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: 29/03/2019

Weekly News - Friday 29th March 2019

Easter Greetings I wish all families a wonderful holiday over this spring season. Enjoy the weather, the outdoors and of course the company of your loved ones. We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday April 25th. Please remember that girls should return in summer uniform. I am sure you will all join me in thanking all of the staff at St. Helen's College for their hard work and commitment to the school and to your children over this term. I wish them all a restful, peaceful Easter holiday. General Knowledge In Upper School assemblies today, we discussed how children can improve their general knowledge. The children were most knowledgeable about how they could do this by visiting places of interest, talking to adults about the world around them and reading a wide range of books. I have challenged every child, if they do not already possess a children's encyclopaedia, to perhaps ask their parents very politely if this could be an Easter gift. The challenge is to learn a fact a day and wow their families and friends with a new piece of general knowledge every day during the holidays. Happy reading, happy talking, happy visiting! Farewell to Miss Lang The children gave Miss Lang a wonderful farewell in Upper School assembly today and she was presented with a card by our Head Boy and Head Girl, which had been signed by all of the children. We wish Miss Lang much happiness in her new role and look forward to seeing her as part of our Holiday Club staff during future holidays. We will welcome Miss Fahy to St. Helen's College as our new Welfare Officer after the Easter holidays. I am sure you will all enjoy getting to know Miss Fahy and welcoming her to our community. Musician of the Term Our Musician of the Term trophy goes to someone who has shown outstanding effort, commitment, dedication and achievement within the music department. An enormous well done to Pritee T. Pritee has always worked conscientiously and demonstrated enormous enthusiasm over several years in all aspects of music at St Helen’s College. She is an enthusiastic singer and has been a committed member of the senior choir over the last three years; was selected to join the Chamber Choir, and has participated in recordings and performed at two prestigious venues in London over the last two years; is a fluent recorder player and plays in the school orchestra; has excellent musical knowledge and regularly expresses opinions and contributes creative ideas successfully in each lesson, often injecting a sense of humour! Pritee has significantly grown in confidence, having shied away from performing in public; however, she is now ready to take her Grade 3 examination tomorrow. We wish her luck! Sports Personality of the Term Many congratulations to Ionie M, who has been awarded Sports Personality of the Term by her peers. Ionie is a sports scholar who has shown great levels of determination and excellence in every sport she plays. She has been a valued member of many school teams including the football, handball, hockey and netball, winning district and borough medals this term. She regularly plays for local clubs outside of school and has enjoyed regional success playing football and netball. Well done, Ionie!  World Book Day Winners The Middle and Upper School children were challenged to complete a World Book Day quiz. The prizes are a book of the children's choosing. Congratulations go to Anokhi (3M) and Aarna (5G). Exhibition Day It was wonderful to see so many families visit the school to celebrate their children's achievements on Saturday. I am sure you will agree with me that the school was abuzz with excitement and joy as you shared in your children's hard work and achievements. It was particularly lovely to hear all of the wonderful comments from families who saw our beautiful Lower School development for the first time. It's a Hat Trick! Many congratulations to our Year 6 table tennis team, who won the Borough table tennis competition for the third year running! The event took place at Oakwood School this week and was organised by Hillingdon Table Tennis Club. Our team of four, Rishi, Taran, Aaria and Mya, played in ranking order against teams from seven other Hillingdon Borough schools. Our team played extremely well showing consistency, creativity and good sportsmanship as they played 28 matches and only lost 2! The team were crowned Borough Champions and presented with the table tennis trophy plate by Hillingdon Mayor Cllr John Morgan who had seen them play and congratulated them on their excellent play. Well done to the team and special thanks also to our Year 6 Sports Captains, who organised matches on a table tennis ladder and final play offs over the last month during break times and lunchtimes to select the table tennis team.  Football We had our final football fixture of the season on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to St. Mary's. Mr. Dyson thought it was one of the best performances of the season as the team featured five debutants, including three Year 4 boys and two Year 6 children. Considering this, the effort and commitment was fantastic to see and it was a lovely way to finish the season. Overall, we finished mid table, winning three, losing five and Harry J was our top goal scorer with six goals, followed closely by Alex C with five. Many thanks to Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Bustard for supporting Mr. Dyson throughout the season. PA Easter Raffle As has become traditional, the PA has donated prizes for a raffle for the children this Easter.  All of the children have been included in this free Easter egg draw with one prize drawn for each class. Congratulations to the lucky winners; we hope you enjoy your prizes! Many thanks to the PA for their kind donations. Competition Reminders uTalk Language Competition Pupils in Years 1 - 6 are invited to participate in a pilot competition in preparation for the new national uTalk competition which is being relaunched in September 2019.  The uTalk Challenge Pilot is a competition giving primary school age children the chance to learn a new language or reinforce a known language using the uTalk app. The competition will run between March and June 3 and our pupils will compete against each other. There will only be one round of the competition this year and the language will be Spanish. Some small prizes will be awarded in each school.  The new software this year will permit us to have a school dashboard where we can monitor progress. This will be available on the Learning Portal, so that the children may enjoy the excitement of checking the leader board to see how they are getting on in a live competition with their peers. If you would like your child/children to participate in this modified competition this year, please email Mrs. Stark at tstark@sthelenscollege.com. The cost is £5 per child, which will be payable on SchoolsBuddy after you have registered your interest. Midas Competition We invite pupils to enter a national competition run by the writers of Minimus, the textbook we use in Year 5 Latin lessons. Pupils are invited to create an interpretation of the story of Midas - a copy of which has been provided by Mrs. Stark. Pupils are invited to submit entries in the following categories: A.   Art e.g. painting, drawing, collage, poster, craftwork etc. B.   Creative Writing e.g. poem, play-script, 1st person account, diary or journal etc.   C.   Drama – a version of the story, written and performed by pupils, and submitted as a private video link or DVD. D.   Animation – a version of the story, written and animated by an individual, and submitted as a private video link. Entries need to be submitted by 22nd April at the latest, but can be submitted any time before then.  We really hope your children will be inspired to produce some creative and original work and we look forward to seeing the entries coming in. Just hand them to your form teacher, who will pass them on to Mrs. Stark, or give them to Mrs. Stark directly. tstark@sthelenscollege.com Summer Term Menu The Summer Term Menu has been posted to the School Documents page of the website. Easter Sports Camps If your child is keen on keeping active, why not come along to one of the Easter tennis or multisports camps being run locally. Full details are available here and here.
Posted on: 22/03/2019

Weekly News - Friday 22nd March 2019

Exhibition Day - Tomorrow! We are very much looking forward to welcoming all of our families to Exhibition Day tomorrow to celebrate the wonderful work your children have been engaged in throughout the year so far. Please do join us at 9.30 a.m. at Lower School for a glass of Bucks Fizz and the opportunity to visit our stunning new Lower School classrooms. Ducklings and Upper School will be open from 10.00 a.m. for your children to show you around and refreshments will be available in the Evans Hall from 10.00 a.m. Speech Competition On Monday 25th March we will be hosting the Junior and Senior School Speech Competition finals.  Parents of Junior Speech Competition finalists (Years 1 - 3) are invited for refreshments in the Evans Hall from 8.15 a.m., before taking their seats in the Upper School Hall for the competition, which will begin at 9.00 a.m.  The Senior Speech Competition finals (Years 4 - 6) will begin at 2.00 p.m. Parents may enter the school to take their seats from 1.50 p.m.  For both competitions, children will perform their pieces one year group at a time. The children will receive feedback from our guest judge, Reverend Ken Kingston. Each finalist will receive a finalist certificate; there will also be some 'highly commended' awards and a year group winner for each year group. When all year groups have finished, an overall winner will be announced, receiving the Speech Competition trophy.  The criteria for judgement are expression, projection and clarity of the voice only. No gestures will be counted towards the judgement and choreographed actions are not to be used. Good luck to all the children who will be taking part in the finals; we wish you well with your practice and preparation!  At Lower School, the Nursery and Reception Poetry Recitation will take place on Tuesday 26th March and all Nursery and Reception parents are warmly invited to attend. Coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Methodist Church Hall for Nursery and Reception parents. Nursery parents should take their seats in the Lower School Hall ready for the recitation to begin at 8.45 a.m. Reception parents will be called through from the Methodist Church Hall to take their seats when the Nursery have finished (expected to be at around 9.20 a.m.). We do hope many of you will be able to join us for what is always a very special morning! Quiz Team Semi-Final Our Quiz Team took part in the Prep School General Knowledge Quiz semi-final this week at Merchant Taylor's Prep School. The children performed extremely well against 11 other prep schools who had also reached the semi-finals. After some very tough rounds, we were delighted to learn that our children came in 5th place overall.     Art Competition If you have a budding artist in the family, why not encourage them to design a Starborg card for the London Borough of Hillingdon's Summer Reading Challenge competition. Starborg cards are like Top Trumps cards; your child should use their imagination to design their Starborg, which must be colourful, based on an animal and have some special super powers (preferably space-related to tie in with this year's theme). You can check out the current Starborgs for ideas at www.hillingdon.gov.uk/starborgs. Designs may be hand-drawn or digital but must be submitted electronically by email to summerreadingchallenge@hillingdon.gov.uk by Wednesday 1st May. The best Starborgs will be chosen to be part of the new pack of 20 cards, which are given away in their thousands to children across the borough as part of the summer reading challenge. Good luck to all entrants. Chess Success! Our chess teams defeated local rivals St. Bernadette's in their match on Thursday this week. Matches against St. Bernadette's are always closely contested and of a high quality so very well done to our teams for securing the win! Team members were: A team 1. Michael K (captain) 2. Alexander S 3. Anson L 4. Benjamin L R. Sulaiman M B team 1. Aditya S (captain) 2. Jai D 3. Aarna A 4. Ibraheem F R. Aaron S In round 1, we won 4 boards and so did St Bernadette's, so after the break we resumed play level. However, in round 2 we managed to win 6 boards to 2, so the match finished a 10-6 win for St. Helen's College. This has been an exciting culmination of school chess this term and we are looking forward to an equally exciting next term. Uxbridge Chess Club Open New Branch At St. Helen's College! The very popular and successful Uxbridge Chess Club are today launching a new Friday session at St. Helen's College. If you have a son or daughter who is interested in playing chess, or who already plays chess at school and would like to pursue this interest further, do encourage them to join.  The club is launching on Friday 22nd March and sessions will run from 6.00 - 7.30 p.m. on Fridays in The Evans Hall. Participants will have the chance to take part in all sorts of competitions and the club is open to all children aged from 6-15, not just St. Helen's College children, so there is the opportunity to bring along friends and family from other schools too. Uxbridge Chess Club is run by two St. Helen's College parents who, like Mr. Foale and Mr. Crehan himself, are passionate about chess and about inspiring a new generation of chess players. As a game, chess helps to nurture memory skills, strategic thinking, gameplay, time management and more so it is not only extremely enjoyable for children, but extremely educational too! We do hope that many of you will encourage your children to attend this club. Full details, costs and arrangements are available here. End of Term Arrangements Term ends next Friday, 29th March, and arrangements are as follows. Ducklings and Nursery children should be collected at 11.50 a.m., Reception children at 12.00 p.m. and Year 1 children at 12.10 p.m. Upper School children will attend our end of term Easter Service at All Saints Church at 11.00 a.m. and all parents are warmly invited to join us for this. Pupils will then return to school for collection at 12.10 (Year 2), 12.20 (Years 3/4) and 12.30 (Years 5/6). We ask parents NOT to park along Parkway so that traffic may flow freely during the busy end of term pick up. Co-Curricular Programme - Summer Term - Bookings Now Open Sign up for summer term co-curricular activities opens today and closes next Wednesday (27th March). Please log in to your SchoolsBuddy account to indicate your child's preferences and please remember only to indicate a preference for a club if your child would definitely like to take part. Allocations will be confirmed at the start of next term.
Posted on: 22/03/2019

Head's Blog - Social Media (by Mr. Lewis)

Let's get straight to the point. Children of primary school age should not be using apps such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. If they have these accounts, they have been untruthful about their age and are breaking the terms of use agreement that they have entered into. This is not a good start to their online lives.  The age restrictions on apps and games are in place for good reason. We have a programme of education on keeping safe online that runs throughout the children's time at St. Helen's College. Our Year 5 children build their own websites on internet safety issues. We constantly remind them about keeping safe and about proper use of the internet but these are young children who are finding out how to interact with others. it is a necessary part of growing up to establish boundaries, fall out with friends and find ways of resolving differences. Even the most pleasant and sensible child will react badly to disputes and differences with their friends. In the playground, they will immediately see the effect of their behaviour and they will have an opportunity to make amends or walk away from the situation. Minor disputes can be kept private and quickly resolved and forgotten.  The online world is not so forgiving. It is a public place. When a thoughtless comment or inappropriate image is published it is not easily withdrawn and can be rapidly shared with people who were not the intended audience.  We interpret facial expressions, body language and tone of voice very well but the internet does not convey the same subtlety and a comment made in jest can be easily misconstrued. Online disagreements can quickly escalate and comments that are made cannot be easily withdrawn. Whilst apps such as Facetime and Skype provide valuable means of communications when used in a family setting, children's use of unmonitored Whatsapp groups has no such benefits. Schools can help to educate children but it is our job as parents to set a good example, guide them, set boundaries and monitor their activity.  Whilst our children are finding their way in the real world and making necessary mistakes on the way, I urge you to discuss online etiquette and safety with your children and to remove access to apps and games that have age restrictions that they do not meet. Net Aware from the NSPCC has a guide to parents on children's use of social media.  Mr. Lewis
Posted on: 15/03/2019

Head's Blog - Lent

  Lent is upon us once again – the time of year when we remember the sacrifices made by Jesus during his forty days in the wilderness, leading up to the great sacrifice of his life. Traditionally, Christians give up something for Lent and I’m sure many parents have already started a period of abstinence. Perhaps you are giving up chocolate, sweets or alcohol for this forty day period.   I would like to encourage a new tradition for the children of St. Helen’s College. Rather than encourage our children to deprive themselves of something, I would like to suggest that, for Lent this year, they take up something new, or expand on a talent or interest they already enjoy. Last week we celebrated World Book Day at school and it was magical, as ever, to see the children immersed in stories. We had a visit from The Book Bus on Monday, authors visited the school to share their experiences as writers and their stories, many classes heard traditional and modern tales and poetry read by visiting readers; Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Crehan and I had the most wonderful time over at Lower School, and, throughout the school, there were lively discussions of favourite books. (My favourite is still Enid Blyton's ‘The Faraway Tree’). Perhaps Lent is the perfect time to build upon this by taking up a new reading habit. If your child does not already read for a set period of time before bed, now would be the perfect time to add this to your daily routine. For our youngest children, this will mean sitting with parents, grandparents, older siblings or other adults to listen to stories and look at words and pictures together. Rhyming books are, of course, particularly good for children of this age and don’t worry if you don’t currently have many at home. Not only are the school and local libraries full of lovely children’s books for your children to borrow, but young children thrive on repetition and absolutely love to hear the same book several times over. There is comfort in familiarity, especially when a young child is tired, just before bed. As your child grows older and moves through the Lower School, you should choose slightly longer stories/rhyming tales to read with them, introducing longer, traditional tales such as fairy tales, Aesop’s Fables, Winnie the Pooh stories and poems, Roald Dahl stories and poems and more. Once the children are old enough for chapter books or longer stories which can be split up across several days, there are so many beautiful, classic tales to share with them: The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island… the list really is endless. If you are not sure which books are appropriate for your child, do ask your class teacher or contact Mr. McLaughlin, our Head of English. If you already have a well-established reading routine at bedtime – and we know that many of you already do – then why not add in some reading at another time of day? Lent is the perfect time to make a promise to reduce screen time by 15 minutes a day, and increase reading time by 15 minutes. Perhaps, as you’re cooking dinner, your children could sit at the table 15 minutes early and read a book aloud to you, or you could listen to an audio book together and then discuss it during your meal. Reading is at the heart of everything in education, as self-sacrifice is at the heart of everything in Christianity. So I do hope that you will take the opportunity of Lent to increase your child’s reading time. Perhaps, when Lent ends and Easter is here, you might consider buying them a new book instead of (or even as well as!) an Easter egg, to reward them for forty days of wonderful reading and to inspire them for the following forty days and beyond!  Although we are almost halfway through Lent, there is no time like the present to foster a love of reading!
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