School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 13/12/2019
Weekly News - Friday 13th December 2019Thank you to all of the parents and friends who joined us this morning for the end of term carol service at All Saints Church. As ever, it was a thoughtful and joyful occasion and it was lovely to have so many of you with us.
We wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas holiday, and look forward to seeing you all again in the new year.
Musician of the Term
Many congratulations to Anish A who was today awarded Musician of the Term. Anish has shown outstanding effort, commitment, dedication and achievement in all aspects of music over many years at St. Helen’s College. He has a sound musical knowledge and has applied and shared ideas successfully in class work throughout the years, as well as performing regularly, playing the violin and singing. He is currently working towards his Grade 6 violin and his Grade 4 singing. He is a much valued First Violin in our school orchestra, a committed member of both Senior Choir and Chamber Choir, and an excellent role model for the younger musicians in the school. He enjoys performing at our informal recitals and more formal events and he recently travelled to India, where he played at a wedding. Well done, Anish!
Sports Personality of the Term
Well done to Adam K (Year 4) who was today awarded the Sports Personality of the Term award. Adam has grown to be one of the best footballers in the school. He shows great courage and perseverance, excellent sportsmanship and a real desire to encourage his peers.
The Year 6 Sports Captains noted that Adam strives at all times to achieve excellence and exhibits great confidence in what he does. Congratulations, Adam!
Year 1 Christmas Assembly
Wow! What a super Christmas assembly the children of Year 1 presented on Monday. Year 1 astounded us all by adapting so well to a new venue at short notice to celebrate Christmas in the Methodist Church. There was beautiful singing and interesting facts about the traditions of Christmas were retold by all. Thank you to Revd. Ken Kingston for his lovely story and for allowing us to use the church.
Christmas Christmas Christmas!
Our Upper School children enjoyed a marvellous morning at the Pantomime on Wednesday when they went to see Sleeping Beauty at The Beck Theatre. The day began with the pupils learning a little about pantomime as a dramatic form so that they were well placed to understand any jokes and enjoy the performance! The show was hilarious and the children had a wonderful time joining in and then having lunch back at school, followed by an afternoon of Pantomime tradition and creativity where they designed sets, costumes and props.
The children in Ducklings were super excited to receive a visit from Father Christmas who happened to arrive when Mrs. Crehan was taking a singing session with the children. A wonderful festive sing song was had with everyone and the children delighted Father Christmas with their singing, wonderful manners and festive glee.
Father Christmas then climbed back into his sleigh and Rudolph and his friends took him safely along Long Lane to visit the Lower School pupils who delighted him with their curiosity and wonder of Christmas!
Thank you to Mrs. Crehan who visited the Lower School classes later that morning with her guitar to accompany the children in an array of Christmas songs.
All Upper and Lower School children enjoyed a superb Christmas lunch experience on Thursday with a traditional dinner cooked by Soula and her team. Everyone enjoyed pulling crackers, telling jokes and listening to Christmas music! We are incredibly lucky to be so well looked after by Soula and the Accent team - many thanks to them all.
As ever, we received many entries for the Christmas tree decoration competition and it was very difficult to choose the winners. However, the year prizes were today awarded to:
Ducklings - Ashana M
Nursery - Tansy M & Emily K
Reception - Rohin M & Zayd A
Year 1 - Zinnia M & Riya-Skye S
Year 2 - Riya S & Zachariah A
Year 3 - Dominic M & Ayla A
Year 4 - Leo J & Avaani M
Year 5 - Isabelle K & Riya C
Year 6 - Jasmine B & Mohib F
Very well done to everyone who took part. The trees have looked magical and it has been such a joy to see the hard work and creativity that the pupils put into making their decorations.
We wish Miss Heath all the best for her forthcoming wedding on the 31st December and we look forward to welcoming her back to school next term as Mrs. Reid.
A Bientot Mrs. Stark
Today marks Mrs. Stark's retirement as Deputy Head after many years of making an outstanding contribution to St. Helen's College life. She will be greatly missed by her colleagues, by the children and by parents. We will look forward to welcoming her back as our part-time French teacher next term, but would like to take this opportunity to extend heartfelt gratitude for her wonderful dedication to the school over more than 20 years.
We encourage children to read widely and to keep up to date with current affairs. You might wish to purchase a First News Subscription for your child this Christmas in order to support them in doing this.
Please note that Holiday Club will be held at Lower School for all children over the Christmas holiday as there will be maintenance works going on at Upper School.
You can see the spring term menu here.
Co-curricular allocations for the spring term are now complete and have been emailed to parents. Please make payment promptly in order to confirm your child's place at their chosen club(s).
We will look forward to seeing you all back at school on Wednesday 8th January.
Girls' Basketball Sessions
There will be some brand new, girls only basketball sessions running at the Uxbridge College Sports Hall from 11.15 a.m. -12.45 p.m. on Saturdays. The first session is free so if you have a daughter aged 7-17 why not go along and try it. All abilities are welcome. For more details please contact Lorien on 07703 056 303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please remember to use Easyfundraising when you do your Christmas (or any) shopping, as over 4,000 shops and sites will donate to the St. Helen's College Development Fund at no extra cost to you - so you can raise donations when you buy gifts, decorations, your festive food shopping or anything else online! It doesn't matter if you haven't signed up yet as it takes just a moment to create your account and begin using Easyfundraising to raise money for our cause. Just click here or follow this link: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/sthelencoldevfund/?invite=T7XS4M&referral-campaign=s2s
Thank you so much for your support!
Posted on: 6/12/2019
Weekly News - Friday 6th December 2019Carols Around The Tree
Thank you to all of the parents and children who joined us for our annual Carols Around The Tree event on Monday afternoon. It was super to have so many of you with us. Thank you to Soula and her team for the lovely mulled wine, mince pies and biscuits too!
What a treat for our Nursery parents and staff on Tuesday morning, as the children of our Robins and Wrens Nursery classes performed their first St. Helen's College Christmas Nativity!
The children took to the stage with confidence and gave an utterly charming performance. There were clearly spoken individual lines as well as many group songs, with choreography too!
The vast majority of these pupils are 3 years old and the audience was so proud of them for remembering their lines, showing off their stage presence and their ability to follow direction and doing it all with a smile. Well done, Nursery!
The Reception Nativity this morning was another resoundingly successful performance. The Lower School Hall was packed with family and friends and the children certainly rose to the occasion, singing with gusto and delivering their spoken lines clearly.
The children looked amazing in their costumes and the audience showed their appreciation and support as the show ended. Very well done to all those involved.
Year 3 Christmas Production
The Year 3 performance of 'A Countdown to Christmas' took place at the Winston Churchill Hall on Thursday evening and really was a feast for the senses! The countdown's focus was a village hall, at which various groups, including the long-suffering cleaners, were preparing for Christmas.
The script allowed the children to shine through individual and small group performances, as well as large ensemble numbers. It is sometimes easy to forget, watching productions such as this one, that the children performing are so young. Their voice projection and stage presence were both excellent and it was clear that they enjoyed themselves immensely!
Year 3's achievements on stage are all the more impressive because so many of the children have suffered from winter bugs over the last week or two. Well done to all of the children and staff involved.
Parents, pupils and staff watched a wonderful assembly today by 4KT as they reminded and taught us about some of the traditions and facts about Christmas and how it is celebrated around the world. We even had a visit from Father Christmas during a stunning rendition of the poem 'Twas The Night Before Christmas'. The assembly ended with the children signing the popular Christmas song 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'.
Doodle Wellbeing Advent Calendar
Each class in the Upper School have been given a 'Young Minds Wellbeing Advent Calendar' for the children to participate in simple wellbeing activities throughout December. It was delightful to observe Year 2 and the Mindful Moments Club children take part in the Giant Doodle from Wednesday's calendar entry! Please download a copy of the calendar to participate at home.
St. Helen's College Kitchen Receives 5 Stars Again
We are delighted for the school and for Soula and her team that they received a 5 star rating from the Food Safety/Health and Safety Inspection team when they had a spot inspection last week. To quote the report: â'You have a fantastic and committed team which is apparent through the excellent standards in place. Well done!"
Clare Piggot, the Client Services Director from Accent Catering, awarded Soula with a well deserved bottle of champagne to recognise her achievement.
Final Week of Term - Arrangements
Monday 9th December
Infant Choir Carols in Lower School Playground - 8.15 a.m. - Please join us as you drop off your children to hear our Infant Choir singing carols in the morning.
Year 1 Christmas Assembly - 8.45 a.m. - all Year 1 parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Methodist Church - please note the change of venue. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Methodist Church Hall.
Wednesday 11th December
Upper School Pantomime Trip (Year 2-6) - after a brief introduction at school to pantomime as a traditional British drama form, all children in Years 2 and 6 will travel to the Beck Theatre to see 'Sleeping Beauty'. Previous performances have been of a high quality and much enjoyed by all, so we hope that this year will be no exception. On return to school, the children will enjoy a party style picnic lunch and some afternoon themed activities. School will end at the normal time for all classes.
Thursday 12th December
School Christmas lunch - Lower and Upper School children will enjoy a party style Christmas lunch here at school, cooked and served by our Accent staff. You can see the menu, with allergens, here.
Lower School Pantomime Visit - After their Christmas lunch, Lower School children will enjoy a visit from West End In Schools Pantomimes who will present their version of Dick Whittington. Lower School children are encouraged to wear party clothes to school on this day but please also remember suitable shoes and a warm coat!
Friday 13th December
Upper School Carol Service - Parents are warmly invited to join us at All Saints Church for our Y2-6 Carol Service, which will begin at 11.00 a.m. Please be mindful that the end of term is a busy time for traffic, and walk to the service/to pick up your children from school if you possibly can, or perhaps park away from the school and walk.
End of Term - half day - Pick up times are:
Ducklings and Nursery 11.50 a.m.
Reception 12.00 p.m.
Year 1 and Year 2 12.10 p.m.
Year 3 and Year 4 12.20 p.m.
Year 5 and Year 6 12.30 p.m.
Holiday Club will be running on the afternoon of Friday 13th December and then every day until Monday 23rd December. Please book in via your SchoolsBuddy account.
The children often like to send festive cards to their friends at this time of year. We are aware that many children like to pop a Christmas chocolate/coin into the cards as a treat but please could we request that this year that an alternative to chocolate is sought. With our school being very allergy aware, we are recommending that perhaps Christmas stickers are added instead or perhaps the simple gesture of a card is adequate. Thank you for your continued support. For further information and advice on allergies please see the Allergy Aware UK website.
Christmas postboxes will be open next week at Upper School, Lower School and Ducklings for free deliveries of Christmas cards among the children. Please ensure that the children's names and classes are clearly marked on envelopes.
Thank you to parents for making your co-curricular selections for the spring term. Club allocations will be confirmed next week and we would like to remind you to make payment promptly when you receive your allocations in order to confirm your place(s).
Autumn term co-curricular activities have now finished apart from the following clubs, which will be running a 'catch up session' in the final week of term.
Reception Multi-Sports Club
Reception Percussion Club
Y1 Percussion Club
Y2/3 Craft Club
Y4/5 Art Club
Year 4/5/6 Cricket (Monday instead of Wednesday next week)
Posted on: 6/12/2019
Bonjour by Mr. McLaughlinLast week’s blog - ‘Au Revoir’ by Mrs. Stark - was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster! I felt a great deal of happiness for a cherished colleague, knowing that she is heading into a thoroughly deserved (semi) retirement, surrounded by loved ones. We are all delighted that Mrs. Stark will remain with us as our French teacher, such is the positive impact that she makes in the school on a daily basis. Her consistency, commitment to the school and care for the children are inspirational for any young teacher.
Reading about her many accomplishments over her time spent at St. Helen’s College, I began to think about the very exciting new chapter that lies ahead for me in January. It also prompted me to reflect on my journey so far and to look to the future. How will I be remembered by the children, parents and colleagues I have worked with when I retire? I hope that it will be with the fondness that I am sure will be lavished upon Mrs Stark in the coming weeks!
We have worked together very closely during the transition period to ensure that there is a seamless handover in the new year and I cannot wait to get started. For those of you who do not know me yet, here is a brief history of my background in education. My first step came whilst studying English literature at university. I taught a creative writing course to a Year 8 class in Winchester and it was a fantastic experience. Who knew that children were so creative and fun to work with! I went on to do some cover teaching in several challenging Hampshire secondary schools. At 21, this was certainly a character building exercise, but my curiosity around becoming a teacher remained unabashed!
After graduation, I worked as a teaching assistant in a small school for children with autism in Southampton. It was a delightful place to be; our class of five was like a little family in itself. Here, I learned so much about the importance of togetherness and treating every child as an individual with their own ways and needs, a tenet that will always remain a cornerstone of high quality teaching. This confirmed my desire to teach, and my alternative path as a sports journalist at BBC South took a back seat.
After a successful PGCE year in London, I took up my first post as a Year 3 class teacher. It was in my first ever interview lesson that I met a young lady named Miss Vig (you may know her as Mrs. McLaughlin – it must have been fate!). In this post, I became history and geography subject leader and I also taught in Year 5. One day, the mother of one of my pupils informed me that she would be moving on to a ‘St. Helen’s College’. A quick Google search later and I was very intrigued…
Since I first stepped foot through the door, I was struck by the confidence and friendliness of the pupils and the family atmosphere of the school. I was given a tour by Mrs. Crehan and throughout that first conversation, I knew that my ideas around education were firmly aligned with those of the school. A few weeks later, I was called in for an interview and the rest, as they say, is history. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first three years of working here and I am looking forward to many more.
All of the aforementioned experiences have led me to this opportunity, and I will grasp it with both hands. One thing that stands out to me throughout my time in education is the crucial role of strong relationships for building successful partnerships in the school environment. We have an open door policy at our school, and I will be dedicating a lot of time to building those all-important relationships, to help ensure that everybody in the St. Helen’s College community feels valued and supported at the school. So, whilst the name on the door will have changed, and I will forge my own path in this fantastic role, the passion, professionalism, sincerity and warmth that Mrs. Stark has brought to you all in abundance for so many years will certainly remain.
Finally, to our dear friend and colleague Mrs. Stark: ‘Merci beaucoup et à bientôt.’