Head’s Blog 23rd March 2018 Friday 23rd March 2018

To say that last week’s school production of “Lord of the Flies” was exceptional would be an understatement. Eleven talented young people aged from Year 5 to Year 8 evoked an intense journey through a panoply of emotions, as the youngsters crash landed on a beautiful but remote island and jostled for position in their new tribal environment.

The set, stunningly designed by Mr Edwards and assembled by a team over days can be seen on our time-lapse video on Facebook.

Onto that site strode some self-assured performers who, with maturity, created a sense of intensity and violence and explored fully and dramatically and with great talent, tribal behaviour.

As a reflection on society, leadership, the nature of followers and social manoeuvring, the play’s themes would have been well placed in a senior school environment. It was all the more impressive that these children created such mature characterisations at such a young age.

Congratulations to every child and adult involved in making this production happen and especially to Mr Powell and the cast.

This week has again been intensely packed with goodies for all year groups. It was lovely to see the support for our mental health charity day today through our home clothes wearing in Prep. Perhaps more lovely were the conversations between year groups who were mixed together over lunch to discuss various aspects of well-being and chew the fat across the year groups.  I was lucky enough to do some chewing of another kind as I tasted the scrumptious scones and cakes at the Year 2 afternoon tea. We all sat down to a beautiful spread baked by the children, served by the children and masterminded by our very own Sally Beesley. What a treat.

Sadly I could not make the swimming gala, the Year2/3 transition maths challenge morning nor the Macbeth workshop led by West End in Schools.  All these treats bring learning to life and I just wish I was a pupil here very often!

We shall be sorry that Mrs Halfacre is leaving us from Reception this Easter. We thank her for the work she has done and wish her well as she returns to full-time mothering. We are delighted to welcome back Anna Collier in her place. She is a most experienced practitioner and wonderful team member, who gave first class teaching in Kindergarten during the Michaelmas term.

Anna has been teaching in Early Years for 10 years in a variety of schools in Kent.  She spends the summer months working some days at the local “Castle Farm”, where she works in The Hop Shop or with the lovely lavender, hops and apples.  In her spare time, she enjoys kayaking, running and swimming, as well as travelling to many interesting countries around the world.

As the term draws to its close, the ski trip will be setting off this weekend and we wish them a safe and sporty, snowy stay.

Our next newsletter will be on Thursday, the last day of this term and we look forward to the many treats ahead of us next week. I’m looking forward to our primary school orchestra day on Monday and perhaps even spotting the Easter Bunny.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend enjoy yourselves.

Jill Aisher

Latest News



On Wednesday, November 27 Year 5 and 6 pupils took part in a Spelling Bee hosted by Mrs Andrade and Mrs Baisch.

Challenged with spellings such as synonymous, counterfeit, and accommodation, it was an extremely close competition with many tense rounds.

Winner of the Spelling Bee, Moyo in Year 6, triumphed with her correct spelling of the word ‘conscience’.

Commenting on her success, Moyo said: “I really enjoyed taking part in the Spelling Bee and was really surprised to win.

“It was challenging as there were some words I’d never heard of, but it was fun to guess the spellings of these words and apply what I knew about other spellings to my answers.”

“It was great to take part in the competition with my friends.”

Two former St Michael’s pupils have been selected for the final phase of the England Under 16 Hockey Assessments.

Lottie Bingham and Anna Faulstich, who attended St Michael’s until July 2017, have remained great friends and play hockey together at HC Knole Park.

Lottie said “ I loved playing hockey at St Michael’s and I am delighted that Anna, my best friend , has joined me in the England training programme that I was also selected for last year. We are both very jealous that St Michael’s now have a wonderful, new astro pitch at school!“

Both girls were also members of the successful Year 6 St Michael’s who won the regional IAPS and came 5th in the National Finals .

Congratulating the girls on their achievement, Mr Thomas, who taught them at St Michael’s, said: “We are extremely proud of Lottie and Anna and all they have achieved since they left St Michael’s. They were extremely hardworking in all their sports at school and it is great to hear that they have taken their hockey to such a high level. We look forward to hearing how they get at the trials and someday welcoming them back to play on our new pitch.”

Many congratulations to Lottie and Anna, St Michael’s wishes them the best of luck in the next phase of assessments.

A former St Michael’s student has been awarded an Honorary Sports Scholarship to support her excellence in athletics.

Harriet Medlen, who attended the school between 2011 and 2018, has received the scholarship from Sevenoaks School.

Harriet, who is in Year 9 at Sevenoaks School, said: “My time at St Michael’s helped me to develop my love of sport especially athletics and hockey. I have very happy memories of sports days and Mrs Wade taking me to IAPs athletics competitions. I am very grateful to all the teachers at St Michael’s for their encouragement during my time there. I am proud to have achieved a sports scholarship at Sevenoaks School and I am looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.”

And commenting on Harriet’s success, St Michael’s teacher Mrs Wade said: “It is great to hear that Harriet has been awarded an Honorary Sports Scholarship from Sevenoaks School. We are extremely proud of what she has achieved since leaving St Michael’s. Harriet is an excellent games player and an outstanding athlete. She was very hardworking in her sports at St Michael’s and it is great to hear that she continues to achieve highly. Well done, Harriet!”

Don’t judge a book by its cover, it’s the first chapter that holds all the secrets!

                                                       Year 6 and Mrs Yarrow pose with some of the First Chapter Friday books.


“Good readers, make excellent writers.” says St Michael’s Library Assistant, Helen Yarrow, who has launched an exciting reading initiative in the Prep school this term. 


Mrs Yarrow, who joined the St Michael’s team in September 2020, is passionate about books and believes children should read a variety of genres and authors before they choose what’s best for them.


Keen to implement this strategy at St Michael’s, Mrs Yarrow has introduced First Chapter Friday, a project designed to get pupils reading a range of books, rather than the same authors, characters and storylines over again. 


First Chapter Friday sees pupils receive a list of 10 books, suited to the reading proficiency of their year group, each term. Every Friday, pupils read the first chapter of a new book with their form groups before deciding whether to continue reading it in their own time.


Mrs Yarrow said: “The aim of First Chapter Friday is to help the children find a book they really want to read. 


“By exposing the children to books that they wouldn’t normally pick off the bookshelf, it introduces them to a range of subjects, and inevitably fosters their love of reading.”


Helen added: “Some form groups choose to read the chapter independently during the sessions, some listen to their form teachers reading the chapter, and some take turns to read different paragraphs.”


“By inviting pupils to read sections of the chapter out loud, the form tutors are also helping to develop the pupils’ language acquisition and public speaking skills. The challenge has many benefits to it.”



Titles on this term’s First Chapter Friday lists include both fiction and non-fiction books spanning a variety of themes and genres. 


One popular title is  Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill, which Sean C from Year 6 describes as “extremely interesting”. He added: “I really enjoy Shackleton’s Journey because it takes you on an adventure, showing you how Shackleton’s crew survived and what they encountered along the way.


“My favourite part of the book is where it describes how they escaped their sinking ship.


“Since reading it with my form during First Chapter Friday, I’ve enjoyed coming to the library to read more of it at break and lunch times.”



And explaining the planning process behind First Chapter Friday, Mrs Yarrow said: “I create the reading lists using recommendations from websites such as Love Reading for Kids as well as my own research.


“I try to ensure the First Chapter Friday books are 2020 titles to keep them in tune with modern authors and contemporary ideas.”


“This term I’ve included a range of titles focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History, as well as those written by black authors. Such books include The Faraway Truth by Janae Marks, Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly, and The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley.”


She added: “First Chapter Friday encourages form groups to discuss the different topics linked to each book. It is designed to make the sessions an interactive experience which is both fun and educational for the children.” 



Other favourites from Mrs Yarrow’s reading lists include The Battle of Bubble and Squeak by Philippa Pearce, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson. 


Mrs Yarrow said: “Different pupils gravitate towards different books, but there have been some very clear favourites.”


She continued: “I get the children to read the first chapter of the book as it’s in these pages that the author establishes the hook of their novel. 


“Friday Chapter Friday helps pupils recognise the importance of a first chapter and shows them various ways they can make their writing engaging.


“One of the main aims of the initiative is to inspire the children to write their own stories.”

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