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

Prep pupils treated classmates and music teachers to a variety of musical performances this week in their half termly concert.

Performed in three instalments within their bubbles, the musicians showcased a variety of pieces, varying in both genre and instrument.

And although parents were unable to attend the concerts due to Covid-19 restrictions, the pupils’ families received a recording of the event.

Gordon Baird, Director of Music, said “We were delighted by how these first concerts of the academic year went despite the absence of the children’s parents. It was a lovely intimate experience for the children to play or sing to their friends and we heard some confident, accomplished performances.

Mr Baird added: “For some, it was their first time playing in a concert in the Prep school and we look forward to organising many more opportunities for them to perform throughout the year.”

A montage of the three music concerts can be found on the St Michael’s YouTube page at https://youtu.be/Bj_Wx4P9heg.



Spooky spiders and plump pumpkins sparked Halloween fun at St Michael’s this week.

Supported by the school’s Parents and Friends association, pupils enjoyed two games which offered great prizes to winners.

Coordinator of the Halloween competitions and P & F committee member, Kelly Downey said: “Given the restrictions currently in place, the P&F are focusing on strengthening the school community for parents and children this year.

“The competitions are a simple way for the children to have some fun in the week before half term, while raising some funds for the P&F.”

Children in Pre-Prep were tasked with guessing the number of spooky spiders in the jar, while Prep children were asked to guess the weight of a pumpkin. Pupils made a donations to the P & F in exchange for each guess they made.

And the winners of the games, Herbie W (Pre-Prep) A Ward, M Little, L Lutzow and H Owen (Prep), were awarded Halloween hampers which will help them celebrate this year’s festival in spooktacular style.

Kelly added: “The funds raised for the P&F will go towards funding activities and facilities for the children to enrich their time at the school.”

For more information about St Michael’s P & F association visit stmichaels.kent.sch.uk/parents-friends


Strawberries and sunflowers were just some of the items celebrated in last week’s harvest assemblies.


The annual Pre-Prep event, performed as three instalments this year, saw Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils sing, dance and give prayer for the harvest while learning about the festival from their music teacher, Mrs Raveyeh.



Reflecting on the success of the events, Louise Raveyeh said: “I am quite moved by the children’s enthusiastic singing in our harvest celebration.


“It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to realise that there is joy in giving and sharing what we have and happiness for those who gratefully receive it.


“Their singing and eagerness to share with others was heartwarming.”



During the assemblies pupils sung songs about harvest time, nature and the variety of fruit and vegetables grown in this country.


Louise said: “I wanted the children to be thankful for what they have by realising what an amazing rainbow variety of food we have, created with individual characteristics just like them.


“I wanted them to realise the sense of joy that there is in sharing what we have.


“The songs reflect our celebration of what we have and realisation of the process of planting, harvesting and sharing.”



And it wasn’t just songs that helped the children express their thanks. Helped by their generous parents, Pre-Prep donated hundreds of food items and household essentials to the Swanley branch of Trussell Trust food bank.



Head of Pre-Prep at St Michael’s, Zerrin Leech, said: “We had tables, cupboards and bags festooned with food last week as our families gave very kind donations of food and other items.


“A huge thank you must go to the pupils’ parents for their wonderful generosity once again this year which will be gratefully received by the Trussell Trust.


“Thank you also to Mrs Ravayeh for leading our three harvest assemblies. They have been lovely with lots of new songs as well as my all-time favourite, Cauliflowers Fluffy.”





Sunsets and sizzling sausages set the tone for the new term last Friday as Year 7 pupils celebrated the start of their senior education journey.

The annual event, traditionally held as a Camp Out, was delivered as a fun-filled barbecue night which the children enjoyed with teachers including St Michael’s Acting Head, Mrs Bridges.

Throughout the evening pupils tucked into dinner cooked by Deputy Head Mr Wiseman, and toasted marshmallows on an open fire.

And to make use of their new term energy, games and group bonding activites were carried out, followed by a walk up the school’s famous Warren where the sunset was relished in all of its glory.

Reflecting on the sucess of the event, Head of Year 7 and 8, Mrs Shield, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to camp this year, but that did not dampen anybody’s spirits.

“One of the highlights of the evening was our twilight walk to the top of the Warren where we marvelled at the beautiful site that our school occupies.

“We viewed the bats swirling the skies in the dusk of late summer and ended the evening with a well-deserved hot chocolate – not forgetting the squirty cream and yet more marshmallows.

“Life-long friendships were made and re-established after the long summer break.”

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