School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 17/01/2020

Weekly News - Friday 17th January 2020

Lower School and Ducklings Reading and Phonics Evening Thank you to all parents who attended last night's workshops. We hope that you have taken away some very useful tips on how to support your child's development in reading and writing and that you now understand more fully how teaching staff are developing these skills. Please do speak with the class teachers if you would like to  follow up on any points discussed. Upcoming Music Events - All Welcome! Month End Music Recital Our next Month End Music Recital will take place this coming Friday (24th January) from 3.45 p.m. in the Evans Hall at Upper School. All are welcome to this informal event, which gives our instrumentalists and singers a chance to practise performance in a friendly and encouraging environment. Do come along! Children's Trust London Schools Concert - Sunday 2nd February The St. Helen's College Chamber Choir will once again be performing at the Children's Trust London Schools Concert this year. This event takes place from 2 - 4 p.m. on Sunday 2nd February at the beautiful St. John's, Smith Square in London. All St. Helen's College families are welcome to book tickets, whether your child is in the Chamber Choir or not. This is a really special event in beautiful surroundings and we would appreciate support from families across the school. You can purchase tickets via the following link. https://thechildrenstrust.digitickets.co.uk/category/24930#cart-summary St. John's Church Concert - Saturday 8th February The Chamber Choir will also be performing publicly more locally in February, taking part in an evening concert at St. John's Church, Royal Lane, Uxbridge on Saturday 8th February. The concert begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are available to all (£5 cash payable on the door). Through ticket sales, the concert will raise funds for renovation of the church and for two animal charities in South Africa which promote animal welfare, one of which is run by an ex-Hillingdon vet.  We would be delighted to have as many St. Helen's College families as possible supporting the event, so please do come along if you can. The concert will last from approximately 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with tea/coffee/cake available in the interval. Our Chamber Choir will be performing in the first half of the event, and several other local bands and artists will be performing too. We hope to see you there! Pupil-Led Learning Well done to Manisher L (Y5), who is certainly taking her learning into her own hands. Last week, she proudly brought a scale model of the solar system into school, which she had created at home with her father over the Christmas holidays. Here is the piece she wrote about her creation: Over the Christmas holidays, I was asking my Daddy how big our solar system is and that's when he said, “Why don't we make our own scale model of the solar system!”  It took us approximately 3-4 hours to collect the measurements, divide the length by 34 billion and find out more information about each planet, for example my age on each planet. The following day my Daddy had ordered a 200 metre long roll of paper and 200 metre tape measure so that I could be 100% accurate.The next day the equipment arrived. It took a while to measure out all of the planets, because the distance from the Sun to Mars is relatively close but the distance from the Sun to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto is astronomical! When I finally finished my scale model of our solar system it was 169 meters of paper from the Sun to Pluto! Fun Facts: The full length of our solar system is 6 billion kilometres. The day in Venus is shorter than the year. It takes 365 days to complete a year or a full orbit on earth. Pluto is not actually classed as a planet - it is classed as a dwarf planet. Scientists are not 100% sure that Pluto orbits the Sun. They are thinking that Pluto orbits another planet. ABRSM Music Results In addition to the excellent set of results announced last week, we are also delighted to let you know the following result for an ABRSM exam taken last term: Violin Krisha S - Grade 2 Merit Acts of Kindness Our school community continues to inspire pride. We were delighted to hear this week of further acts of kindness by two Upper School pupils. Samir (Y5) and Hana (Y2) are regular visitors to their grandpa's social group; the children regularly sing, play the piano and bring joy to the older people with their presence. Hana also helps out at a toddler and baby group run by her grandmother. Well done Samir and Hana - this is yet another example of how our pupils really are living the St. Helen's College values and ethos. Co-Curricular Clubs It has been wonderful to see the engagement of the children in the first week of our spring term programme of clubs. We have an additional pupil-led club which will commence next week; a group of very enthusiastic Year 6 pupils (Harry, Taha, Lakhi, Eli, Mohib, Jai and Dhian) will be running a 'Mathletics and TimesTables Rock Stars' Club commencing next Thursday lunchtime for Y4-6.  Pupils can sign up on Monday. Pupils are aware that if they have already committed to another Thursday club then they must attend the club that they were allocated.    News From The School Kitchen Chinese New Year - Special Themed Menu Please note that we will have a special, Chinese-themed menu on Thursday 23rd January, to celebrate Chinese New Year. You can see the menu here. February's Spice of the Month - Recipes for Parents At school we are always working to stimulate your children's taste buds and encouraging them to try new flavours. February's 'spice of the month' is ginger and we are delighted to share with you these recipes, all including ginger, which you might like to try cooking at home with your children. Do let us know how you get on! Pick Up and Go We would like to remind parents collecting children from the Parkway entrance at Upper School that you must move to the car park if your child is not visible at the gate at the end of the day. This week there has been congestion along Parkway due to some parents remaining at the pick up and go area. Mrs. Hunter does her best to keep the traffic moving and we work hard to maintain our relationships with our neighbours; we ask that parents work with us to do the same. Teachers try hard to ensure that the classes are out on time; however, there may be the odd occasion when a class is delayed for some valid reason and we ask, on such an occasion, that you move to the car park to enable traffic to move freely on Parkway.
Posted on: 17/01/2020

Diversity

  Last Saturday, I attended the annual Diverse Leaders Conference, which happened to be hosted by Upton Grammar School in Slough. The event is in its third year and is organised by a close friend of mine, Hannah Wilson, who is currently Head of Secondary School Teacher Training at the University of Buckingham. It brings together leaders and educators from all areas and phases of education who are passionate about supporting professionals and pupils within the education system who are underrepresented but with particular reference to educational leadership in our schools.  There was representation from the BAMEedNetwork (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Educators), the LGBT network, Disabled leaders,  WomenED (women in education) and the HeforShe movement. The opening keynote speaker, Diana Osagie, who stands at 6ft 2, inspired the delegates by asking us this question: ‘Are you fulfilling the expectations of your life?’  Can I? Will I? Am I? Her call to arms for us to fulfil expectations in life was a powerful reminder to find and serve our purpose.   Several leaders that day reflected on the struggles they have had in their careers and on the resilience and courage that it took, for many reasons, to climb the ladder and be recognised for their contributions. Sadly there were devastating stories of leaders who had been pushed out of their schools: James Pope, who last year featured on the BBC2 documentary ‘School,' spoke eloquently but emotionally about his experiences and how he now supports other Heads who may find themselves in this very vulnerable and stressful situation (I have linked the moment in the documentary where James had to tell his staff he was leaving).  Ofsted (the regulatory body which inspects maintained schools) can make or break a dedicated Head’s career and I am somewhat grateful that as an ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) inspector, the approach that the Independent Schools Inspectorate takes is to celebrate the achievements and outcomes of schools and support them in areas where improvement may be required - not to push dedicated Heads from their schools.  One inspirational Head, Jo Lawrence, whom I have known on social media for several years, shared her courageous journey through being diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer just 18 months into her Headship and how she coped with handing over the reins to an interim Head but keeping in touch with her staff and school community throughout her treatment (I have linked Jo’s blog prior to her cancer diagnosis). She stood proud on Saturday, although still suffering from severe bone pain, and with a fantastic new look cropped hair do. It was my first time actually meeting Jo in person despite our many communications on social media - the warm embrace we gave each other spoke volumes and I only hope that not many of us have to endure what she has been going through.   Mark Pritchard, the Head of Upton Grammar, reflected on how we need schools to be diverse; complex problems needs people who think differently and collective intelligence is determined by our cognitive diversity. He reminded us of the detriment of homophily amongst leadership teams and the HIPPO style of leadership (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion!). Thankfully over my years in education I have only experienced this type of leadership on two occasions and stayed strong to my moral compass and moved to pastures new where colliding perspectives and risk taking was welcomed and staff and leaders were developed and nurtured.  I could continue sharing my reflections of the many other inspiring leaders I heard from on Saturday but I will end with Karen Giles, who has been Headteacher of a co-educational primary school in Brent for 16 years. Karen spoke about the learning behaviours of boys versus girls in her school and how she has worked with her staff to ensure that they are inspiring girls to become strong, confident leaders for the future - they tackle stereotypes and support equality of education. Karen has 960 children in her four form entry school, pupils are from the immediate local area and the school is incredibly diverse in culture, faith and languages. Karen highlighted the charity and the film  ‘Girl Rising’  and shared the ‘Nepal Chapter’ with us. I urge you all to take the time to watch (12 minutes) - this is a simple reminder of how far equality of education for girls has come, but also of how much there still is to do in this area. As we left the conference, we were asked to make a pledge to ourselves as we return to our own schools on Monday. The first couple of weeks back at school have been incredibly positive and Mr. McLaughlin has been handed the baton by Mrs. Stark and has stepped up to his new leadership role as Deputy Head with commitment, confidence and energy. With a new Deputy Head in place I am excited for the future - I pledge to continue giving my best to lead St. Helen’s College with the staff team, the pupils and parents to give the children the best possible education and to prepare them for life in the 21st century (whatever this future will look like). I will work my hardest with the amazing staff at St. Helen’s College to fulfil the expectations of the parent body, Principals and Governing Body and will be honest, resilient and courageous but will lead with grace, love and compassion.  Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 10/01/2020

Weekly News - Friday 10th January 2020

We would like to welcome all members of the school community to a new year and to a new term. We look forward to another busy, productive and joyful term together. Many of our Year 6 children will be sitting entrance examinations and having interviews for independent schools over the coming weeks. We wish them all well and look forward to hearing of their successes. Autumn Term ABRSM Exam Results Well done to all of those children who sat ABRSM examinations at the end of the Autumn term. We are delighted to announce another super set of results. Guitar Jasmine B Grade 4 Merit Flute Ridhima M Grade 3 Merit 'Cello Devan S Grade 2 Merit Piano Reece G  Grade 2 Pass Samir H Grade 2 Pass Arjan D Grade 1 Merit Advik S Grade 1 Merit Oliver T Grade 1 Merit Sofia H Prep Pass Trumpet Patrick E Grade 2 Pass Aarya D Grade 1 Pass Violin Leila B Grade 1 Pass Singing Dhiya K Grade 3 Merit Esha T Grade 3 Merit Anaiya B Prep Pass Singing for Musical Theatre Siyana M Grade 2 Merit Anaya K Grade 1 Merit Clarinet  Georgia S Prep Pass Staff News We are delighted to share three very happy pieces of staff news with you. Mr. McLaughlin (Deputy Head, Y6) and Mrs. McLaughlin (Y3) are expecting their first baby in the summer.  Miss Hill (Ducklings) is also expecting her first baby, which means another grandchild for Mrs. Hill (Y2) as well! Mrs. Hunt has recently celebrated the milestone of 20 years as a member of staff at St. Helen's College! Pupils and staff at Lower School surprised her on their first day back this week with a beautiful assembly celebrating her long term service. Children from each Lower School class shared why they all love Mrs. Hunt so much. It was a very emotional and moving celebration with tears of joy.  What a wonderful way to start the term and the new year with such happy news! Year 5 Parent Transfer Meetings Mrs. Drummond will be meeting with Year 5 parents individually over the following weeks to discuss senior school transfer in detail. If you have a child in Year 5 and have not yet met with Mrs. Drummond or made your appointment to do so, please log on to your SchoolsBuddy account and book an appointment as soon as possible. Well-Being Day We will be holding a school-wide Well-Being Day on Thursday 13th February to support the well-being of all members of our community and especially our pupils. Throughout the day, pupils will take part in special off-timetable activities designed to give them the tools to look after their own well-being.  Last term, Lower School parents had the opportunity to attend a Parent Practice presentation about how to support your child in developing their self-esteem, and so bring out the best in them. On 13th February, we are inviting parents of Upper School children to attend a Well-Being Evening Workshop Session, which will give parents ideas about how to support children's well-being beyond school. If you have a child at Upper School and have not yet signed up for the evening session, there are still some places available. These can be booked through your SchoolsBuddy account. There are 70 places in total and these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis with a maximum of one place per family. Bookings will remain open until Friday 17th January. Pipers Corner Literary Festival One of our school priorities is to promote a love of reading in our pupils. The Pipers Corner Literary Festival in High Wycombe is now in its second year and will take place from 31st January to 13th February. We would encourage you to book tickets if you would like to visit and hear one of the visiting authors speak; there are authors/events suitable for children aged 4-7 and 8-11 as well as a few events suitable for adults. â€‹https://www.piperscorner.co.uk/our-school/pipers-corner-literary-festival Community Service/Acts of Kindness Following on from our school promotion of acts of kindness and community service, two of our families visited a Watford care home over the holidays and performed a mini music recital to the elderly residents, spreading joy to all who experienced it. The five children involved (Alex S, Marcus S, Annabelle S, Jasmine B and Xavier B) shared their experience with the rest of the Upper School in assemblies this week. It is wonderful to hear about these acts of kindness taking place outside of school - please do let us know if your family has any similar news to share. Charity Fundraising We would like to thank all parents and staff who contributed last term to collections for SANDs, raising funds to support families affected by Still Birth and Neo-Natal Death. The school raised a total of £172.03 which has now been passed on to this very important charity. Upper School End of Day Pick Up Please can we remind parents using Court Park car park that, while waiting, engines should be switched off rather than left idling. Idling engines contribute to local air pollution and we would like to do our bit to help the environment! School Security The safety of pupils is our primary concern at school. We would like to remind parents that, when school gates are closed and you have pressed the buzzer to gain entry, you should not then hold open gates at any school entrance to allow others access to the grounds. All visitors to the school must report to the school office and be accompanied while on site. We thank you for your support in adhering to our Safeguarding Policy in this respect. EasyFundraising Just a reminder that, if you are not already doing so, you can raise money for the St. Helen's College Development Fund while shopping online at no extra cost to yourself. You simply need to download the EasyFundraising app and/or visit easyfundraising.org.uk and sign up to support our cause. Most well known high street and online retailers take part in this initiative, including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Boots, Amazon, Ebay and many, many more. Once you get into the habit of using EasyFundraising it is very easy indeed. If you are booking a holiday, break or getaway or renewing car, home or other insurance this month, please use EasyFundraising. You can raise a big donation for the St. Helen's College Development Fund when booking higher cost items like holidays and insurance - companies including Expedia, Secret Escapes, Virgin Holidays, Onthebeach, MoreThan, Direct Line, Admiral Multicar and many more will donate to our cause at no extra cost to you. If you book a holiday or getaway before 12th January you'll raise twice as much with a double donation! Thank you so much for your ongoing support with our efforts to launch the Development Fund.
Posted on: 10/01/2020

Start with Heart

Happy New Year to all of our St. Helen’s College families.  We have had a very successful start to the new term and I thought that it would interesting for parents and pupils to hear about what the staff did during our two training days on Monday and Tuesday this week.  At the first staff training day of 2020 I showed staff the image below, replacing the word ‘teacher’ with ‘staff’: In every work place I am sure that people wear many hats and this is particularly the case in schools, where staff members wear multiple hats throughout the day and often at the same time! Working in a school means spending your days in the most rewarding, stimulating and busy environment and after 30 years as an educator I cannot even imagine doing anything else! However, it is so important that, regardless of the job we do in society, we are kind to ourselves. We must notice how we are feeling and look after ourselves.  I then shared this short video with everyone, which I urge you to find time to watch.   Kindness has many benefits, including increased happiness and a healthy heart. It slows down the ageing process and improves relationships and connections, which indirectly boosts your health.  It is our job to ensure that your children are safe and happy at school and of course learning each and every day.  To keep them safe at school we need to keep up to date with regulatory training, so we then had our annual asthma and anaphylaxis training from Rebecca, a member of the Hillingdon Asthma team.  First aid training was also on the agenda and 34 members of staff completed Paediatric First Aid training - the trainers made this very serious training fun and I am sure that children would have loved to have seen Mr. Dyson putting me into the recovery position as an unconscious breathing casualty or critiquing my bandaging of Mr. Lewis’s hand following the amputation of two fingers!   Having the children back on Wednesday was a breath of fresh air and although I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday I most certainly welcomed having routine back and the joy of the children around us again. It is not only the staff who have been 'upskilling' themselves in first aid this week, as our children from Reception to Year 6 have commenced the ‘Heartstart’ programme.  For many years Miss Walker has arranged for all of the children to take part in this most valuable course; the children’s knowledge and skills of how to react in an emergency are built upon year on year. Some of the skills which the children learn over their time with us are: What to do in an emergency situation Knowing how to make a 999 call Putting someone in the recovery position Dealing with serious bleeds Recognising signs of heart attack and stroke Administering CPR How to utilise an automated external defibrillator (AED) Yesterday, the Year 6 pupils went through exactly the same training as we did as they used the Annie dolls to practise their CPR technique.   At lunch on Tuesday we were discussing the fact that the children learn these life skills but with the hope that they may never have to use them in a real life situation. However, one member of staff whose children both attended St. Helen’s College still recalls the day when her daughter had a seizure at home and it was her 5 year old son (now a teenager) who took control and told his dad what to do! It was a very helpful, calm voice of reason from a child who recalled his ‘Heartstart’ training skills.   Do speak to your children over the next couple of weeks as they learn these life skills from Mrs. Hunt, Miss Ward, Miss Walker and Mrs. Wilcock. I am sure that you will be so impressed by what they know and can share with you! So, as we start the new term, we do start with ‘Heart’.   Here’s to a super 2020 for us all at St. Helen’s College! Mrs. Drummond  
Posted on: 13/12/2019

Weekly News - Friday 13th December 2019

Thank you to all of the parents and friends who joined us this morning for the end of term carol service at All Saints Church. As ever, it was a thoughtful and joyful occasion and it was lovely to have so many of you with us. We wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas holiday, and look forward to seeing you all again in the new year. Musician of the Term Many congratulations to Anish A who was today awarded Musician of the Term. Anish has shown outstanding effort, commitment, dedication and achievement in all aspects of music over many years at St. Helen’s College. He has a sound musical knowledge and has applied and shared ideas successfully in class work throughout the years, as well as performing regularly, playing the violin and singing. He is currently working towards his Grade 6 violin and his Grade 4 singing. He is a much valued First Violin in our school orchestra, a committed member of both Senior Choir and Chamber Choir, and an excellent role model for the younger musicians in the school. He enjoys performing at our informal recitals and more formal events and he recently travelled to India, where he played at a wedding. Well done, Anish! Sports Personality of the Term Well done to Adam K (Year 4) who was today awarded the Sports Personality of the Term award. Adam has grown to be one of the best footballers in the school. He shows great courage and perseverance, excellent sportsmanship and a real desire to encourage his peers. The Year 6 Sports Captains noted that Adam strives at all times to achieve excellence and exhibits great confidence in what he does. Congratulations, Adam!     Year 1 Christmas Assembly Wow! What a super Christmas assembly the children of Year 1 presented on Monday. Year 1 astounded us all by adapting so well to a new venue at short notice to celebrate Christmas in the Methodist Church. There was beautiful singing and interesting facts about the traditions of Christmas were retold by all. Thank you to Revd. Ken Kingston for his lovely story and for allowing us to use the church. Christmas Christmas Christmas! Our Upper School children enjoyed a marvellous morning at the Pantomime on Wednesday when they went to see Sleeping Beauty at The Beck Theatre. The day began with the pupils learning a little about pantomime as a dramatic form so that they were well placed to understand any jokes and enjoy the performance! The show was hilarious and the children had a wonderful time joining in and then having lunch back at school, followed by an afternoon of Pantomime tradition and creativity where they designed sets, costumes and props. The children in Ducklings were super excited to receive a visit from Father Christmas who happened to arrive when Mrs. Crehan was taking a singing session with the children.  A wonderful festive sing song was had with everyone and the children delighted Father Christmas with their singing, wonderful manners and festive glee.  Father Christmas then climbed back into his sleigh and Rudolph and his friends took him safely along Long Lane to visit the Lower School pupils who delighted him with their curiosity and wonder of Christmas! Thank you to Mrs. Crehan who visited the Lower School classes later that morning with her guitar to accompany the children in an array of Christmas songs.   All Upper and Lower School children enjoyed a superb Christmas lunch experience on Thursday with a traditional dinner cooked by Soula and her team. Everyone enjoyed pulling crackers, telling jokes and listening to Christmas music! We are incredibly lucky to be so well looked after by Soula and the Accent team - many thanks to them all. As ever, we received many entries for the Christmas tree decoration competition and it was very difficult to choose the winners. However, the year prizes were today awarded to: Ducklings - Ashana M Nursery - Tansy M & Emily K Reception - Rohin M & Zayd A Year 1 - Zinnia M & Riya-Skye S Year 2 - Riya S & Zachariah A Year 3 - Dominic M & Ayla A Year 4 - Leo J & Avaani M Year 5 - Isabelle K & Riya C Year 6 - Jasmine B & Mohib F Very well done to everyone who took part. The trees have looked magical and it has been such a joy to see the hard work and creativity that the pupils put into making their decorations. Celebrations We wish Miss Heath all the best for her forthcoming wedding on the 31st December and we look forward to welcoming her back to school next term as Mrs. Reid. A Bientot Mrs. Stark Today marks Mrs. Stark's retirement as Deputy Head after many years of making an outstanding contribution to St. Helen's College life. She will be greatly missed by her colleagues, by the children and by parents. We will look forward to welcoming her back as our part-time French teacher next term, but would like to take this opportunity to extend heartfelt gratitude for her wonderful dedication to the school over more than 20 years. First News  We encourage children to read widely and to keep up to date with current affairs. You might wish to purchase a First News Subscription for your child this Christmas in order to support them in doing this. Holiday Club Please note that Holiday Club will be held at Lower School for all children over the Christmas holiday as there will be maintenance works going on at Upper School.  Spring Term  You can see the spring term menu here. Co-curricular allocations for the spring term are now complete and have been emailed to parents. Please make payment promptly in order to confirm your child's place at their chosen club(s). We will look forward to seeing you all back at school on Wednesday 8th January. Girls' Basketball Sessions There will be some brand new, girls only basketball sessions running at the Uxbridge College Sports Hall from 11.15 a.m. -12.45 p.m. on Saturdays. The first session is free so if you have a daughter aged 7-17 why not go along and try it.  All abilities are welcome. For more details please contact Lorien on 07703 056 303 or email admin@fullcourtconnections.co.uk. And Finally.... Please remember to use Easyfundraising when you do your Christmas (or any) shopping, as over 4,000 shops and sites will donate to the St. Helen's College Development Fund at no extra cost to you - so you can raise donations when you buy gifts, decorations, your festive food shopping or anything else online! It doesn't matter if you haven't signed up yet as it takes just a moment to create your account and begin using Easyfundraising to raise money for our cause. Just click here or follow this link: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/sthelencoldevfund/?invite=T7XS4M&referral-campaign=s2s  Thank you so much for your support!
Posted on: 6/12/2019

Weekly News - Friday 6th December 2019

Carols Around The Tree Thank you to all of the parents and children who joined us for our annual Carols Around The Tree event on Monday afternoon. It was super to have so many of you with us. Thank you to Soula and her team for the lovely mulled wine, mince pies and biscuits too! Nursery Nativity What a treat for our Nursery parents and staff on Tuesday morning, as the children of our Robins and Wrens Nursery classes performed their first St. Helen's College Christmas Nativity! The children took to the stage with confidence and gave an utterly charming performance. There were clearly spoken individual lines as well as many group songs, with choreography too! The vast majority of these pupils are 3 years old and the audience was so proud of them for remembering their lines, showing off their stage presence and their ability to follow direction and doing it all with a smile. Well done, Nursery!  Reception Nativity The Reception Nativity this morning was another resoundingly successful performance. The Lower School Hall was packed with family and friends and the children certainly rose to the occasion, singing with gusto and delivering their spoken lines clearly.  The children looked amazing in their costumes and the audience showed their appreciation and support as the show ended. Very well done to all those involved.     Year 3 Christmas Production The Year 3 performance of 'A Countdown to Christmas' took place at the Winston Churchill Hall on Thursday evening and really was a feast for the senses! The countdown's focus was a village hall, at which various groups, including the long-suffering cleaners, were preparing for Christmas. The script allowed the children to shine through individual and small group performances, as well as large ensemble numbers. It is sometimes easy to forget, watching productions such as this one, that the children performing are so young. Their voice projection and stage presence were both excellent and it was clear that they enjoyed themselves immensely! Year 3's achievements on stage are all the more impressive because so many of the children have suffered from winter bugs over the last week or two. Well done to all of the children and staff involved.         4KT Assembly Parents, pupils and staff watched a wonderful assembly today by 4KT as they reminded and taught us about some of the traditions and facts about Christmas and how it is celebrated around the world. We even had a visit from Father Christmas during a stunning rendition of the poem 'Twas The Night Before Christmas'. The assembly ended with the children signing the popular Christmas song 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'.       Doodle Wellbeing Advent Calendar Each class in the Upper School  have been given a 'Young Minds Wellbeing Advent Calendar' for the children to participate in simple wellbeing activities throughout December. It was delightful to observe Year 2 and the Mindful Moments Club children take part in the Giant Doodle from Wednesday's calendar entry! Please download a copy of the calendar to participate at home.   https://youngminds.org.uk/media/3393/wellbeing-advent-calendar-2019.pdf                 St. Helen's College Kitchen Receives 5 Stars Again We are delighted for the school and for Soula and her team that they received a 5 star rating from the Food Safety/Health and Safety Inspection team when they had a spot inspection last week. To quote the report: â€‹'You have a fantastic and committed team which is apparent through the excellent standards in place. Well done!" Clare Piggot, the Client Services Director from Accent Catering, awarded Soula with a well deserved bottle of champagne to recognise her achievement.                    Final Week of Term - Arrangements Monday 9th December Infant Choir Carols in Lower School Playground - 8.15 a.m. - Please join us as you drop off your children to hear our Infant Choir singing carols in the morning. Year 1 Christmas Assembly - 8.45 a.m. - all Year 1 parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Methodist Church - please note the change of venue. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Methodist Church Hall. Wednesday 11th December Upper School Pantomime Trip (Year 2-6) - after a brief introduction at school to pantomime as a traditional British drama form, all children in Years 2 and 6 will travel to the Beck Theatre to see 'Sleeping Beauty'. Previous performances have been of a high quality and much enjoyed by all, so we hope that this year will be no exception. On return to school, the children will enjoy a party style picnic lunch and some afternoon themed activities. School will end at the normal time for all classes. Thursday 12th December School Christmas lunch - Lower and Upper School children will enjoy a party style Christmas lunch here at school, cooked and served by our Accent staff. You can see the menu, with allergens, here. Lower School Pantomime Visit - After their Christmas lunch, Lower School children will enjoy a visit from West End In Schools Pantomimes who will present their version of Dick Whittington. Lower School children are encouraged to wear party clothes to school on this day but please also remember suitable shoes and a warm coat! Friday 13th December Upper School Carol Service - Parents are warmly invited to join us at All Saints Church for our Y2-6 Carol Service, which will begin at 11.00 a.m. Please be mindful that the end of term is a busy time for traffic, and walk to the service/to pick up your children from school if you possibly can, or perhaps park away from the school and walk. End of Term - half day - Pick up times are: Ducklings and Nursery 11.50 a.m. Reception 12.00 p.m. Year 1 and Year 2  12.10 p.m. Year 3 and Year 4  12.20 p.m. Year 5 and Year 6  12.30 p.m. Holiday Club will be running on the afternoon of Friday 13th December and then every day until Monday 23rd December. Please book in via your SchoolsBuddy account. Christmas Cards The children often like to send festive cards to their friends at this time of year. We are aware that many children like to pop a Christmas chocolate/coin into the cards as a treat but please could we request that this year that an alternative to chocolate is sought. With our school being very allergy aware, we are recommending that perhaps Christmas stickers are added instead or perhaps the simple gesture of a card is adequate. Thank you for your continued support. For further information and advice on allergies please see the Allergy Aware UK website. Christmas postboxes will be open next week at Upper School, Lower School and Ducklings for free deliveries of Christmas cards among the children. Please ensure that the children's names and classes are clearly marked on envelopes. Co-Curricular Activities Thank you to parents for making your co-curricular selections for the spring term. Club allocations will be confirmed next week and we would like to remind you to make payment promptly when you receive your allocations in order to confirm your place(s). Autumn term co-curricular activities have now finished apart from the following clubs, which will be running a 'catch up session' in the final week of term. Reception Multi-Sports Club Reception Percussion Club Y1 Percussion Club Y2/3 Yoga Y2 Tennis Y4/5/6 Tennis Y3 Tennis Y2/3 Craft Club Y4/5 Art Club Year 4/5/6 Cricket (Monday instead of Wednesday next week) Y5 Football  
Posted on: 6/12/2019

Bonjour by Mr. McLaughlin

Last week’s blog - ‘Au Revoir’ by Mrs. Stark - was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster! I felt a great deal of happiness for a cherished colleague, knowing that she is heading into a thoroughly deserved (semi) retirement, surrounded by loved ones. We are all delighted that Mrs. Stark will remain with us as our French teacher, such is the positive impact that she makes in the school on a daily basis. Her consistency, commitment to the school and care for the children are inspirational for any young teacher. Reading about her many accomplishments over her time spent at St. Helen’s College, I began to think about the very exciting new chapter that lies ahead for me in January. It also prompted me to reflect on my journey so far and to look to the future. How will I be remembered by the children, parents and colleagues I have worked with when I retire? I hope that it will be with the fondness that I am sure will be lavished upon Mrs Stark in the coming weeks!  We have worked together very closely during the transition period to ensure that there is a seamless handover in the new year and I cannot wait to get started. For those of you who do not know me yet, here is a brief history of my background in education. My first step came whilst studying English literature at university. I taught a creative writing course to a Year 8 class in Winchester and it was a fantastic experience. Who knew that children were so creative and fun to work with! I went on to do some cover teaching in several challenging Hampshire secondary schools. At 21, this was certainly a character building exercise, but my curiosity around becoming a teacher remained unabashed! After graduation, I worked as a teaching assistant in a small school for children with autism in Southampton. It was a delightful place to be; our class of five was like a little family in itself. Here, I learned so much about the importance of togetherness and treating every child as an individual with their own ways and needs, a tenet that will always remain a cornerstone of high quality teaching. This confirmed my desire to teach, and my alternative path as a sports journalist at BBC South took a back seat. After a successful PGCE year in London, I took up my first post as a Year 3 class teacher. It was in my first ever interview lesson that I met a young lady named Miss Vig (you may know her as Mrs. McLaughlin – it must have been fate!). In this post, I became history and geography subject leader and I also taught in Year 5. One day, the mother of one of my pupils informed me that she would be moving on to a ‘St. Helen’s College’. A quick Google search later and I was very intrigued… Since I first stepped foot through the door, I was struck by the confidence and friendliness of the pupils and the family atmosphere of the school. I was given a tour by Mrs. Crehan and throughout that first conversation, I knew that my ideas around education were firmly aligned with those of the school. A few weeks later, I was called in for an interview and the rest, as they say, is history. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first three years of working here and I am looking forward to many more. All of the aforementioned experiences have led me to this opportunity, and I will grasp it with both hands. One thing that stands out to me throughout my time in education is the crucial role of strong relationships for building successful partnerships in the school environment. We have an open door policy at our school, and I will be dedicating a lot of time to building those all-important relationships, to help ensure that everybody in the St. Helen’s College community feels valued and supported at the school. So, whilst the name on the door will have changed, and I will forge my own path in this fantastic role, the passion, professionalism, sincerity and warmth that Mrs. Stark has brought to you all in abundance for so many years will certainly remain. Finally, to our dear friend and colleague Mrs. Stark: ‘Merci beaucoup et à bientôt.’ Mr. McLaughlin
Posted on: 29/11/2019

Weekly News - Friday 29th November 2019

Philosophy For Children (P4C) Mrs. McLaughlin from 3M delivered two P4C sessions to our Nursery and Reception children this week, encouraging their reasoning and thinking skills.   The other staff looked on with great pride as the children listened very carefully and interacted with each other so mindfully. We are very fortunate at St. Helen's College to have staff expertise and the collegiality amongst staff to share good practice.                   2B Class Assembly What a super class assembly from 2B today, telling us all about their journey so far at Upper School! They demonstrated their growing independence with a 'Countdown' style challenge to change their reading books in the upstairs part of main school, shared some of their impressive English writing with us and demonstrated how to do column addition. They also told us about their involvement in STEAM Day and their first Year 2 class trip to the Chiltern Open Air Museum. It is clear that they are relishing the challenges that the move to Upper School brings and that they are taking on greater responsibility with glee. A perfectly chosen hymn - 'One More Step Along The World I Go' - rounded off an impressive and very well-presented assembly. Well done, 2B.         Year 6 Senior School Masterclass Mrs. Hubble, the Head of Northwood College, spent the afternoon speaking with the Year 6 children about transition to senior school. The children asked interesting and thoughtful questions about the issues that were important to them, as they prepare themselves for upcoming examinations and interviews at a wide range of schools. They asked about whether Year 7 children have lockers, how the settling in process works for pupils who are the only one from their prep school, and numerous questions about the interview process for independent schools. The most important message from Mrs. Hubble was that the children should always be true to themselves and sincere in every interaction. As ever, we were very proud of how our Year 6 pupils conducted themselves with such confidence. They certainly were a credit to St. Helen's College. We heard today also from the parent of one of the pupils who made the transition to senior school in the summer. She had this to say about how her daughter has settled into North London Collegiate School: 'Our daughter absolutely loves her everyday life at NLCS. Thanks to St. Helen’s College for building her self-confidence; she now actively and confidently participates in so many clubs there. She is in Concert Orchestra, Symphonia, duet ensemble; netball, lacrosse, badminton and swimming squads.  We attended the parents' evening last week and it seems that she stood out in all subjects, especially in Maths and English. St. Helen’s College definitely has explored her potential. We are extremely grateful to St. Helen’s College.' Any parents who are notified of their children's interview dates should inform Mrs. Drummond so that we may assist them in preparing for their interviews.  Month End Music Recital Well done to all of the performers who took part in today's Month End Music Recital, the third of the term. As ever, this was a wonderful opportunity for our children to perform in an informal environment and it was super to hear pieces on such a variety of instruments and voice. Thank you also to ex-pupil Shreya Tharmalingam for coming back to visit us and delighting us with her voice as she works towards her Grade 6 singing examination. Times Tables Rockstars Mrs. Rance is delighted with how pupils throughout the Upper School are engaging with Times Tables Rockstars. They are clearly putting in lots and lots of time to practice and the results are fabulous. In Upper School, the fastest player this week was Harry J (6RD) and the most improved player was Alex S (6RD). The fastest Middle School Player was Isaac B (2B) and the most improved was Jasmine H (2H). Well done to everyone and do keep practising! Christmas Events - Please Read Very Carefully! Monday 2nd December Carols Around The Tree 4 p.m. - Please join us in the Evans Hall/Upper School playground after school, where we will be serving mulled wine and festive treats from 3.10 p.m. We will gather around the large Christmas tree at about 4 o'clock to sing some carols and turn on the lights. All family and friends are welcome so please come along and get into the festive spirit! Tuesday 3rd December Nursery Christmas Assembly 8.45 a.m. - all Nursery parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Wednesday 4th December Year 3 Rehearsal at Winston Churchill Hall - All Year 3 children should arrive to school as usual and they will then be taken by coach to WCH. A packed lunch will be provided for Year 3 children by the school caterers; lunch arrangements remain as normal for all other children. End of day arrangements are as normal for all children. Thursday 5th December Year 3 Dress Rehearsal at Winston Churchill Hall - all children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 must be dropped at the Winston Churchill Hall, Pinn Way, Ruislip, between 8.00 and 8.40 a.m. on this day, unless they are booked into Breakfast Club. Year 3 will perform their dress rehearsal to the audience and all children will be returned to school by coach in time for normal school lunch service. Year 3 Performance at Winston Churchill Hall - 7 p.m. - The Year 3 children and staff have been working very hard to prepare their Christmas performance, The Countdown To Christmas, and tickets are still available for the performance. You can book tickets by following this link. We do hope that you will join us on the evening and we are looking forward to seeing many family and friends at this event. Friday 6th December Reception Christmas Assembly - 8.45 a.m. - all Reception parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Monday 9th December Infant Choir Carols in Lower School Playground - 8.15 a.m. - Please join us as you drop off your children to hear our Infant Choir singing carols in the morning. Year 1 Christmas Assembly - 8.45 a.m. - all Year 1 parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Wednesday 11th December Upper School Pantomime Trip (Year 2-6) - after a brief introduction at school to pantomime as a traditional British drama form, all children in Years 2 and 6 will travel to the Beck Theatre to see 'Sleeping Beauty' Previous performances have been of a high quality and much enjoyed by all, so we hope that this year will be no exception. On return to school, the children will enjoy a party style picnic lunch and some afternoon themed activities. School will end at the normal time for all classes. Thursday 12th December School Christmas lunch - Lower and Upper School children will enjoy a party style Christmas lunch here at school, cooked and served by our Accent staff. You can see the menu, with allergens, here. Lower School Pantomime Visit - After their Christmas lunch, Lower School children will enjoy a visit from West End In Schools Pantomimes who will present their version of Dick Whittington. Lower School children are encouraged to wear party clothes to school on this day but please also remember suitable shoes and a warm coat! Friday 13th December Upper School Carol Service - Parents are warmly invited to join us at All Saints Church for our Y2-6 Carol Service, which will begin at 11.00 a.m. Please be mindful that the end of term is a busy time for traffic, and walk to the service/to pick up your children from school if you possibly can, or perhaps park away from the school and walk. End of Term - half day - Pick up times are: Ducklings and Nursery 11.50 a.m. Reception 12.00 p.m. Year 1 and Year 2  12.10 p.m. Year 3 and Year 4  12.20 p.m. Year 5 and Year 6  12.30 p.m. Holiday Club will be running on the afternoon of Friday 13th December and then every day until Monday 23rd December. Please book in via your SchoolsBuddy account. Christmas Cards The children often like to send festive cards to their friends at this time of year. We are aware that many children like to pop a Christmas chocolate/coin into the cards as a treat but please could we request that this year that an alternative to chocolate is sought. With our school being very allergy aware, we are recommending that perhaps Christmas stickers are added instead or perhaps the simple gesture of a card is adequate. Thank you for your continued support. For further information and advice on allergies please see the Allergy Aware UK website. Christmas postboxes will be open next week at Upper School, Lower School and Ducklings for free deliveries of Christmas cards among the children. Please ensure that the children's names and classes are clearly marked on envelopes. Jack and The Beanstalk at The Compass Theatre If any parents would like to take their children to a local pantomime, you can find details of The Compass Theatre's production of Jack and the Beanstalk here. And Finally.... Please remember to use Easyfundraising when you do your Christmas shopping, as over 4,000 shops and sites will donate to the St. Helen's College Development Fund at no extra cost to you - so you can raise donations when you buy gifts, decorations, your festive food shopping or anything else online! It doesn't matter if you haven't signed up yet as it takes just a moment to create your account and begin using Easyfundraising to raise money for our cause. Just click here or follow this link: â€‹https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/sthelencoldevfund/?invite=T7XS4M&referral-campaign=s2s  Thank you so much for your support!  

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