School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 18/05/2018

Weekly News - Friday 18th May 2018

Pupils throughout the school had a fabulous day yesterday taking part in lessons outside of the classroom as part of Outdoor Classroom Day. There was excitement and enjoyment as the children tried new ways of learning ideas, concepts, topics and subjects. There are photographs of this and many of the other exciting events of this week on our Galleries page. Black Park Nursery Visit Our Nursery children enjoyed a super outing to Black Park this week, where they made their own 'bug hotels' as well as helping to stock up the huge one already in use. This was great fun as the children went on a scavenger hunt to try and find things to put in the tunnels. They also went on a mini beast hunt to try and find real mini beasts in their natural environment. Lifting logs and digging in the undergrowth was lots of fun and a great way to explore nature. This was a really exciting way to spend Outdoor Classroom Day.  The children also got to use the adventure playground, and discovered that climbing, swinging and sliding is so much fun and a brilliant way to do exercise. The children behaved beautifully during their outing and the teachers were very proud of them, particularly as there was a lot of walking to do! 5W Assembly The pupils of 5W delighted us this morning with their account of their recent trip to the Isle of Wight. From the 3G swing, the 'leap of faith' and the visit to The Needles, our audience were captivated as the children performed with such confidence. It was clearly a truly memorable residential trip for the children - well done 5W.  A Royal Occasion The school sites were an array of red, white and blue today as the pupils and staff prepared for the big day tomorrow with the forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan. Street party style lunches were enjoyed and the children's crowns dazzled in the summer sunshine!   5* Award to Accent Team Amidst the preparations for our street parties across the school today, Soula and her catering team had a spot inspection from a representative from the Food Standards Agency.  The inspector was so impressed by everything and we are delighted to announce that we have once again achieved the highest star rating and maintained our 5 stars! Thank you to the Accent team for all their hard work, not only in giving the children such a superb street party royal lunch today but for their dedication and commitment all year round.  Upper School Parents' Evenings It was lovely to see so many parents over our two Upper School parents' evenings this week. The new timings seemed to work really well and we hope that you all found it useful to talk with the teachers about your children and their work.  Borough Tennis Champions! Many congratulations to our Year 3 and 4 tennis teams, who took part in the Borough tournament held at Tripletts Community Tennis Centre this week. Tennis is such a popular sport at St. Helen's College that we were able to field three teams and all of our players performed well in some very competitive matches. Our C team and A team won all their matches in the group stages to proceed to the quarter final stages. The C team played very well but were defeated by Hillingdon School, but our A team defeated St. Andrew's to meet Dr. Tripletts in the semi-final - a match they won to reach the final to face Hillingdon. Eli played first and narrowly lost 10 - 9, Daniel then won 10 - 2, Catherine won 10 - 4 and Amar won 10 - 6 for the team  be crowded Borough Champions! The team will now go forward to represent the London Borough of Hillingdon at the Crystal Palace School Games on 5th July. Miss Walker, who also organised the event for over 20 teams from across the Borough, said, 'I'm delighted with the way all our teams played; they showed great determination but also good sportsmanship and they were a credit to the school'.  Well done to all of the players who took part: Aditya 3V, Samir 3T, Shaina 4T, Fredericka 3V, Patrick 4A, Harry 4T, Grace 4A, Lily 4T, Eli 4T, Daniel 4A, Catherine 4T and Amar 3T.   Mother and Daughter 'She Rallies' Tennis Taster Session Next Wednesday after school we will be opening our doors to our Year 2 and 3 girls and their mums to come and try some tennis together. The fun taster session will take place in the Upper School playground on our mini tennis courts from 4 - 5 p.m. and will include lots of fun games and challenges for mothers and daughters to try. 'She Rallies' is a programme championed by Judy Murray to create opportunities for women and girls of all ages and experiences to be involved in tennis. Last year Miss Walker was invited by Judy Murray to become a 'She Rallies' ambassador. All our Year 2 and 3 mothers and their daughters are invited to come along. There is no need to book or to bring any equipment - just turn up wearing some trainers and something comfortable to move around in!  Tag Rugby Tournament Our Year 5 mixed tag rugby team took part in the local district tournament this week held at Whitehall School. We played matches against Hillingdon, Oak Farm and St. Bernadette's, winning against Oak Farm. Thank you to all of the parents who came to support the team. North Hillingdon Methodist Church Spring Fair The North Hillingdon Methodist Church will be holding their Spring Fair this weekend. Parents may wish to take children along; there will be a variety of stalls and you can watch the royal wedding on the big screen too! Their flyer is here. Mini Monets Art Classes It may seem early to be thinking about the long summer holiday, but if your son or daughter is a budding artist and you are looking for something to keep them occupied, you might be interested in the summer art camps run in Beaconsfield by Mini Monets. Full details are available here. Parking Please would Upper School parents refrain from parking along Parkway. This causes unnecessary annoyance to our neighbours and we will be unable to continue running the 'drop and go' system if cars continue to park along the road on the opposite side to the school. Please pull up in the designated 'drop and go' zones only, or use the Court Park car park.
Posted on: 18/05/2018

Head's Blog - Celebrating Success And Dealing With Disappointment

Throughout my career, I have often had to bite my tongue when I have heard of schools banning competitive sports days or stopping class assemblies/plays because pupils who did not have the ‘big’ parts felt undervalued and could not accept that the part they had longed for was given to another child.   School staff are educators who facilitate in preparing your children to be able to participate in our future world. We play such a precious part in the cultivation of learning from a very young age. That learning is a cognitive, emotional and social activity and, here at St. Helen’s College, we believe that learning to cope with disappointment and to celebrate success (your own and that of others) is crucial to a happy future life. This term we have so many wonderful events on the school calendar where we celebrate the success of the pupils. The most recent was the Musicians’ Concert, where I was utterly delighted by the phenomenal calibre of performances throughout the evening. I was mesmerised by the focus and concentration of the performers, but also by the supportive environment that the children created for their peers. Their love and support for their friends were evident in their celebration of each other’s performances. I am assured by the pupils from Year 4 upwards that their Mindfulness training courses help them in these challenging situations, and I must admit that I did not notice any errors that evening despite being told by a couple of children afterwards that they had stumbled! Later this term, we will have the major production of a child’s St. Helen’s College journey...the Y6 production. I had the delight of attending some of the auditions for singing and acting parts for this year’s show. Oh yes, the pupils have to audition, just like in the West End! Even our current West End actor Kai (who is currently playing young Simba in Disney’s worldwide hit The Lion King) had to audition just like his peers! There were no exceptions made. What was lovely about this process was that the children recognised each other's efforts and talents and congratulated each other on whatever part they were given. The enthusiasm from every child has been quite overwhelming and Mr. McLaughlin is brimming with pride in how this cohort of Year 6 pupils are working so collaboratively in preparation for this year’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ spectacular! Our Year 1 and Year 2 children are also busy preparing for their big summer productions - and it is in these younger years where we start that process of celebrating the success of everyone who contributes to a year group production, regardless of what part they have been allocated.  I do recall a nativity play I was once casting where the part of the donkey became the starring role….it was the donkey who enabled baby Jesus to be born! In this particular production, the donkey was the real ‘star’ of the show! The child playing the donkey had no words and no dancing to do - just the odd hoof scuff, head jerk and the occasional  ‘Eeew-awww!’ How we all loved that donkey part! The child who played it was so full of pride for many a year to come as she knew she played her part to the best of her ability. Her pride was sparked by the manner in which her fellow pupils and the adults embraced the importance of the ‘donkey’ part in that child’s ‘learning’. In fact, I bumped into the ‘donkey’s’ mother quite recently in Intu shopping centre and we reminisced on how that lowly part of the donkey was so embraced by parents and staff!  ‘Donkey’ is now in her mid 20s and her dad is very successful behind the camera in the film industry. It is lovely that her parents knew that all those years ago that their daughter would be able to deal with disappointment with grace and resilience. Yes, she had wanted to be Mary, but she was not cast as such and she shone in her own way for the part she played. She continues to shine in her learning journey of life! One of the joys of being an educator is the relationships that are built with families. There is a beauty in shared moments where we are able, together, to support children in coping with what they may see as failures or disappointments, and in celebrating all the good times too. School is like a practice for life; there will be challenging times when a child may not be cast in the role they had their hearts set on, or may not come first in the race they had been practising so hard for. Every child will inevitably suffer little knocks, which may seem massive to them. Part of our responsibility as teachers and parents is to help children learn to respond to these disappointments positively. We can teach them not to react in a negative way, but to step back from the situation, acknowledge disappointment or upset and be able to move forward despite these feelings, so that they may make a positive contribution towards the end goal and experience pride in doing so. This is all a crucial part of helping every child on that cognitive, emotional and social journey of life! So as we prepare for the final busy half term, please do help us to support your child in celebrating their successes and efforts and in helping them to deal with any disappointments in a sensitive, kind but pragmatic way - the St. Helen’s College way! I shall not be blogging next week as I will be on the Year 4 residential trip at Flatford Mill. I wish you all a super half term holiday when it comes. Mrs. Drummond        
Posted on: 11/05/2018

Weekly News - Friday 11th May 2018

The children of Kingfishers Class educated and entertained us with an assembly about the history and traditions of 'May Day' this week. There was some superb singing, morris dancing and even maypole dancing! This was a vibrant and colourful assembly to celebrate those days of sunshine which we hope will be plentiful over the next few months. Well done indeed, Kingfishers. You can see photographs on our Galleries page. Cancer Research Relay for Life Today is 'Relay Friday' and we have launched Relay for Life to the children at school in assemblies. St. Helen's College teams have taken part in this special event for many, many years now, following the battles of dear colleagues against cancer and the losses of much loved family members, colleagues and friends to this merciless disease. Today we wore Relay for Life colours and explained to the children what the event is all about and why we will be working to raise money for this cause. If you would like to find out more information about the event itself, and perhaps join the St. Helen's College team or sponsor us, please follow the link below. We would be delighted to welcome parents, children and extended family members to our team! http://relay.cancerresearchuk.org/site/TR?fr_id=1850&pg=entry Royal Wedding Celebrations Next Friday we are encouraging the children in Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School to come to school dressed in red, white and blue (no football tops please). Ducklings and Lower School children may wish to make a crown at home to wear on the day.   We will be celebrating the upcoming nuptials with a street party themed picnic lunch. (Ducklings children should supply lunch as normal).  Junior Language Challenge There are now just three weeks to go in this year's Junior Language Challenge first round. If your child is taking part, please encourage them to put on a final push - all is still to play for and we hope that some of our pupils will manage to secure a place in the semi final! More Music Results! We are pleased to announce an additional music examination result: Piano Reece G   Grade 1  Pass Well done Reece! Reminder - Holiday Club Bookings We would like to remind parents that bookings for the May half term Holiday Club are now open. The booking form is available on the Documents page of the website and the deadline for bookings is next Friday, 18th May.    Summer School 2018 Bookings are now open for this year's Summer School, which will take place from 20th to 24th August. The themes for this year are 'On The Farm' for children currently in Nursery - Year 1, and 'Under The Sea' for children currently in Year 2 - Year 6. The Year 2 - Year 6 Summer School will take place at Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre. Both Summer Schools will include a programme of fun and exciting activities for the children. Full details and the booking form are available here. PA Quiz Night - Cancelled Sadly, the PA Quiz Night (which was scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday 12th May) has been cancelled due to lack of interest. We are very sorry that this event will not go ahead and we urge parents to support the PA's events wherever you can; the committee work so hard to put on events to bring our community together and it is such a shame that parents won't enjoy the feeling this year of 'beating the teachers'! Tax-Free Childcare Accounts/Childcare Vouchers If you are using a tax-free childcare account to pay the school, please email our Finance Office at finance@sthelenscollege.com as soon as possible to let them know the account reference number. This will make it much easier for the school to locate your payments and allocate them correctly to your account.  We are aware that there is currently some confusion over whether parents may use a tax-free childcare account (or childcare vouchers) to pay for school fees after their child's 5th birthday. As St. Helen's College is not an Ofsted registered school (because we are regulated by the Department for Education under the Independent Schools Inspectorate), we do not currently accept childcare vouchers or tax-free childcare account payments towards school fees after a child's 5th birthday. However, the school is currently taking independent legal advice on this issue and if there are to be any changes, we will let parents know as soon as possible. You may continue to use childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare accounts to pay for Breakfast Club, After School Club and Holiday Club provided by the school on the school premises, throughout your child's time at St. Helen's College. School Fee Plan/Third Party Providers If you are using School Fee Plan or any other third party provider to pay your school fees, please ensure that the Finance Office knows this, so that they are able to correctly match payments received to your account. You can email the Finance Office at finance@sthelenscollege.com.  
Posted on: 11/05/2018

Head's Blog - Outdoor Learning by Miss Walker

No doubt many of us were outside with our families enjoying the long bank holiday weekend last week. Being outside in the fresh air, engaging with our surroundings and being away from ‘screens’ I’m sure made us all feel good. There is a growing awareness of the benefits of the ‘outside’ in society and in particular for our wellbeing. For example, patients with a natural view from their window recover more quickly and require fewer painkillers than those who look out onto cityscapes. Being outside reduces the production of stress hormones, lowers blood pressure and boosts our immune system. Being exposed to the ‘outside’ as a child develops and instils lifelong benefits which are not developed if children remain inside too much during their formative years. Research into the educational benefits of outdoor learning is growing too, with studies suggesting that outdoor learning can enhance cognitive abilities. This may lead to improved understanding of concepts and ideas, promote collaboration and meta learning, foster engagement, creativity and innovation and allow pupils’ confidence to flourish. We are proud that St. Helen’s College has, for many years, led the way, with an extensive co-curriculum programme of opportunities for our pupils to experience outdoor learning, including residential trips, day trips and visits to the local park. In fact I write this blog after another fantastic day spent outside on a residential trip, this week with Year 3!   However, over the past 18 months we have been incorporating more and more outdoor learning opportunities throughout the school and across all curriculum areas. We are determined to make the most of the beautiful school grounds we have at our disposal to support and enhance a creative and engaging curriculum through outdoor learning. As part of a UCL leadership course I completed in 2017, I ran a 12 month project to assess the impact outdoor learning had on our pupils and the results were compelling. 89% of pupils reported learning outdoors made them feel happier and more confident and 96% felt they learnt better outdoors. In interviews, pupils’ comments included, “examples in the playground were exciting, challenging and fun and helped me understand”, “you actually know how to do something because you get to do it”, “we get more involved together” and “fresh air stimulates my brain!”. Teachers also reported increased motivation and accelerated learning, progress in attainment and improved pupil self esteem.   As I walk around the school now I often see maths lessons investigating and measuring angles in nature, art lessons using natural materials to make pictures or sculptures and music lessons where children are making and recording compositions created using natural objects. Amidst it all, I see happy and engaged children and our teachers’ passion for teaching.  It is little wonder then that we are taking part in Outdoor Classroom Day next Thursday, 17th May. This is a day to showcase and celebrate our commitment to outdoor learning but also share common goals with schools across the UK and the world in promoting the benefits of outdoor learning. Throughout the day our pupils will be challenged and inspired whilst learning outside the classroom. For more information about Outdoor Classroom Day please visit the website here. Today as I watched our Y3 pupils’ growing sense of wonder and awe as they soaked up being in nature and learning through nature I was reminded of the William Henry Davies poem ‘Leisure’. In an ever busy and stressful world, its words resonate as a call for us all to be outside more and to find the time ‘to stand and stare’. Leisure - By William Henry Davies What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows. No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass. No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars, like skies at night. No time to turn at Beauty's glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance. No time to wait till her mouth can Enrich that smile her eyes began. A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. We hope that parents, too, will find time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors with children, friends and extended families. Miss Walker
Posted on: 4/05/2018

Weekly News - Friday 4th May 2018

Welcome back to our Year 5 pupils, who have spent the week on the Isle of Wight where they have been busy undertaking coastal studies alongside all sorts of exciting, fun and adventurous activities. We are sure they will all enjoy a well-deserved rest over the bank holiday weekend and will sleep well! You can see photographs of their week on the Galleries page. EYFS Development at Lower School We are very excited, after receiving the long-awaited planning permission, to be able to announce formally that over the summer holidays the Nursery and Reception buildings at Lower School will be replaced with new, state of the art facilities. Our new buildings will enrich the experiences of the pupils and will enable the children to have greater access to the outdoor learning environment. This is a project which has been in the planning for some time and I am sure that all of our families and staff will welcome the addition of these superb facilities. I trust that parents now understand our need for the Lower School children to finish school slightly ahead of the Ducklings and Upper School pupils this term, to enable our contractors adequate time to complete the project ready for the new academic year. A 3D view of the plans is shared with you on the Galleries page - this gives you a general idea of what the new buildings will look like. Lower School parents should please note that Holiday Club for the summer holiday will start on 11th July (half day), which is the day that term ends for the Upper School. Robins Assembly The Robins Assembly this week was a wonderful testament to the values that we hold dear at St. Helen’s College. The children demonstrated how ‘to have a friend we need to be a friend’ through the analogy of filling buckets with all the wonderful values and character traits our children are developing. They certainly filled our buckets full of joy and pride as they spoke and sang with such confidence and clarity. Well done everyone!  Sports Success! Our Year 6 golfers won the Borough Tri Golf Competition again this week, making it gold for St. Helen's College for 3 years running! They competed in eight different events, scoring points for every successful chip or putt. The team scored over 2000 points, which was an outstanding total. Congratulations to the team, which was made up of the same children who won the event last year as Year 5 pupils: Abigail Y, Lily F, Ryeesa S, Amishi K, Zara S-P, Veer B, Ethan V-B, Nirmit N, Lincoln B and Timi O. Welfare News The latest Welfare Newsletter has been posted to the School Documents page of the website and is available here. Please do take the time to read this as it contains important information about keeping your child safe and well over the summer. May Half Term Holiday Club Bookings Now Open The booking form for the May half term Holiday Club has now been posted to the School Documents page of the website and is available here. Please return completed booking forms by 18th May. Co-Curricular Activities We still have some places available for our Year 3 Athletics Club which takes place on a Friday from 3.30 - 4.30 p.m. If your child would like to join the club, please email Miss Lang at mlang@sthelenscollege.com. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Posted on: 4/05/2018

Head's Blog - A Timely Piece!

  Over the past couple of weeks, we have held information evenings for parents of those year groups who are heading off on a residential trip. One key piece of kit list which should be mentioned to all pupils and parents is to bring with them a good old fashioned watch! This was highlighted this week by Miss Walker during the Isle of Wight residential with Year 5 when the pupils were asked to meet their activity leaders at a designated time. Very few of them had a watch, thus they had to rely on the adults to time keep! A watch would also be  very helpful for the children in the mornings if they wake up early so that they may check that it is not only 5 a.m.! So many people now rely on their mobile phones for checking the time and for some reason not as many children are wearing watches. I remember my school days when every member of the class wore watches and we actually would use them in maths lessons - the excitement of being 6 years old and mastering how to tell the time was really quite an achievement.  Sadly, this is a skill which many children do struggle with. Not only do children often struggle with telling the time but their awareness of time. How long is one minute? We will often take a minute in assembly to sit in silence - to be present in the moment and appreciate this time. I highly recommend for everyone to use some of the time available to us each day to engage your awareness of your surroundings and your inner silence. Time is precious so use it wisely! If your son or daughter does not yet have their own watch, I urge you to purchase them one and engage with them to help them learn how to tell the time. With the younger children, you could help them have that understanding of time awareness throughout the day. Linked below are a couple of articles, one to assist with helping your child learn how to tell the time but another highlighting the importance of being ‘time aware’. https://kid.steals.com/blog/wp/4-reasons-why-your-kid-should-wear-a-watch https://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Kids-to-Tell-Time Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 27/04/2018

Weekly News - Friday 27th April 2018

It was lovely to see so many of you at our Month End Music Recital this afternoon. Congratulations to all of the children who performed with such grace, confidence and musicality. Superb Music Results! We are delighted to announce some fantastic music results for the exams taken recently, as follows. Very well done to all of these pupils for their hard work and many hours of practice! Piano   5W Wenru G8 Distinction  4A Anaiya  G3 Distinction 5W Mya  G3 Merit 3T Samir G1 Pass Singing  6D Maddy G2 Distinction 4T Esha G1 Merit Guitar ​4A Jasmine G2 Merit 6D Jai G2 Pass 'Cello 3T Zayd  G2 Pass 3V Vandan  G1 Merit 4T Rhea Prep Pass 3T Anaiya Prep Pass ANZAC Day We were most proud that one of our Year 5 students, Luke, was asked to speak at the ANZAC (Australian, New Zealand Army Corps) remembrance service on Wednesday. Luke took part in the prayer service in Westminster Abbey and spoke in front of a full congregation including  Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan  Markle. The day is a national holiday in New Zealand and Australia to mark those soldiers who lost their lives in World War 1.  Luke gave a super presentation to Upper School children in today's assembly too. You can see photographs of Luke at Westminster Abbey on our Galleries page. A Marathon Effort! Huge congratulations to Mrs. Rooney, who ran the London Marathon last weekend for the first time. After months of training in the rain, wind and snow, there was an unexpected heatwave last weekend. It made the run very challenging, but Mrs. Rooney says that it was an incredible day that she will never forget. Thank you to all parents, staff and pupils for all the support and donations, which were so much appreciated.  Residential Trips 'Tis the season to be jolly with all our wonderful forthcoming residential trips. We wish all the Year 5 pupils and accompanying staff a great time next week as they depart on Monday to travel to the Isle of Wight for five days of adventurous and exciting activities!   Walk to School Week We have had a hugely successful week of walking/scooting/cycling to school this week. Thank you to all of the families who have supported this healthy venture. It is so wonderful to hear that many of you are intending to make this a more regular way of arriving at school each day.  Our JRSOs will of course be continuing to promote the initiative through our weekly 'Walk on Wednesday' sessions throughout the summer term. Lower School Building Project We are in the very last stages of finalising our plans for an incredibly exciting project which is due to be undertaken over the summer holidays - the refurbishment of our Nursery and Reception classrooms. We look forward to sharing further information with the community in due course. Upper School Parents' Evenings The next Parents' Evenings for children in Years 2 - 6 will take place at Upper School on Tuesday 15th May and Thursday 17th May. The online booking system is now open (link below) and operates on a first come, first served basis, so please book your appointments at your earliest convenience. Bookings will close the day before each parents' evening. https://sthelens.parentseveningsystem.co.uk/  Term Dates We have now published the term dates for 2019-2020. You can find them on the School Documents page of the website. Registration Reminder If you have a child who will be eligible for entry to the Nursery at 3+ in September 2019, or to Ducklings Kindergarten at 2+ in September 2019 (that is, a child born between 01.09.15 and 31.08.17), and you have not already registered him or her with us, then now is the time to do so! As the summer moves on, we will start the entry processes for September 2019 and siblings should be registered early to allow us to allocate priority sibling places. You may register online by completing the registration form at  https://www.sthelenscollege.com/257/registration-form. If you have any questions about admissions, please contact Mrs. Smith in the school office. Drop and Go - Upper School Please note that if cars are parked on Parkway across from the school, then we are unable to operate drop and go in the mornings.  Parents must park in the car park and escort their children to the gate.   School Bus Service From September, we will be trialling a morning school bus service. We are currently testing an initial route and will announce further details in due course.  Staff Vacancies We are now recruiting for various positions. Please do take a look at https://www.sthelenscollege.com/274/join-the-team and, if you know anyone who may be interested in working with us, do encourage them to apply!
Posted on: 27/04/2018

Head's Blog - The Positive Ps of PREP

PRACTICE  ***  PARTICIPATION  ***  PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PARENT-CHILD RELATIONS  ***  PARENT-TEACHER COMMUNICATION  PEER INTERACTIONS There have been years of debate in educational forums regarding the value of homework.  In some maintained schools they have stopped giving pupils homework, claiming that it puts pupils who do not have support from home at a disadvantage. I am not about to be drawn into the debate as to whether children should or should not be ‘learning’ outside of school. I believe that children are naturally inquisitive and will learn if the learning is relevant, interesting and they are able to make connections to their prior learning or it prepares them for future learning. Over the years I have worked in schools who have called ‘homework’ various things. ‘Home learning’ which perhaps takes the stigma of the labour of ‘work’ away from its name (work is something adults do to earn a living). In other schools it has been called ‘Prep’ - namely because it is ‘Preparation’ for the next day to further develop knowledge, understanding and skills. Here at St. Helen’s College for pupils in Y3-Y6 we are now offering supervised ‘Prep’ as part of the Funtasia routine. The pupils have some down time after school, play with their friends, have some tea then go upstairs to one of the Year 6 classrooms where they have a calm, peaceful environment to ‘prepare’ for the next step of their learning, for the next day at school. Pupils have access to the chromebooks/laptops if needed and a member of our staff supervises and supports the pupils as necessary.   This week it was delightful to hear that some children had wanted to start their ‘Prep’ as soon as they arrived at Funtasia - so eager were they to continue their learning! On Tuesday I joined about 16 pupils during  ‘Prep’ and was so impressed by their dedicated participation and by the pride they were all taking in their tasks. There were pupils writing their spelling sentences, researching WWII evacuees and making notes, using their flipped learning resource to practise some mathematical concepts….the tasks were wide ranging but each task was preparing the children for what lies ahead. ‘Prep’ at Funtasia is not compulsory; however, as a parent myself with a child in a Preparatory School some time ago, I know that it took a lot of pressure off us as a family. We would arrive home from our busy days and as parents we would still engage in what our daughter had completed in ‘Prep’ but we never had what can be for some families a  ‘battle’ to start homework at perhaps 7 p.m. These situations are not constructive or useful to anyone! For younger pupils, the Funtasia staff are always happy to hear the children read for some of the time too - but this does not replace the daily reading which is still expected at home between the adults and children. 'Prep’ should be completed in a quiet, calm environment.  Do praise your child's efforts in their ‘prep’ but keep expectations high! If you know they really have not focussed or the task has been completed in a slapdash manner - do feel free to jot a note in their homework diary. (Mmm! Perhaps we need to rename them for next year to ‘Prep Diary’!) You may find this blog of further interest: http://blog.teamsatchel.com/research-into-the-importance-of-homework Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 20/04/2018

Weekly News - Friday 20th April 2018

Welcome back one and all to what will be a busy and fun-packed summer term! Please don't forget to check the school calendar to see what is in store. We would like to remind you that, during the summer months, children should continue to wear their full school uniform into school. Teachers will ask children to remove ties/blazers in school for the day when the weather is very hot. All children should have their St. Helen's College sun cap with them at all times too, as these must be worn at playtimes and for games sessions outdoors in hot weather. Staff News Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. McLaughlin! As you all know, two of our Upper School teachers had a wonderful wedding celebration over the Easter holidays and we wish Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin a very long, happy and prosperous future together.  Children in Middle School and Upper School had the privilege of hearing from the bride and groom in assembly this week as they shared their sentiments and reflections including photographs and a video from their special day. Thank you to them both for sharing this with the wider community. You can see some photographs of their special weekend on our Galleries page. Good Luck to Mrs. Rooney! Mrs. Rooney will be running the London Marathon this weekend to raise money for Phab Kids and we wish her well. She has shown huge commitment and determination in her training and will no doubt show the same spirit on the day itself. You can find out more about her chosen charity, and make a donation if you would like to, by clicking here. Music News We would like to remind parents that fees for individual instrumental/vocal tuition are due by the first lesson of term please. Payment should be made directly to the music teacher.  Singing Competition Our very exciting Singing Competition for Years 2 - 6 will take place on Friday 8th June this year. Children should decide which category they would like to enter and choose a song. Next, fill in a slip and put into the box - these can both be found at the front of the hall and entries must be submitted no later than Friday 4th May. There is no set theme this year as we would like to hear songs from all different genres and perhaps a range of songs throughout musical history. Singing in other languages is permitted. The only restrictions this year are that we would like you to avoid singing pop songs and we would like to see only simple gestures and appropriate movements relevant to the performance. No dance moves please. The categories are: Best solo singer from each year group. Best duet Middle School Upper School Best group - trios (3) or quartets (4) only. Middle School Upper School   There should be just one solo entry per child but they may also participate in either a duet or a group. No choir songs please! A backing track is required (without words) for performance on the day; CD or Ipod only. No piano accompaniments will be used this year, unless a child is playing the piano as part of their performance.  All winners will be invited to sing at the Singers’ Concert on 12th June. Should the number of entrants be high, preliminary rounds will take place before half term. Walk to School Week Next week is ‘Walk to School Week’ at school and we would like to encourage as many pupils as possible to take part.  The theme for this year is ‘City to Seaside’ and over the week as a whole school we will be trying to walk to distance from Hillingdon to Brighton beach. That’s 69 miles!  The children will earn badges and prizes for themselves and their class, just for walking to school! In assemblies today the benefits of walking to school and been highlighted to children. Walking to school is healthy for us, healthy for our environment and helps us to learn about road safety. Also, we can meet our friends and have a chat on the way! We understand that it may not be possible for all pupils to walk the whole way from home to school and so we recommend a 'Park and Stride' approach. This is where you park your car a 10 minute walk away from the school gates and walk the last bit. You could walk through Court Park to get to school! All pupils have been issued with a ‘Walk to School’ record card which can be coloured if they walk, even just some of the way, to and from school each day next week. Coming to school on a bike or scooter also counts!  Our team of Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSOs) will be out and about next week spotting those of you who are doing a great job! The week will launch a term of  'Walk on Wednesday' which will start from 25th April so you can keep walking to school each week this term. A walking route to school will be supervised by staff and our JRSOs every Wednesday. The route will start from Court Drive coming through Court Park and will be staffed from 8 – 8.30 a.m., so that pupils can safely participate in walking to school each week.   We suggest the following use of the safe walking route: Children in Years 3 – 6 may be dropped at the drop off point in Court Drive and the children can walk along the route in small groups.  Parents are welcome to walk too. Parents of pupils in Nursery – Year 2 must park carefully in Court Drive and walk with their children along the route.  Young children will not be permitted to use the route unaccompanied by an adult. Remember...keep walking! World Earth Day World Earth Day is on Sunday 22nd April with the focus to end plastic pollution. As a school we have been discussing in class/assembly the importance of looking after our planet and what we can do to help 'end plastic pollution'.  The link to the World Earth Day site can be found here. A link to an Earth song can be found here.   As a school we will be focusing on World Environmental Day on Tuesday 5th June.  PA Quiz Night - Saturday 12 May 2018 Don’t forget that the PA Quiz Night will be taking place at 7 p.m. on Saturday 12th May 2018 (adults only). So gather up some other parents in your child’s class, friends and family members, fill in the reply slip that was circulated before the Easter holidays and drop it off at the school office. Completed forms need to be submitted by Friday 27th April 2018 - if you need a new one, your PA Class Rep will be able to forward you an electronic copy.  Tickets cost £10 each and will include a chip shop supper and you can bring your own drinks. Places are limited so get in early to ensure that you don’t miss out. We look forward to seeing you there! Sports News Tennis team trials will be taking place next Wednesday, 25th April, after school from 3.50 - 5 p.m. for boys and girls who can play mini tennis and wish to play in the school Year 3 and 4 tennis team in the forthcoming Borough tournament on 16th May. The school has a great record in competitive tennis and are current Borough Champions! If you would like your child to come along, please ask your child to sign up on the sheet on the PE notice board. Please note that team practice for successful applicants will take place on Wednesdays after school each week in the lead up to the Borough tournament.  Tag rugby team trials for Year 5 children will be taking place on Wednesday afternoons until 4.30 p.m. Your child has already indicated whether he or she would like to attend. Tennis for Kids is a LTA initiative happening this summer offering TENNIS TASTER courses for children aged 4-11 who are new to tennis. The course includes six coaching sessions, a Babalot racket and ball set and a personalised t-shirt – all for £25.   Courses are starting soon at our club/school link venues but places are limited and are going fast. Please use the links below to find a course and book a place for your child. Venue: Tripletts Community Tennis Centre, Hayes click here Venue: Wayfarers Tennis Club, here Drop Off and Go and Pick-Up and Go at Lower School and Upper School The school's parking regulations are available here. Please can we remind parents of the importance of following our procedures each day to enable ease of flow of traffic and due consideration to other parents. This week many parents have been observed getting out of cars and unpacking the boot of the car etc. This only delays cars behind and causes frustration. We have also had parents tooting horns, which causes disturbance to the local neighbours.  Pupils should also not be allowed to use the pedestrian crossing on Long Lane unless accompanied by an adult.  At pick up time please can parents refrain from parking across from school outside of the medical centre as this also obstructs traffic and we cannot operate the pick-up and go system effectively. Fire Safety Today, pupils at the Upper School site had their first fire drill of the term. Although all pupils lined up correctly and were accounted for in a timely manner, I am sure they will share with you my disappointment at the noise level during evacuation and line up. It would be much appreciated if families would discuss at home the importance of following fire procedures to ensure that everyone is safe, and the reasons for remaining calm and quiet in these situations. It may be an opportunity for you to discuss what the fire evacuation procedures would be in your own home too.

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