Head’s Blog 25th May Friday 25th May 2018

It’s always sad to say goodbye to people who have been the backbone of the school and I think if you look closely at some of the staff who are retiring and moving you might see that their toes are actually fixed into the ground here!

Carol Bent

After 21 years as a member of staff at St Michael’s Carol Bent is retiring. As I hope you know, retiring from St Michael’s means coming back frequently to help us out with cover! During her time here, first as a parent and then as a member of staff, Carol has been a stalwart member of the English, drama, history, geography and French departments and behind-the-scenes has also supported music and theatre through major organisational and support roles for all productions. She has cheerfully masterminded props, costumes, ticket sales and marketing. Carol goes above and beyond for her form and even though she is now part-time, is always here on important days to support and celebrate. As a teacher she will be remembered for her firm and disciplined classrooms where expectations are high and children learn a great deal. Carol has taken on leadership roles within the staff body and frequently this involved doing the thankless tasks for which I would like now publicly to thank her.

Carol and her husband Dave will be frequent visitors, we hope, and although Carol is officially retiring from the school, we expect to see her frequently! We wish her all the best and hope that she enjoys the opportunities to see her new granddaughter and visit family.

Darryl Edwards and Seppie Chapelle

We shall be sorry to see the departure of Darryl Edwards and Seppie Chapelle, who have been associated with school for almost two decades. Darryl took over the art department and has loved developing his curriculum and showcasing the art created by the children around the school. It has been so good to see him encouraging practising artists to work with the students and a lasting legacy will be the sculptures in the school grounds and the art gallery in the main corridor. In addition to assisting with music trips, Darryl has of course enjoyed building more and more ambitious sets for plays. One of his large- scale music backdrops has found permanent residence in the music room and none of us will forget the final triumph of his set for “ Lord of the Flies “ nor his flashing sets on “Guys and Dolls” and “Joseph”. Darryl made a huge contribution to the combined creative arts tours in the last few years and his work preparing packs and lists and beautiful booklets has been a strength of the tours. He takes up a new role at Hazelgrove Prep School https://www.hazlegrove.co.uk/ and as they move to Somerset we wish them both well.

Seppie worked at the school from 1999 to 2011 and then again since 2015, formerly as Head of French and latterly as Year 3 teacher. She initially joined us as a French teacher and took over as Head of Department in 2001, ably leading the department for a decade. As a French leader, Seppie set up the scheme of work and was fully involved in the musical and theatrical life of the school. Seppie will be remembered for her kindness to her classes, very detailed preparation and creative teaching, not forgetting her love of pink and Chihuahuas.

We wish Seppie good luck with the move and lots of opportunities in her new life in Somerset.

Sue Billings

Sue has been associated with St Michael’s for almost the same amount of time and her children, now grown up and pupils of St Michael’s, brought her here in the first place and here she has stayed to enthuse and to inspire. I have enjoyed seeing Sue take on the leadership role of mentoring NQTs and liaising with training establishments to provide placements for young teachers and we thank her for this invaluable work.

Sue is extremely organised and has high expectations of her pupils, whether that be on the netball court or in the French classroom. It has been good to see her play an active role in chapel life also. Sue is looking forward to being able to follow the magnificent careers of her very successful children and we wish her well as she sets off around the world in their pursuit.

Rachel Martin

After just over five successful years at St Michael’s, in which Rachel joined the senior leadership team, challenged her colleagues to make provision for and understand better the additional needs of children and saw her own son join us and flourish, Rachel is moving nearer to home to a parallel role in Holmewood House School. In her time here we have undergone a great deal of training together and are wiser and better equipped for it. Rachel has championed the voice of those with additional needs and at her very successful AEN evenings at which children and parents have spoken with eloquence and humour about the barriers to learning that they have overcome, we have all benefited from listening and learning.

We thank Rachel for all the development she has brought about and wish her every success and a little more time at home in the mornings in her new school.

Lauren Pearce

Lauren Pearce is taking the plunge to move abroad and work at Repton, Dubai. Lauren came to us as a newly-qualified teacher four years ago and I could barely contain my wish to offer her the role within the interview itself. She has not disappointed and in a very short time became a leader and a mentor to others.

Lauren’s wisdom belies her youthful years and she combined international competitive sport with excelling in the classroom and on the sports field and we shall miss her.

The wonders of modern technology of course mean that we may be able to add her school to our international links and stay in touch. I fervently hope so. Lauren goes with all our good wishes for this next exciting phase of what is clearly already a stellar career.

Head of Learning Development

I am delighted to let you know that Ms Lucinda Cook has been appointed to the Senior Leadership Team as Head of Learning Development.

When Lucinda joined the staff, her fantastic reputation preceded her and it has been wonderful to see the impact that she and Louise Medd have had on their own class and on the small groups for whom they have run interventions.

As I worked with Lucinda closely this past year, I’ve very much enjoyed the humour and intuitive ways in which she encourages children to be resilient, self-aware and take risks in their learning.  Lucinda has a wealth of experience and training in EAL, Gifted & Talented, working with parents and holds a qualification in counselling, dyslexia and Mental Health.  It is pleasing that this in-house appointment allows extensive handover between Rachel and Lucinda.

I congratulate her on this appointment and look forward to her joining the senior team.

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.”

Weekly eNewsletter