fryer.


At the end of March, we took 2 pupils from Y5 and 2 from Y6 to the Hillview Language Challenge. They had great fun answering questions about word origins, tackling a translation from Greek to English and attempting Imperial to Metric conversions amongst other activities. Between each challenge, the pupils had to listen to the same song in thirteen different languages and had to guess which language it was in either Arabic, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Our pupils worked amazingly well as a team and impressed the organiser with their questions and enthusiasm. Our happy day culminated in a second place.

Later in the year, Prep and Pre-Prep had their annual French Day. This year again, our pupils (and staff!) were invited to come dressed in bleu, blanc et rouge. Throughout the day, the pupils were welcomed into lessons in French and some teachers even ran their full lessons en français. As the Y6, 7 and 8 were watching a French animation movie during form time, Y3, 4 and 5 attended the Chapel with Rev Diane who celebrated the mass with lots of French words and sentences. The pupils even got the chance to listen to a French prayer and the Lord’s Prayer in French. Some Y7 mums kindly prepared a French snack comprising a croissant and a grenadine (French berry squash). The children had to exchange their pound coins for euros at the “local” bureau de change. Money raised went towards a special treat during the Y7 Paris trip. For lunch, children were lucky enough to sample saucisson, brie, baguette, steak haché, frites and crêpes au chocolat. Some even tried Mark’s delicious escargots à l’ail and we ate a total of 300! Well done for being so adventurous. We got the chance to admire the beautiful menus designed by Y4 all around the dining room and on the tables.

Just after CE week, Y7 went on their biggest trip of the year – Paris and its surroundings! They visited Montmartre, France Miniature, Versailles (castle and garden), went up the Eiffel Tower, took a boat trip, admired paintings at the Musée d’Orsay, spent a whole day at Parc Astérix (where everything is only written in French or Latin!) and got a private guided tour of the Stade de France. On the way back home, they did a treasure hunt at a large French supermarket, where they also had to buy their own dinner. The hotel was modern and clean and the food was delicious. The pupils got numerous opportunities to use their French skills and discover French culture. All the students were all given a funny French nicknames and some of them won prizes.

The MFL Department got the chance to get help from people within our community. We have managed to find some amazing and dedicated native speakers, who are willing to give some of their time for St Michael’s pupils. Nathalie came every Tuesday afternoon, from October onwards, to help Y8 prepare for their Speaking exams. Claudine started to help our native speakers until Christmas and Mathilde kindly took over. This way our native speakers have managed to follow the French curriculum all year long.


Next school year, we are going to concentrate on the New National Curriculum and we are introducing sets in Y6. Speaking will still feature high on the agenda.


IT & Computing: The IT & Computing Department has had a fantastic year.  Pupils have enjoyed a jam-packed scheme of work with exciting projects from Lego WeDo to KODU Gaming competitions.  Pupils have used their skills to compete in various competitions such as KODU Kup, Scratch IT, Design of a Front Cover, ZU3D Animation and many more.  The competitions have enabled pupils to demonstrate their creativity and innovation in IT & Computing, working independently or in collaboration with others.


Digital Leaders:

St Michael’s Digital Leaders started in September 2015 with 7 students and now we have 27, with many others wanting to join.  This year our Digital Leaders have taken on more demanding roles such as: being front-line technical support to staff during lessons and forming a genius bar where they have taught staff and students how to use various apps on the iPads.  They have established their own coding clubs for pupils in Years 3 and 4, using Scratch, KODU and other software / Coding resources.  They also test and evaluate all new resources, such as the Parrot Mambo Drones and Osmo Coding sets and have taken on advisory roles in e-Safety as e-Cadets, running Assemblies on this topic.  Our Digital Leaders also ran Coding sessions for pupils in Shoreham Primary School, using Lego WeDo sets, Code-a-pillers and the Blu Bee Bots.  Digital Leaders also run the recruiting process for new incomers to take on these roles when Year 6 and 8 leave at the end of the year.  The role of the Digital Leaders is incredibly diverse and pupils are not only selected on an ability basis, but also if they demonstrate a passion and commitment to the subject.  Next year will see more exciting new equipment and software for pupils to use, such as the Raspberry Pi’s which will be used in cross-curricular subjects such as DT, Maths, Science and Music.  We will also see an introduction of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) projects, using robotics with integrated Raspberry Pi’s and possibly Arduino kits, showcasing pupils’ work via the school’s plasmas. New competitions such as ‘Robo Wars’ will be introduced, as well as entering teams for the annual Pi War’s competition.  At the end of this year, Digital Leaders helped Miss Booth to program the new Apple – Hover Camera Passport Drone, which followed a pupil around the school to create a virtual tour, as well as following pupils participating in sporting events, videoing them as they ran.  The images and videos were collated and placed into iMovies to create a video and will eventually be placed on the school’s website. So if you thought this year was exciting, it’s only going to get better.



Various exciting trips have taken place within the department, such as Bletchley Park in November 2015.  This year, pupils in Year 7 visited the Computing Museum in Milton Keynes and the Digital Leaders visited the Apple store in Bluewater to undergo professional training using the iPads.  At the end of the year, Year 5 pupils visited the Robots and Wonderlab Exhibition in the Science Museum.  This was to see the history of robots, their evolution, how they are used in today’s world. Next year, as well as running the trip to Bletchley Park and the Science Museum, we are looking at pupils going to Legoland to participate in workshops using the Lego Mindstorm kits, as well as additional trips to Apple’s Bluewater store.



Year 6 Digital Leaders also took part in Geography Skype calls to students in Shanghi and next year Miss Booth will be liaising with schools in America and Spain to share experiences with their Digital Leaders in Computing topics such as the Raspberry Pi.


After School Coding Club:

The After School Coding clubs have been very well received.  We can only normally take 20 students and have been oversubscribed. Next year we are looking at the possibility of running a second club which will be managed by two members of staff due to ratios.

During Coding Clubs, students have used a variety of Coding devices and kits such as the Mini Parrot Mambo drones operated using the Tynker App.  One of our pupils has become an expert in programming the Fuze boxes by making games and various Led lights flash on an integrated breadboard.   Other devices used are Olly, BB8, Osmo Coding blocks, UBTECH JIMU Robot kit amongst others.  Every time pupils enter the Coding Club there is always something new, whether it be a Sphero, robot, online software or an App.  There is always something there for them to use and do which is exciting and helps to enhance their coding skills.


What’s New:

St Michael’s Parents & Friends were incredibly generous in providing funds to enable the department to purchase some Lego Mindstorm kits of our own and Code-a-pillers for Kindergarten and Reception, all of which have been very well received.  They have been so generous and we can’t thank them enough.

This year we also had a day with Google Expeditions, where they bought in their headsets for us to view the 360 panoramic views of various places around the world, for example ancient Egypt and under the sea as well as the anatomy of the body. Pupils were able to go into a human body to see the heart beating and explore the wonders at the bottom of the ocean as if they were really there.  They thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  This led to VR Avantis (a specialised company in VR Headsets) visiting the students during an after-school coding club activity in Trinity term, so they could use and test their versions and compare them to the Google expeditions headsets. Avantis won, hands down.


Excellent Trips


The range and number of trips put on this year (51) was as ever impressive. As a staff we decided to consolidate trips into a week each term. This has streamlined the process and reduced disruption to other lessons. The trips and visits this year feature not only on the website but on our Twitter feed too. As well as the days out of school we have also had some amazing visitors and workshops in school. For a taste of the trips this year please do look at the website.

Excellent Sport


The 2016-17 sporting season has produced many exciting moments and great achievements. As always the number of matches remains consistently high. There were 619 matches played just for the major games at St Michael’s – rugby, football, cricket, hockey, netball and rounders.  Boys played 385 matches, won 197 (51%), drew 56 and lost 132. The girls played 308, winning 182 (an impressive 59%), drawing only 35 with 89 losses. Overall we won 370 matches which is 128 more wins than last year, and lost 221 overall, which is 2 fewer than last year. Congratulations to all our pupils who played their part in these successes.

In addition to week-to-week matches, our pupils have had notable successes in tournaments. The U13 boys won the rugby 7’s in Jersey, and our U11 A rugby team won the Sportsmanship Award at Solefield’s rugby 7’s tournament.

The girls had even more success in tournaments with the U11 Hockey team making the school very proud. On their way to the IAPS final in November where they came a magnificent 5th in the country, they won the IAPS regionals in October and the Hawthorns tournament. Successes at netball tournaments were achieved by the U13 girls who won the St Michael’s tournament, the U11’s who won the Cobham Hall tournament and who were runners-up in the Sevenoaks School tournament, the U9’s were runners-up in the St Michael’s B tournament and the U8’s who won the Hazelwood tournament. For the second year in a row, our girls won the Hazelwood Y5-8 football tournament. The U11 rounders team won the plate at IAPS rounders.

There were many individual successes too this year. K. Smith represented Kent in the County Tennis Cup, B. Sanderson was selected for an elite sailing squad competing internationally, C. Driscoll, M. Fry, F. Bailey, J. Hudson, O. Pryal, C.Paye and H. Wilkinson were selected for the South East of England football “A” team , B. O Keefe, W. Francombe, K. Smith selected for the South East of England development squad, H. Martin was selected for the England fencing team, J. Hudson won gold the IAPS 50m breast stroke, and in May E. Hudson, C. Paye, H. Wilkinson, K. Smith and K. Cameron made the West Kent District Football team.  H. Medlen- at the regional IAPS athletics meeting, won gold in the U11 100m, even though she is only U10 and went through to the Nationals in Birmingham on 4th July where she came 5th by a fraction of a second.

Cross country and triathlon are developing sports at St Michael’s and we have experienced a good deal of high placings from relative newcomers to this sport in events this year. A Faulstich and C. Bingham were in the Sevenoaks Hockey Club team that won the Nationals.


We were delighted that so many of our pupils won Sports scholarships accounting for 1/3 of the scholarships won this year.


At the Prep School sports Day, we were truly blessed with the perfect weather for a Sports Day of athletics and also some fantastic performances. There were 6 new school records set on the day – K. Cameron (Y 5 800m), P. Parker-Swift (Y5 high jump), V. Kern (Y3 600m), C. Bingham (Y 600m), A. Roderick (Y7&8 1500m) and S. Cook (Y3 foam javelin). Rather unusually, two houses were joint first when all the totals were added up – Leeds and Dover were joint winners.

Swimming continues to grow and develop. Several swimmers have been accepted by Sevenoaks Swimming Club.  The local club liaises directly with us and their training is coordinated. We have introduced Y8 to Survival and Rescue swimming and how to handle an emergency, getting a casualty out of the water and placing them in the recovery position which has been both informative and hilarious for Y8 and the staff.  Pre-Prep swimming has improved and has produced some outstanding swimming with one Y1 swimmer being accepted into Sevenoaks Swimming Club, due to her exceptional talent.  Reception swimming has been a great success with two additional voluntary teachers helping making a huge difference to their confidence and most swimming short distances and jumping in the deep end, soaking the teachers.


We held two galas which have been loud, noisy and hot affairs with plenty of enthusiasm.  Hazelwood and Rose Hill visited on 13th March when a very exciting gala took place and we all witnessed some outstanding swimming, with Hazelwood taking 1st place and St. Michael’s only a few points behind and Rose Hill coming 3rd.  Summerhill visited us with a strong team on 27th March and despite many close finishes they just managed to take 1st place. Our 2017 IAPS team had outstanding results with two of our swimmers invited to take part in the final at Crawley where we achieved 14th place in the butterfly and an outstanding 1st place in breaststroke. During this year we have seen six school records broken as a result of the hard work swimmers produce.




St Michael’s Swim School

The numbers of swimmers continues to increase with 158 already registering for next term.  We have adult improvers, triathlon and masters training twice a week for parents and have now 4 different squads training both in the evening and early morning.  Our 4 swimming teachers bring stability and knowledge and everyone works as a team supporting each other where needed.  Our standard is high and I have had numerous enquiries as to whether we would consider taking non St. Michael’s pupils.


Excellent Drama

Students coached for scholarships this year- all placed and won, 5 in all and we are delighted by this. Performance opportunities abounded. The Pre-Prep showcased their wit and talents in their Christmas productions and the Y2 production was enjoyed by the whole Prep School crammed into Pre-Prep hall just before Christmas. Particular pleasure was had by all the older siblings on seeing how their younger siblings were so proud to perform and able too. At the end of the Michaelmas term Y3 performed A Christmas Carol with each class in turn taking a section of the story and showcasing a triple cast. The children were involved in the whole process of putting the production together; from choosing their characters to planning their stage directions and costumes. As teachers, we were very proud of the children’s confidence on stage and it was excellent to see each child shine in their role.

Opportunities for the scholars have included seeing shows and touring back stage to meet actors and making a radio advert for Radio Kent.

The Drama scholars spent an immersive day of theatre in London, which combined experiencing our National Theatre-perhaps one of our country’s most treasured institutions, with a performance and chance to chat with a genuine West End Star at a performance of Ragtime at The Charing Cross Theatre. It’s a sweeping, powerful musical tackling the plight of immigration in America at the turn of the century. In the interval, moved and wowed by some outstanding performances and staging, we debated the relevance of the piece in the current world political climate with Brexit and the Election in the US. This debate, fueled by our scholars really reflected the necessity for theatre and was engaging and interesting. At the end of the show we were met by one of the stars Anita Louise Combe, a stalwart of The West End and star of many productions including Cats, Sunset Boulevard and Saturday Night Fever. The Lent term saw the second Drama Duologue competition at St Michael’s and it was clear to see just how far the school’s drama has moved on in just one year. Gone were the giddy giggles of the lower years, the slightly underprepared or gauche performances. The very youngest, inspired by the standards they had witnessed in the heats for the seniors last year and no doubt having been extremely well taught in between, made a strong and professional impression and showed enormous confidence, talent and commitment in the range of performances they put on. The diversity and scope of the scripts was inspirational, ranging from Dickens to Robin Hood’s first meeting with Friar Tuck.

At the end of a marvellous evening Anita Louise Combe our guest judge said “I was stunned by the level of talent shown by the children and was delighted to be asked to come to the school and judge the competition; it was a difficult task because everyone was so good.”

Duologue winners 2017

Seniors: Winner  Gold- Rochester  O. Chugg and J Sabin, Silver-  Windsor- D. and  G. Williams, Bronze- Rochester   C. Poracchia and S. Chugg

Juniors: Winner  Gold-  Windsor    G. Schneider-Price and G. Wall, Silver- Leeds      S. Andrade  and M. Czerkawska Bronze- Leeds    V. Medlen and L. Blincoe

Special Mention- H Richmond and N Dandeniya Y3 Bronze Medal on points but ineligible because they are not a duo from the same house.

Trestle Theatre Company held a Drama Mask Workshop for Y4 pupils.  All the skills learned were put to use in the summer term’s scheme of work on Mask. The Y6 trip to Wonderland gave pupils a taste of what it means to be dazzled by fantastic sets, music, costumes and performances giving them ideas and inspiration for their production of “Guys and Dolls”

And of course we rounded the year with the superb performance of “Guys and Dolls” at the Stag theatre. We were delighted, proud, amazed and excited by the two performances of this ambitious production. It was carried off with energy, skill and commitment by a huge team of children and staff. From the opening cityscape scene bustling with life and focused performances from almost everyone in Year 5, to the rousing big numbers and finale, so much talent was showcased. The audience became completely absorbed in the intertwining stories of Nathan and Miss Adelaide and Sky and Miss Sarah. I congratulate Ollie, Josh, Camille and Megan for their incredibly accomplished solo rôles. Polished, professional, at ease on stage, no-one present could really believe that these pupils are all 13 and under.

Many, many other stars brought humour to the show through their focused performances, revealing the total personality of characters developed just as much when they weren’t speaking as when they were. In the acting, we also saw the talent of our Head of Drama, whose direction and teaching enabled the whole show to happen. Alan Powell should be extremely proud.

As for the costumes, they were magnificent and Ali Chugg has to be congratulated on masterminding the wardrobe as well as the props for this show. Down in the orchestral pit, on the hottest day of the year, the heat was definitely on and not just because Big Jule was in town. A marvellous band of peripatetic teachers and their colleagues impressed everyone with their energetic and lively playing under the talented baton of our very own Mr Baird. And as for the wonderful singing, with moving and magnificent voices, we have to thank the one and only Emily Balcombe, who through her training brought the wonderful lyrics and melodies of Frank Loesser to glorious life.  We were delighted in turn by the clever scenery and set, complete with flashing Hotbox signs, whole stage cabaret lights and revolving scenery, all made by our very own Darryl Edwards. Into this magnificent set came beautifully choreographed dancing and show scenes, eye-catching, clever, and beautifully performed. Congratulations to Mary Bridges, the choreographer for these exceptional moments.

And then of course behind the scenes were rafts of others without whom this would not have happened; Carol Bent who produced the show, Rachael Newton the prompt, Jack Bennett who played piano in all the weekend rehearsals at school. Supporting them were scores of parents and other staff on the green room and backstage duties, hair and make-up, some of whom made a fleeting appearance as giant chickens during the show! Congratulations to every single person involved in any way in the show. The guys in the show certainly made one Headteacher doll very happy indeed.

Excellent Music

Music continues to be part of the life-blood of the school and has developed the calibre and scale of what pupils experienced this year. Two stand out highlights involved huge numbers of children. The House Music Competition was relaunched and came back with attitude.  The corridors and classrooms across St Michael’s resonated with merriment, music-making and mash-ups all week in the run up to our House Music Competition. The day itself was a true celebration of teamwork, talent and musicianship with an incredible array of musical styles, instruments and voices on offer.

We were very pleased to have Sandra Horne, conductor, (https://www.sandra-horne.com) as our adjudicator for the day and she was thrilled to be part of the competition and commented on how fantastic the children’s performances were throughout the day.  The morning consisted of three classes for soloists competing in Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. Each performance was judged and awarded points based upon intonation, diction, dynamics, confidence, musical accuracy, enjoyment and sense of performance.  Winning performances were selected from each class for the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards and these contributed to the overall house score.

By early afternoon the tension was palpable as the houses changed into their team colours and prepared to battle it out in the ensemble competition and the final sing-off. The judge had the unenviable task of selecting winning performances and she found this particularly tricky due to the tremendous quality and sense of fun that was brought to each one. The sing-off was a particular highlight and we were treated to four delightful hits from the past including: Toto’s Africa by Windsor; Lion King I Just Can’t Wait to be King by Rochester, The Contours Do You Love Me by Leeds; and Pharrell’s Happy by Dover. Huge congratulations to all participants for their dedication, creativity and effort to make the day such a success. The medal and trophy winners were as follows:

Junior Winners Intermediate Winners Senior Winners
Gold E Ward J Crossley O Chugg
Silver S Newton L Edwards L Weir
Bronze R Landgrebe K Davis M Handy


Ensemble Winners: L Weir & E Ward

House Song Winners: Leeds

House Music Competition Overall Winners – Leeds

The second musical highlight was the incredibly successful production of Guys and Dolls performed in the Stag Theatre which you have already read about above.

As if that wasn’t enough some 60 pupils from the orchestra, band and choir took part in the concert tour to Bruges. Belgian waffles, frites, chocolates, theme park rides….. oh yes, and some musical performances. For the pupils in Orchestra, Little Big Band or Choir these were definitely a few of their favourite things!

With sixty pupils on board our double-decker luxury coach we set off in fine voice with the Ed Sheeran album blasting out early on Bank Holiday Monday. Additional entertainment came in the form of frequent and witty commentaries by our fun-loving driver, Rachel. Following the Eurotunnel crossing, the short trip to Bruges allowed us just enough time to get checked in and enjoy some lunch before heading out to explore the old city with our guides. Fortunately, the rain showers passed quickly before our relaxing boat trip on the canals and we couldn’t resist the temptation to share our vocal harmonies with the passing tourists.

Our first concert performance at the original European School of Brussels in Uccle was a triumph of organisation and the children were a credit in how quickly they carried out their jobs setting up and being concert ready within a short timeframe. The performances were well received by pupils from five language sections in the primary school and we received a very warm welcome from the school director and his staff. The highlight of this particular day was still to come and following a short transfer to the ancient city of Leuven for lunch, we set out across town with Meike for a chocolicious afternoon of chocolate making and eventually the much anticipated tasting session.

Bobbejaanland provided the colourful setting for our next performance on the Kinderland stage and once again the entire set-up and performance was slick with terrific teamwork. An action-packed afternoon of thrills and spills ensued with some new peculiar and fluffy passengers joining us for the return trip! What better way to end a day like this than to have a pizza party back at our hostel with party games and a slightly later bedtime.

Our final day was spent exploring the modernist Concertgebouw in Bruges with an interactive guided workshop and performance opportunity before the much awaited chance to spend those Euros on chocolate, waffles and gift souvenirs. The soundtrack on our return journey consisted of gentle snoring from the top deck with a few bass snorers on the bottom deck; a whole new harmonic experience worthy of a performance in the Concertgebouw!

In the background all year round there have been the steady weekly lessons taking place with 248 pupils receiving instrumental & vocal tuition. We put on or attended 15 concerts enjoyed 2 visits to senior schools for Music Workshops & Concerts (both Brighton College) and our string trio made it to the final of the national Pro Corda Chamber Music Competition for Schools with superb performances.


As an exam centre for ABRSM we saw three examination periods this year and report on results that came in too late for last year.

Summer 2016 – 75 candidates grade range 1 – 7

12 Distinctions, 32 Merits,  31 Pass


Autumn 2016 – 2 candidates Grades 3-4

1 Merit, 1 Pass


Spring 2017 – 48 candidates – Prep Test to Grade 7

19 Distinctions, 16 Merits 13 Pass


Summer 2017 – 76 candidates from Prep test to Grade 6.

5 Distinctions, 29 Merits 42 Pass


In addition, music exams were also taken for two other bodies:


Trinity Guildhall Exams 15 candidates Grades Initial – G2

Guitar 9 candidates achieving grades 1 and 2

Drums 6 candidates achieving from Initial to Grade 2


LCM Exams – 4 candidates Musical Theatre Grade 5 – 6

3 Distinctions 1 Merit


As part of our community outreach and partnership work we hosted 2 successful community music workshop concert events for local primary schools: Jazz Day in November and Big Sing Day in March, which were attended by over 150 pupils. For the Jazz day the Pre-Prep Hall was crammed with musicians and most of the workshop leaders were St Michael’s staff taking sectionals for brass, woodwind, piano, drums and song. The happy buzz (and frankly at times blare!) from the rehearsal phase lent a special funky feeling to the day and it was tremendous to hear what could be achieved by talented young people coming to work together to provide such enjoyment for themselves and for the proud assembled audience of parents and teachers. The Big Sing, fabulous collaborative singing experience in which the children expressed themselves in music, words and actions to such a high standard that it was almost impossible not to shed a tear. The joyful faces and the energy and accuracy of four musically complex and witty songs that held the audience enthralled were a privilege to behold. We are delighted to have hosted such a successful singing day and to have welcomed our five neighbouring primaries to be a part of it.

Excellent Extra-Curricular

Our extra-curricular provision is a strength of the school. With some 35 activities to choose from each term and about 1/3 being provided by specialists from outside, children look forward to the end of the day as much as the beginning and it’s amazing to see all that can be enjoyed, from den building, to Lego, from ballet to kitchen science and so much more besides.

Beyond St Michael’s

Y6 pupils have done us proud this year. 14 pupils are transferring to St Michael’s in Y7, 7  children are taking up grammar school places, 8 children will transfer to Sevenoaks School one with a scholarship, 5 children are going to  non-selective state schools with fine reputations with 21 children transferring into various prestigious independent schools, 6 with scholarships. I congratulate each and every member of Y6 who should feel proud of the marks they have gained and the schools they will join.

Our Y8 pupils have been awarded places at a fine array of schools with over one third gaining scholarships to their school of choice. 8 Sevenoaks places with 3 scholarships there, 2 off to Tonbridge, 6 off to Caterham, with 4 scholarships 3 to Walthamstow Hall with 1 Exhibition, 1 to Radnor House, 1 to the international School of Geneva, 1 to Cranbrook and 1 to Christ’s Hospital. We will miss all our leaving pupils and we hope they come back to visit.

For all that has been achieved within this academic year, I congratulate everyone:  staff for working extremely hard to provide the best and happiest education possible, children for loving every moment and working so hard, and parents for supporting us and the children in all aspects of their life.

Excellent Community

As developing community has been a development strand we are pleased that so much outreach work has been achieved by staff and pupils working together.

Our school opened its doors to our local primaries twice, once on Jazz day and once for the Big Sing. With complex repertoire and huge levels of excitement and enjoyment from pupils visiting and a real sense of everyone working together and achieving very high standards.

Training and support have been provided through our partnership with Parkwood Hall both to the senior team working on higher levels of leadership teamwork and to all staff as we explored aspects of autism and team teaching.

Jamie Booth as a Computing in Schools master teacher has led local district teachers in training, both home-grown and provided by our partners in Kent LEA and opened up the opportunity for pupils to train other pupils in our partner primaries of Shoreham and Otford.

We hosted two primary sports competitions; boys’ football in November (and we saw some impressive girl footballers too) and a netball tournament in the Spring. Both were well received.

We record our partnership work on the Schools Together website and are happy and proud of what has been achieved.

Excellent Charitable giving

This year sees our final donations to the Shiva Charity as we look for a charity in a partner country that we can support and have more contact with.

We are the single biggest donor to the Foodbank that we support quietly each week with regular thoughtful giving by the whole of Prep School in turn. I’m very proud of the giving by the school.

Excellent Developments

As well as an excellent ISI inspection the school has embraced as a regular feature, interviewing of prospective staff by pupils. We have undertaken to plan for the commissioning of an astroturf which sadly we have been refused permission for and we are very disappointed that currently this is refused.  There have been spontaneous charitable acts borne of a greater understanding of social issues such as the charity head shave undertaken by S. Benjamin and W. Craddock in Y6 for Empathy Action.

Parents have contributed funds for outdoor play items IT equipment, benches and the mural in Pre-Prep.

And we opened during this academic year our permanent base for the Breakfast and After school clubs; The Hive. Under Nicola Smith’s capable leadership, children are welcomed as part of one family for play, time together, challenges, creative craft and cookery as well as lots of good old fashioned games. Many children who go once for need, go back again many times for pleasure.

Excellent People

I mentioned in my opening comments my gratitude to the excellent team of teachers. Alongside them there are others who deserve mention. The new office team, led by Kathryn continues to support and provide a reliable backbone of functions to staff, pupils and parents, Nicola in HR and Helen my new secretary share the job that couldn’t be done by one person and enjoy it as much as I enjoy having them I think, the marketing team with Jane Thornton, cheerfully, carefully and creatively leading the school to sharing its excellence with a wider audience. The new Nursery team has gelled and reached excellent standards under Kâren’s stable leadership and sets high standards for those who come after.

The parents at the school have excelled themselves in providing so much for the school to enhance what we do. Volunteering to help/ teach/ run clubs/ hear children read/ make artwork/ teach staff / do assemblies/ go on trips/ be in working parties. With Comedy Night in March came an enjoyable evening of fun and humour with a great turnout.   Throughout the year the international club has organized a whole range of events and supported school ones with refreshments and fundraising. Our parents this year have also put on an incredible music festival, a magical Christmas Fair and been there over and over to support their children and others as they perform, compete, succeed and occasionally exceed all expectations.

The catering team continue to meet the ever complex array of dietary needs to support all children to enjoy their food at school and they’re quite fun when they dress up and support one of our themed days

Ian and the Estates team have worked tirelessly, for much of the time and are enjoying once again being a complete team and keeping us all safe, tidy, mown, and sorted! I am grateful to Ian and Andrew, Simon, Barry, Jason, and Peter for all they do and to Di, who amongst her many key roles, oversees their work.

My senior team make a huge contribution to the school. They take on a wide range of leadership roles to ensure the smooth running of all aspects of our provision, delivery on our development objectives and the running of school alongside me.  Fraser Wiseman’s commitment and attention to detail in organising the logistics of the weeks and securing the best pastoral experience with his team of year heads and Mary Bridges’ positive and inspirational development of our tracking and pupil data, curriculum, and homework is always a source of pleasure and pride. One of my targets, set by Governors, was to achieve outstanding in the next inspection. How was I supposed to predict that they would change the names of the top grade to Excellent?   Their leadership here enables us to get better and better as a school. I thank Zerrin at the end of her second year of headship and look forward to all she will bring to next year and Rachel Jeffery on a fine second year as Deputy Head in Pre-Prep.

I must thank Claire Soper and Sadie West who have tirelessly worked for the P&F ably assisted by Anna Smith as Treasurer and Charlie Parkinson as secretary. Thanks too to Patricia McCall who having offered to co-chair found herself sole chair of the International club for part of the year.

I would also like to thank the Board of Governors. We have worked well as a team this year and enjoyed really strategic meetings. I would like to thank Paula Carter for all her help, challenge and support. Alongside her, the chairs of the other committees give so much, Julia Tyson, chairing the Staffing and Remuneration Committee and David Evans, chairing the Finance and General Purposes Committee. This year Rashid Chinchanwala has stepped up to take on the role of Vice Chair. It is wonderful to have such a team around me and I and the school community as a whole are grateful for the wisdom, commitment and confidence of all the governors. Inspectors were delighted to see how much interaction there is between the governors and the senior leadership team.

For the year that is past I am confident that our development plan focused activity and was successful.

SDP 2016 – 2018

Summary of progress made and further actions

  1. Get Outstanding in Inspection
Achieved Not achieved / Further action
üWe did it (well we got EXCELLENT but it’s the same thing!)

Key achievements included:

ü Full compliance

ü Pre-inspection work supported a smooth start and strong first impression

ü No targets for recommendations for personal development

ü Pupils excellent communication skills shone through both in their interactions during the week and in the report feedback

à Ensure that pupils’ acquisition of knowledge and development of skills is always supported by teaching that consistently engages them and meets their individual needs (this will go into our new SDP)


  1. Focus on excellent progress in literacy and numeracy across the school curriculum
Achieved Not achieved / Further action
ü Year 6 pupils with Verbal CATS of below 100 were given extra literacy support from English specialists

ü Introduction of the Read Write Inc. phonics programme within Pre-Prep and up to Year 5 (ensuring a flow through in literacy development for children)

ü Introduction of new abacus scheme in maths for Years 3 & 4

ü Excellent PTE and PTM data which now shows that we are performing above the national standard in every area of the maths and English curriculum

ü An average of +3 improvement per child across year groups in Prep and across the PTE and PTM results

ü Data meetings have enabled us to pin down progress concerns and agree actions to move the children forwards.

à We haven’t yet implemented more curriculum time for maths & English but we’ve adjusted the curriculum to allow an additional double lesson for English / maths in both Year 3 & 4 from September.  This should further enhance progress

à Spelling remains a focus and we hope to see continued development and Read Write Inc. progresses into Year 2


  1. Explore the impact of HW on learning and review and refine the Homework practice in the school
Achieved Not achieved / Further action
ü Homework working party set up with regular meetings

ü Regular whole staff INSET / discussion / surveying

ü Parent feedback collection and meeting

ü Pupil survey

ü New homework schedule agreed and planned

ü New homework policy underway

à Homework policy to be completed and impact to be reviewed throughout 2017. Launch of policy September 2017.




  1. Build community: locally and globally and build the charitable and Christian work of the school
Achieved Not achieved / Further action
ü Development of partnership with Parkwood Hall

ü Sharing of facilities and an increase in invitations to events for local primary schools (ICT, sport and music)

ü Training provided for local primary teachers (ICT)

ü High participation levels in The Bing Sing and Jazz Day with attendance by local councillors

ü “Global ambassadors” launches and a successful global awareness week in January with continued work for empathy action happening since

ü An increased focus on charity work for the sponsored event 2017

ü Curriculum link with a school in China formed and utilised in their Geography curriculum in the Lent term

ü R Martin became the IAPS SENCO and ran district meeting at St Michael’s

ü the EYFS team is now leading the district group (R Jeffery)

ü A very successful celebration event was held for the scholars’ and their parents

à Continue to develop links with international schools (South America next year)




For the year ahead these SDP strands will be our focus.

  1. Ensure every lesson meets the needs of every pupil
  2. Review and develop the curriculum for Y7&8
  3. Develop well-being and mental health provision and understanding throughout the school
  4. Consider ways to expand provision at the school


St Michael’s is indeed an excellent school and we continue to embrace development and seek the highest standards for everyone as we go with confidence into 2017-18. It is hard to believe I’ve been here now four years and as I said to the staff at the post inspection party, this is where I’m staying, God willing, till I retire from Headship.

We look forward to working together to make the future here an exciting one for everyone.

Jill Aisher      August 2017

Please click here for the Head’s Review for the academic year 2016-17