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Posted on: 17/11/2017

News - Friday 17th November 2017

The school has been a riot of yellow and spots today as we have raised money for Children in Need. The children of 6D presented a most thought-provoking and moving assembly to tell us all about the charity and to thank the St. Helen's College community for their fundraising efforts. With 'live' reports from the BBC, an entertaining mime performance from Pudsey himself, a very moving video clip about a family living with disability and a super whole-class rendition of 'The Climb', the assembly served as a reminder of how lucky we are and how important it is that we show kindness and compassion towards those less fortunate. Raffles were held at Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School and we thank all parents who allowed their children to buy raffle tickets. The winners were absolutely delighted to be presented with a selection of prizes including Pudsey and Blush bears and ears and the much sought-after Giant Pudseys. Congratulations, winners! We are delighted to announce that, at the latest count, the school community has raised £1155.95 for the charity. These funds go directly to helping children in need. You can see photos of the day's colourful fun on our Galleries page. Senior Prefect Team Morning Tea Our Senior Prefect Team enjoyed morning tea with Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Stark on Thursday in the Evans Hall. Soula had baked some delightful goodies for the children to enjoy, and Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Stark very much enjoyed spending time with the senior team. You can see photos of the event on our Galleries page. Old Helenian Success Old Helenian Elsie G-J, who now attends Haberdasher's Aske Girls' School, has just won her first poetry recitation competition at senior school! Elsie's parents sent in a lovely note to let us know of Elsie's success, and added, 'We would like to thank St. Helen's College for helping Elsie to build a solid foundation in developing her public speaking skills. From growth mindset classes to poetry recitals and amazing assemblies, all of which have given Elsie the courage, confidence and enthusiasm to grow and enjoy presenting'.  Congratulations, Elsie! Pupil Photos - Thursday 23rd & Friday 24th November Individual and sibling photographs will be taken next week, as follows: Thursday 23rd November - Upper School pupil photographs and optional sibling photographs Friday 24th November - Lower School pupil photographs and optional sibling photographs Monday 27th November - Ducklings pupil photographs Individual pupil photographs will be taken during the school day. In addition, if you have two or more children at the school and would like to have a photograph taken of the siblings together, please bring them to either the Upper School hall from 7.45 a.m. on Thursday or the Lower School hall from 7.45 a.m. on Friday. You should stay with your children while you wait for your sibling photograph to be taken, and then deliver them to their school site as usual for registration. Please do encourage your children to wait patiently for their sibling photograph and to be ready when called, so that we may get through the sibling photographs as efficiently as possible. Please ensure that all children wear full, correct winter school uniform on the day(s) of their photograph(s). PE/Games/Sports Club kits, if needed, should be brought into school and the children will be able to change after their photographs have been taken. Switch Off Fortnight Switch Off Fortnight runs this year from Monday 20th November to Sunday 3rd December. Class eco rep's will be making posters to promote 'switching off', which will be displayed around the school. Children at Lower School and Upper School will hear assemblies launching the idea of 'switching off' to save energy, and there will be a focus on trying to find the most 'Eco friendly class of the week'.  Pupil Eco Reps will be checking throughout the week to see whether doors are closed when classrooms are not in use (to save heat), lights are off (when appropriate), whiteboards are switched off when not in use etc.  We will also be attempting to reduce our electricity use by not using interactive whiteboards at all on the morning of Wednesday 29th November. The winner of the most Eco-friendly class competition will be announced in assembly on Friday 31st November. There will also be ten facts hidden around the Upper School playground, and Upper School children will have until Thursday 30th to find the facts and fill out their form. Completed forms should be handed to class teachers and children will be rewarded with a sticker. At Lower School and Ducklings, facts will be displayed for children, parents and staff to read. We look forward to working together to be Eco-friendly and to educate our pupils about how to reduce energy waste in their day to day lives. Y3/4 Christmas Play - Important Arrangements for All Year Groups The Y3/4 Christmas Play will be performed on Wednesday 6th December at 7.00 p.m. at the Winston Churchill Hall in Ruislip. Please note the change of date. Tickets are now on sale and you should book early to avoid disappointment by following this link. There is also a link to the booking system on the school diary entry for the event. Wed 6th Dec - Rehearsal for Y3 & 4 all day at the Winston Churchill Hall. Children (Years 3 & 4 only) will travel to and from the theatre by coach, leaving after registration. Packed lunches will be provided by school. Weds 6th Dec - 'When Sasha Got Swept Up The Chimney' performance at the Winston Churchill Hall at 7 p.m.  Children who are performing should arrive by 6:45 p.m. Thurs 7th Dec - All children (Nursery - Y6) will watch another performance of the play. We would like parents to drop children at the Winston Churchill Hall (Pinn Way, Ruislip) between 8:00 and 8:40 a.m. on this day, as there will not be time to ferry them by coach from school. Children in Years 3 & 4 will have costume photographs taken by Tempest after the show. All children will return to school by coach in time for lunch, and school will finish at the normal time.   Uniform Reminder In order to maintain the lovely high standards for which St. Helen's College is known, please ensure that your children arrive at school in full school uniform. If wearing normal school winter uniform, they should always wear their felt cap or black velour hat to arrive at school. Woolly hats may be brought into school for wearing at break/lunch times and with PE kits. If wearing PE kit to school, tracksuits should be worn over the PE top/shorts. Whatever they are wearing, children should make every effort to look as smart as possible at all times. Shirts should be tucked in, shoes shined, collars and ties straightened, hair brushed and hats worn straight and with pride please! Thank you, as always, for your support in helping your children to represent their school with pride. Friday 15th December - Funtasia Arrangements Term ends on Friday 15th December. We would like to give parents early warning that Holiday Club will be running on this day up to 4.45 p.m. only. 
Posted on: 17/11/2017

Head's Blog - Time To Talk

Over the past couple of weeks, many other Independent Prep School Heads have contacted me as part of our collaborative network to discuss what we offer our pupils in terms of personal development and in particular additional pastoral support for children who may benefit from further nurturing.  We are very fortunate here at St. Helen’s College that all our staff go that extra mile for each and every pupil at the school but we also do have our very own special listener for the children, Mrs. Brooker. It occurred to me that this is one of the many excellent things that happen at school every day, but of which parents might be unaware. From time to time, children may feel that they need to speak to someone about something that is bothering them. Whilst class teachers allow time for children to talk through a programmed timetable of one-on-one tutorials as well as being available whenever needed, we offer an additional service at St. Helen’s College whereby Mrs. Brooker can make some time for children to explore how they are feeling. In addition to her role as a Teaching and Learning Assistant, Mrs. Brooker provides a pastoral role in the form of Time to Talk sessions. She has completed a Certificate in Counselling Skills course at level 2 and is currently undergoing a level 3 training course in Counselling Studies at Brookfield Adult Education Centre. Children can self-refer for Time to Talk sessions via a green card in the red letterbox in the hall, or they may be referred by their class teacher directly. Once Mrs. Brooker receives a green card, she arranges some time to see the child. Initial meetings with the child involve asking what brings them to the session and how they are feeling. Children are offered a range of simple activities (colouring, Lego, Play Doh) to help them feel comfortable in sharing and exploring their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. An assessment of the child’s needs is discussed with the class teacher and additional time slots are made available during lunch times where necessary. In addition to children being listened to in an empathic manner, sessions may involve instruction in relaxation exercises, such as mindfulness, breathing techniques or resetting energy dials. The sole focus of attention is on the wellbeing of the child. Literature on the various exercises may be sent home for further practice. We are most fortunate to have Mrs. Brooker on our staff. It is quite unique for a stand alone Prep School to offer a bespoke service to support the mental health and personal development of pupils in this way.  Next Friday, Mrs. Crehan and I will be attending a Mental Health Conference in Oxford with some very reputable speakers and practitioners. I am sure the day will be very valuable and that we will glean some new ideas and make new connections. However, I also have every confidence that, with what we already offer through our holistic approach to education and our creative curriculum, we will find that St. Helen’s College is already strides ahead in this area! Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 10/11/2017

News - Friday 10th November 2017

The school has had a day of reflection and gratitude, remembering those who gave their lives in conflict to ensure the safety and freedom which we so often take for granted today. We joined together for a silence at 11 o'clock to remember the fallen, and we have all been wearing our poppies with pride. Oak Farm Librarian Visits Nursery Earlier in the week, a librarian from the Oak Farm Library visited our Nursery classes to talk to the children about the many different books that they can borrow from the library. She explained how to look after books and talked to the children about how we should behave inside a library. The librarian sang songs and read two wonderful stories to Nursery, which are still being talked about by the children now! Chamber Choir Recording Our Chamber Choir made a recording yesterday as their entry for the national Barnado's competition, which the school enters each year. We have reached the final twice in recent years and are hoping to repeat this success! This year's pieces are the beautiful 'Can You Hear Me?' by Bob Chilcott and 'Thank You For The Music' by ABBA. Should we reach the final again, the Chamber Choir will be signing along to the 'Can You Hear Me?' piece. The finals, as usual, will take place at the Royal Festival Hall in March. We will find out in January if the Chamber Choir has made it through. Do wish us luck! Girls' Football Tournament Our girls' football team took part in the School Games District Schools football tournament held at Hillingdon Leisure Complex this week. Fourteen teams from our local area took part and the St. Helen's College team drew girls from Years 4, 5 and 6. Games were very short - lasting only 6 minutes - so our girls had to get off to a flying start and they did just that! In their first match again Cowley St Laurence they won 3 - 0 and in their second match against St. Bernadette's they won 4 - 0. In their final match they faced Oak Farm in a very competitive match. The St. Helen's College team had lots of shots on goal, but it was Oak Farm who scored to win the game 1 - 0. Well done to all the girls who took part in the tournament: Ryeesa, Kyra, Hebe, Ionie, Aaria, Rhea A-V, Lily, Maya S and Abigail. You can see a photo of the girls on the Galleries page. Upper School Parents' Evening Thank you to those parents who attended the Upper School parents' evenings this week. It was a pleasure to see so many of you and we hope that you found your consultations useful. Children in Need Tog Day and Raffle As usual, the school will be supporting Children in Need this year and hoping to raise some money for this most worthwhile of charities. The children of 6D are taking responsibility for running the fundraising for this event and have been making posters to display throughout the school. Next Friday, 17th November, all children and staff are invited to wear 'spoctacular spots' and/or yellow clothes to school. There is a suggested donation of £2 per child for this tog day, but any donations will be most gratefully received. There will Children in Need raffles running at all sites, with prizes as follows: Upper/Middle School: 1 large Pudsey Bear and 1 small Blush Bear Lower School: 1 large Pudsey Bear and 1 small Blush Bear Ducklings: 2 small Blush Bears There will be also be several runner up prizes including small bears, Pudsey/Blush ears and pens. Tickets will be sold next week, from Monday 13th November, and will be priced at £1 each. Please do encourage your children to bring in some money to buy raffle tickets, either from the school office or from our Year 6 children at break times. Many thanks, as always, for your support for those less fortunate. PA Christmas Fair 2017 11.30am - 4.30pm, Sunday 3 December 2017 Can you believe that Christmas is just 6 weeks away and it's just 3 weeks until the PA Christmas Fair? This year, instead of year group parties, the PA has organised a fete where the children will have an entertainer and some food and will be able to meet Father Christmas. The added bonus this year is that there will be a huge range of stalls selling items that the parents can buy - so you can get a bit of Christmas shopping done while you're there. To make this event the best day out for all of our children, the PA is looking for some volunteers who would be willing to help out on the day for varying times between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. This could involve anything from setting up/clearing up the hall to a shift as Santa: 9 x Santa’s Helpers for a 1½ hour shift each (uniform provided). Helpers to run stalls. If you would like to volunteer, please contact us at pa@sthelenscollege.com with your name, contact details, what you would like to do and the times that you are available.  All help will be welcome.    Finally, if you have any good quality Christmas decorations or Christmas trees that you would be prepared to let us borrow for the day, please contact us at  pa@sthelenscollege.com. Thank you. Old Uniform If any parents have any school uniform items which are no longer being used, we would be grateful if you would consider donating them either to raise funds for the PA or to charity. Parents are asked to bring items to the school office. Branded items in good repair will be sold by the PA in second hand uniform sales, which will hopefully take place at school once a term from now on - please keep an eye out for news of when these will take place. We also now have a system for sending uniform directly to a school in India, where it will help to clothe children who need it, so unbranded items and any branded items which do not sell will be sent off to India. St. Helen's College children will, in due course, be able to see pictures of their uniform being worn in the Indian school. The cost of shipping uniform will be £3.50 per kilo, so if any parent would like to donate towards this, please hand contributions in to the school office, in an envelope labelled Uniform Charity.   We hope you will agree that it will be useful for St. Helen's College parents to have access to regular second hand uniform sales, and that donating clothes to an Indian school is a very worthwhile venture. We also hope that you will be able to dig out plenty of old uniform as the months and years go by, and that this will help you to declutter! Thank you very much, in advance, for your support in this endeavour.
Posted on: 10/11/2017

Head's Blog - Festive Shopping

It is only the 10th of November and I can hardly believe that we are already being bombarded by the commercial aspect of Christmas. On the high street, on the television, on the radio and online, advertisements and commercials are vying for position for the top gifts for this year!  I am not against the giving and receiving of gifts at Christmas, but it can be rather extreme and intense, especially when we are only in early November!  So….I thought to myself, if you cannot beat them (which we won’t) then why not join them! Do read on to find some of my top recommendations for your children – gifts to keep the learning active, interesting and fun! For those of you who celebrate Christmas, there are great stocking fillers and games which will improve the skills which your child can then apply to their learning in school.  And for those families who do not celebrate Christmas, well, who needs an excuse to play games with your children which will enhance their learning? Mainly for younger children, Nursery to Year 4: Orchard Toys – a British based company from which I have purchased many superb games over the years for schools and as gifts. The maths and literacy games are particularly good; it is hard to choose my favourites as I rate them all. https://www.orchardtoys.com/dept/orchard-toys-games_d012.htm The Early Learning Centre – still an all time favourite; although the high street stores have disappeared, thankfully their online store is still stocking some of my favourites. The weighing scales learning game and numerous jigsaw puzzles never go amiss. https://www.elc.co.uk/puzzles-games-and-gifts/learning-games/ For older primary school children: The Happy Puzzle Company – I only wish I had discovered this company earlier, but over the past six years I have rated this highly for pupils in the early stages of developing their spatial awareness and logical thinking skills. There are so many games which will develop the cognitive ability of young pupils in a concrete and interactive way.  https://www.happypuzzle.co.uk/categories/improve-specific-skills/visual-perception.aspx Bright Minds - On the Bright Minds site, you can search by style of game (Maths, English, Science, Tech…) and by age, making it easy to find games and investigation kits suitable for your child. ​https://www.brightminds.co.uk Some books to consider for Year 4 upwards: Descriptosaurus – pupils soon become hooked on this book and, with its useful CD to accompany the book, your child’s writing skills and use of vocabulary will certainly improve. My copy of the book is currently being enjoyed in Year 6 – but I highly recommend this for Year 5 too. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Descriptosaurus-Supporting-Creative-Writing-Ages/dp/0415640865    - Mrs. Wordsmith - The name says it all! The six month subscription comes with a book every month for six months. They include a total of 10,000 excellent words and it looks brilliant. It comes with practice cards, a reference folder and daily activities too - perfect for Year 5! https://www.mrswordsmith.com/ Buster Books - I spotted these books being carried around school by our Year 5 pupils and have tracked them down online. Our library has a copy, but these should be a ‘must have’ for all pupils. The English book is called 'Write Every Time' and the maths book is 'From Zero to Infinity' http://www.busterbooks.co.uk/  Mr. Thorne’s resoruces – Mr. Thorne’s YouTube videos and apps are a great resource for all ages. They help to develop phonic skills in the early years, and progress to spelling, grammar and comprehension apps to improve skills for pupils up to Year 6. https://www.mrthornenetwork.com Do take a look at some of the sites I have recommended. If you like what you see, I hope that your stocking fillers may have a more educational slant this year.  I am sure that your children will not be disappointed, and nor will you! HAPPY SHOPPING! I would love to hear what you have purchased. Mrs. Drummond
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