Nursery & Lower School

The Lower School at St. Helen’s College consists of the Early Years Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) and Year 1. Children enter the Nursery in the September after their third birthday. The following September, they move up into Reception and then into Year 1.

We are on a secluded, colourful and safe site and are a close-knit unit of just under 150 children. We are very well staffed and have a basic ratio of 1:6 in Nursery, 1:8 in Reception and 1:12 in Year 1, with extra floating staff in all classes. This means that the children can make rapid progress in their learning, as well as having lots of fun!

The Lower School is very much part of the whole school and takes part in all of the whole school events such as the annual Speech Competition, St. Helen’s Day, Sports Days and themed curriculum days. 

Lower School children have specialist teachers in Drama, Spanish, Music and Philosophy for Children. 


My child likes all of the staff in Nursery; they are welcoming and fun. The teacher organises her team and class very well and always has time for a chat if needed.

A parent


The curriculum is very vibrant thanks to our dedicated and creative staff, who teach educational skills in a playful way. Teaching develops throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage to become more formal in Year 1. We have interactive whiteboards in every class, along with special computing and IT resources and weekly computing lessons. The Lower School has its own well-stocked library and wonderful outdoor play and discovery areas including our super play castle, Camelot.

There are opportunities for children to begin extra-curricular clubs from Nursery and to take individual music tuition, and we have Lower School Choir for pupils in Reception and Year 1. 

We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and most children achieve the highest points on the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.

News

Posted on: 30/09/2022

Weekly News - Friday 30th September 2022

Yesterday we celebrated St. Helen's Day at school, which is when we think about the history of our school and about St. Helen, after whom we are named. During the day, pupils in Years 2-6 attended a special afternoon assembly at which Old Helenian Ishil Mehta spoke about life at St. Helen's College many years ago. The pupils also had the opportunity to ask Mrs. Crehan questions about what life was like at St. Helen's College when she lived here as a child and in the days when Mr. and Mrs. Crehan were the joint Heads of the school.  Our new pupil leadership team gave a presentation about the history of the school, Year 5 performed a chant about St. Helen herself and we had a super performance from Minaya W on the piano. Many thanks indeed to all those involved. In the evening, we held a drinks reception for Old Helenians and current and ex-staff. Some of our Year 6 pupils gave musical performances and tours for alumni who were keen to see how the school has changed over the years. Our guests also enjoyed perusing the history boards with old photographs, school reports and more. It is always wonderful to see old pupils return and super that they are so interested in what is going on at the school now.   Upper School Harvest Festival Today pupils in Years 2 - 6 attended All Saints Church for our annual Harvest Festival service. Our Year 5 pupils led the service with poems and readings to remind us of all that we have to be thankful for at this special time of year. There were many parents in attendance and, as ever, the St. Helen's College community was extremely generous with donations of food. These will be given to the local Salvation Army for distribution amongst those in need in our local community. Thank you all very much for your generosity. The Lower School will also be celebrating Harvest next week and parents are warmly invited to watch your children's Harvest performances and to bring in donations a day or two before your child's event. The dates and times are as follows. Nursery: Wednesday 5th October 8.45 a.m. Harvest Assembly at Methodist Church Reception: Thursday 6th October 8.45 a.m. Harvest Assembly at Methodist Church Year 1: Friday 7th October 8.45 a.m. Harvest Assembly at Methodist Church Trips and Visits It has been a busy week of activities to enrich the children's learning. Year 3 visited St. Albans on Monday, where their history knowledge about The Romans was certainly expanded through a tour and workshops. On Thursday, our Reception children took a trip to Odds Farm, during which they enhanced their learning about their 'On The Farm' topic. Also on Thursday, the Year 4 classes enjoyed visiting workshops themed around Ancient Greece to bring history to life. Our Nursery children today had the chance to join a live webcast through Scholastic of Julia Donaldson reading her latest book 'The Baddies' and Axel Scheffler drawing pictures for the book. They also had a singalong with Julia Donaldson with some of her familiar songs. Month End Music Recital Very well done to the many children who performed at our first informal music recital of the academic year this afternoon. Thank you to the parents who came along to support and celebrate your children's musicality. What a lovely way to start the weekend! News From The Library The Upper School library marked St Helen's Day with a number of quizzes for all years which celebrated this literary corner of school! Children enjoyed an acrostic St. Helen's Day quiz, solving clues that showed them how well they have been learning their way around the library shelves. Even the youngest years grappled a little with the Dewey Decimal system!   It was a very busy library session; in fact it has been a week of many quizzes, with more to come next week with a quiz set by Ayla A in Year 6. Interested Year 6 pupils are reminded to apply by Monday for the role of Student Librarians. These students work one shift a week to assist in the running of the library at lunchtimes. All Year 6 pupils are encouraged to reply; an interest in reading is really helpful and readers of all abilities are welcome. Listening and organisational skills are valued too! Pupils should email Mrs Emanuel a few sentences about why they would like to be a librarian, their current clubs and a few sentences about a book they have recently enjoyed reading and why.  TCS London Mini Marathon: Tomorrow We are delighted that so many families and staff have signed up for the TCS Mini London Marathon tomorrow. We look forward to seeing you there. Timings for the event are: 12.00 p.m. Reception & Year 1 12.30 p.m. Years 2 - 6 If you have not already done so, please read carefully through this information about the day. Please remember that parents remain responsible for their children throughout the event. Your child should wear their school PE kit; although there is no official meeting point, this will make it possible for St. Helen's College families to spot each other more easily. Walk To School Fortnight: 3rd - 14th October The last two weeks of this half term will be 'Walk To School Fortnight' for our Year 2 - 6 children. Every child will be given a loyalty card, which will be stamped by our Junior Travel Ambassadors for each day that the child walks to school. If your child is unable to walk to school, they can also achieve a stamp by walking five laps of the playground before school each day. Children will need to arrive at school in good time (by 8.15 a.m. at the absolute latest) in order to complete their laps and earn their stamp. The class with the most stamps at the end of the fortnight will receive a certificate and some extra play time too. No doubt there will be fierce competition amongst the classes for this coveted prize! We hope that you will join us in encouraging the children to walk to school during the final two weeks of the half term, or to earn their stamps by walking the playground laps. You can find a fun Walk to School booklet here and a Walk From Home activity sheet here to help make your walk to school fun! You can also find our St. Helen's College Walk Zone map here. St. Helen's College Trust The St. Helen's College Trust (Registered Charity Number: 1196657) is an independent charity which exists to promote educational opportunities and all-round development of children aged 0-11 in Hillingdon and the surrounding areas. The charity was established last year and we are delighted that St. Helen's College parents have been generous in their support of it so far. We are pleased to report that, this week, the charity's Trustees approved applications for grants from local charitable bodies for the following: Ickenham Youth FC: Funds to set up an U6/U7 girls' football team. The money will be used to train coaches and buy equipment so that even more girls in the local area will be able to play football in an inclusive club from a young age. Home Start Hillingdon: Funds to train volunteers in their spring training programme. Home Start volunteers assist families with children aged 0-5 who are struggling. Volunteers provide emotional and practical support and signpost families to further services where appropriate. Hillingdon Basketball Club: Funds to buy equipment and t-shirts for youth members, to encourage a sense of community and to encourage children to return to the club and be ever more active. The Trustees will be carrying out impact assessments in due course to monitor the impact of grants awarded.  The charity is inviting grant applications on a rolling basis. The criteria for grant applications is wide: the only restrictions are that funds applied for must be used for the direct benefit of children aged 0-11 (whether individuals or groups) in Hillingdon and the surrounding areas and that the charity cannot approve grants to be spent on educational equipment or services that should be provided by the Local Authority. If you do know of any group or individual who might like to apply for funds, please direct them to the simple online application form here. Charity Climb Many congratulations to Ali (1R) and Hassan (Robins), who completed a sponsored climb last weekend up Northala Hills. The brothers were raising money for Al Ayn Social Care Foundation who care for over 82000 orphaned children in Iraq. The two boys started this with a small group of their friends aged 2-6 last year and this year they have raised over £8000! It costs £55 per month to sponsor an orphan in Iran, so this will go a long way. The boys hope to make this a yearly endeavour. Well done, Ali and Hassan, it is always wonderful to see pupils involved in charity work - your efforts will make a big difference.
Posted on: 30/09/2022

St. Helen's Day by Mrs. Crehan

Yesterday we celebrated St. Helen's Day - a time to remember our school history in our 98th year. The children in Years 2 - 6 congregated in the Windsor Garden for an assembly in the afternoon. We had an ex-pupil, Ishil Mehta, reminiscing on the time Mr. Crehan pursued a burglar down Parkway to retrieve a cassette player that was stolen through an open window during the school day. He didn't tell us much about his own life but he is a very successful businessman who is a trustee of the St. Helen's College Trust. The Year 5 pupils sang us a song which Mrs. Smith and I wrote specially for St. Helen's Day a few years ago about the life of St. Helen herself. The Head Girl/Boy team gave us the whole history of the school referring to a wonderful display, created by Mrs. Pruce, of photographs of St. Helen's College from 1924 to the present day. I then told the children a few anecdotes from when our family moved into Cambria when my mother, Mrs Evans, took over the school from the second Head, Mrs. Hempstead, when I was 11 years old. I was remembering that at that time there were no administrative staff and no office. If I or my brother or sister were off school through illness, we had to run down the stairs from our sickbeds, in view of the children who were in a class which is now the library, to answer the phone and take details of prospective pupils. It was very different in those days! The children then asked further questions about what it was like 50ish years ago. We then had a wonderful event for the alumni and past teachers in the evening. Our present pupils were performing as background music and then leading tours around the school to show the alumni the changes since their day, and also what hasn't changed. The alumni have all done so well! We had a female professional footballer, a female engineer working on HS2, Oxford and Cambridge university students and a graphic designer who told us that her sister who would have come but was still at work as a BBC climate-change journalist looking into some ecological disaster which has affected the health of people abroad and is being denied by the authorities. And there were many more amazing careers our alumni are now involved in. Hopefully St. Helen's College can claim their good starts which have led to where they are today. We were encouraging them to spread the word to other Old Helenians amongst their family and friends - and they still know many - that we will be having a big celebration for our centenary in two years. We had many ex-staff who attended including the very first Deputy Head, who used to call Mr. Crehan 'The Boy' when he first started as Head, because he was the youngest member of staff. Mr. McLaughlin said to her, 'I have your room' and she responded, 'I didn't have a room!' So a great day was had remembering our St. Helen's College family past and present, which is growing by the year and of whom we are so proud!  Mrs. Crehan
Posted on: 23/09/2022

Weekly News - Friday 23rd September 2022

STEAM Day There has been such an atmosphere of purposeful and joyful learning across the school today as children have spent our annual STEAM Day discovering new things through hands-on workshops and interactive sessions.  At Ducklings, children had the opportunity to experience a range of STEAM activities and they particularly enjoyed investigating the sights and sounds of fizzing bath bombs and launching some spectacular footpump rockets. At Lower School, the children were visited by 'The Sublime Science Team' and thoroughly enjoyed taking part in a range of exciting workshops, exploring slime making, 'climate chaos',  forces, pressure, touch and smell.  The Lower School children also experienced a carousel of technology, engineering, arts and maths activities throughout the day. They had great fun with 3D sculptures, nature art, giant marble runs, bubble blowing, coding, musical drawing and more. At Upper School, two Old Helenians visited to inspire current pupils with talks and workshops focussing on invention, robotics, structure building and micro-bits. The pupils also enjoyed 'exploding art' sessions, tower building, workshops with Glencar Construction, virtual reality immersion and much more. It was clear to see, across the school, that the children experienced many of those 'lightbulb moments' which really do inspire an ongoing love for learning and passion to take their experiments even further. We know that they will apply all that they have learnt today in their ongoing education and, no doubt, will remember the excitement and joy involved in discovering something new!  Thank you to everyone involved in organising and running this special day, including our parent helpers. It was a real community effort. You can see photographs of the pupils enjoying their STEAM Day activities on our Galleries page. New House Captains Hustings have taken place this week for House Captains and Sports Captains for each of our four new houses, and the Year 6 children who applied for the positions made some excellent speeches to their houses before all of the children and staff in each house cast their votes. Well done to everyone involved. The elected Captains are: House Captains Caledonia - Arshvir S and Shriya K Cambria - Lavanya B and Burhan P Hibernia - Inaya S and Aman B Windsor - Anaya S and Gabriel K Sports Captains Caledonia - Anaiya B and Malek C Cambria - Poppy H and Oli K Hibernia - Ayla A and Nayan P Windsor - Minaya W and Albert H We look forward to seeing how the House and Sports Captains will lead and inspire their houses over the coming year. Author Visit - Mini Grey On Thursday we had a fantastic author visit from the renowned writer and illustrator, Mini Grey. She presented her latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth, to all the children in Years 2, 3 and 4.  Mini took us on a 4.6 billion year journey through time with interactive timelines, many wonderful creatures and even a draw-along masterclass at the end!    This was followed by a book signing in the library, where the children were able to meet and speak with Mini.  Books are still available (for all pupils) and will come with a signed bookplate. You can order your copies here.  The deadline for ordering is 5pm on Sunday 25th September and the books will be given to your child at school next week. We look forward to more exciting author events in the future. Plastic Free Schools We are pleased that St. Helen's College has now completed Objective 3 for 'Plastic Free Schools'. Armaan V wrote a letter to our local MP (who was then Prime Minister) highlighting the need for a change in plastic use and asking for his assistance. We are awaiting a response! We now move on to Objective 4: Challenge the Industry. Pupils will contact the companies responsible for plastic packaging and use the power of their voice to call for change. Harvest Festivals As ever, we will be celebrating Harvest with Harvest Festival events at school. Children are invited to bring in donations of non-perishable food items, which will be given to the local Salvation Army for distribution amongst those in need. We suggest that these are combined into a simple basket or suitably covered cardboard box. We would be grateful if your child would bring their donations in one or two days before their Harvest event. The dates for the events are as follows and parents are warmly invited to attend the event for your year group: Years 2 - 6: Friday 30th September 9 a.m. Harvest Festival Service at All Saints Church Nursery: Wednesday 5th October 8.45 a.m. Harvest Assembly at Methodist Church Reception: Thursday 6th October 8.45 a.m. Harvest Assembly at Methodist Church Year 1: Friday 7th October 8.45 a.m. Harvest Assembly at Methodist Church Nursery, Reception and Year 1 Parents' Evenings Parents' evenings for Nursery, Reception and Year 1 will take place on Tuesday 4th October (in-person) and Thursday 13th October (remote). Bookings for these are now open. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account to book your meeting. Thames Valley Cavaliers - Free Tickets for St. Helen's College Pupils This Weekend Basketball team Thames Valley Cavaliers are playing two games this weekend and our pupils are invited to attend to watch them for free. Details are on the flyers attached - you just need to let the table know (at arrival) that you are St. Helen's College pupils to get free entry for the children. Saturday TVC Match Flyer Sunday TVC Match Flyer TCS Mini London Marathon We are delighted that so many families and staff have signed up for the TCS Mini London Marathon. We will receive confirmed timings for the event early next week and will send these out to parents as soon as we receive them. In the meantime, if you have not already done so, please read carefully through this information about the day, which was sent to parents by email this week.  Walk To School Fortnight: 3rd - 14th October The last two weeks of this half term will be 'Walk To School Fortnight' for our Year 2 - 6 children. Each child will be given a loyalty card, which will be stamped by our Junior Travel Ambassadors for each day that the child walks to school. If your child is unable to walk to school, they can also achieve a stamp by walking five laps of the playground before school each day. Children will need to arrive at school in good time (by 8.15 a.m. at the absolute latest) in order to complete their laps and earn their stamp. The class with the most stamps at the end of the fortnight will receive a certificate and some extra play time too. No doubt there will be fierce competition amongst the classes for this coveted prize! We hope that you will join us in encouraging the children to walk to school during the final two weeks of the half term, or to earn their stamps by walking the playground laps. October Half Term Holiday Club Bookings will open on Friday, 30th September for our half term Holiday Club sessions. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account and book early to secure your child's place. Brilliant Parents: Emotional Resilience Lunch and Learn Webinar Brilliant Parents are hosting a free ‘Lunch and Learn’ Webinar for parents in Hillingdon Borough on building emotional resilience with children. Friday 30th September 12.30 – 1.30 p.m. Samantha Abraham will deliver her expertise online and towards the end there will be an opportunity to ask questions if you wish to. Parents can register for this event using the link below. Building Emotional Resilience Event Registration Home-Start Hillingdon Home-Start Hillingdon, a charity based at All Saints Church on Long Lane, are recruiting for their next volunteer preparation course which will begin on 7th October and run on a Friday for 9 weeks. Home-Start work with local families who have at least one child under 5 and who are finding things tough. The charity trains and manages volunteers to support families who are struggling with issues including post-natal depression, isolation and managing difficult personal circumstances. Some members of St. Helen's College staff have been Home-Start volunteers and it can be a very meaningful and rewarding role to take on.  There is some information about the role of a Home-Start volunteer here. The flyer about the next volunteer training course is here. If any parent would like to apply to train as a Home-Start volunteer, you can contact the Hillingdon branch at: office@homestart-hillingdon.org.uk or by telephoning 01895 252804. Hillingdon's Trees for Streets Hillingdon Borough Council are working with Trees for Streets to encourage residents to sponsor a street tree. In doing so, you can help to: - fight climate change and pollution - improve the health of everyone in the neighbourhood - leave a legacy that will last for generations - create a haven for wildlife - make your street a nicer place to live. You can find out more here. 
Posted on: 16/09/2022

Weekly News - Friday 16th September 2022

Author Visit - Mini Grey On Thursday 22nd September, we will welcome multi award-winning author/illustrator Mini Grey to St. Helen's College to present to our children in Years 2, 3 and 4. Mini will take pupils on a whistle stop tour through the story of life on Earth - all 4.6 billion years of it! Children will be introduced to the amazing creatures which have evolved on our planet and the events - including mass extinctions - which have caused chaos. To pre-order copies of her latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth, ready to be signed and dedicated at school on the day, please click the link below and place your order through Chiltern Bookshops by 5 p.m. on Wednesday 21st September: https://schools.chilternbookshops.co.uk/events/mini-grey/ Orders placed in time will automatically be delivered free to St. Helen's College for your child to bring home.  STEAM Day Next Friday (23rd September) we will hold our annual STEAM Day. The children will be off timetable and will take part in a range of activities covering Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths. Pupils should wear PE kit as they will have an active day. Co-curricular clubs will run as usual.  New House Competitions! This week the children in Years 2 - 6 attended their first house assemblies with their new groups. They were introduced to their new pupil and staff teams amid much anticipation. Here is a reminder of our new house names, colours and House Leaders for this year: Cambria (Red - Mrs. Hunt) Caledonia (Blue - Mr. Lewis) Hibernia (Green - Mr. McLaughlin) Windsor (Yellow - Mr. Harrington) To launch the new house groups, the children have been asked to take part in a competition to design a house shield and mascot. Form teachers have the templates; entries should be returned to them by September 30th. Each entry will gain house points for their team and the winners will be displayed on our new house boards. We look forward to an exciting first year with our four houses and a keenly contested House Cup competition too! Rearranged Dates Just a reminder for parents of upcoming events, some of which were rearranged due to the period of mourning following the Queen's death. Monday 19th September SCHOOL CLOSED Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Tuesday 20th September Individual Lower School pupil photographs (optional sibling photographs from 7.40 a.m. at the Methodist Church Hall) Co-Curriculum clubs start Year 5/6 Meet the Teacher Evening at Upper School Wednesday 21st September Individual Ducklings pupil photographs from 9.00 a.m. at Ducklings Year 1 Phonics & Maths Evening at Lower School Year 2 Phonics & Maths Evening at Upper School Thursday 22nd September Individual Upper School pupil photographs (optional sibling photographs from 7.40 a.m. in the Upper School Hall) Year 2-4 author visit (during morning lessons) Friday 23rd September STEAM Day Parents are reminded to check the school calendar regularly for information about events. Co-Curricular Clubs Co-curricular clubs will begin on Tuesday 20th September. Allocations were sent to parents during this week. Please remember that, once you have signed your child up to a club and they have been allocated a place, the school is unable to make changes to the allocations or issue refunds. We are looking forward to a busy and fun term with so many different clubs and activities on offer! Supporting Children With Grief National Online Safety have published a guide with tips for supporting children in dealing with grief. As we all continue to focus on the death of Queen Elizabeth II and her upcoming funeral, this may be useful for you in discussing bereavement with your children. It is available here. Polio Booster Vaccination Programme Following the detection of polio virus in sewage samples taken from North and East London, the NHS is offering all 1-9 year olds in London a polio booster vaccination. For some children this may be an extra dose of polio vaccine on top of their routine vaccinations. In other children it may just bring them up to date. Polio is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause permanent paralysis of muscles. Because of the success of the polio vaccination programme, there have been no cases of natural polio infection in the UK since 1984. By giving an extra polio vaccine dose, this will boost each child’s protection. Please read this NHS letter carefully and follow the NHS advice. School at Work Open Morning - Wednesday 12th October Our next 'School at Work' Open Morning for prospective parents will take place on Wednesday 12th October. This is a lovely opportunity for prospective parents to view the school and meet the pupils and staff on a normal day. If you know of any family who are considering private education for their child, please do let them know about the event. Visits on Open Morning are by appointment only; prospective parents can book an appointment by calling the school office on 01895 234371 or emailing susmith@sthelenscollege.com.  
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