Head’s Blog 29th March 2019 Friday 29th March 2019

As this Lent term draws to a close I wish you all an excellent and restful Easter holiday.

The pace of the final week of term certainly lends itself to being a great contrast to the upcoming period of rest.

The explosion of talent showcased in the school production of “Emil and the Detectives” met with universal acclaim from all those who were privileged to attend.

Our drama room, with its intimate, raked seating installed became a space transformed to take the audience back to Berlin pre-war.

Parents, siblings, friends of the school, governors and guests were all astonished by the standards achieved by all the children. The ensemble work, the theatricality, the physical techniques, the soundscape, choreography, lighting, set, music and direction were all of the highest quality. As I said to staff, one phenomenal imagination was at work to create this piece with the help of some phenomenally talented children. What was created revealed hours and hours of care, time and commitment from everyone involved and a huge amount of learning. The bringing together of the whole company of supporters and backstage assistants, costume changers, make up and hair artists, bar tenders, and backstage crew, reunited many old friends and we thank them for being part of the team that put on this extraordinary show.

The children were energised, focused, joyful, talented and very mature in their interpretations of their roles. Our pleasure in seeing what they achieved cannot be underestimated, whether in extended, sustained solo performances, such as the roles of Emil, Pony and Mr Snow, or part of the group of children or adults, whether creating movement in a crowd or on a tram, or creating a mood or emotion, the ensemble work was tight and extraordinarily accomplished. Particular thanks go to all those who built the set, designed the programme, procured props and clothes and a particular mention to Rachael Newton who assisted and prompted at all rehearsals, Ali Landgrebe, our wardrobe mistress, and her team, Mary Bridges who choreographed the dancing sequences and ably stood in for a pupil, Emily the producer and congratulations and thanks to Alan Powell for being the best Head of Drama anyone could wish to have and for achieving and enabling something so spectacularly special. Congratulations to every single person involved.

The Cast of Emil and the Detectives

Director Mr A Powell
Producer Miss E Aisher
Stage Manager Mrs R Newton
Assistant Stage Manager Mr J Sabin
Choreographer Mrs M Bridges
Sound Mr T Everett
Lighting Mr J Mitchell
Wardrobe Mistress Mrs A Landgrebe
Assistant Wardrobe Mistress Mrs G Dandeniya
Hair and Make-up Mistress Miss B Campbell
Hair and Make-up Miss H Campbell, Ms K Woods and Mrs O Begg
Set Design Mrs A Begbey
Set Construction Mr B Buggs and the School Estates Team
Props Mrs A Begbey
Programme Mrs L Andrade
Poster and Programme Art Mrs A Begbey
Front of House Manager Mrs L Shield
Bar Mr B Seath and Mr C Shield
The Cast
Ida Tischbein S Edwards-Matthews
Mrs Wirth A Moore
Mr Snow J Crossley
Grandma Tischbein E Ward
Miss Zeittel/Miss Closs T Elliott
Man from the 177 O Goodwin
Mrs Gans A Anglin
Mr Tuesday R Friis
Mrs Tuesday O Crane
Station Master T Sales
Emil Tischbein T Bulley
Pony I Davies
Toots H Soper
Professor R Landgrebe
Tuesday L Blincoe
Hilde E Collings
Helga E Jones
Arnie F Smith
Archie H Plank
Silent Isaac E Hudson
Petzold S Parker-Swift
Gerda S Friis
Berlin Street Kids
N Brown
S Andrade
N Dandeniya
M Lewis
S Ward
V Medlen
Mlle Dubois F Ashdown
Mme Mimi Miss E Balcombe
The Dancers
M Noorpuri
C Prongué
L Fraser
C Sinclair
K Fryer
A Ogle
G Schneider-Price
S Fraser
A Bowyer
L Summers
C Sturges
S Williamson
C M Pape
O Neave
F Arduino
I Gascoyne-Day
Mrs M Bridges
I Neave
L Shi
D El Angbawi
P Singh


Thank you to Mrs S Maltarp, Mrs R Winter, Miss H Darlington, Mrs R Baisch, Mrs J Poracchia and Mr O Chugg.

Thank you to Mr I Smith and the estates team, the office staff, the marketing department and all our parents and members of staff who gave up their time to help with the production of the show.

Last week I gave my last assembly on how to get rid of plastic and took as my theme the birthday party.

I’ve asked the team to put my assembly PowerPoint on the Parent Portal for anyone who would like to see it. Certainly there are some good ideas about recycling wrapping paper, using ribbon instead of Sellotape, so that re-use of the wrapping paper is possible, creating your own decorations, and some funky videos of people doing just that, considering using normal plates and glasses as opposed to themed plastic or waxed paper ones, making your own party bags and putting in them something small and environmentally friendly like a packet of seeds for the child to grow and finally specific advice for parents.

So parents could consider….

  • Getting together as a group to buy or make decorations that don’t use plastic and it could be shared by the year group on a loan basis
  • Abandoning party bags altogether or, if you do have them, making them out of recycled paper
  • Considering cupcakes to take home or something to plant in the garden that attracts insects
  • Asking some parents to come and help wash up your real plates and cups so that the end of the party is not the beginning of your nightmare!

It’s been nice to have such positive feedback from the parents who have taken the time to be in touch about my plastics theme and I know that the children take seriously some of the ideas and wish to incorporate them in your household routines. Later this year I intend to run a short survey about changing plastic use in your house so that I can gauge the impact of talking to children week by week about things that matter to me and to our world.

My theme in my final assembly will touch upon the miracle and the shock of Easter.

The virgin birth and the resurrection are two of the most astonishing stories of all time and in re-visiting them year after year we still can find something fresh to say and to think about from within the depths of these stories. For me, I think my sense of what Easter is about is the bringing of hope. In the depths of despair and at a time in which it seemed that everything had come to a final end, there arose such a miracle that brought new hope, new life and regeneration to the disciples learning from their great teacher.

I hope that Easter is a time for new hope for you and that you can rejoice in the time that you have together.

Our Salzburg trip sets off the day before term starts and I shall be away enjoying the music and culture of this beautiful city and the companionship of your talented offspring. In my absence, my deputies and my secretary Helen will be pleased to help anyone who needs it and I hope that many of you will follow our travels and adventures on my Twitter feed.

I wish you all a very happy Easter holiday.

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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