School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 11/12/2020
Weekly News - Friday 11th December 2020Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!
We had so much fun at school yesterday, all dressed in our Christmas jumpers and enjoying a party day at Ducklings/Lower School and a panto day at Upper School! As ever, the Christmas lunch was delicious and lots of fun too.
Elf On The Shelf
The naughty Christmas elves have made their appearance at St. Helen's College once again this year, keeping the children throughout the school entertained, curious and very observant! Thank you to Mr. Smith and Mr. Rizzo for keeping a close eye on them to make sure that they were not too mischievous! You can see photos on our Galleries page here.
Christmas Tree Decoration Competition
Well done to every child who designed and made a tree decoration. The trees have looked so fabulous with the home made decorations so proudly displayed. The winners were:
Ducklings - Hadi Q
Wrens - Raya R
Robins - Ajit J
Kingfishers - Emily K
Owls - Libby Y
1R - Shayla R
1C - Zayd A
2B - Aaryan K
2H - Veer K
3B - Sarab D
3M - Hana H
4L - Annabelle S
4T - Milo M
5A - Leo J and Aanya B
5G - Kiran A
6M - Pavitar D
6R - Jena J
Christmas Present Appeal
Many thanks indeed to all of the parents and children who gave so generously and donated a toy or game for the Hillingdon Salvation Army's Christmas Present Appeal.
We were delighted to be able to send so many toys and games across to the Salvation Army and we know that they will bring joy to many families this Christmas.
Community Christmas Message
Our Year 3 children recorded a Christmas message to share with the residents of three local care homes: Sweetcroft, Ryefield and Woodlands. We have also sent it to the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church and All Saints Church to spread St. Helen's College Christmas wishes throughout the local community. We thought that you would enjoy seeing this too and we are sure that it has brought lots of joy to the residents of the care homes and members of our local community. You can watch the video here.
Staff Christmas Fun Video
The staff at St. Helen's College would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas. You can see us getting into the Christmas mood and sending wishes to you all in these fun videos:
ABRSM Music Examination Results
We have received the first of this term's (remote) ABRSM examination results and we are delighted for the children who have all achieved so highly as usual! We are awaiting the final sets of results and will publish the complete list at the start of next term. Congratulations to all those who have worked so hard to prepare for their exams and who have been well rewarded.
Next term the children in Years 3 - 6 will be competing in their class groups and will be tested on general knowledge questions which will then lead to the top performers being selected to represent the school in the annual Prep School Quiz Club competition. Over the Christmas holidays it might be a fun activity for the family to engage in games such as Junior Trivial Pursuit and other general knowledge games to increase your children's knowledge of the world around them. You might like also to encourage them to watch age-appropriate news programmes such as CBBC Newsround and to read an age-appropriate newspaper such as First News or The Week Junior.
Sports Personality Of The Term
Many congratulations to Ollie T, who has been named the Sports Personality of the Term. Reading out the citation for the award, our Sports Captains noted that Ollie is a real all-rounder, who thoroughly enjoys playing a variety of sports and always demonstrates good technical skill and tactical awareness, regardless of the activity. They said that Ollie enjoys working with his peers in PE and games lessons and positively influences, motivates and encourages others to perform to the best of their ability, particularly in inter house matches. Well done, Ollie!
Musician Of The Term
We are delighted to announce that Manisher L has been named the Musician of the Term. Manisher has shown outstanding effort, commitment, dedication and achievement within the music department. She has always worked conscientiously and demonstrated enormous enthusiasm over several years in all aspects of music at St. Helen’s College. Manisher has excellent music skills and applies and shares creative ideas successfully in class work. She is a member of the Chamber Choir and, as a music prefect, is an excellent role model within the music department.
Manisher regularly performs at assemblies and recitals both inside and outside of school. As well as playing the ukulele, she plays the piano and the harmonica. She has exceptional musical talent and has recently taken Grade 6 keyboard, Grade 2 piano and Grade 3 harmonica. Well done, Manisher!
Inter House Sports Competition
Children in Year 3 - 6 took part in the Inter House Sports Competition again this week in their games lessons. At the end of the first half term, Windsor led the year long competition so there was friendly rivalry between the houses for the honours this half term. Games and competitions were set up in netball, football, hockey and tag rugby sessions for the children and they all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play for their houses. Results were as follows.
3M Hockey - Winners were Windsor
3B Netball - Winners were Windsor
4L Football - It was a draw
4T Tag Rugby - Winners were Cambria
5A Hockey - Winners were Cambria
5G Tag Rugby - Winners were Windsor
6M Football - Winners were Windsor
6R Netball - Winners were Windsor
These results, combined with the first half term's results, mean that Windsor have won the Autumn Term Inter House Competition. Many congratulations to everyone in Windsor!
PA Christmas Gifts
The PA have generously bought a gift for every child in the school for Christmas: a traditional game of Mikado (pick up sticks). These have been sent home with children today. Parents of our youngest children might wish to hold onto the gift for them until they are a little older. The PA have also sent this written message and a video message too.
PA Christmas Message:
This year we haven’t been able to hold a Christmas party for the children but instead have given them a gift each that we hope they will enjoy and will be a keepsake to remember their time at St. Helen's College. We would like to wish you and your families and very happy and safe Christmas.
PA Video Message
Today we bid farewell to Miss Eaver, who has been at Lower School for the past 5 years. We wish Miss Eaver well as she finally joins her family who have relocated to Dorset and we know that she will be a super addition to her new school. Thank you, Miss Eaver, for all that you have done for the children - the staff will also miss your Disney and Star Wars dress up days!
Looking Ahead - Spring Term
The spring term lunch menu has now been published to the School Documents page of the website and is available here.
Thank you to all parents in Year 3 to Year 6 who have made your spring term co-curricular club selections. The club allocations have now been published to parents and we ask you to make your payments promptly to confirm your child's place at their club.
Bookings are also now open for the spring term Breakfast Club and After School Club. As ever, we encourage you to book in advance if you do know that you will need these clubs on particular days, as forward bookings always help us with planning staffing and catering. Breakfast Club bookings for Lower School must be made by the Friday before the week you need, since we will need to arrange staffing for this in advance. Lower School Funtasia bookings close at 2 p.m. each day, and Upper School Funtasia bookings close at 3 p.m. each day. You may book the sessions you require by logging in to your SchoolsBuddy account.
Drop off/collection arrangements and class bubble group arrangements will remain the same for the spring term as they have been this term. We will, of course, keep a close eye on government guidance related to COVID-19 and will review arrangements if it proves necessary to do so.
We would like the children in Reception to Year 6 to begin wearing their felt caps and boaters again whenever they are wearing full school uniform from the start of the spring term. St. Helen's College woollen hats may be brought to school to be worn in the playground during play times and may be worn with PE/Games kits. Please do also take the opportunity over the Christmas break to double check that uniform is in a good state of repair and that your child has all the necessary equipment as outlined on the Uniform & Equipment List, which is available here.
Posted on: 11/12/2020
Hope, Peace, Joy, LoveAs we have approached the end of this exceptional school term, I personally have drawn much strength from the four key themes of Advent, which we have been sharing in Upper School assemblies this week. Advent is a significant time in the Christian calendar, when Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth, of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
However, regardless of religion I feel that as a community we can all take some time over this holiday to reflect on these four key themes, to look back on the impact and outcomes of 2020 but also to look forward with optimism to the opportunities which lie ahead in 2021.
We have all hoped that, as a school community, we would remain safe and healthy and it is due to the diligence and support of everyone that we have been remarkably successful in the children continuing with their education. For those year groups who have been affected by Covid-19, the commitment of the staff enabled the children at home to stay connected with school life and the teamwork at Lower School enabled us to remain open some weeks ago, even with 10 staff members down! We now have renewed hope with the Covid vaccination programme that hopefully we may have less restrictions at school and we can resume school life as we once knew it!
Life for everyone has been more intense than ever before and it has been somewhat difficult for adults to find ‘peace’ with the daily updates from the government, the news, media coverage and, in school, the constant updates from the Department for Education! Finding time each day for some ‘peace’ is crucial for us all, whether that comes in the form of a mindfulness practice, a hot bath or a cup of tea. The children may also have found it difficult to find that ‘peace’ which is so important for our mental wellbeing - our school assemblies have hopefully given the children time to find calm and peace. Do allow yourselves and your family to enjoy some peaceful time over the holidays - that time where you can be free from disturbance and benefit from the effects of tranquillity.
I thank the Lord that I work in such an amazing place - your children give us all JOY each and every day. We have the privilege of working with your loved ones who bring such cheer and joy in their daily interactions. As I write this Blog I can hear the jovial interactions from the Upper School pupils as they react to the Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime traditions of ‘He’s behind you!’ and ‘Oh no it’s not!’ I have already played musical statues in 1C today and been thoroughly entertained by the pure voices of our youngest pupils in Ducklings singing ‘When Santa got stuck up the chimney’. Thank you, parents, for the JOY your children bring!
There certainly is a lot of ‘love’ within our St. Helen’s College community - through this turbulent time we have supported each other in so many different ways. This morning I commented to a parent about the love that their child has of school; every morning she skips up the path to greet the staff and her peers. Children demonstrate their love in such simple ways - by the time we become adults we demonstrate our love in perhaps more subtle ways! Many of you are already familiar with the ‘Action for Happiness’ calendars which we use at school and I encourage you to share your love on a daily basis and attempt to follow the acts of kindness prompts in this month's calendar here.
I wish you all a wonderful festive holiday which I pray will bring you Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
Merry Christmas and Best Wishes
Posted on: 4/12/2020
Weekly News - Friday 4th December11+ Results
We are delighted to announce that our Year 6 pupils have excelled themselves, with a very high number having passed the Buckinghamshire and/or the Berkshire 11+ examinations. Many of the Year 6 children are now working towards Independent School entrance examinations and interviews. We are very proud of all their achievements so far.
Eco Schools Green Flag Award
We were thrilled to hear today that St. Helen's College has been awarded the Green Flag Award by Eco Schools. This award recognises the school's eco-friendly nature and systematic, sustained commitment to working in an eco-friendly way and to educating children about how and why we must care for our environment. The Eco-Schools Team were particularly keen to thank St. Helen's College for continuing to work on the Eco-Schools Green Flag during such a demanding year, noting that this is a true reflection of our school's determination to make a real difference. A big thank you to all of the staff and children, particularly the Eco Reps.
The children of 2B presented an extremely creative and resourceful nativity 'premiere' this morning which was much enjoyed by pupils, parents and staff alike! The 2020 retelling of the traditional story, based in and around St. Helen's College Upper School, included some wonderful acting and singing too. We are sure that the children will never forget their 2020 Christmas class assembly! Very well done to all of the children and staff involved.
Year 1 'Zoom' Into Antarctica!
Today Year 1 ‘Zoomed’ into Antarctica! Caitlin’s Uncle Pat is currently working at Scott Base in Antarctica and Year 1 were able to talk to him via video link and see where he works. It was incredible! Uncle Pat explained that at the moment the sun never goes down in Antarctica, so there are 24 hours of daylight each day. He showed Year 1 some incredible animals and explained that he gets to see them every day. The children saw what he has to wear to keep warm and were very interested in what he has to eat - who knew that there were chefs in Antarctica! They were also very interested to know what Uncle Pat studied at school and how he got the opportunity to work in such an incredible place. He said that he worked very hard at school and that he particularly enjoyed maths and science.
This was a perfect end to Year 1's science topic all about animals, including humans. The children have certainly deepened their knowledge about Antarctica and they feel inspired to do something to help the environment. They are now planning to raise some money for the World Wildlife Fund and adopt their very own Year 1 penguin. Please remember that you can do your bit too by turning off lights and keeping doors closed whenever possible. Many thanks indeed, Uncle Pat!
Carols Around The Tree
Our Upper School children enjoyed singing carols in their class bubble groups around the tree in the playground today. Mr. and Mrs. Crehan joined us for the event which, although different to usual, was no less festive and enjoyable! The school is looking so festive with decorations and lights everywhere. A big thank you to Mr. Smith, Mr. Rizzo and Mr. Neil for all their hard work. We are all looking forward to a very Christmassy final week of term.
Year 3 Roman Day
Our Year 3 children enjoyed a super Roman-themed day on Thursday, to bring their History topic to life. They dressed as Romans, investigated Roman life, made mosaics and Roman numeral clocks and even tasted Roman food! They also took part in road building activities. You can see photographs of the day on our Galleries page here.
Year 5 Study Water Pollution
The children in Year 5 have been investigating water pollution and its impact on the environment through the use of case studies. Miss Walker has been delighted with the work produced by all of the children as they researched the BP Deepwater Horizon. Using a variety of sources, they created timelines and event mindmaps, which they then used to write some fantastic newspaper reports. A selection of the children's reports can be found on our Galleries page here.
Art Throughout The School
Mrs. Pruce, our new Head of Art, reports that she has had an amazing first art filled term at St. Helen's College. The talent is high and as families are unable to come in to see all the lovely work, she has made a short video to share with you, showcasing wonderful artistic creations across the school. A truly busy, fun filled term! We hope you will enjoy exploring the children's work here.
Monday 7th December - Christmas Present Appeal
St. Helen's College children develop core values and an appreciation of how fortunate they are in their own lives and of how important it is to support those of others who are less fortunate. This year, following a suggestion from a parent, we are encouraging our pupils to support the Hillingdon Salvation Army's Christmas Present Appeal. We are inviting parents and children to choose a brand new toy/game, up to a maximum value of £12 and which will fit into a plastic shopping bag. These gifts should be delivered, unwrapped, to school on Monday 7th December. We will quarantine the gifts and then pass them onto the Salvation Army, who will arrange for their safe distribution to families in need over the festive period. Thank you so much in advance for your kindness and generosity.
Christmas Tree Decoration Competition
Don't forget to encourage your child to enter the Christmas Tree Decoration Competition. Children are invited to design their own decoration to be hung on our Christmas trees at Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School. Decorations should be of a sensible size but may take whatever format the pupils choose! There will be a small gift for every child who enters and a winner will be chosen from each class to receive a prize too. The last day for bringing in a completed decoration is Wednesday 9th December. Decorations should be clearly named and handed to form teachers on arrival at school. Judging will take place on Thursday 10th December and prizes will be awarded on the final day of term. We look forward very much to seeing the children's entries this year!
Thursday 10th December - Panto Day/Christmas Lunch
On Thursday 10th December, children from Nursery to Year 6 will be treated to a traditional pantomime, which will be streamed live into their classrooms! They will also enjoy our traditional school Christmas dinner, which is always a very popular and joyous occasion! The adapted menu for the day is available here. Please note that there will be a dairy-free alternative for the dessert option. Children at Upper School are invited to wear a Christmas jumper over their school uniform on this day and children at Lower School may wear their own Christmas party clothes.
Friday 11th December - End of Term
Term will end on Friday 11th December, which is a half day. Please collect your children at the times shown below:
Ducklings and Nursery: 11.40 a.m.
Reception: 11.50 a.m.
Year 1: 12.00 p.m.
Year 2: 12.00 p.m.
Year 3: 12.10 p.m.
Year 4: 12.20 p.m.
Year 5: 12.30 p.m.
Year 6: 12.40 p.m.
Some of the churches in Long Lane are organising a nativity trail for children. Many of the usual Christmas activities have had to be changed or even cancelled, and the churches wanted to offer something fun over Christmas.
The idea is that 6-inch knitted nativity figures will be placed in the windows of some of the shops/businesses at Hillingdon Circus, Ryefield Avenue and Sutton Court Road by the middles of next week.
Using a leaflet with the names of the figures, children (with a parent or responsible adult) need to find them and write down where they found them. Once they have found all the figures then they can return the leaflet to North Hillingdon Methodist Church where they will be entered into a prize draw.
We have sent home the leaflets with children today and we hope that you will enjoy this activity with your children over the weekend or over the holidays in the run up to Christmas.
Spring Term Co-Curricular Activities
We will be re-introducing some more co-curricular activities next term, with a limited programme of clubs for Years 3-6, using only internal St. Helen's College staff. Unfortunately we continue to be very limited on the number of staff and locations available for clubs, whilst maintaining our COVID-secure protocols. We thank parents of the younger children for your patience during this gradual re-introduction of clubs. We will continue to monitor the situation and will endeavour to make more clubs available during the summer term, if we are able to do so. For now, parents of children in Years 3-6 should log on to SchoolsBuddy from 3 p.m. today to make their club selections for next term.
Posted on: 4/12/2020
Motherhood by Mrs. McLaughlinI have been privileged to have frequent updates and photos from Mr. McLaughlin on the joys of fatherhood and I commend him on how he has coped with stepping up to Deputy Headship, moving home, working through a pandemic and being able to enjoy those wonderful first few months that a new baby brings to a family.
I invited Mrs. McLaughlin to reflect on motherhood and am delighted that she has shared her journey with Remi so far with us. I am sure that her blog will resonate with us and serve as a reminder of what a privilege it is to be parents.
Thank you Mrs. McLaughlin for sharing this with the community.
When I was asked by Mrs. Drummond to write a blog about being a new mum, I was in two minds. I have never written a blog before and I had no idea where to start. As I love new challenges and trying new things (something I have always tried to instil in the children in my class) - I’m going to give it a go.
Remi was born in June, in the midst of a pandemic. I think that the hypnobirthing course I took some months prior and a slice of good fortune combined to make the labour quite straightforward (thank goodness!).
No one ever knows what to expect when you have your first child, or subsequent children for that matter, as they are all so different and unique. So Mr. McLaughlin and I were delighted to come home six hours after delivery with a healthy and happy baby boy.
We knew that having a baby would change our lives forever, but we didn’t quite know what effect having a baby during the pandemic would have. It wasn’t easy!
Not being able to see family and friends is difficult at the best of times. After paternity leave, Mr. McLaughlin returned to work. Being a new mum with a newborn baby to look after, whilst looking after your own health and not being able to freely see family and friends, is tough.
Luckily, my sister, brother in law and 3-year-old nephew are our next door neighbours and our parents live close by, so help was at hand if needed.
There are so many stories you hear about babies: some good, some not so much, and so Mr. McLaughlin and I just had to wait and see what joys Remi would bring.
After a few tough weeks of finding my feet as a new mum, understanding Remi and his little ways of communicating, I wholeheartedly embraced motherhood and I haven’t looked back since.
I was talking to my mum a few weeks ago, and she asked me what my one stand out moment as a mother was so far. I don’t have one moment in particular as Remi has passed so many little milestones, but the smile on his face when he wakes up and sees me in the morning, along with morning hugs and snuggles, is just priceless.
My ethos as a teacher of 15 years has always been: ‘Treat the children you teach with the same love and care as if they are your own.’ Having now had Remi, I can see more than ever, the importance of this ethos.
Being a mother has helped me to learn more about myself. Remi has taught me so much about unconditional love. He has taught me about strengths I didn’t know I had and fears I didn’t know existed.
Being a teacher gives me the bonus of being very organised. I always have my Christmas gifts bought and wrapped months in advance. I always love to see the look of surprise on my husband's face on Christmas day when he sees what we got everyone! Being ahead of the game gave me a bit of time during my maternity leave to think about the prospect of Remi going to nursery, and eventually to school.
The first day I stepped foot into St. Helen’s College, there was no doubt in my mind that if we had children they would attend the school and be part of the St. Helen’s College family. All parents look for different things in a school, but for Mr. McLaughlin and I, it was always for our child to be part of a school that showed love in abundance, let them feel like they were part of the family and nurtured their talents (whatever they may be). I feel that St. Helen’s College has all of these traits.
Keeping my organised hat on, we have already enrolled Remi into Ducklings and cannot wait for him to come along with us in his little green uniform.
As I think about Remi’s future and the aspirations I have for him, I try to remind myself of a quote a friend of mine once told me: “We often worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that they are someone today.”
The small day to day things that Remi does that make him the baby he is are etched in my mind and where possible, I try to capture them on camera to look back on in the future.
Have I been able to write my heart in words and tell you how much I love being a mum? Perhaps not, but if there is one thought I can leave you with, it is this: I used to think being a teacher was the best job in the world, but I was wrong. It’s the second best. The best job in the world is being a mum.