Weekly Newsletter Friday 15th September 2023

A year at St Michael's banner

From the Head

Dear Parents,

What a brilliant start to the term we have had at St Michael's Prep.

It has been a joy to welcome back you and your children and to welcome the many new families that have joined us this term. Thank you to those of you who have attended our Parent Information Evenings and Coffee Mornings so far and for the warm hand that you have extended to the newest members of our community.

A number of pupils in Year 6 began the term by completing the 11+ (Kent Test) assessment which they approached with much focus and maturity. I am very proud of these children for their hard work leading up to these exams and the determination and perseverance they all showed on the day.

Year 7 celebrated the start of term in style last Friday evening as they gathered on the fields for our annual Year 7 Camp Out. Thank you to Mrs Shield, Mrs Small and Mrs Andrade for hosting this exciting event for our children which featured enough pizza, hot chocolate and karaoke to make memories for a lifetime.

On Wednesday, Year 2 were delighted to welcome a range of exotic species to Stable Court as they enjoyed an interactive animal experience. From snakes to meerkats, the children showed bravery and enthusiasm when holding and touching the animals.

This term we have also welcomed some new members of staff across Pre-Prep and Prep, some of whom are introduced in today's newsletter. We are very grateful to these individuals for choosing St Michael's Prep and look forward to experiencing the positive impact they have on your children's life at our school. During the summer, we also said goodbye to Mr Lopez in the PE Department who has moved on from St Michael's. We thank him for his contribution to the PE Department as well as his involvement in our community sports outreach programme with local primary schools.

Wishing you a great weekend.

Best wishes,

Nik Pears 


From the Head of Pre-Prep


Dear Parents,

It’s so good to have all your children’s voices chattering away in the classrooms and corridors again. There have been so many excited children eager to see their friends in school and trying to bravely walk down the bridge for the first time.

The new Nursery children have completed their settling in sessions and everyone is learning the “goodbye song”. We have new staff in Nursery; Katie Cole, Rebecca Geis and Leanne Grover who have all become part of the Pre-School Team so easily.

Mrs Playell has returned from maternity leave to take a Reception class with Mrs Martin. Congratulations to Mrs Martin who has been Miss Collier but changed her name with the wedding bells over the summer holidays.

In Year 1 we have Jo Tyler in 1FG and Gloria Moffat in 1G who have joined us as Teaching Assistants. Stephanie Hernández is based at Stable Court and has a dual role as Learning Support Assistant with Mrs Newton and as a Teaching Assistant, with Mrs Briggs in the afternoons. Our Pre-Prep Gap Student is Issy Neill, who can remember being in Pre-Prep at the start of her educational journey. Children will also get to know Miss Neill if they are in the Hive after school. We welcome them all and hope they have a happy and fulfilling time at St Michael’s.

Thank you for not parking in the drop-off zone in the morning. I know you understand this is for drop and go, with children who are confident enough to walk down the bridge by themselves in the morning. If your child is likely to have a wobble, please park in the car park.

I hope you all have a good first term in the new school year and if you have any quick questions you can always find me at the top of the bridge in the morning. Otherwise, please make an appointment with the Pre-Prep office if you need a longer discussion.


Overheard in Prep:

Child: "Did you know that coral grows on Great Barry?"


Have a good weekend,


Zerrin Leech


We give a warm welcome to the following members of staff who have joined St Michael's Prep School this term

Peter Ashwell - Peripatetic Music Teacher of Jazz, Pop and Percussion

Petr Ashwell

Peter is a professional drummer and percussionist with experience in a breadth of musical genres. He is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied with members of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Peter has performed and recorded with the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Contemporary Orchestra, has featured on BBC Radio 3 and has performed at the BBC Proms. He has also deputised on the Bodyguard UK Tour and appeared on screen and has recorded music for the Netflix show, Bridgerton. Peter is a dedicated educator, having led ensembles, coached small groups and tutored on a one to one basis. Peter is very much looking forward to joining the team at St Michael’s.

Lucy Brennan - Marketing Gap Student

Lucy Brennan

Lucy has recently graduated with a degree in History from Nottingham Trent University and is joining St Michael’s Marketing Team in the role of a Marketing Gap Student.

She grew up and lives in Sevenoaks. She likes to travel and see live music whenever she can and is an avid reader.

She is excited to be joining the St Michael’s team and looking forward to capturing and endorsing the school’s inspiring ethos.

Katie Cole - Nursery Early Years Practitioner

Katie cole

Katie has worked for a number of years in the city before having her two children, a daughter who has just started secondary school and a son who is at primary school. She lives locally and enjoys walking her dog, Leo, reading a good thriller and going to the theatre. Katie is excited about her new role and getting to know the children who join Nursery this September.

Rosalind Fornasier - Swim School Manager

Rosalind fornasier

Rosalind has been teaching swimming for a number of years: she owns and runs her own swim school which teaches all years from babies to adults and people with various additional needs. Rosalind is also an Aquatic Tutor and has taught many people to become swim instructors. She can teach all levels of swimmers and has experience of supporting children in reaching their full potential. Her own daughters have accomplished swimming at British Championships and Nationals in competitive swimming, as well as being selected for the GB artistic swimming team.

Rosalind is married with three children; two teenagers and one still in primary school. She also has two adorable labradoodles. She enjoys a range of outdoor activities such as paddleboarding, walking and open water swimming. She loves to holiday in the sunshine and relax with a book.

She is very keen to get to know all the St Michael's children and inspire them to share her passion for the water. She believes finding a love for the water is fundamental in learning to swim and her lessons will be delivered so that learning to swim is an enjoyable experience for all.

Becky Geis - Nursery Early Years Practitioner


Becky has worked in early years for 8 years, she has held multiple responsibilities including SENCO and Designated Safeguarding Lead. Becky has 2 nieces and a nephew that she often looks after. Becky likes going to the theatre, spending time with family and friends as well as going to music events. She is looking forward to joining St Michael’s and working with the fantastic team. She is excited to inspire the minds of young children and help them grow and get ready for their journey at St Micheal’s.

Leanne Grover - Nursery Early Years Practitioner

Leanne grove

Leanne has worked in childcare for over 12 years as an Ofsted registered childminder and more recently a nursery practitioner. 

Leanne is married with three children, the eldest being 21, her middle child just starting secondary school and the youngest starting junior school. 

During her spare time, Leanne enjoys long country walks with her lively Cocker Spaniel, spending time with family and travelling to new places. 

Leanne has close family who live along the Kent Coast and many weekends are spent enjoying beach walks and relaxing, especially during the summer weekends. 

Leanne is excited to be joining St Michael’s Prep School, meeting the team and being a part of every children’s learning journey. 

Stephanie Hernández - Teaching Assistant

Stephanie Hernandez Photo

Stephanie has spent the past eight years working within education. She began teaching at a British School in Madrid before completing her teacher training and has since taught for several years across Key Stage 1.

She lives locally with her husband and two year old son who enjoy spending lots of time outdoors. In her spare time, Stephanie likes to have a go at different arts and crafts as well as many sports including football, golf and padel.

She is looking forward to joining the St Michael’s team in September and is very excited to support the children throughout their time in Pre-Prep.

Hazel Ross - Peripatetic Music Teacher of Violin

Hazel Ross

Hazel Ross enjoys a diverse career as a teacher and performer. As well as playing with UK orchestras including BBC and in the West End,  she has toured internationally with her solo show Tango Tzigane and Elektra. Hazel is passionate about music education and combines her teaching and work for the ABRSM with establishing education project across the world. Hazel is delighted to be returning to St Michael’s and was previously Head of Performances at Walthamstow Hall as well as teaching violin and chamber music at Sevenoaks School.


Zohan A for wonderfully neat and accurate work when sequencing monster numbers

Maia B for careful and accurate work when sequencing monster numbers

Allegra F for trying hard at every activity in this first week

Theo A for being such a positive member of the class

Callie L for being a kind and helpful member of our class

Caspar H for being a fantastic role model pupil all week

Lincoln L for a great first week and impressive reading skills

Iona H for lovely pastel work in art

Alexandra O for a great first week at St Michael’s

Isabella S for some brilliant contributions on the carpet and a great start to Year 1

George P for settling into St Michael's so quickly; it feels like he has always been here

Ivan K for thinking of wonderful adjectives in our English lesson

Isla E for being a good friend and setting an excellent example for others to follow

Woody W for using excellent adjectives to describe Sunny the meerkat

Henry M for settling in well to St Michael's

Zaviyar A for settling in well to St Michael's

Charlotte P for fantastic manners all of the time and setting a great example to others

Jude S for excellent enthusiasm and great contribution in all lessons

Aliénor D for excellent participation and attention in French

Willow C for excellent participation and attention in French

Florence W for excellent participation and attention in French

Harvey R for excellent participation and attention in French

Liza V for excellent participation and attention in French


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Players of the Match - week commencing 11th September

Team Name Reason
1st X1 Tolwanimi O Never gave up
2nd X1 Demi W Incredible work rate and good ball control skills
Colts A George W Voted for by opposition
Colts B Nathan H Voted for by opposition
Colts C Silas C Great perseverance and determination
Colts D Thomas D 100% effort and great mid field play
Colts E Max H Great tackling and scored an amazing goal
Colts F Misha B Great attacking runs
Colts G Theo H For great effort and scoring a goal
U9 A Arthur S Bravery in goal and good distribution of the ball.
U9 B Daniel W Great midfield effort
U9 C Winston G Great dribbling and good passing
U9 D Max S Great perseverance and some good shots at goal
U13 A Erica W Voted for by oppositon and excellent in attack
U13 B Tilly L     Voted for by opposition- general all round good play. Also mention to Raffaela Romero and Florence Digweed for good defence and Florence Lindsay and Anouk Carton O’Regan for great defence.
Colts A Alex S Elizabeth A Voted for by opposition and great goalkeeping Excellent play and scoring 2 goals
Colts B Amelia Rose B Brilliant elimination skills
Colts C Grace P Voted for by opposition and outstanding play in attack and defence
Colts D Sophie N Jessica P Outstanding tackling in defence Voted for by opposition
Colts E Lucy T Voted for by opposition and excellent all round good play
Colts F Ellie S Voted for by opposition and scored a fantastic 4 goals!
U9 A Arya G Voted for by opposition
U9 B Krisha P Voted for by opposition
U9 C Isla B Voted for by opposition
U9 D Ivy J Beatrix T Voted for by opposition Coach player- good spacing and attacking skills
U8 A Amy H Great defence and scored a goal
U8 B Olivia B Voted by opposition
U8 C Ella F Elizabeth A Great dribbling and scoring a goal Great dribbling and scoring a goal
U8D Charlotte D Good Defending


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Recent music exam results

We are pleased to share some results from exams taken via video submission that were received during the summer holidays:

Jaylen P ABRSM Singing Performance Grade 7 Pass
Espen A Trinity Classical Guitar Grade 2 Distinction
Alice P MTB Violin Grade 2 Distinction
Abigail S ABRSM Cello Performance Grade 1 Pass

Please see our email of Monday 11th September for details of Prep Music activities. The compulsory rehearsal for Junior Choir, Cantoria and Treble Trouble is on Sunday 26th November (not 30th as stated in the email).


Prep European Day of Languages 2023

Dear Parents,

In the Prep school we will be celebrating European Day of Languages on Tuesday 26th September. We are inviting the children to wear an accessory representing a different country, such as a flag, a flagsticker/drawing, a scarf or ribbon. Please note that children should still wear normal school uniform. The wearing of an accessory is optional but we would love to see everyone celebrating.

During the school day, children will attend an assembly where they will be given the chance to discover some of the 6000+ languages spoken around the world. Teachers will try their best to greet children in a different language and our Catering Team will cook an international meal.

We are also launching a competition and asking pupils to create an A4 poster about why we learn languages. They should submit their entry to the Office by Thursday 21st September.

We look forward to having some multilingual fun.

Kind regards,

Madame Poracchia

Head of Languages

Could your child represent St Michael's for the National Schools Equestrian Association?

Are there any keen show jumpers who would like to represent St Michael's at the NSEA (National Schools Equestrian Association).  The NSEA is the recognised body for equestrianism in schools throughout the UK, providing inter-schools competitions for team and individual riders. Their aim is to promote and encourage the participation in and recognition of equestrian sport within schools in Great Britain. It’s a fantastic way to meet like minded friends in different year groups, doing what they love and competing for the school at the same time. A host of GB riders have competed in NSEA events over the years so if your child has their own horse or pony please get in touch. Competitions will be grass roots show jumping at 40cm and 50cm, held at weekends and holidays so no time off school required. Please contact Flossy Digweed for more information at 07881 931165.


Hive 15th sept collage
The new Eco Club is off to a great start: children explored the school grounds along the nature trail trying to spot wildlife habitats and different birds this week. Leaf skeletons were a particular fascination.
Please remember to continue to recycle used batteries and pop them in the big battery bin near white doors. Last year we collected nearly 3000 batteries as a school community.
We are pleased to announce we have a new member of the Eco Team with Naomi Rose taking on the role as Pre-Prep's Sustainability and Environmental Lead.

Good Schools Guide review

Good schools guide

We recently welcomed The Good Schools Guide to St Michael's Prep to update their review of our school. The Good Schools Guide is the UK's number one school guide, helping parents with every aspect of choosing the best education for their children.

To read the full article, please click here.


Déjà Vu Opening Times

Déjà Vu is open during term time from 8.15-9.15am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
First come, first served so no appointment needed!
Please wait outside to be served.
Déjà Vu is staffed by mums who are volunteers, so please forgive us if occasionally we are late or have to shut for a day due to other commitments.
For enquiries please contact Melissa at melbrand@yahoo.co.uk.


Back to school!

We've had a brilliant start to the Michaelmas Term.
From playing with new friends to experiencing new classrooms, teachers and routines, our first days have been packed with exciting opportunities and lots of sunshine!

First Day collage


Year 7 Camp Out

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The traditional first week Year 7 Camp Out took place on Friday. This year the weather was favourable and we enjoyed very warm temperatures throughout the night.

Parents managed to erect the tents as the children played. With eight new pupils in the year, it was a great opportunity to get to know each other well. We enjoyed our pizza, fizzy drinks and snacks before walking to the top of the Warren. Some Eighties classics were then belted out for the entire population of Otford to hear!

With the onset of darkness, comes the best part of the evening. There was plenty of fun outside the tents until lights out.  Hot chocolate (with marshmallows) before time in tents before sleep…..

At least some of us got some sleep!  I am sure that there was at least one tent that didn’t fall entirely quiet all night. A great start to being in the senior part of the school, Year 7; it was a pleasure being in your company throughout the evening and night. Many thanks to Mrs Andrade and especially to Mrs Small for camping overnight.

Mrs Shield, Years 7 and 8 

First fixtures

Our new Prep pupils and Year 3 experienced fixtures for the first time this week and were brilliant!

IMG 1800

Year 2 Animal Experience

Animal experience collage

On Wednesday the Year 2's came face to face with some very interesting animals. They met a friendly python, had a giant African centipede wiggle along their hands and got to have cuddles with a baby meerkat. This visit gave the children a little taster of what's to come during our 'Amazing Animals' topic.  

Year 8 are iPad-ready

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Year 8 were delighted to receive their individual iPads at the start of term which they will be using to support and enhance their learning this year.


Hive 15th Sept collage (1)

Both the Breakfast Club and The Hive have enjoyed using the sewing machine this week. We have started to make a patchwork group throw for our sofa.

In The Hive we have also been busy designing mosaic wellington boot pictures, constructing cute handprinted hedgehogs and decoupaging 3D letters that when put together spell out the word ‘Harvest’ in preparation for Pre-Prep's Harvest Festival assembly.


Genevieve performs with the National Children's Choir of Great Britain

Old Michalian

We were delighted to hear during the summer that former St Michael's pupil Genevieve performed in a concert at Birmingham Town Hall with the National Children's Choir of Great Britain which she is part of. The concert followed a week's Summer Singing School residential at Bromsgrove School. The concert, spanning difficult pieces and varied genres of choral performance, was a great success and Genevieve was awarded Chorister of the Course (Blue Choir). Commenting on Genevieve's success, her mum Claire said: "Genevieve is fortunate to have enjoyed such wonderful teachers at St Michael's supporting her in her endeavours."


Freddie is crowned Karting Champion

Congratulations to former St Michael's pupil Freddie who has recently been crowned IAME X30 Junior European Champion. Freddie was dedicated to his karting during his time at St Michael's and continues to pursue a very promising career in the sport.


Finlay to represent London in Gymnastics Finals

Gymnastics gold F

We wish Finlay in Year 6 the best of luck representing London at the regional gymnastic finals being held in Birmingham on Saturday 23rd September.

Send us your stories!

Has your child won an award, passed an extra-curricular exam or accomplished something exciting recently? We love celebrating our pupils’ amazing achievements and want to showcase them in our weekly newsletter. Email tusher@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk to submit your child’s achievement.

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Follow us on social media!

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Make sure you are following St Michael’s social media channels for important updates and content throughout the year.