School News and Head's Blog
150 Blog Posts found - Showing 1-9
Posted on: 18/10/2019
Weekly News - Friday 18th October 2019Month End Music Recital
Our first Month End Music Recital of the year took place in The Evans Hall this afternoon and was well attended. These informal recitals give those children learning instruments or having vocal tuition a chance to perform in an informal setting. Very well done to all of the children who performed; we were treated to a variety of pieces on the piano and violin from various year groups, including a duet. This was a lovely way to end the week and the half term! Well done to all those who performed.
Year 5 Trip to Hampton Court Palace
Year 5 had a great day at Hampton Court on Monday, despite the weather. The children were very inquisitive as they looked around the palace and were wowed by the size and magnificence of rooms such as the Great Hall, the Great Watching Chamber and the Chapel with its beautiful ceiling painted like a starry night sky. The children took part thoughtfully in their workshop with 'Edward, a member of the King's household'. They learnt about the different positions at court and about the 'great chain of being', which put everyone in the land into society groups. However, your position was not fixed and you could rise in society (like Thomas Wolsey did). You could also fall and the children learnt that the further up the ladder you went, the further you had to fall! In the end, most of the pupils were in agreement that it would probably have been safer to have been a servant in Henry's household rather than in a position of power.
Times Tables Rock Stars
This week has been another exciting week in Times Tables Rock Stars. Congratulations to Eva J (2H), who had the biggest increase in accuracy for Middle School and to Anokhi B (4T) who now holds the title of the most accurate player in the school.
There has been a hard fought battle at the top this week between two of our fastest boys in Upper School. Harry J just pipped Mohib F to the post with less than a hundredth of a second between the two to hold on to his title as the fastest player! Poppy H (3M) retains her title as the fastest Middle School player. Well done to all!
Year 6 Morning Tea Party
The school is very grateful to our wonderful Year 6 students, who were great ambassadors for the school on our recent open morning. The children enjoyed some morning treats to celebrate their achievement.
4T Assembly - How We Learn At St. Helen's College
Our 4T pupils presented a well-informed and research-based assembly this morning, as we were introduced to the ideas behind Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset.
The children also examined various ways in which they learn, including reflection, collaboration and always trying their best. They finished the assembly by treating us to a wonderful rendition of a song from The Greatest Showman. Well done, 4T!
STARS Character Competition
The Hillingdon Road Safety Team are running their annual road safety competition and we would like to encourage pupils in Years 3 - 6 to design an entry over the half term break. Pupils are asked to design a road safety character, and the four winning characters will be used in Hillingdon's printed road safety material.
You can see the full details and entry form from the Hillingdon STARS Team here.
This year the Parents' Association have asked the school to take part in designing Christmas cards as a school fundraiser. The children are all currently busy completing their designs ready for processing and they are all looking very exciting.
In addition, the Parents' Association have also expressed that they would like to give each child the opportunity to create their own family, birthday, or other occasion card. If you wish to take part, you will need to follow the instructions on the form which has been sent home today with your child, placing your order online first then bringing in your form and design back to school no later than Friday 8th November, ready for collection. Children should hand their designs to their class teacher or to Miss Dear directly.
We hope you enjoy taking part. We are sure your designs will look fantastic!
Half Term Holiday Club and Breakfast Club
Holiday Club and Breakfast Club will both take place at Lower School over the half term break. The children will make use of the facilities at both Upper and Lower School over the course of the week, but we would ask that you drop children off to Lower School and pick them up from Lower School at the end of the day. You can see more information about Holiday Club here.
We are now beginning the entry processes for Ducklings entry in September 2020 and Nursery entry in September 2020. If you have a child who is eligible for entry to the school next September, and you have not yet registered him/her with us, please do so as a matter of urgency so that you do not miss out on a place. You can register your child online here.
Children in Need Fundraising
On Friday 15th November we will be supporting the Children in Need charity to raise money for projects taking place all over the UK. To support this excellent cause, we will be holding a tog (non-uniform) day and children are asked to come to school wearing yellow and/or spots. In addition to this, we will have a raffle and a special live stream workout with 'The Body Coach' Joe Wicks. Many schools up and down the country will be participating in this huge event. We kindly ask that you send your child in with a suggested donation of £2 - any more will be gratefully accepted.
Your child may wish to bring some extra money into school for raffle tickets, which will be on sale throughout the week in the mornings at Lower School and Upper School. There will be a giant Pudsey Bear and a smaller Blush Bear as prizes at Lower School and Upper School. Ducklings children may also buy raffle tickets for the Ducklings raffle; the prizes at Ducklings will be a smaller Pudsey Bear and smaller Blush Bear. We wish the children luck in the raffles and thank you, in advance, for your support of this charity.
St. Helen's College Parent Parking Pledge
We would like to remind parents of our Parent Parking Pledge which aims to manage congestion and improve safety near our school at busy times. The idea is simple: in return for agreeing to follow some basic principles, your car can carry a sticker that tells the world you are doing your bit to make a difference.
Parents at schools across Hillingdon are agreeing to:
• Help my child/children travel actively at least once a week
• Drive with consideration for others
• Park away from the school gates
• Never block a driveway
• Turn off my engine when parked
In addition we have three pledges that apply here and trust that you will agree to:
• Follow the St. Helen's College parking regulations
• Use the 'Drop & Go' and 'Pick Up & Go' zones safely and efficiently
• Respect and adhere to the parking restrictions in operation around all our school sites
If you are happy to make the Pledge, please follow the link and complete the form. Once submitted, you will get your car sticker that will show others your commitment to pupil health and safety.
Thank you and please remember to display your car stickers with pride!
PA Class Representatives
Many thanks to those parents who have volunteered to become (or continue as) PA class representatives. We are still seeking a class rep for 4T. Please contact email@example.com if you would like to take on this role.
Children should return after the half term break wearing full winter uniform. The only winter coats that should be worn are the school 3-in-1 coats.
Upper School parents' evening is on Thursday 7th November and appointments can be booked in the usual way. We look forward to seeing parents then.
PA Christmas Parties
The PA Christmas parties for children will take place on Sunday 1st December 2019 at Richings Sport Park, Wellesley Avenue, Richings Park, Iver, SL0 9BN. Tickets will cost £11 per child which includes food, entertainment and a visit and gift from Father Christmas!
Timings of the parties will be:
10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Nursery and Reception
12.30 - 2.30 p.m. Years 1, 2 and 3
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Years 4, 5 and 6
Please look out for details of how to book, which will be sent out via your class WhatsApp group. Please note that bookings must be made by the deadline as we will not be able to add children after this date. Don't miss out - pencil the date into your diary now! The flyer is available here.
Posted on: 18/10/2019
Head's Blog - Powerful LearningThis week we have had the privilege of showcasing our pupils' learning to numerous prospective parents during our weekly individual tours but also at our Open Morning on Wednesday when the visitors were guided around the school by our current Year 6 pupils.
The feedback we had from our visitors this year was quite overwhelming and the sense of pride which we have in your children is immeasurable. The last port of call on the tours was to the Upper School Hall as the guides introduced their visitors to myself, Mr and Mrs Crehan and Mrs Smith. Every visitor paid our students the highest of compliments remarking on their confidence, communication skills, passion for their school and their learning and how they managed to answer all the questions but also enticed questions from their visitors.
What we do at St Helen’s is truly unique and it is through the dedication of the staff working so closely together to lay strong foundations for your children that they go on to be very successful young adults.
Our teaching and classroom environment empowers the children to be adventurous in their learning journey; strengthening their determination and imagination to become critical thinkers with the ability to reflect and collaborate to deal with difficulty and uncertainty to enable them to become more independent and resourceful learners.
One such example of powerful learning this week was in the Year 6 science lessons . The children have been studying microorganisms; they designed and planned an investigation to find out the various factors that affect respiration in yeast. A preliminary experiment was suggested by one of the children and from there, the whole year group was challenged to think of a ‘bigger’ experiment.
The result of the independent planning was that 5 main factors were to be investigated: temperature of water, acidity of substances, natural vs artificial sugar, amount of sugar, and various sources of sugar including vodka! (This was under lock and key but the children were definitely resourceful in their planning!) The children worked collaboratively and had to figure out and allocate certain jobs and responsibilities within each group. All resources were provided for the children which they had to organise and use effectively. They all worked out timings and the recording and collection of data. The children relied on the efficiency and cooperation of each group member to complete their experiment; some giving up their playtime to continue with the work.
The children achieved success in many ways. They all learned an important scientific concept in yeast respiration and mastered investigative skills by performing a full scientific enquiry in a fun and enjoyable way. It is also equally important to note that through hands-on experiences and activities in science such as this, collaborative learning took place and continues to be encouraged.
During lunchtime on Wednesday the Science monitors were discussing their learning with me in the Science lab and Shaina has kindly written up this wonderful report to share with you. I will leave you with Shaina’s words - it sums up the power of learning at St Helen’s!
In science this week, Year 6 did an experiment to see how yeast respires with liquids of different pH values.
Firstly, we had to plan what we wanted to include in the experiment. In our plan we had to include our prediction, our fair test (what we keep the same, what we change and what we are measuring), all the equipment we would need from the ingredients to the labels and bags and also our method in a way that we could then follow the steps in class making the experiment easier.
After this was completed, we gathered into groups and labelled the bags (lemon juice A and B, milk A and B…), got the sugar and yeast and beakers in case they leaked. We were all ready for the next day when we would conduct the experiment. Everyone was allocated a job. In my group we had some pairs and some people working alone as they chose to do so. Conducting the experiment along with me were Laura, Esha, Malaika and Ridhima were one pair and Catherine and Lily were another pair. Each person/pair was allocated two liquids to test; there were five liquids to test and ten beakers as we had A and B of every liquid to increase accuracy in our results.
The following day, we gathered our materials with speed because of our thorough planning. To each bag we added five millilitres of the given substance to ninety-five millilitres of water. When everyone was ready we added in our teaspoons of yeast and sugar at the same time and sealed the bag immediately afterwards. Every five minutes over a forty minute period, we took measuring tapes and measured the width of the bag. We did this because just as we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide so does yeast. This life process is called respiring. When the yeast breathes out carbon dioxide the bag inflates and therefore causes the width to expand. Having already created a rough table to record data findings, we simply wrote down the width of the bag every five minutes for each person’s/pair's findings.
In conclusion, we found out that substances with a pH of 7/8 (neutral or slightly on the alkaline side) worked best. Extremely surprisingly, we found that lemon juice, which is pH 3 and very acidic, also helped yeast respire, whereas vinegar of the same pH value did not help yeast respire at all. I don’t think this was a fair test because our bags kept opening, allowing carbon dioxide to escape and some yeast bubbled up into a froth, leaving the bag to have not expanded at all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this experiment because of the new things I have discovered. I did not know that yeast respires in the same way we do or that it grows but not in the same way we do - instead it multiplies many times. I also did not know that different temperatures or pH values can affect the way that yeast respires.
I think this experiment can be improved by not putting the liquids in the bags but instead in the tubes because they have lids and are leak proof, whereas in our experiment some of the bags leaked and/or opened. In the tubes we can measure the amount of froth as that is also carbon dioxide building up.
By Shaina A
Posted on: 11/10/2019
Weekly News - Friday 11th October 2019Harvest Festivals
Once again, pupils and parents have been enormously generous in their giving and the food donated at our Lower School Harvest Assemblies and Upper School Harvest Festival Service has now been distributed to the Salvation Army. They have sent a lovely message of thanks, letting us know that these donations will help to supply many Christmas food parcels for families in this area who will appreciate this type of assistance over what can be a particularly difficult time.
Some of the food will also go to supply the Food Bank at Yiewsley, as the Salvation Army issue many Food Bank vouchers throughout the whole year to local people who need a little extra help.
The Salvation Army asked us to convey sincere thanks to all who contributed in the collection and assure you all that your kindness will make a difference to many people in the local community. Thank you!
Our pupils from Nursery to Year 1 performed wonderfully in their Harvest Assemblies. It was a joyous occasion and the confidence that exuded from the children was quite overwhelming. Well done to all of the children and staff involved. You can see photographs on our Galleries page.
Times Tables Rock Stars
The children have been very busy with their Times Tables Rock Stars this week.
Tiya T in 2H was the most accurate player in Middle School and Harry J in 6RD was the most accurate player in Upper School. Harry also gained the coveted Rock Hero status and takes the crown from Mohib as the fastest player in the school. Poppy H in 3M remains the fastest player in Middle School.
Well done everyone!
Trips This Week
Our Year 2 children had a super day out at the Chiltern Open Air Museum this week, where they were transported back to the Iron Age.
Year 3 pupils visited St. Albans Cathedral where they re-enacted the story of St. Alban and created beautiful mosaics.
On Wednesday our football team had their third match of the season away at Laurel Lane. The team performed very well in difficult conditions, with long grass and a very windy day. Goals from Harry J, Jack H and Patrick E secured us a 3-0 win. Mr. Dyson feels that the team is progressing very well and hopefully this can continue when we entertain Cowley St. Lawrence at home this coming Wednesday.
Well done to the netball team who played their first match this week with an outstanding win of 12-0 against St. Mary's. The girls passed extremely well and their teamwork and co-operation has put them in a very strong position this early in the season.
Pupil Fundraising Efforts
Grace O'H, one of our class charity representatives, will be running the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) 5k again this year, on Saturday. She has raised over £400 for the cause so far. Good luck Grace, we will be thinking of you! It has been noted that many of our pupils are now taking part in weekly fun runs.
A reminder to all parents that any snack provided for your child must not contain traces of nuts and must be healthy. Suitable snacks are fresh or dried fruit and vegetables or plain biscuits. Crisps, popcorn, mini cheddars etc. are not suitable snacks.
From Monday, Upper School pupils will be able to replenish their water bottles at break time with fresh fruit-flavoured water. Milk will still be available.
We would like to remind parents that the gates at the three entrance points to the school (Lower School, Long Lane and Parkway) close at 8.30 a.m. promptly. If your child arrives after 8.30 a.m., then a parent or carer will need to accompany the child to the school office to be signed in, and their arrival will be recorded as a 'late'. There is a significant amount of administration to be completed by teachers in the early morning before assemblies, including taking the register and completing lunch orders, and it is therefore crucial that children arrive to school by 8.30 a.m. at the latest.
School Drop Off and Pick Up
Those of you who have been following the news will be aware that idling cars have been a hot topic recently. Please do not leave your car engine running if you are parked up on Long Lane, in Court Park or in any of the surrounding roads. Those parents who do use the Pick Up & Go or Drop & Go facility, please remember not to exit your car and to move off swiftly.
Data Collection Forms
Data collection forms have been sent home with each child this week in your child's book bag. Please check the form very carefully and return it to school. You must sign the form even if there are no changes to confirm that the information we hold for you and your child is correct. If there are any changes to the information we hold, please note these clearly on the form when you return it to us. Please return your forms as soon as possible, and by Friday 18th October at the latest.
Posted on: 11/10/2019
Head's Blog - Golf - A Game Of Life
Last weekend I had hoped to attend a conference in Sheffield - the 4th annual WomenEd Unconference (it is called unconference for a reason - but this is not relevant to my blog!) However, I made a decision to put my own wellbeing first - take the foot off the gas so to speak and spend time with my husband - on the golf course! (I hear the chuckles already!)
Some of your children whom I have taught mindfulness to will already know that I am a keen golfer - but sadly do not get to play half as much as I would like to. As a youngster growing up on the west coast of Scotland I would spend every hour possible on the local golf course from about the age of 6 to 15. I attended golf summer school every year and was coached by the local professional, my parents were both avid players and my dad who once played off a handicap of 2 was a great teacher; I am so grateful for his patience as I tagged along weekend after weekend with my tiny clubs - the round of golf which should have taken 3 hours was often a day’s excursion as we waved players through! Juniors in Scotland were very much tolerated! (I am very proud to state at this point that there were only a handful of girls who played golf in the late 70’s early 80’s in my hometown - it was very much boys who were in the junior clubhouse - the lack of girls did not bother me - I loved the sport!) Thankfully the presence of girls and women in sport has somewhat escalated and last weekend there were numerous girls on the driving range practising as we finished our round.
So back to last weekend - as I watched my husband prepare for his first tee shot I could not resist but smile as I could see the tension on his face, his shoulders tighten and the look of determination for him to execute the best shot ever! He hooked his first shot…...(He plays much more than I do these days and I had not swung a club since the summer of 2018!!) I stepped up - took my stance - looked ahead - relaxed my body, inhaled - exhaled - kept my head down - and enjoyed the sound of the ball being driven down the first fairway! ‘You’ve still got it!’ was his comment - now that is praise of the highest!
Now for a bit of background ...my husband had never played golf until our honeymoon back in 1998 where we stayed on a beautiful golf resort in Malaysia (of course I chose the resort for a reason!!) Over the duration of two weeks he went from a spinning cartoon character attempting to tee off to someone who showed potential as a golfer… Fast forward 21 years and he usually beats me now! However, last weekend I have to admit to laughing out loud as he allowed his frustrations to show at some of his poor shots! (I had many too)
As I walked around the course my mind kept making analogies of how we can compare the game of golf to life and I knew that there was a blog to be written! To those of you who are non-golfers I shall try to explain how controlling a little white ball can be so relevant!
Swing Hard and Pray: I will give my husband a break for now but for many people who start golf this is the thought process - alas there really is no correlation between how hard you swing and how far the ball will go. With experience one learns that there is so much more to the game. By slowing down, having more focus, making good contact, the ball may travel further. Sheer force does create action, but it’s often negated by a lack of strategy.
Embrace Failure: FAIL -First Attempt in Learning. Golfers can be temperamental! Two bad shots and they give up on that hole or even worse walk off the course. We need to learn to embrace failure, analyse, learn, and move on - reflect on the shot, and use the positive mindset that the next shot or hole will be better.
Practice -the primary driver of consistent success is practice. You must try, fail, adjust, and try again. Last weekend I still played relatively (I use the term loosely) successfully and I am confident that this is due to the solid foundations of good habits, hours of coaching, more hours of practice over the course of many years of my youth which has secured my knowledge and skill level. Many of you may have heard about the 10,000 hour rule; the principle that 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice" are needed to become world-class in any field. I am certainly not world class in how I play golf but the fact that I was taught complex skills and technical aspects of the game at such a young age may be an important factor in my ability to engage with golf as infrequently as I now do and enjoy it as much as I do. Of course there are specific shots that still need refining and much more practice to be had - but could how I was nurtured also be part of the success - I was encouraged to play golf - the language of golf floated around our household (much to the horror of my older sister who to this day has managed to never play a round of golf - but has married into a golfing family!! Oh the irony!)
Mentorship Matters; Having a good mentor/teacher/coach is crucial. I have already spoken about how fortunate I was in my early golfing years. Even the top pros are coached on a daily basis. It is important to remember that asking for advice isn’t a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of maturity. You’ll never know what you don’t know unless you ask.
Lifelong Learning: One day, in my retirement (in a couple of decades!) I will aim to improve my game of golf and will seek out more lessons, a good teacher to help me refine my game - in the meanwhile I will allow my husband to do this!! But lifelong learning is exciting - we all have so many opportunities to learn and I for one have have a thirst for learning. I enjoy challenges, meeting people who will challenge me in my thinking and who will teach me new skills.
Fear: One cannot even consider playing golf if we fear how the next shot may unfold! Allowing fear to overcome us can only cause bad results. Fear can drive poor decisions, can cause paralysis, and debilitates us. When teeing off, yes bad things may happen, but one must focus on executing the best shot possible, it is likely it will go well if one focuses on the positive!
Self-Awareness: It is with experience and maturity that I have come to realise how important that self-awareness is. The art of self-reflection allows us to analyse our own motivations, our emotions and helps us to understand how others see us. Practising mindfulness has helped me to become more self aware and as I played golf last weekend I used my mindful practices not only execute the game but I allowed myself to enjoy the great outdoors, appreciate what surrounded me and was so aware of how fortunate I am to have the family, friends, job...the life that I have.
Like golf, life is a humbling game that can only be played well if we understand our own weaknesses and tendencies.
Like golf, life is an intricate game. Play it well!
Posted on: 4/10/2019
Head's Blog - by Mrs Dillon Reflections on "Bringing out the best in your child"
On a wet Tuesday 24th September parents of students from nursery through to year 2 were invited to attend a talk led by Elaine Halligan of the Parent Practice, and author of “My Child’s Different”.
As a mother of two boys (Arjan in year 5 and Sarab in year 2) I was intrigued by the title of this talk – “Bringing out the best in your child”. My expectations were that this talk was going to share how to encourage your child to be the best “academic” and I was also secretly hoping to learn how I could get them to want to do their homework!
Instead what we were gifted with was something far more relevant and thought provoking. Elaine is a very engaging presenter who started by discussing her neuro-diverse son who had struggled at school as a young child but is now a very successful adult. She attributes this success down to changes she made in interacting with him, specifically by encouraging a greater self-belief and confidence in himself.
Elaine reinforces the importance of how we talk to our children and the respect that we give them. She conveyed this message very well by role playing a provocative scene whereby we (as the audience) were the child and she was the parent. The way that she talked to us, as the child was patronising and demeaning and I’m sure many of us as parents could relate. She went on to explain that by conversing with our children in this manner we are actually having a detrimental impact on their self-esteem and confidence. These crucial interactions over time are then likely to lead our children to experience an awkwardness in their own skin, which is something none of us wants to do!
Elaine touched on the fact that by only focussing on the “negative” (ie. 1 spelling mistake out of 14 etc.) we minimise the positive. I have to say that she demonstrated this particularly well. She showed us a “Reticular Activating System” which illustrated that if we only focus and notice negative behaviour then that is all we will see and we will miss all the good and positive behaviours that our children are demonstrating (see this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=101&v=IGQmdoK_ZfY). She goes on to explain that for every negative feedback a child is given, they need at least 5 positives to balance this out.
Arguably, what most of us as parents are good at is evaluative praise which is along the lines of “I am so proud of you”, “good girl/boy” etc. This is too nondescript and over time will become meaningless to your children. As such she emphasised the impact that descriptive praise can have (ie. “you should be proud of yourself” etc). This praise needs to focus on effort, attitude and strategies that the child is using and by doing this we can get our children to focus on the journey and not overly focus on end results or achievements. This will help them develop a positive growth mindset and promote good mental health.
Elaine shared several practical ways to encourage this and a few of the ones that resonated with me are highlighted below-
“Book of Gold” or “Golden Book” – this is an A5 book per child that has been decorated by the child. The parent has to write 3 descriptive phrases every day about each child. These phrases can take the form of acknowledging their effort, praising an absence of a particular negative behaviour or simply pointing out a quality that they demonstrated that day. Elaine suggested reading these to them every night but having put this into practise now, I have found that I need time to write these in the evening and they actually enjoy reading them after breakfast (and I’ve noticed that it really puts a pep in their step in the morning). My experience (having done it for 5 days now!) is that it is tough to get started but it has made me refocus my attention to recognise more positive behaviours that I realise I hadn’t been acknowledging as much before. I did ask the boys how they feel about their “books of gold” and they absolutely adore them and it makes them so happy. What more could I ask for!
Choose a quality (or use the value from school) and put this up on the wall and discuss it regularly. This discussion could be in the form of the children giving examples of how they lived that quality that day.
“Pasta Jar” – Using a small pasta jar, for each positive action fill up the jar with large pasta pieces (Note – pasta can’t be too small and the jar can’t be too big as the aim should be to fill the jar within 3 or 4 days). When the jar is full the child is rewarded with something extra special. This reward should be non-material and non-time consuming. (eg. playing a game or lego, lighting a candle etc – basically anything that they love to do). There are two important rules here: do not take pasta out of the jar for misbehaviour and only one pasta jar per household (otherwise it becomes very competitive!).
The key take home message for me was to be respectful to your child, engage with them and catch them doing “good” things. It sounds simple but we all need a reminder of this and ways to implement this in our schedule with our children. Ultimately our children do their best and we want them to feel good about themselves. I would truly recommend attending any of Elaine’s future talks as it’s all extremely relatable and encourages you to be the best parent you can be for your child.
Posted on: 4/10/2019
Weekly News - Friday 4 October 2019Harvest
Upper School celebrated Harvest on Tuesday with a lovely service in All Saints Church. Thank you to all families for the most generous donations, which the local Salvation Army will be sharing with members of our local community who may not be as fortunate as we are.
We look forward to the Lower School Harvest Assemblies at 8.45am next week. Please do join us for coffee from 8.15am in the Lower School Hall prior to the assemblies:
Monday - Year 1 followed by Infant Choir performance
Tuesday - Reception followed by Infant Choir performance
Wednesday - Nursery
The children from Nursery to Year 2 were delighted to welcome the author Simon Phillip and illustrator Kate Hindley. They were enthralled as Simon read his stories whilst Kate drew some characters from each book. With Kate's guidance, the children then became illustrators themselves! Both Philip and Kate explained how they had become so successful and what inspired them. Notably, they recommended that the children read as much as possible and gather their ideas by truly observing their surroundings.
The sessions were a great success, and who knows, we may have inspired some authors and illustrators for the future!
Current Affairs - First News Newspaper
Many families are already subscribed to the children’s current affairs newspaper ‘First News’ but they have just launched a fundraising venture to promote even more children to get reading. For every family that sign up for a subscription to the paper St Helen’s College will receive a £2 donation. For us as a school, it is not about the donation but raising the children’s awareness of current affairs and reading for pleasure a different genre of materials in the form of a child friendly newspaper (suitable for age pupil in Y2 - Y6)). To try six free issues please do sign up at https://subscribe.firstnews.co.uk/six-free/. On the second step of the payment you will be asked to input the name of the school you are nominating ‘St Helen’s College’. Any donations we receive will go towards the library reading materials for the children.
The Student Council representatives at Upper School school have been representing the pupil voice in their meetings. On their request, we will very shortly (when all our water containers arrive!) be providing flavoured water for the children from Y2 - Y6 at break time as an alternative to milk. The pupils have also voted on the types of fruit they would like and Soula will be happy to provide these flavours. (Milk will still be available to pupils).
Other requests from the pupils that have been actioned are; the request for baked beans when jacket potatoes are available as a lunch choice (we currently have baked beans twice a week but Soula will note this request), a stationery box for the children to continue their creativity with writing and drawing at lunchtimes (our SMSA’s already have a box but it is being replenished with some exciting new resources).
Acts of Kindness
It is always wonderful to hear of our children being involved in charity events and for their deeds of kindness. We were very proud this week to hear of the efforts of 2H children; Aleyna N requested that children did not purchase any gifts for her birthday but instead donated money to a charity of her choosing. Aleyna now has £560 to donate to charity - a wonderful venture of kindness and superb support from her peers.
Year 6 visit to Denham Country Park
The children in Y6 experienced some ‘hands on’ geography fieldwork this week when they visited Denham Country Park to investigate rivers. The children became river detectives for the day; wading into the river to collect data about the River Misbourne’s depth, width and flow and analysing minibeasts present in the river. They were also able to track the path of the River Misbourne to its confluence with the River Colne and River Frays and compare these rivers. Finally, a walk along the Grand Union Canal and seeing Denham Deep Lock in action gave the children a terrific insight into the engineering accomplishments of the Victorians.
Reception trip to Odds Farm
Kingfishers and Owls enjoyed an exciting visit to Odds Farm this week to support their learning about harvest time and to bring their shared topic of ‘The Farm’ to life. The children were able to meet and touch some furry friends and they thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get close to lots of sheep, goats and pigs during their visit to the indoor barn. The children were also enthralled by a live ‘Piggies Lunch’ demonstration and they had a super (but very bumpy) tractor ride!
On Wednesday, the football team had their second game of the season at home to St Catherine’s and pulled off a very good 1-0 win. St Catherine’s are a very good team who dominated the 1st half and could have been well ahead but for some good defending, bad finishing and a great save by Zail. We grew into the game and scored through Eli with a very good left foot finish to give us the lead. St Helen’s managed to hold on to secure an impressive win. The team should be extremely proud of themselves with this performance, especially Adam K in Yr4 who made a huge impression on his debut.
Team Zail, Patrick, Reece, Joban, Jack, Harry, Daniel G-J, Eli, Adam.
This week, our pupils took part in the District cross country competition held at the Vyners playing fields. They had been training for the past few weeks to complete the 2km course and completed the boys and girls races confidently, supporting each other as they ran. Our top finishers were Michael K and Rhea A-V in their respective races, and solid performances from everyone in the team resulted in very credible 6th place for the girls team and 7th place for the boys team. Well done to the teams; Marcus S, Alex S, Daniel G-J, Reece G, Jack H, Adi S, Ciaran R, Michael K, Rhea A-V, Chloe W, Grace B, Amar C, Maisie H and Siyana M.
Times Tables Rockstars
We have relaunched Times Tables Rockstars at Upper School this year and the children all seem really enthused. They have created their rockstar avatars and are busy earning points by practising their tables. Each week, the fastest player in Middle and Upper Schools (last week Poppy H and Mohib F) and the players who have made the biggest improvement through lots of practice (last week Roha K and Ciaran R) will be recognised. This week our top players are Jacob N for Middle School and Anokhi B for Upper School!
The children will progress through different rock star levels and will be awarded certificates and prizes whenever they reach a new status. Congratulations to Mohib F, the Year 6 maths prefect, who is the first and only player in the school to earn the elusive ‘rock hero’ status.
Following the success of last week’s talk by Elaine Halligan from the Parent Practice, I would like to thank Mrs Dhillon whose reflections of the evening are the guest blog this week. (Do read!)
We have had wonderful feedback from the workshop and many parents have asked if further training could be sought. We are delighted that our parents at St Helen’s have been offered a 50 % discount for their Online Parenting Course from the Parent Practice, which is a 10 module e-learning course. Please see the line below for further details:
The code is STHELENS2019 but please note that it is only valid for 7 days.
To order go to this page https://theparentpractice.simplero.com/purchase/16521-Membership-of-The-Positive-Parenting and use the coupon code where it says ‘Have a Coupon Code’. This will reduce the price to £175.
Nursery to Year 1 parents’ evening is on Tuesday 8th October from 4pm - 7pm at Lower School. Please do check the time of your appointment. Please note that Funtasia will be in Wrens classroom on the parent evenings.
Pick up arrangements
If your pick up arrangements from school vary from the normal person who collects your child, please can you email this information to the form teacher or email the school office at firstname.lastname@example.org if the arrangement is a last minute change. I am sure you understand our need to ensure that your children are being handed over to the correct person at the end of the day.
Jewellery in PE
It is the school’s policy that no jewellery should be worn in P.E lessons for health and safety reasons. Children should, where possible, not wear jewellery to school on P.E days. If earrings cannot be removed because they are new, parents are respectfully requested to provide a small reel of micropore tape for their children in their school bag so they can tape over the earrings for P.E. If religious bangles (metal and string with beads on) cannot be removed then parents are respectfully asked to provide their child with a sweatband in school colours (green, white or black) to wear over the top. Necklaces should not be worn as these present particular risks around the neck.
Posted on: 27/09/2019
Head's Blog - STEAM Day by Mr TovellIt has been a week since our 4th Annual St Helen’s STEAM day last Friday and the last week has afforded me time to reflect upon a day to be truly proud of.
In her first assembly of the year, Mrs Drummond challenged the children to ‘be their very best selves’ and this could not have been more evident during the activities that staff, many parent helpers and Susan O’Connor - author of the wonderful book Creative Genius Journal, which I highly recommend to parents of children of all ages - put on. Indeed, it is only due to the hard work, creativity and highly supportive and collaborative nature of the St Helen’s community that the children are given opportunities to excel and be their very best selves in days such as these. Activities in both the Lower and Upper school were engaging as well as challenging and included a Year 2 and 3 Nile crossing challenge and a Systems Thinking Workshop in Upper School; Kaleidoscopes and the spectacular Rocket Mice in Lower School. Furthermore, it is the creative nature of our day to day curriculum that provides your children with the tools to excel when such challenges are posed to them.
The children’s behaviour was exemplary, demonstrating wonderful collaboration skills, creativity, resilience and resourcefulness to overcome learning challenges. They were able to reflect upon their successes and targets to help them to tackle similar learning challenges in the future - and most importantly, they had FUN. I cannot stress enough how brilliant they were; they really are a credit to you all.
As Josh Valman, author of last week’s blog, stated ‘it is people working together who solve problems’ and based on what the staff witnessed, we may have some future changers of the world amongst us.
With outstanding learning taking place all over the school and the sun shining, it was wonderful to welcome our Prime Minister to our school as he got to see the very best of St Helen’s. He is a man of great importance and the children were thrilled that he took a genuine interest in their learning that day.
In the morning, I began my speech to the Upper School children with ‘I love this school’, and after a day of such spectacular success in both Lower and Upper School where the children really were their very best selves, those words ring all the more true today.
Posted on: 20/09/2019
Head's Blog - The Future By Josh ValmanLast week I had the pleasure of returning to St. Helen’s College, to speak at the annual Prizegiving, 13 years after I left my class of Year 6.
I’ve returned to the school several times during the new Year 7s’ time at St. Helen’s, introducing conversation around robotics, engineering and entrepreneurship. I felt it was timely to talk about the potential they all have to shape lives and careers that have true impact on the world.
When I left St. Helen’s College, not that long ago, technology was still new. Touch typing was an exclusive skill, and a mobile phone was yet to become the constant interface for life. In the last 10-15 years we have seen technology dominate our lives, as it makes everything easier and quicker. However, this incredible development has had vast impact to both us and our planet. Our decisions are driven by ease, and the impact of those decisions are largely overlooked. We have created a society and a way of life that has enormous consequence on the world’s resources, our environment and even our own health.
We are at a point where change is necessary, but we are limited by the fact that humans are creatures of habit. We are unlikely to see massive change in developed generations – purely from new awareness of our impact. Previously our behaviours were influenced by those around us, our parents, schools, peers and government. But in this new world of technology, it’s the machines that define us. Our phones (even as a Year 7!) are the things we wake up to, and go to sleep next to. Our behaviours are shaped by the products that enable our lives.
It’s for this reason that the future of the world is very much in the hands of the engineer: the problem solver, the creative thinker. It is our responsibility, as the younger generation, to create the future of our world, and how we all behave around it. It will be the engineers who create the products and experiences that change human behaviour to become more sustainable.
I began my engineering career aged 10, whilst at St. Helen’s College. Fascinated by the BBC TV show, Robot Wars, I set out to design and build something competitive, beginning with Lego and Sellotape, until I learnt the Maths and the CAD design skills to create something more advanced.
It’s essential that parents and schools support young people with the ability to match education with reality. The intensity of exam schedules and the sheer volume of curriculum that needs to be consumed can make additional work feel oppressive and unnecessary. However, bringing practical application of subjects into the classroom has a huge impact on engagement and the ability to understand and visualise theory. We can provide examples of how the current curriculum applies to the real world through embracing extra-curricular clubs and competitions.
In the time I have spent working in industry, it’s perhaps surprising to note that a technical problem is incredibly rare. The majority of work problems and restrictions in the real world have been focussed on people, process and communication. Promoting stronger presentation, negotiation and communication skills through practical teaching at schools has a massive impact on students’ ability to succeed in the real world – with or without that A* in maths or extensive knowledge of the Battle of Hastings!
It’s been important also to note the importance of enjoying the work you do. Nobody really knows what they’re doing, but those who are most successful are those who are passionate about their life and have made it a career. The pressure to select a career and pursue it is intense, but helping children to explore interesting subjects with a link to potential careers is possible and exciting! The standout trends of our most successful young team members and graduates is always their exposure to varied work experience, cultures, challenges – and not the nth percentile academic results.
In 2012 we founded RPD International, with the purpose of making the development and manufacturing of new products accessible. We now power R&D departments around the world for many new, big brand products in the market. We craft everything from sustainability developments in shampoo and deodorant packaging, to medical devices that improve the accessibility and power of modern medicine, and every strange new invention between these. It’s our role in the world to empower people to create the next generation of products which will change the way we work, behave and live our lives.
I need the help of you as parents and influencers to encourage play and practical learning as part of schooling, creating exposure to the real world and making it known that we’re all still working it out! It was my mission, in the conversation with the graduating pupils of 2019, to urge them to consider this the first step on an engineering career. To see through the maths lessons, and see that we all need their help to invent, develop and produce a positive future for our world.
Josh Valman is CEO of RPD International. He attended St. Helen’s College from 1999 to 2006.
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