Head’s Blog 22nd June Friday 22nd June 2018

It is our custom at our weekly staff briefing in Prep to start the meeting by sharing something good that happened in the week before and this week we spent half the meeting sharing joyful stories about trips, opportunities for pupils who learnt and grew through doing something different, excellent feedback from others about our pupils, national standard achievements and much more besides. It’s a great start to the day. In the news section of this letter you will find more details of all of these extraordinary things that were packed into last week, some so close to the end of it that I was unable to write about them in time for last Friday. Increasingly we share our stories in a variety of ways and I do commend to you both my Twitter feed and the school’s Twitter feed because some of our stories only appear there. Click here for the link to St Michael’s Twitter.

On Friday last week H Medlen and B O’Keefe both did extremely well at the IAPS regional athletics and were placed first (14.86 secs in U12 100m) and second (14.20 secs in U12 100m) in their races and went through to the National Finals in the first week of July in Birmingham.

Ishwar, Year 3, came back from Canada where he competed with children from 21 countries in yoga and came away with two gold medals. This weekend he was busy in the poetry recital competition in Sevenoaks where he also won two silver medals. He’s been featured on ITV News, the BBC regional news and there are various TV stations lined up to meet him in the coming weeks. We are very proud of him and the way in which he skips back into school and gets stuck into his work and his friendships with great energy. Today after the school photo he’s off to the Indian High Commission to perform there on International Yoga day.

I very much enjoyed the Kindy and Nursery performances this week.  Accomplished, confident and high quality music making, with real enjoyment by all and for all.  Congratulations to all involved.

There has been a certain amount of additional energy in the school this week as in Prep we receive the latest in the Challenge projects. Apart from the animation of the children when they attend the sessions, the variety of products created continues to astonish us all and we feel as though we have unleashed a huge swell of creativity that will continue to develop and refine itself and be expressed in the most joyful manner. This week I played languages top trumps, looked at a model of the first camera complete with negative image, a life-size model of a gramophone with recorded presentation inside activated on the phone, a model of a Victorian costume Museum, and some huge scale visually impressive presentations on architects, inventions and the history of sweets.

For all that I have seen and had time to admire I know that there are literally dozens more all over the school, that I haven’t yet seen.

One inventive literacy activity taking place in the library to coincide with the World Cup is a story being written by author Tom Palmer, with one chapter being written each day which is influenced by pupil feedback online on the theme of football. One of the children spoke to Mrs Davies, our Librarian, saying “I like this story because it is tense and all the scores from the World Cup affect how the story will end.”

Some of my lunchtime conversations with younger children have been around  what they will do in the “Battle of the Books” where two authors are pitted against one another and children have to write to justify which they believe to be the better writer. Their suggestions and analyses are already beginning to show on the Battle of the Books board and they make interesting reading.

Today we reviewed our whole year with the governors, who attended for a day of training and sharing with staff. I will be paying tribute to all the staff who are moving at Speech Day and two of our governors step down after today’s meeting. But I would like to mention both Roger Overend and Alex Smith here and thank them both for their work for St Michael’s Prep. Roger is retiring from his Headship at King’s Rochester Prep and his position on our Staffing & Remuneration Committee and Governing Body.  He has been a wise and supportive member of our Governing Body and committed many hours to attending in his role.

Alex has been our Safeguarding Governor and has enjoyed scrutinising and supporting the work of Gordon as DSL and Zerrin in Pre-Prep. We thank them most sincerely.


Nicola Holland






We sadly say goodbye this week to Nicola Holland, HR Advisor.  Nicola took on this newly-created role and made it her own.  She has been a positive, cheerful, calm colleague, trustworthy and discreet.  We shall be sorry to see her go. Nicola is moving to a promotion in HR at an insurance company.

Dr James Tuck






Dr Tuck has spent his first year as a teacher refining his craft under the experienced watch of Mrs Sue Billings.  Dr Tuck has fascinated his students with his knowledge of history and secured fine results at CE. We wish him well at Rose Hill.

Mrs Abi Petzsch






After one year at St Michael’s Abi is being whisked off to Chicago where her husband is relocating.  In her short time with us, we have enjoyed her calm companionship, her enthusiasm for leading children towards success and her teamwork.

We wish the Petzsch family all the best.

Messrs Brightman and Brightman

Apart from the obvious truth that these are indeed two bright men, we are sorry to be losing both simultaneously.  Steve, who’s been a games coach since Mr Marsden left, is going to train as a teacher and Luke, who’s been a fantastic gapper, is taking up an apprenticeship at a local garage, Oldbury Motors, where he will train as a mechanic. We’ll miss them both tremendously and thank them for all they’ve done.

And Hellos

Kim d’Albertanson – HR Officer






Kim joins the staff as HR Officer in July 2018.
She previously spent 9 years working for KCC – School Information Management System (SIMS) Support Team as a SIMS Consultant. Her responsibilities included:- Personnel, Staff Performance, DFE Statutory Returns, Financial Management System, Dinner Money and Reporting as well as being a qualified IT trainer, providing Consultancies and SIMS Training to schools.

Prior to this, Kim was a Bursar for 13 years at Thurnham Infant School in Maidstone. Her responsibilities included HR, safeguarding, health & safety, school office administration, as well as setting and monitoring the school’s budget.

Kim is married and has one 27 year old daughter, who is a Project Manager for an IT Company in London, and also an aspiring actress, presently being mentored by Amanda Redman MBE.

Before children, Kim was an Operations Manager for HSBC with responsibility for West Kent branches HR, compliance and audit.

Kim loves to travel, swim and is a keen skier, she is very excited to be joining the staff at St Michael’s Prep in July.

Kirsty Mitchell – Reception Teacher










Kirsty has worked with children for many years be it through volunteering at summer children’s camps, participating in holiday clubs or work experience at primary school during her secondary school education. She always knew she was going to be a teacher and this happened three years ago.

She took a degree in Education Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University and then followed with a PGCE in Primary Education (3-7years). She has experience in Reception and Year 2 and for her three years as a teacher, she has focused on Reception and loved every minute of it.

At her previous school she has run netball club for KS2 and art club for Reception. In her spare time she enjoys arts and crafts, yoga, dance and singing.

Kirsty is really excited to be joining St Michael’s in September and can’t wait to meet her new class.

Claire Briggs – Year 2 Teacher (Maternity Cover)






From a very young age Claire knew that her dream profession was to be a teacher. She has been teaching for over 12 years in the UK. Claire has experience in Years 1-6 however the majority of her experience lies within KS1. Whilst teaching in an inner London school, Claire was Head of KS1, Literacy, RWI, Art and Science. For 6 years she was the Assistant Head of a 2 form entry Primary School in London. She completed her teaching degree in South Africa and then converted this to QTS. Whilst at university Claire majored in Art and RE. She loves watching children’s imaginations come alive through their own art. Claire is married and has two children. She enjoys arts and crafts, running, aerobics and gardening. She is extremely excited to be joining St Michael’s in September.

On Monday we welcome our new staff and pupils for Move Up Day and look forward to seeing you at the evening meetings for Pre-Prep and Year 3.

I hope in the meantime you have some fun outside this 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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