It was 'all hands on deck' during our swashbuckling pirate-themed HOAC-based summer school this year. Team building activities, a variety of watersports, karting, caving, climbing, abseiling, fencing and a low ropes challenge were completed throughout the week. The children were enjoying themselves so much on the water they wanted the teachers to join in too so they donated their Friday 'tuck money' to Relay for Life to be able to push Ms Walker, Ms Turner and Mr Bustard into the lake. They raised an amazing £70 so got to push them in not once but twice!
Please read carefully the following notes about traffic and parking.
a) Nursery, Reception, Year 1 Parents
Long Lane can be very busy at the beginning and end of the school day, and you might not be able to park close to the school. Please take great care not to block residents’ drives, and do not park or turn on the Methodist Church forecourt or car park. If you wish to ‘drop and go’ at the kerbside, then Mrs. Hunter (one of our School Patrols) will take the children straight into school safely.
b) Year 2 - 6 Parents
In the mornings we have a ‘drop & go’ point outside the Upper School in Parkway. Simply pull up, the prefects on duty will help your child out of your car and close the door, and you can drive away without getting out. If you do wish to get out, or to come into school with your child, then please park in the car park at the end of Parkway – do not hold up traffic by getting gout of your car outside the school to unpack the boot etc. In the afternoons, please park in the car park and walk down to meet your child at the entrance. Please do not park in Parkway.
To avoid driving down Parkway (which can get congested) in the mornings, you may drop your children at the supervised ‘drop & go’ point outside Windsor (227 Long Lane), and let them walk through the garden to school. Similarly, in the evenings you can pick up from the same place, where your child will be supervised by Mrs. Couto until you arrive. But please do not arrive early and block a parking space – these are sorely needed by the Lower School parents. Please arrive a 5/10 minutes after your child’s class ends so that you can collect and go without needing to park.
c) Parents with children on both sites
In the mornings, you can avoid having to park twice by parking in the Parkway car park and walking your Lower School child through the playground and garden and across the zebra. The Windsor gate closes at 8:40 a.m. so don’t chat for too long before returning!
d) Other hints
You can help greatly to reduce congestion in many ways. For example:
· If parents of older children arrive early in the afternoons to bag a parking space, they deny spaces to parents of younger children. This is most unhelpful and causes congestion.
· If you have more than one child at St. Helen’s, then make use of the Holding Area (details below). It is free and you can avoid arriving early for your younger child and then having to wait for the older child to finish.
· If you walk or cycle to school, or park a little way from the school then walk the last part of the journey, then you and your child benefit from easier parking, fresh air and exercise!
· Lift-sharing can provide a terrific mutual benefit, so do team up with other families who live near you if you can.
The Holding Area exists to assist parents with two or more children who finish lessons at different times. With this arrangement, parents avoid having to arrive early to collect their younger child, and then having to wait for the older sibling to finish. There is no charge for this facility.
a) Parents with two or more children in the Upper School (Years 2 - 6)
At the end of lessons, younger siblings who are in Years 2 or 3 may wait in the Holding Area until the time that your older child finishes class. The 'holding' children will wait in one of the downstairs classrooms. This will be known as the Holding Area, and will be supervised each day by a member of the Funtasia staff.
Please collect your children from the Holding Area promptly at the time that your older child finishes class. Please note that this arrangement does not extend to cover after-school activities.
b) Parents with a child in Y2 and another in Y1 at the Lower School
If you have a child in Year 2 and another in a Year 1 class at the Lower School, then your Year 2 child can also join the Holding Area, to allow you time to collect from the Lower School. You must, however, collect your Lower School child first, and your Year 2 child by 3:30 p.m.
c) Parents with two children at the Lower School
Your younger child will be looked after by the Funtasia staff until the time that your older child finishes school, at which time you should collect both children promptly.
In addition to parents with two or more children at the school, the holding arrangements may be used by parents who are lift-sharing with another family. You will need to advise the Holding Area staff so that they are aware that you are lift-sharing and are therefore eligible.
To register your child for the Holding Area, please complete and return the booking form which is available on the website (All School Documents page - http://www.sthelenscollege.com/all-school-documents.html).
Our new catering team has been appointed and all members are looking forward to meeting the children next week. We shall 'introduce' our new Chef Manager Lee Sibley and his team, with photographs, in next week's newsblog.
The new kitchen and refectory are almost ready and will be handed over to our catering team on Monday. The first meals will be served on Tuesday to the staff during our training day - this will be a great opportunity for the new team to have a practice run before the children arrive on Wednesday, and the staff are looking forward to it!
The menus will run on a three week cycle and will be posted on the website (Current Parents/All School Documents page), so you will know what options will be available, and will be able to discuss choices with your child in advance if you so wish.
We are very excited about this new development and will arrange times for you to visit to see the facilities and meet the catering team later in the term.
Following an exceptionally busy summer of building and refurbishment, we are delighted to announce the following new facilities at the school.
Kitchen and refectory
We are now the proud possessors of a brand new, top-spec commercial kitchen, and a beautiful refectory. The catering team will prepare breakfast for the Breakfast Club, lunch for pupils and staff and tea for Funtasia. During the school holidays, the children at Holiday Club will enjoy a full cooked lunch service each day in the refectory.
Outside of the two hour lunch period, a sliding partition will separate the refectory from the servery allowing us to use this room for teaching purposes. Music and drama lessons will be held there, and we shall use it also for after-school clubs, especially drama.
We shall also use the refectory for evening functions, such as Parent Forum meetings, presentations to parents and social functions.
New Windsor offices
Upstairs in Windsor, we have created a small flat for staff accommodation, offices for Mr. Crehan and Mr. Evans (our new Bursar), and a staff office for teachers' preparation, marking etc.
The new art room is now being fitted out and should be ready for art lessons to begin next week. All classes, from Year 2 to Year 6, will make use of this new facility. Ms Turner, our Head of Art, will teach all classes in Years 4, 5 and 6.
To meet the increasing demand for individual music lessons on a wide range of instruments, we have constructed a log cabin in the Upper School grounds. This will be dedicated to music, and will be used both for individual music lessons, and also for ensemble practice. A consequence of this new facility is that the library will not be needed for music lessons and will now be available all day for teachers to use with their classes.
Lower School grounds
We have negotiated an extension to our Lower School grounds with the governors of Oak Farm School. New fences have been erected, grass seed sown and equipment moved. We have also renewed the entrance ramp to the Nursery classrooms. The result is greater play space for the children, including a lawned area. In time, we shall cut back some of the undergrowth to further increase the space available for play.
Refurbishment of Cambria
Several of the rooms have been re-designated and re-furbished over the holidays. We now have a new, larger, medical room downstairs in a much more convenient position. Mrs. Dennington has a new office upstairs, and Mrs. Smith's room has been converted into a more spacious reception room for visitors. Finally, the staff room upstairs has been refurbished.
We are delighted to announce that we have appointed Mr. David Tovell BA PGCE to the position of full time Year 5 teacher. Mr. Tovell is an English , mathematics and ICT specialist and a keen sportsman and chess player.
Owing to notice restrictions, Mr. Tovell will not be able to join us until the end of October, so for the first half term his teaching will be covered by Miss Lucy Crehan BA (Oxon) MEd (Cantab). Miss Crehan is a qualified teacher who has worked in both primary and secondary schools, and is a Teach First Ambassador, educational consultant, writer and researcher. She taught for a short period at St. Helen’s last year so some of the children already know her.
Ms Andrea Bosch will be joining the Nursery team as a part-time Teaching Assistant. Ms Bosch, who trained in Spain, is a qualified primary teacher.
We also have a new Lunch Assistant at the Upper School, Mrs. Clare Wheeler. Mrs. Wheeler is a long-serving Beaver, Cub and Scout leader in her spare time.
We hope that you have enjoyed holidays which have been relaxing and invigorating in equal measure, and we look forward to seeing you and your children next week. A special welcome to those of you who are new to the school – your children will probably experience a few nerves before Wednesday, but rest assured that the friendly pupils and charming teachers and staff will do all that they can to help them settle in!
This first newsblog of the term includes a lot of important information about routines, so it is important that all parents (and especially those of you who are new to the school) read it carefully.