Head’s Blog 15th June Friday 15th June 2018

At school it has perhaps been the quietest week of the year as many year groups have gone out and done trips. We’ve had daily updates from Paris, where Year 7 are having “une semaine magnifique”, Year 8 in Wales, one so busy they’ve hardly sent me photos at all! Certainly when they get back and discover their incredible Common Entrance results they will be jumping for joy, as indeed are we and we congratulate perhaps the most successful Year 8 yet on their spectacular A* heavy results.

Of course the pupils don’t get these results without very hard work and effective learning techniques, support from home and of course outstanding teaching. I’m delighted by what has been achieved and congratulate my colleagues.

For me, highlights this week have been seeing Year 2 and Year 3 scurrying about collaboratively, looking for clues in their treasure hunt, getting incredible feedback from the trainers in Legoland robotics about how advanced and well mannered our digital leaders were, enjoying some pretty good singing at the community choir rehearsal, as well as polished performances in the Performance Platform in Pre-Prep this morning, it’s always fund to see the children in the audience responding to the rhythm by bobbing up and down appreciatively.  The children all did well.  I also enjoyed receiving day by day excellent CE results for our Year 8.

Staff News

I’m pleased to introduce you to four more members of staff who will be joining us in September.

Hélène Lacroix, French and Latin






Hélène is a native French speaker who grew up in the centre of France. She moved to the UK three years ago, after having completed a degree in English and French literature at the Paris-Sorbonne University. She started her teaching career at Sevenoaks School where she taught French to all year groups and to bilingual students. She particularly enjoyed teaching lower school students and is very excited to be joining St Michael’s Prep School in September.

Interested in youth literature, Hélène has worked in a bookstore specialising in this field in Paris and has completed several internships, including one in Chichester library, helping with the ‘Summer Reading Challenge’. She also enjoys playing the piano, travelling and loves walking and cycling around the beautiful Kent countryside

Daniel Orpin, Year 4 Teacher






Daniel has been teaching in primary schools for six years and is looking forward to the opportunity of moving to St. Michael’s. Having gained a degree in French and Politics from Lancaster University he went to the Royal Military Sandhurst and served with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He left as a Captain, having served with the field army and training recruits. His experience training recruits later became the inspiration for the move to teaching. After the Army he worked in London in Human Resources in the banking sector. As a lover of the great outdoors this caused some problems! Eventually, fed up working in an office tower where he could not even open a window, he decided to retrain and make teaching his full-time career.
Daniel has been responsible for subject leadership in French and Computing, adventurous activity trips and for reinvigorating P.E. teaching and extracurricular clubs. He enjoys all things outdoors; from running and camping to horticulture. In recent years he has had to concede some activity time to the touch line, watching his own boys, who manage to fill his weekends with their own sporting activities.

Catherine MacIntosh, Year 3 Teacher






Catherine Macintosh has been a teacher for over fourteen years, and has a particular specialism in English, having been an English teacher in a boys’ grammar school and Head of English at a small Prep school in Kent.

She grew up in the beautiful Sussex countryside, but subsequently moved to Italy for two years, where she began her teaching career as a teacher of English as a foreign language. During this time she also indulged her love of the English language and its literature, gaining a First Class degree with the Open University in Literature. This quickly led to a PGCE at Canterbury Christ Church University College, and her following teaching positions in a grammar school and a Kent Prep school, both of which served to make her realise that there really could be no better job than teaching! Upon relocating to the Kent/Surrey border she has worked at two other London Prep schools, teaching the whole range of curriculum subjects.

She has two children (Y1 and Y4), who will also be joining St Michael’s in September. She continues to take a keen interest in Italian culture and language, and is always keen to try something new. She has recently taken up skiing, scuba diving and racket ball. She is delighted to be joining St Michael’s as a Year 3 Teacher.

Vikki Pinnock, TA in Prep

Vikki worked for 16 years in the city for an insurance company. Taking a complete career change, she joined St Michael’s as receptionist in March 2017. Throughout her time here she has loved getting to know the children and has now decided to pursue her career in working with children within the classroom. Vikki has accepted a job as a Teaching Assistant here at St Michael’s, which she is very excited about.

Vikki has gained most of her experience from her three children (aged 11, 8 and 3), who always keep her on her toes, however, she is looking forward to immersing herself in classroom life and training as a qualified TA.

We are delighted to see this new direction in Vikki’s career.


Have a great weekend.

Jill Aisher

Latest News

Mr Bridges is on a mission to keep St Michael’s motivated with his latest exercise plan designed to make exercise fun.

The Director of Sport at St Michael’s, who is a very keen runner himself, has created a beginner to 5k plan for anyone wanting to keep fit this lockdown.

The six-week plan, featuring workouts, running challenges and rest days, covers a range of exercises aimed at strengthening all parts of the body.

Mr Bridges said: “I have created this training programme for the St Michael’s community to help anyone who wants to have a go at running during lockdown and safely get to 5k by the time we return to school. The plan is suitable for Prep-aged pupils, parents and staff, including absolute beginners.”

The teacher, who has 15 years’ training as a running and triathlon coach, added: “The programme is designed to build a body capable of running 5k at the end of the six weeks, and what better time to have a go than during lockdown.”

The detailed plan, organised into weeks and week days, follows a key where the letters W (walk) and R (run) appear alongside the number of minutes the activity should take place for. For example, 6 x 1:30w/2:30r represents a 1 minute 30 seconds of walking followed by 2 minutes 30 seconds of running, repeated six times.

Mr Bridges said: “The programme includes progressive long runs from week 3 onwards, the only day where the running is based on distance rather than time.

“On Mondays I will also be sharing a different workout on the St Michael’s PE YouTube channel which pupils can take part in.”

To share your experience of the programme, including photos please email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk. By sharing this information you give consent to it being shared on St Michael’s social media channels and publications.


On Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s hosted a fun-filled charity day for Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA).

Organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy, whose life who saved by the emergency team last Christmas, the school partook in a range of fundraising activities including a fun run, Christmas jumper day, and brain-teaser quizzes.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.

“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day has changed that.

“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”

Amanda McLean, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, said: “A big thank you to the staff and pupils of St Michael’s for coming up with creative ways to involve everyone in fundraising. In sharing her story, Lucy has helped us spread awareness of what Thames Valley Air Ambulance does. We can only do what we do because of the imagination and generosity of our wonderful fundraisers. We hope you had a lot of fun on your fundraising day!”

Lucy, whose story recently featured in the TVAA’s Christmas appeal, said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”

“It means so much to me that St Michael’s have come together to support this cause.”

The highly successful events saw pupils spread festive joy while raising an impressive £2556.60 for the charity which relies wholly of public donations.

Mrs Bridges, St Michael’s Acting Head, added: “Yesterday was amazing! The whole school had such a great time, and pupils were very excited to take part in a different fundraiser which meant they could enjoy the outdoors, whilst raising money for such an important charity. Everyone gave their all in the sponsored run and it was a brilliant event to watch.”


Mrs Wade, Head of Girls’ Games also said: “The children did remarkably well considering the conditions, and ran superbly for Lucy’s cause.”



And Lucy’s family echoed this gratitude for St Michael’s support. They said: “We wanted to say a huge thank to the St Michael’s community for supporting Lucy’s appeal for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance this Christmas. We’re so grateful to you for getting behind this amazing charity to whom we owe so much. We know from experience that your donations really do save lives. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021!”

For more information about the Thames Valley Air Ambulance or to donate visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/support-us/donate



This Tuesday 15th December, St Michael’s will host a fundraising day for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA), organised by Year 7 pupil Lucy.

Determined to help a cause very close to her heart, Lucy has organised a series of events aimed at raising money for the charity-based emergency service.

Throughout the day pupils will be invited to participate in a range of activities including wearing a Christmas jumper, doing a sponsored run, and completing brain teaser quizzes in exchange for donations to the TVAA which relies wholly on public contributions.

Lucy said: “With Mr Wiseman’s help, I’ve planned activities to raise some much-needed money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and increase awareness of their work.

“A lot of people don’t realise what a great charity they are, and I hope our fundraising day will change that.

“Not only do they save people’s lives in moments of crisis, but they provide long-term support to families who undergo medical emergencies.”

And Lucy’s charity day is driven by her own bond with the charity who saved her life following an accident last Christmas.

She said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance helped me at a time when my parents couldn’t. When I was seriously injured, the team stepped in and became my heroes.”

Since her accident, Lucy has remained close with three of TVAA’s critical care paramedics, Jo, John and Clare.

Lucy said: “Not only did the team come and visit me in hospital during my recovery, but in February this year my family and I were invited to their base to see their helicopters and learn more about their work.

“Since then, we’ve kept in close contact with them and have been given the exciting opportunity to take part in their Christmas campaign.

“One morning, my mum received a phone call from the TVAA asking if we’d like to tell our story as part of their fundraising appeal.

“Despite the accident still being quite fresh, we were keen to get involved as it’s such an amazing charity.”

Earlier this year, Lucy and her family were invited to Oxfordshire to talk about their experience in front of the camera.

The filming day, which involved interviews with both Lucy and her parents, aimed to raise awareness of the charity’s impact.

Lucy said: “It was such a fun day and really made us feel part of the TVAA community.

“Afterwards, we were sent several cuts of the video, including a very cool animation of my story which was very realistic.

“They kept us in mind throughout the whole process and made us feel very special.”

A full breakdown of the fundraising events can be found below. For more information about the TVAA or to view Lucy’s video visit: www.tvairambulance.org.uk/appeal/.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance Fundraising Activities 

  • Christmas jumpers – In Prep and Pre-Prep, we are inviting the children and staff to sport their best Christmas jumper and make a donation for the privilege of wearing it! The 15th  is the day of the school Christmas lunches, so this would be a good time to wear them. As with the last charity collection, the donations for Christmas jumpers can be deposited in the buckets at the doors into the buildings as the children arrive in the morning.
  • Sponsored run (Prep) – we are going to be inviting the children to run in teams of (up to) 4 around the shortest XC route on the fields. They will have a set time to complete as many laps as possible in that time. The children can look to have their team sponsored per lap, or have a donation from their sponsor. Sponsorship money raised will need to be brought in the following day.
  • Brain teaser quizzes – there are two quiz sheets that can be purchased for 50p each and you can take them home and try to solve the puzzles as a family. I’m afraid the only prize on offer is the glow of self-fulfilment upon having completed them. Answers will be shared on the last day of term. As parents cannot be in the school buildings at the moment, the quiz sheets can be purchased via homework diaries (please send the 50p/ £1, depending if you want one quiz sheet or both).



A former St Michael’s pupil has been awarded an Honorary Academic Scholarship for her excellence across all subjects.

Grace Goodwin, who attended St Michael’s between 2014 and 2019, has received the honour from Sevenoaks School.

Commenting on Grace’s success, her mother Marianthe Goodwin said: “Grace joined Sevenoaks in Year 7 and has really thrived from day one.

“We all knew Grace was doing very well academically as she was awarded the Academic Prize in Year 7 and Year 8. However, just before half term we received a letter awarding Grace an Honorary Academic Scholarship, one of only four which was awarded.

“Grace was delighted and extremely surprised as she had absolutely no idea that she was going to receive it. As an Academic Scholar, Grace is invited to attend the Schickler Society with the other scholars in which they discuss lots of different world issues both current and past, such as gun control and the Cold War.”

Mrs Goodwin added: “Grace had a wonderful and very happy time at St Michael’s and the decision to leave was  a hard one, but we felt it was the right time for Grace.  At St Michael’s she enjoyed all her subjects, especially English and Science.

“She found all the teachers very encouraging and approachable, and felt the growth mindset attitude and community spirit of St Michael’s gave her the confidence to hit challenges head on and not give up.

“Mrs Bridges among others was particularly encouraging of Grace during her time at St Michael’s and offered amazing pastoral support to pupils.”

And it isn’t just Sevenoaks School that spotted Grace’s academic potential. St Michael’s teacher Mrs Baisch, who taught Grace during her time at the school, said: “Grace is an incredibly creative pupil who loves reading and writing, and produced some beautiful work. The words flew off her pen.

“Grace was also a very good speaker which was shown by her victory in the poetry live senior competition which she won with her reading of Dulce et Decorum est. For a Year 6 pupil, her performance was very impressive.

“Grace’s scholarship is of no surprise and is something she should be very proud of.”

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