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Posted on: 12/10/2018

Weekly News - Friday 12th October 2018

It has been an incredibly successful and busy half term as ever at St. Helen's College and I wish you all a restful half term break and look forward to seeing all the children back at the end of October in their winter uniforms. Lower School Update We are delighted with the new Reception and Nursery classrooms and the children have well and truly made them their new homes in the last five weeks!  I am sure that you all enjoyed having the opportunity visiting the classrooms during parents' evenings. Over the half term break our contractors will be completing the snagging list and moving the last of their equipment off site. Our new storage areas have now also been completed and the playground areas requiring attention will be re-tarred which will mean that the children will have full access to the playground after half term. We had hoped that we may also be able to repaint the playground but this may need to wait until a future date. The area of ground outside the Nursery classroom which has some artificial grass laid on it at present is being prepared for a permeable surface which we hope to have completed as soon as is feasible.  Lower School Parents' Evening It has been wonderful to see so many parents over the past week or so at the recent Lower School parents' evening and to hear how happy and settled all the children are in their new classes.  We have such a supportive parent body and it is with us all working together that your children will flourish best. Thank you for all the positive feedback.   Lower School Harvest Festival Assemblies Wow! Well done to the children of Nursery, Reception and Year 1, who presented such confident and interesting Harvest assemblies this week. Thank you so much for all of the contributions which overwhelmed the Salvation Army and our local community will hugely benefit from your donations. Zail's Presentation Zail in Year 4 led assembly on Wednesday enriching the learning of pupils from Years 4, 5 and 6 and staff with his wonderful experiences from his five week adventure to South America. It was clearly an experience that he will never forget and he most certainly is an ambassador for the South American tourist board! You can view his presentation here. 4KT Assembly We were treated to a super assembly from 4KT this morning as they reminded us of the importance of 'co-operation' in their acting, recital and singing. Tremendous teamwork and co-operation from all - well done!   School Bus The School Bus service, running from Ruislip through Ickenham to school, will now be available for all children from Nursery through to Year 6. Parents of Nursery children should discuss with their form teacher (Miss Carmichael or Mrs. Mann) before booking their child onto the bus. Bookings are open for the second half of term and places should be booked through the SchoolsBuddy system. Coding Club We still have some spaces available in our new Coding Club, available to children in Years 5 and 6. We have slightly amended the timing of the club so that Year 5 children may attend after swimming. The club takes place after school on a Friday from 4.00 to 5.00 p.m. The children have heard all about coding in assembly this week and we hope that they have been inspired to learn more about coding, which is such an important skill in the world today. If you would like your child to join Coding Club for the six weeks of the second half of term, please email swalker@sthelenscollege.com. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and, once your place is confirmed, you will be asked to make payment in advance via SchoolsBuddy. Sports Results Cross Country Champion! On Monday our girls' cross country team took part in the Hillingdon Borough cross country finals at Belmore Academy School. Over 70 girls who had qualified from across the Borough took part on a relatively flat course and the pace was fast. After the initial crowded start, it was Zoe K from Year 6 who lead from the front and held off a spirited challenge from a St. Bernadette's runner to stretch her lead over the latter part of the course, taking the title in style. The rest of our team, Chiara L, Hebe E, Rhea A-V, Jada P and Chloe W did very well too, helping the team to finish in 4th place overall.  Zoe has now been invited to represent Hillingdon at the London Youth Games mini marathon in November at Parliament Hill. Congratulations to all of the girls and to Zoe in particular. Netball  It has been a busy week for the Year 6 netball team. On Wednesday they took part in a friendly 7-a-side netball tournament at St. Mary's School. Six teams from five schools took part, including independent schools Heatherton House, St. Helen's School and St. Mary's. Our team played very well, showing a confident understanding of the game and solid tactical awareness. The team won 3 matches and lost and drew the other matches to finish in 3rd place.  The following day it was a league match and the format was Hi Five netball, the 5-a-side version of the game. Our opponents were local rivals Highfield School. The team dominated the play against a less experienced team to get their season off to a flying start winning 14 - 0.  Well done to all the Year 6 girls who played this week: Hebe E, Rhea Sa, Zoe K, Wenru D, Mya S, Georgia M, Tamara A, Eshar S, Ionie M, Aaria K and Jada P. Football Our Year 3/4 football players showed great individual ability in their match against ACS this week. St. Helen's College won the game 4-0,  with every player making a good contribution. The two players of the match were Louis B (Y3), who scored 2 goals, and Adam O (Y4). The other goals were scored by Joban K and Adam K. We will now be looking to build on the strong individual performances and develop our teamwork over the coming weeks. Well done to all of the boys who played. The Year 5/6 football team had a difficult week, losing 3-0 in both the league and cup games this week to St. Catherine's. St. Catherine’s have a very strong team and look set to do well this season, so these matches were great learning opportunities for the team. The boys should be commended for the resilience and sportsmanship they showed during these two tough games. Uxbridge Junior Chess Club If your child enjoys chess, then he or she might be interested in joining the Uxbridge Junior Chess Club, which is run by one of our parents, Mr. Knight. Sessions for new and experienced players aged 6-15 years are run on Wednesday evenings from 6 - 7.30 p.m. at the Ivy Leaf Club, 8 Wellington Road, Uxbridge, UB8 2AP. You can find full details at www.uxbridgejuniorchessclub.com. Your first session is free so why not go along and try it out. Hillingdon Fire Station Open Day There is an Open Day on Friday October 26th at Hillingdon Fire Station, between the hours of 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. This has been a great success in recent years and we would encourage you to take your children along if you have a free day. There will be a wide range of activities on the day such as giving the children a chance to get on board a fire truck, try on the gear and squirt some water at targets from the hoses. Children will gain an insight into what the Fire Brigade do on a daily basis through live fire safety demonstrations and there will be free fire safety advice. There will be a number of different fire trucks there on the day, all with special abilities. There will also be a variety of food stalls, including an ice cream van, and children will have a chance to meet Sherlock, the special fire investigation dog, as well as other guide dogs. There will even be a petting zoo! If you would like to take your bike along on the day,  you can get it stamped for free by the police in order to help protect against theft.
Posted on: 5/10/2018

Weekly News - Friday 5th October

We are delighted to announce that St. Helen's College has been shortlisted for the Independent School Parent Magazine Awards for Independent School of the Year 2018. This nomination is a particularly pleasing one, since it recognises pupil experience. A core belief at St. Helen's College is that children learn best when they feel happy, secure and loved, so we are delighted that we have been shortlisted as one of the best independent schools for pupil experience! Breast Cancer Now I am so proud of one of our Year 6 pupils, Amar, who delivered a very poignant and informative assembly to Year 4-Year 6 this week. I am sure many of you read the Head's Blog last Friday - this young man really has helped a lot of children to talk both amongst themselves and with adults on a very important topic. Please do take the time to watch the presentation here: https://youtu.be/WjIXuWK23N4 Harvest Thank you to all the Upper School pupils and parents for attending the service on Tuesday and for all the most generous donations. The Salvation Army were overwhelmed by your generosity. I am sure you will agree that the pupils gave us the most delightful harvest service with song, poetry and prayer. Well done to everyone! Our Lower School Harvest Assemblies will be taking place on Monday 8th (Nursery), Tuesday 9th (Reception) and Wednesday 10th (Year 1). Each assembly will begin at 8.45 a.m. and parents are warmly invited to watch children perform. The Infant Choir will perform after the Reception assembly and again after the Year 1 assembly. Prizegiving Many thanks to those of you who attended Prizegiving last night, either as parents of prize winners or as parents of Chamber Choir children. As ever, it was a magical event at which we celebrated the academic, sporting, musical and dramatic achievements of our prize winners, as well as their personal qualities and contributions to the school. Our Guest of Honour, Jonny Taylor from Merchant Taylors' School, inspired the audience with his entertaining and thought-provoking speech and did a wonderful job of handing out the prizes. Lower School Parents' Evening It has been wonderful to meet with so many of our parents in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 this week at the recent parents' evening. It is heartwarming to hear from you all how well your children are settling into a new year group and enjoying the new academic year. Please do remember that if you would like to speak to the teachers for longer then you can make an appointment directly with your teachers. Sports Results The District Cross Country event took place on Thursday evening and St. Helen's College children gave a very good account of themselves. There were over 100 runners in both the boys' and girls' races, so the competition was tough. However, Zoe K was crowned the Borough Champion for the girls, finishing in 1st place, Chiara L finished in 8th place and our girls' team finished as bronze medallists. Very well done to the girls: Zoe K, Chiara L, Hebe E, Jada P, Chloe W and Rhea A-V. All of these girls have qualified for the Borough Finals on Monday. Our boys' team finished in 10th place, with Alex C the best placed individual in 24th place overall.  Last week, our football team got their competitive season off to an impressive start, beating Highfield 4-0 even though the team has not yet had much time together. Very well done to Harrison J, who scored all four goals! This week, the team lost 1-0 on Wednesday to St. Bernadette’s. The team played well and were unlucky not to get a draw on this occasion. Half Term Holiday Club - Bookings Now Open On SchoolsBuddy Bookings are now open for Holiday Club which will be running throughout the half term, with optional Breakfast Club each day. Please make your bookings through your SchoolsBuddy account as soon as possible, and by next Friday (12th October) at the latest. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. A day session runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and this includes a cooked lunch and afternoon tea. Tea will be served at the earlier time of 3.30 p.m. so that, if parents are collecting children early, they will still be able to have tea. The optional Breakfast Club sessions run from 7.30 a.m. Please note that you may pay by card or select 'voucher payment' which tells us that you are paying by Childcare Voucher or Tax Free Childcare Account. If you would like to pay for some sessions using card, and for some sessions using voucher payment, then you will need to make separate bookings for these - for example, book Monday/Tuesday sessions and pay by card, then book Wednesday/Thursday/Friday sessions and pay by childcare voucher. We hope that you will find the new online booking and payment system easy to use but if you experience any difficulties, please do contact the school office who will be pleased to help. School Bus and Breakfast Club Bookings Now Open Via SchoolsBuddy Bookings for the morning bus service and Breakfast Club for the second half of term are also now live on SchoolsBuddy. Please note that, even if you have been a regular user of these services before, you must now book and pay online on SchoolsBuddy to secure your places going forward.  When you log in to your SchoolsBuddy account, go to the Bookings tab and book the services/sessions you require.  For Breakfast Club, you may pay by card or select 'voucher payment' which tells us that you are paying by Childcare Voucher or Tax Free Childcare Account. If you would like to pay for some Breakfast Club sessions using card, and for some Breakfast Club sessions using voucher payment, then you will need to make separate bookings for these - for example, book Monday/Tuesday sessions and pay by card, then book Wednesday/Thursday/Friday sessions and pay by childcare voucher. We hope that you will find the new online and payment system easy to use but if you experience any difficulties, please do contact the school office who will be pleased to help. Childcare Vouchers/Tax Free Childcare Account payments may not be used for School Bus bookings, since by its nature this 'extended care' does not happen on the school premises. Around School Please may we request that, when parents are crossing the Upper School Playground, you use the pathway around the outside of the playground instead of cutting across the playground. If you are waiting for Upper School children to be dismissed and have come across from Lower School please may we ask that you wait on Parkway - this alleviates congestion outside the school office.   Parents are reminded to supervise younger pupils at the Upper School entrance and to be particularly vigilant of the car park areas and the gardens which are cared for so well by Mr. Rizzo. 
Posted on: 5/10/2018

Head's Blog - Reflections on the Heads' Conference

Last week I had the privilege of joining with 400 other Independent School Heads from all over the UK and overseas at the annual Head’s Conference. I spent three full days listening to interesting and thought-provoking speakers and having the opportunity to network with fellow Heads to discuss and share our expertise and experiences.   I must admit that on several occasions I did sit back and smile (I hope not too smugly) as some of the speakers highlighted key aspects for improving the education of young people and I reflected that, at St. Helen's College, we are already doing these things very well... Harriet Marshall - Building a sustainable future and global citizenship for our children by promoting the United Nations Global Goals. This is our third year in supporting this at school and only on Tuesday of last week we revisited this with the launch of ‘The World’s Greatest Lesson’ in Upper School assembly. Dr. Ruth Graham - Discussing future engineers in our school and promoting STEAM. Didn’t we just have our STEAM Day two weeks ago! Julie Robinson - The importance of partnerships between the independent sector and state schools. We have numerous partnerships already in place, not only for pupils' benefit but also for staff professional development. Chris Jeffrey - Developing and embedding a culture of wellbeing through mindfulness, positive psychology, time to talk, starting with the why and being human first…. Chris was 'preaching to the converted' here - in fact, we were one of the first schools to introduce these tools for ensuring the wellbeing of our children. Lucy Crehan (yes, Mr. and Mrs. Crehan’s daughter Lucy was one of our keynote closing speakers!) - Discussing her book Cleverlands, Lucy looked at what the top performing schools around the world are doing and how this could impact our practice, including removing setting from subjects, deploying resources effectively and less one to one support which has very little evidential impact from research. At St. Helen's College, we began to implement these recommendations very early indeed and are constantly reviewing the effectiveness of educational techniques such as setting and support. One speaker whose wisdom inspired humility and awe was Lord Dr. Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick, CBE. He discussed the AI revolution and being ready for 2030. In his presentation he made reference to the World Economic Forum report and the vital skills which will be most desired by employers by 2020. These were listed as: Creativity. People management. Coordinating with others.  Emotional intelligence.  Judgement and decision making. Service orientation.  Negotiation skills. Cognitive flexibility. This involves creativity, logical reasoning, and problem sensitivity. I do believe  that our curriculum and the opportunities pupils have here at St. Helen’s College are ticking every one of these skills!  In the full report it discusses the skills which will be required but also those which will be in rapid decline. Emotional intelligence will be one of the top skills required, with active listening almost disappearing. ‘Robots may help us to get somewhere faster….but they cannot be more creative than we are’.   The CIA in the USA recently posted an advert in the Economist. The job spec stipulated: intellectual, curious adventurers. No work background was specified. I am sure you can see where I am coming from…..your children are the future, so let’s keep supporting them in developing the correct skills through our academic and holistic curriculum to enable them to be ready for their futures. I am signposting you to a Ted Talk by Lord Hastings..’The Empowerment of Purpose’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zePLEJtUIe8 Enjoy! Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 28/09/2018

Weekly News - Friday 28th September

Our first Month End Music Recital of the academic year this afternoon was very well attended, and saw some super performances from the pupils on flute, violin, trumpet, saxophone and piano. It is always so impressive to see children so young performing in public with confidence and great skill, and such a pleasure to see the results of their hard work. Bravo to all those who played! E-safety talk Thank you to all those parents who attended the E-safety talk on Tuesday night; we had a full house and it was encouraging to see how home and school are working together to support the children. Paul Hay, our visiting E-safety specialist, told us that he thoroughly enjoyed the day and that the pupils were a credit to parents and staff. He was delighted that the evening talk was so well-attended. You are welcome to visit Paul's page and email him directly if you do have any queries relating to E-Safety. www.pclstraining.com/links paul.hay@pclstraining.com Eco Schools Silver Award Following on from our Bronze Award, the Eco Team (together with the whole school community) have now achieved the Eco Schools accreditation of the silver award! We will now strive to achieve the even more prestigious ‘green flag’ award with the help of everyone. Please continue to promote ways to live in a more eco friendly fashion: ‘reduce, reuse, recycle, repair’. Harvest Festivals Our Harvest Festival celebrations will take place over the next two weeks. Upper School (children in Years 2-6) will attend the Harvest Festival service at All Saints Church on Tuesday next week. All children should be in full, correct school uniform on this day. If they have PE/Games on a Tuesday, they should bring in their PE/Games kits to change into.  Lower School (children in Nursery to Year 1) will celebrate Harvest the week after with their Harvest assemblies. As is traditional, we would ask parents to send your child in with a Harvest donation. The most suitable donations are tinned, canned or dry packet goods such as tinned fruit, vegetables, meat or fish; dried pasta, rice, pulses or grains, packets of cereal and porridge or packets of sweet treats such as biscuits. Please check the sell by date and send goods with as long a shelf life as possible. All donations will be going to the Salvation Army, who will distribute to those in need in Hillingdon. Many thanks to you all, in advance, for your generosity. Breast Cancer Awareness October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Mr. and Mrs. Cheema, parents of Amar (Y6) will be taking part in the Breast Cancer Now campaign in collaboration with Marks and Spencer. During the month of October, 20% of all purchases made from the ‘Pink Collection’ will be donated to Breast Cancer Now to fund vital research to ensure that by 2050, any woman diagnosed with Breast Cancer will survive. Please do visit your local M&S in store or online to support this cause. https://www.marksandspencer.com/c/style-and-living/breast-cancer-now-feature Mrs. Cheema has written a guest Head's Blog this week. You can read it here. Cancer Research Relay For Life We are delighted to announce that the total raised by the St. Helen's College team for this year's Cancer Research Relay for Life now stands at just over £4000. Many thanks to you all, once again, for your generosity. You can get a feel for the day itself through this short video clip of the team: https://animoto.com/play/ZT0bYGL4FLClJsmxvZkv8g Staffing  We are delighted to welcome Mrs. Fiona Bool to St. Helen’s College as our new Finance Manager. Some of the children have already met Mrs. Bool in assembly and I am sure she will soon get to know our school community. Mrs. Dennington is working alongside Mrs. Bool over the next week to ensure a good transition and I would like to thank Mrs. Dennington for all her hard work and dedication to St. Helen’s College over the past 17 years.  Half Term Holiday Club - Bookings Now Open On SchoolsBuddy Bookings are now open for Holiday Club which will be running throughout the half term, with optional Breakfast Club each day. We will be using SchoolsBuddy to take bookings. When you log in to your SchoolsBuddy account, go to the Bookings tab and book the sessions you require. A day session runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and this includes lunch and afternoon tea, which is served at 3.30 p.m. The optional Breakfast Club sessions run from 7.30 a.m. Please note that you may pay by card or select 'voucher payment' which tells us that you are paying by Childcare Voucher or Tax Free Childcare Account. If you would like to pay for some sessions using card, and for some sessions using voucher payment, then you will need to make separate bookings for these - for example, book Monday/Tuesday sessions and pay by card, then book Wednesday/Thursday/Friday sessions and pay by childcare voucher. We hope that you will find the new online and payment system easy to use but if you experience any difficulties, please do contact the school office who will be pleased to help. School Bus and Breakfast Club Bookings Now Open Via SchoolsBuddy Bookings for the morning bus service and Breakfast Club for the second half of term are now live on SchoolsBuddy. Please note that, even if you have been a regular user of these services before, you must now book and pay online on SchoolsBuddy to secure your places going forward.  When you log in to your SchoolsBuddy account, go to the Bookings tab and book the services/sessions you require.  For Breakfast Club, you may pay by card or select 'voucher payment' which tells us that you are paying by Childcare Voucher or Tax Free Childcare Account. If you would like to pay for some Breakfast Club sessions using card, and for some Breakfast Club sessions using voucher payment, then you will need to make separate bookings for these - for example, book Monday/Tuesday sessions and pay by card, then book Wednesday/Thursday/Friday sessions and pay by childcare voucher. We hope that you will find the new online and payment system easy to use but if you experience any difficulties, please do contact the school office who will be pleased to help. Childcare Vouchers/Tax Free Childcare Account payments may not be used for School Bus bookings, since by its nature this extended care does not happen on the school premises. After School Club bookings will be set up on SchoolsBuddy in due course. Piano Vacancy - Upper School We have an unexpected vacancy for a child (Y2-6) to learn piano at 12 noon on Saturdays. Please email Mrs. Allery if you are interested in this; the place will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. rallery@sthelenscollege.com The Nutcracker at The Royal Opera House If you are considering a family outing for Christmas, you might be interested in seeing The Nutcracker at The Royal Opera House.  https://www.roh.org.uk/productions/the-nutcracker-by-peter-wright
Posted on: 28/09/2018

Head's Blog - Breast Cancer Awareness by Mrs. Cheema

They say everyone knows someone who has had Cancer. When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2013, at the age of 36...I didn’t. I was chair of the Parents’ Association at the time and very much involved in the school community. We had just had the St. Helen’s College Family Bollywood evening. It was a fantastic night, all singing and dancing with great food. We even had Mr. Crehan changing the Bhangra lightbulbs on the dance floor! We came home elated with the success of the evening. That very night as I flopped into bed, exhausted with the excitement and preparation that comes with any school event, I felt a hard lump in my right breast. As the news broke and the days unfolded, my world turned upside down. As a family, we were being taken down a road that was very unfamiliar to us. Eight months of treatment followed, to include 6 sessions of chemotherapy, 15 sessions of radiotherapy and surgery and a whole summer snatched away from us. Our children Suraj and Amar, just 8 and 5 at the time, had to watch and wait as mummy got sick and then a little better and then sick again as the chemotherapy did its job every three weeks to shrink my tumour and catch any stray cancer cells that may have travelled around my body. People often ask how we coped? Well, I believe it has a lot to do with a positive mental attitude. Accepting a situation that is out of your control is the first step. No amount of worrying will change any situation. Each day when I wake up, I have a choice, to live that day as best I can or to lie in bed and feel sorry for myself. Some days, the latter choice was my only option when my body needed its rest. I am very aware every single day how precious our lives are and how they can be snatched away in a split second, so I choose to enjoy each and every day and make it special. How do the children cope? I think children are very resilient, a breath of fresh air actually. The innocence of a child can get you through any situation. Children look at the here and now. They don’t hold on to the fear, don’t worry about the future and can move on quite quickly with a play date or a family movie night on the sofa with a big bowl of popcorn! Keeping things as normal as possible, even through the toughest of days, is how we got through it. So here we are, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this year is a particularly exciting one for our family. Gurveer and I are working with one of the largest Breast Cancer charities, Breast Cancer Now, in collaboration with Marks and Spencer to raise vital funds for research into Breast Cancer so that by 2050, anyone diagnosed will survive. To take one of the most challenging parts of our lives and turn it into something positive to raise awareness and help towards a common goal is a fantastic opportunity for us. https://www.marksandspencer.com/c/style-and-living/breast-cancer-now-feature M&S have pledged to raise 13 million pounds over this 5 year campaign and together we can reach this goal even faster. I am asking everyone to visit your local M&S store during the month of October. 20% of any purchases made from the Breast Cancer collection will be donated to Breast Cancer Now to fund this vital research. I believe that if we can break the backbone of Breast Cancer, we will be one step closer to finding better treatment for all other cancers. Breast Cancer affects 1 in 8 women, and early detection is the key. I never thought this would happen to me but it did. Then my mum and my sister were also diagnosed with Breast Cancer. We are all ok now, because we were so aware and detected these changes early. Look, touch, feel, know your breasts and be aware of any changes, no matter how slight. This should be done every 3-4 weeks. If any change at all is seen, visit your GP and demand a mammogram is done. I cannot shout this message any louder and I will continue to do so. Speak to the women in your family and spread awareness amongst your friends, and speak to your elders as cancer does not exclude anyone. This is not something any woman can ignore. Be breast aware, it could save someone’s life. Mrs. Cheema
Posted on: 21/09/2018

Weekly News - Friday 21st September

What an incredible STEAM Day today has been! From building human structures to visiting the Ideas Bus and seeing a 3D printer in action, to making origami boxes, learning about acids and alkalis, carrying out practical experiments, building newspaper towers and so much more, children across the school have today taken part in numerous hands-on activities themed around Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts and Maths. There has been a real buzz around school, with conversations about learning taking place at every turn. We are sure that today has proved that if learning is enjoyable and engaging, pupils remember more of it. Thank you so much to all of the parents who willingly gave time and energy to support staff in delivering workshops.  Do question your children at home tonight and over the weekend so that they may share their learning with you! Budding young engineers might be interested in this event at the London Transport Museum: Follow this link: https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/year-of-engineering/future-engineers Year 6 Netball v. Langley Hall This week we had our first netball matches of the season and our Year 6 girls travelled to Langley Hall School to take part in a friendly pre-season A and B team match. The A team showed they were in sharp form, winning 9 - 3, and after a nervous 1st half the B team raised their performance but lost 7 - 3. Well done to all the girls, who are now looking forward to our first home match next Thursday against St. Bernadette's in the local league. Reception Coffee Mornings It has been lovely to see so many parents attend the Owls and Kingfishers coffee mornings over the last two weeks and to hear how well their children are enjoying their new environment and the step up to Reception class. We look forward to seeing other parents at the forthcoming coffee mornings. Year 4 Greek Workshops On Monday, members of Freshwater Theatre Company provided our Year 4 children with an insight into the lives of the Ancient Greeks as an introduction to their history topic, with an Ancient Greek adventure show. Our pupils had to solve Greek-related activities to help a time traveller graduate from time travel school. The newly qualified Time Traveller wanted to get a slot presenting on ‘Time Travel TV’. Singing the Ancient Greek legacy rap, recreating an original Olympic Games and learning more about Greek philosophy, the children helped the Time Traveller to make their very own show reel. In their second workshop, children heard from an Ancient Greek citizen who had hurtled through time to the modern day. Children learnt about everyday life in Ancient Greece and were involved in bringing scenes to life using drama. This was a really exciting start to a new history topic and the children all had great fun learning in such a practical way! Year 4/5 Meet the Teacher Evenings Thank you so much to all of the parents who attended last night's Meet The Teacher evening. I am sure that everyone found it informative and helpful as we look forward to a busy and exciting year ahead for the children. Please remember if you do have any questions or queries, to contact your form teacher or subject teacher. PA Class Reps As the new year gets underway, we would love to hear from any parent who would like to serve as a class rep for any of the following classes: Owls 2B 2H 3M 4KT Please contact Mrs. Clements at admin@sthelenscollege.com if you would like to be involved. Children in Need The BBC's Children in Need appeal are currently looking for children aged 7-13 to take part in various VT specials this year. The VTs will feature on the big Children in Need appeal night on 16th November 2018. No previous acting or performance experience is needed – just lots of enthusiasm! The application form is attached here.  
Posted on: 21/09/2018

Head's Blog - Being At Home With Your School

    I have been interested to read in the media this week two very similar articles about choosing the right school for your child and what to look out for at an Open Day (links below). The BBC article is very much focused on senior school transfer whilst the lifestyle magazine article focuses on the independent sector and choosing a good Preparatory School.   The analogy one article used was comparing choosing a school to buying a house. It needs to be a good fit for you and your family and you will definitely have a ‘gut’ feeling about the school.  Of course like choosing a home, with a school there are many other factors to be considered but I do not intend to go into too much detail in this blog; you can read both the articles for yourself.   I am sure that St. Helen's College parents know that you have  made the right choice for your children, having chosen St. Helen’s College very carefully knowing that our values and ethos are matched with your own family values. We do not hold open days where the activities are ‘contrived’ and only showcase certain elements of the school. We do not hand pick our tour guides - rather, all our Year 6 pupils are our ambassadors and tour visitors, and they are certainly our best marketeers! We have prospective parents tour the school all year round, not just on Open Morning, since we believe it is important that they see, hear and feel the heartbeat of St. Helen’s College.   The support that you give your children at home in their learning and development complements all that the staff at school are doing on a daily basis both in the classroom and around the school community. Our staff are being the best role models to your children all day long; the learning stretches across the school day both inside the classroom, in the corridors, the dining room and beyond the school gates. We all work together to educate your children to empower them to strive for excellence in all aspects of their learning. As Open Day season commences for senior schools I do urge parents in the Upper School to visit a variety of schools. Know what you are looking for, but most important of all, make sure that you get a good feel for the school - that gut instinct. Do read the articles I have linked to assist you and do come back to share your experiences with me. I thank all our parents and pupils for being our best ambassadors - it is through the conversations that you are having with family, friends and colleagues that the reputation of our school spreads and we look forward to meeting our prospective parents this year for the families wishing to join our unique community. http://optimamagazine.co.uk/read/family/education/1901-how-to-make-the-most-of-open-days https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41469041 Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 14/09/2018

Weekly News - Friday 14th September 2018

It has been an incredible first week back for the pupils at all three sites. It is wonderful to see how quickly our Ducklings children have settled in to their new 'nest'! There was much excitement as our Lower School children entered their new-look school on Monday morning. They have now all explored their new classrooms and are making the most of the amazing new facilities. The grand opening will be after half term and we will finalise dates as soon as possible. Upper School children have had a very busy week meeting their new teachers and settling into new routines. I have admired how they are responding to the changes and rising to new challenges. Our Year 6 pupils have had an intense start to the new academic year with their 11+ examinations and we look forward to seeing them all next week for a 'normal' school week. PA Welcome Event For New Parents The PA Welcome Event for parents who are new to the school will now take place next Saturday, 22nd September, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in The Evans Hall. We hope to see all our new families there. STEAM Day - Friday 21st September Preparations are well underway for our exciting STEAM Day next Friday. Thank you to all parents who have offered to run or assist with the workshops. If there are any Upper School parents who would still like to assist, please email Mr. Tovell at dtovell@sthelenscollege.com. Tog Day The school was a riot of colour today as we had our first Tog Day of the year, in support of Cancer Research UK's Relay for Life. Many thanks to you all for your generosity in supporting this charity. We will announce the total raised in due course. It has been heartwarming this week to hear from families whose children have requested donations towards the charity instead of birthday presents. What incredibly aware and kind-hearted children we have here! Co-Curricular Activities - Autumn Term (Reception to Year 6) We are pleased to announce that our new online booking system goes live for parents today. The school has partnered with SchoolsBuddy to provide this system, which will allow parents to make bookings for school events and activities online. Today, parents of children in Reception to Year 6 will receive an activation email. Please follow the link in the email to activate your account, and then follow the instructions on the SchoolsBuddy screen to book your Co-Curricular Activities for this term. The booking system allows you to choose up to three activities per session using a preference system. Once parents have added their preferences and the closing date for bookings has passed, the system will automatically allocate as many first choice clubs as it can. Next week, parents will receive an email confirming which clubs your child has been allocated and you will then need to pay online, through SchoolsBuddy, in order to confirm your child's place. Please do also download the SchoolsBuddy app when you are prompted to do so. Parents with children in Ducklings and Nursery will receive their SchoolsBuddy activation email early next week when bookings will also open for our upcoming Internet Safety evening. We know that the new system will take a little getting used to, but we are confident that it will be user-friendly for parents and will prove very useful in the long term. Since we will be using SchoolsBuddy for all bookings (including parents' evenings, play/event ticket bookings and, eventually, wraparound care), it is crucial that all parents activate their account and become familiar with the system. If you experience any difficulties in using SchoolsBuddy, please telephone or visit the school office and staff will be pleased to help. Please note that school staff will not be able to make bookings on your behalf. Summer Schools A super time was had by over 70 pupils at our two summer schools a few weeks back in August. At Upper School, the younger pupils were thrilled to experience the delights of having a petting zoo visit for the day, as well as enjoying many creative and active activities throughout the week's theme of 'On The Farm'. Our older pupils got their thrills in adventurous activities on water and land whilst based at Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre for the week. Kayaking, abseiling, caving, fencing and karting were just a few of the adrenaline-fuelled activities they did during the week. Friday was fancy dress day and we saw some amazing 'Under the Sea' themed costumes. Photographs of both our summer schools can be seen in the gallery here.  Please note a number of items were left at HOAC. These have been returned to school and can be found in lost property. Meet The Teacher Evenings It was lovely to see so many parents attend the Year 3/Year 6 Meet The Teacher evening last night. I am sure you found the meeting informative. We look forward to meeting with the Year 4 and Year 5 parents next Thursday. School Bus Our new school bus service is now running daily from Eastcote through Ruislip and Ickenham to school. Children in Years 2 to 6 are welcome to book onto the bus for odd days or whole weeks. Please telephone the school office or complete the booking form on the School Documents page if you would like to book onto the bus. School Uniform We already have rather a large amount of lost property, much of it unnamed. Please do check the lost property areas at both Lower School and Upper School and please remember to name every item your child wears or brings to school. Table Etiquette I am sure that you have heard from the children the drive that we are having at school on 'routines'. One of our focus areas is developing the children's lunchtime etiquette and table manners. Please do reinforce this at home as the children are developing their knife and fork skills and awareness of table etiquette.
Posted on: 14/09/2018

Head's Blog - The Power Of Everyday Heroes

At our very first staff meeting last week, all employees of St. Helen’s College were reminded of how privileged we all are to spend our working days in an environment where we can have such a positive impact on your children. Everyone who works in an educational setting is a hero! Many of us are not even aware that we have these superpower ‘hero’ qualities. But to many children they see the adults who surround them, care for them, listen to them each day as their heroes. The children may not be aware of the impact that the adults are having upon them and it may not be until later life when they reflect on their life journey that these everyday heroes will be recalled. The message which reverberated around the room was about being human first….our roles as teacher, TALA, SMSA, secretary, groundsman, school patrol..these roles come second! I showed the staff a very moving and poignant TedEx talk by a friend of mine, a teacher who has had a very difficult and moving life journey but now speaks to audiences about ‘The Power of Everyday Heroes’. You can find her talk on Youtube under Jaz Ampaw-Farr/Ted-Ex Norwich. Jaz is a teacher and an excellent literacy trainer but a few years ago, having spoken to audiences about how to improve literacy in the classroom, she decided to reveal her story. As I stood with a very nervous Jaz backstage at ‘Teachmeet London’ she was so apprehensive about whether she should deliver her presentation, which was most certainly nothing to do with phonics and literacy. The impact Jaz’s talk had on the audience that day took her to TedEx Norwich; her message is strong and heartfelt. We will email parents the link to the video of her talk, which contains sensitive material and is not suitable for children. It only lasts 10 minutes, but this is 10 minutes which may make you step back from your role in your workplace, to remember that ultimately if we can all be human first we may have the greatest and most positive impact on others. I speak on behalf of all the staff when I say that we are so proud of our St. Helen’s College community. The relationships we have with our pupils and parents are unique and we look forward to a very successful and happy academic year with your precious children.   Mrs. Drummond  

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