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

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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