St Michaels Prep School

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St Michael’s Prep School

The Joy & Wonder of Learning

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St Michael’s Prep School, is nestled away in the quaint village of Otford, standing in over 90 acres of impeccable grounds. The main school is a Victorian mansion with the most outstanding views of the Kent countryside.

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St Michael’s has the most incredible history. The school was founded In 1872 by Father Arthur Tooth as an orphanage. In 1925 the School moved to its current site with with just 50 male pupils and a handful of staff. Today sees a different story as it has embraced being a co-educational school with more than 400 pupils.

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As soon as you walk through the stunning doors of the mansion, you are greeted by an incredibly historic reception area, which leads through to a very well laid out school. A first glimpse of any classroom activity is the main school library, which takes in the stunning views of the Kent countryside. A wonderful room for the children to escape into their book reading and essay writing. The library also has it own school librarian.

 

School Life

The mansion houses Years 3 to 8, whilst a new Year 2 block in the historic stables is currently being planned for the future. Nursery,Reception, kindergarten, Year 1 and 2 are in a modern purpose-built, horseshoe shaped building within the school grounds. The whole layout of the school and grounds has been thoroughly thought out and seriously works for smooth transitions throughout the years.

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Years 3 and 4 have their own floor within the mansion, including their own libraries, whereas the older Years 5 – 8 move rooms for their lessons, leading them to take ownership and to get them ready for their senior years.

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There’s a science block with their very own Mr Bones! Science is not just carried out in the laboratory class rooms, there is a hands-on outdoor area too, with a newly installed pond and nature area.

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The art facilities are incredible and the standard of work is too.

Music is a love here at the school, with a state of the art teaching music room, along with smaller music rooms for 1:1 lessons. St Michael’s prides itself in being one of the only Prep schools in Kent to organise foreign music tours (inclusive of performing concerts); locations for these have included, Lake Maggiore and Milan, Bruges and Vienna, this year the pupils are visiting Venice.

There are plenty of other school trips available for the children to go on too, taking in various aspects of the education syllabus.

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The Children

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St Michael’s listens to their pupils, their views,  opinions, and ideas. Not only does Jill (the Headteacher) sit down and have lunch with her pupils, she also joins in with their conversations and listens to what they have to say. The pupils also have their own post box where they can write down and post their thoughts and views, which are looked through regularly by Jill: for example when the children have wet play they wanted a greater variety of board games. The money was raised by various fundraisers, thanks to the Parent & Friends organisation, and new games were bought.  The children also host some of their own lunchtime clubs, including a Coding Club within the ICT suite, and a Minecraft Education Club run by their Digital Leaders. The pupils also publish their own in-house newspaper Junior Journal. What I really love is that the children also get to interview potential new staff, what a fabulous idea this is!

 

Working With Others

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St Michael’s works very closely with a school in China and next year will hopefully add two more schools to its global community in Texas and Tanzania. What a fantastic opportunity for both sets of pupils which will provide a wider platform for later on in life.

Facilities

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The facilities at St Michael’s are second to none. There are the usual football, rugby and cricket pitches, all being hosted by a delightful pavilion. There are  tennis courts, a whole cross country area, along with the woodland, a wildlife area including a new pond, and then there’s the adventure playground. The school is constantly maintaining and improving their facilities.

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Its not just their outdoor facilities which are above and beyond, but their indoor ones too, which include an impressive indoor sports hall and a incredible swimming pool area.

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The indoor sports area has its own wall of fame celebrating former pupils who have gone on to achieve incredible things. This includes most recently, the fabulous Olympic Gold Medal winner Lizzy Yarnold and Tom Bosworth who recently broke the world record for Race Walking. 

Academic results

St Michael’s gives the option of staying at the School until Year 8 and, with the fact the school is located close to Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Surrry, there are an abundance of senior schools to choose from.  St Michael’s also prepares the children to take the 11+. And, there’s a fantastic level of pupils who receive scholarships onto their senior school places. However there is no pressure to take the exams if these are not right for the child, and there are plenty of independent and local schools within the surrounding area.

For The Younger Children

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St Michael’s welcomes children as young as two, to their purpose-built Nursery which is open for children from 2 year old’s. Again the facilities, the layout and activities held here for the children are above and beyond; there’s plenty of outdoor play along with arts and crafts, music and sport facilities too. Each year adapts to the children growing and learning, ready for a smooth transition to Reception. Year 1 and 2 is also found in the Pre-Prep building, with Year 2 getting their own brand new facilities in the future, as the old stable block is being converted preparing them for the progression into the prep school. A new Reception class is also being opened in September 2018.

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The Hive

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St Michael’s realises how difficult it can be to tie in school hours with working hours and therefore offers pupils a Breakfast Club from 7.30am, inclusive of breakfast from Reception to Year 8 and an after school club until 7pm, inclusive of high tea at 5.30pm.

Both of these clubs are situated in The Hive where children can participate in general activities, such as board games,  arts, crafts, and quizzes.  A wonderful environment, where the children can have fun exploring, creating and socialising; if they have homework, then there is an area where they can focus on their studies.

With Otford Station literally just down the road with good links to London, this provides to be a precious and fantastic service to many parents.

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Headmisstress and Staff

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Jill Aisher, the head of St Michael’s is a very warm and an approachable and friendly lady; there are no unnecessary airs and graces about her or her staff, they genuinely listen, welcome you and want to tell you about what is going on their wonderful and unique school, and rightly so. This relaxed and friendly approach clearly rubs off on the pupils as they too are polite and eager to tell you more about what they get up too and what their favourite parts of school are. Jill and her team are very much focused on listening to the children and helping and supporting them whenever needed. There is a very hands on approach here and Jill clearly loves to be involved with the children and their ideas, not just a lady sitting behind her desk enjoying the views-although they are spectacular!

The school is incredibly enchanting as you walk round. The views are incredible, the grounds are simply superb and the children are friendly, keen to talk about what they are learning and simply enthused by their educational journey.

Whether your child is sporty, academic or musical, each child is given opportunities to make a difference to their school, and St Michael’s recognises that each child is an individual and aims to promote their happiness, self-confidence and well-being as a member of a caring community.

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All in All

A well run fabulous school in stunning grounds.

The school moto: “Perseverance, Wisdom, Gratitude”

encapsulates the cornerstones of this education.

For more  information on St Michael’s Prep School either click through to their website or contact Jane Thornton, who can can book you in for a private tour or chat to you about any questions you may have.

Telephone – 01959 522137

email –   jthornton@stmichaels.kent.sch.uk

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Helen Manchip

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