School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 9/12/2022
Weekly News - Friday 9th December 2022Christmas Celebrations
On Monday, the youngest members of the St. Helen's College community, our Ducklings, sang some Christmas songs for their parents.
The Nursery children performed their musical Christmas nativities on Monday and Tuesday in the Methodist Church. As ever, for such young children to sing so confidently in front of a large audience was very impressive and they told us the Christmas story beautifully through their songs. Well done, Robins and Wrens.
Wednesday saw the pupils in Years 2 to 6 visit the Theatre Royal, Windsor for a fun-filled performance of the pantomime Sleeping Beauty, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
On Thursday, children throughout the school tucked into a Christmas lunch prepared by our chef Soula and her team. It was a very festive occasion! At Ducklings and Lower School, the children wore their party clothes and enjoyed a visit from Father Christmas! Children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 were transfixed by visiting pantomime performers too.
Congratulations to the winners of our Christmas decoration competition. There were some really super homemade decorations throughout the school so it was a very tricky one to judge this year!
It was super to see so many parents at our annual Carol Service at All Saints Church this morning. As always, it was a very special event with beautiful solos sung by Arshvir S and Minaya W, confident readings from our Year 6 children and lovely festive music from the three choirs and the orchestra.
Merry Christmas everyone!
PA Christmas Parties
The Parents' Association would like to thank all of the children and parents who volunteered their time to help with the Christmas parties and for all of the generous hamper donations for the Christmas raffle. The children - and Father Christmas - all seemed to enjoy the entertainment!
Care Home Visits
The residents of Woodland Lodge and Chalfont Care Homes were delighted with their recent visits from our children. The pupils sang Christmas songs and chatted with the residents and Christmas cheer filled the rooms.
Sports Personalities of the Term
This term we have joint Sports Personalities of the Term!
Emily S has made a great contribution to netball this term. Her hard work and can-do attitude has led to a huge improvement in her netball ability and she always has a positive impact on her peers when working as a team.
Kamran-Cyrus A has worked hard to secure a place in the football team this term. He is a positive member of the team, often using his humour to raise the team spirit. He has shown great dedication during lessons and matches.
Emily and Kamran-Cyrus thoroughly deserve to be joint sports personalities of the term. Well done to both!
Music Personality of the Term
Congratulations to Arshvir S, who has been awarded the Music Personality of the Term. Arshvir has been, for many years, a fantastic contributor to the musicality of the school. He has excellent music skills which he applies well in class work, is a dedicated member of both Senior Choir and Chamber Choir and, as a Music Prefect, sets a super example within the music department, always offering to help others. He has performed on the piano in assemblies and recitals and was chosen to sing the solo verse of Once In Royal David's City at the Carol Service this morning. Well done, Arshvir, and thank you for your commitment to music at St. Helen's College!
Spring Term Calendar
Please remember to check the school calendar and take note of relevant dates for next term. It promises to be another busy one with many special events including the Year 3 play, our annual Speech Competition and Recital and much more.
Spring Term Menu
The menu for the spring term has been posted to the website and is available here. Do take a look and review options with your child.
Start Date And Payment For Co-Curricular Activities
Parents who have not yet made payment for their spring term co-curricular activities should do so as soon as possible, please.
Mother/Baby Mindfulness Classes
Our next set of Mother/Baby Mindfulness classes will begin on Wednesday 11th January after the Christmas break. These are FREE to parents and are open to any parent of a baby from birth to pre-crawling, whether the parent has any association with St. Helen's College or not. They take place on Wednesday mornings at 9.00 a.m. in the Evans Hall at our Upper School site on Long Lane, opposite Lower School. Each class lasts 45 minutes and is followed by optional tea/coffee/chat.
The classes are led by Poonam McLaughlin, a St. Helen's College teacher, who is a qualified PAUSE Baby Mindfulness practitioner. They provide a safe space for mums and babies to bond and relax, taking part in Mindfulness exercises and some very gentle yoga.
If you would like to join the set of six classes starting in January, please email Mrs. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org with your baby's name and date of birth.
Please feel free to share the information about the classes with any other friends or family who might have a baby (birth to crawling - no crawlers allowed!). They don't have to have children at St. Helen's College (or intend to send children here) to come along - the classes are free to anyone.
Pro-Soccer Christmas Camp
Pro-Soccer are running a Christmas Camp at Swakeley's School in the week before Christmas. If any parents are interested in this, you can find full details here.
Posted on: 2/12/2022
Weekly News - Friday 2nd December 20221C, 1R, Owls, Kingfishers and 3B Class Assemblies/Nativities
What amazing performances we have seen throughout the school this week!
On Tuesday and Wednesday, 1C and 1R presented their Christmas assemblies at the Methodist Church, through which they encouraged parents, children and staff to think about the true meaning of Christmas. The Year 1 classes related the story of the birth of Jesus and explained some Christmas traditions going back to Victorian times. They sang a mixture of traditional and modern, upbeat songs to entertain us too! These were two polished, confident performances which made us very proud indeed. Well done, Year 1.
On Thursday and Friday, the Owls and Kingfishers Reception classes performed beautiful nativity plays to families and staff in the Methodist Church. In stunning nativity costumes, they enacted the story of the birth of Jesus with many delightful songs along the way. Each child spoke individual lines and there was plenty of musical singing and some super actions too. It was wonderful to see the children growing in confidence and enjoying performing publicly.
Year 3 Roman Studies
On Monday, our Year 3 children enriched their history topic of 'The Romans' with a themed Roman Day. They had the opportunity to try Roman food, learn about Roman numerals, make Roman shields and coins, dress in Roman costume amd to take part in activites in Court Park.
On Friday, 3B performed their class assembly about the Romans. The children sang, spoke their lines confidently and used a variety of technology to demonstrate their learning. Well done 3B, this was an informative and entertaining presentation.
Carols Around The Tree
Thank you to all of the families who joined us for our annual 'Carols Around The Tree' singalong in the Upper School playground this afternoon. It is always lovely to have so many members of the St. Helen's College community together to celebrate the start of the festive season.
Woodlands Care Home Visit
A group of Year 4 and 5 children from our Chamber Choir visited Woodlands Care Home this morning and brightened up the residents' day by singing Christmas carols for them.
Christmas Tree Decoration Competition and Christmas Postboxes
If your child would like to send Christmas cards to their friends or teachers at school, they may post them in our Christmas postboxes during the coming week. All cards MUST be clearly named with the recipient's first name, surname and class to ensure that they may be correctly delivered.
Children may still bring in their home made decorations for our Christmas trees too. Please encourage them to be as creative as they like and to name their decorations clearly. The decorations will be judged towards the end of the week and there will be prizes for the winners.
Christmas Events and Christmas Lunch Menu
During the final week of term there will be several special events to lead us into the Christmas break. Parents of the relevant classes are warmly invited to attend the events shown in bold below. Please note that children at Upper School have the option to wear Christmas jumpers over their uniforms on Thursday 8th December. Children at Ducklings and Lower School should wear Christmas party clothes on this day.
Monday 5th December
Robins Christmas Assembly at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.)
Chamber Choir visit to Chalfont Lodge Care Home (1.00 - 3.00 p.m.)
Ducklings Christmas songs for parents 2.45 p.m.
Tuesday 6th December
Wrens Christmas Assembly at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.)
Wednesday 7th December
Year 2-6 pantomime trip to Sleeping Beauty
Thursday 8th December
Christmas Jumper Day - children may wear Christmas jumpers over uniform
Lower School visiting pantomime - Sleeping Beauty
Christmas lunch - you can see the special menu for the day here.
Friday 9th December - End of Term (Half Day)
Year 2 - 6 Carol Service at All Saints Church at 11.00 a.m.
End of term pick up times:
11.50 a.m. Ducklings & Nursery
12.00 p.m. Reception
12.10 p.m. Years 1 & 2
12.20 p.m. Years 3 & 4
12.30 p.m. Years 5 & 6
Club allocations have been sent to parents today. Please make payment over the weekend via your SchoolsBuddy account.
Children In Need Total
The St. Helen's College community raised an amazing £2,365 for Children In Need this year. Thank you so much to everyone involved for your efforts and generosity.
Salvation Army Christmas Present Appeal
Thank you to all of the families who donated gifts for the Salvation Army Christmas Present appeal. The gifts have been collected from school today and each gift will, we are sure, make a big difference to a child's Christmas.
St. Helen's College Trust Supports Hillingdon Basketball Club
Following their successful application for a grant from the St. Helen's College Trust, Hillingdon Basketball Club have now bought t-shirts for their youth members to create a real community spirit at the club. To further add to inclusivity within the club, and to give young players another opportunity they may not have had, the club spent the remainder of their grant money on tickets to a Thames Valley Cavalier match. They tell us that their young players were really inspired by the experience!
St. Helen's College parents are generous in supporting the SHC Trust by using EasyFundraising and making donations to the textile bank at 227 Long Lane, as well as in donations when children join and leave the school. We hope you will feel proud that the Trust is able to make a difference to children in our local community.
This year, we have chosen Vidya Dhan as the global charity supported by the St. Helen’s College community. St. Helen’s College staff may choose to donate to the charity in lieu of sending Christmas cards to colleagues, and we have been inviting parents to donate to the charity at our Christmas assemblies. Some parents have asked whether it is possible to donate online and the answer is yes. The link is below.
Vidya Dhan means the ‘Gift of Education’ and the charity was founded in 2012. Vidya Dhan’s main area of operation is in India where the charity helps to educate girls from poor families. Its objectives are:
to contribute fully or in part towards the school fees of children;
to contribute fully or in part towards costs of school uniforms, shoes and stationery;
to reimburse children’s medical costs if parents are unable to afford such costs and
to counsel parents to provide a safe and nurturing home environment.
The charity aims to sponsor all children in the sponsorship programme to Year 12, which is approximately equivalent to GCE A level. In addition, some girls are sponsored through college and university. This allows the girls to go on to support their own families when the time comes. At present, Vidya Dhan supports the education of fifty girls. Five of the girls have earned first class degrees and one has earned a Master’s in finance and business studies.
We would like to thank parents and staff for your generosity in making donations to the charity. Every penny really does help and what better gift can we give at Christmas than the gift of education?
Posted on: 2/12/2022
Diversity, Equality and InclusionDiversity is about recognising, respecting and celebrating difference. It’s acknowledging the benefit of having a range of perspectives in decision-making and the workforce being representative of the communities that the School serves.
Equality means that everyone is treated the same, is treated fairly and has the same opportunities. Equity is slightly different from equality in that it recognises that each person has different circumstances. This means that varying types or levels of support might be required, depending on individual need, to take full advantage of equal opportunities.
Inclusion is where people’s differences are valued and used to enable everyone to thrive at work. An inclusive working/learning environment is one in which everyone feels that they belong without having to conform, that their contribution matters and they are able to perform to their full potential, no matter their background, identity or circumstances.
We are very proud here at St. Helen’s College to have such a diverse and inclusive community. This week we celebrated the start of the Christian celebration of Advent and the pupils have been very excited for the beginning of this special time of year. It has been clear in Upper School assemblies that they are also very aware of the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas and not just obsessed with the commercial aspect of receiving presents on Christmas Day or daily chocolates in their advent calendar.
Our Lower School pupils have given us so much joy already this week with their Year 1 and Reception Nativity Assemblies. Each child owned their part and they have certainly understood and communicated the Christmas story and traditions of Christmas.
Jeremy Vine’s radio show this week had a discussion piece on how many primary schools were becoming non-religious and the decline in the number of schools with Christian principles. I was interested to listen to the discussion but felt such a sense of pride in St. Helen’s College’s approach. We are so inclusive of all religions but retain our strong school values rooted in Christian principles. As parents you all support this and I hope that you also feel that your faiths and religions are included in our school life and recognised in many ways.
Religious beliefs are only one aspect of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI). Only a couple of weeks ago Mrs. Briggs, our DEI aspect lead, presented to our Education Committee all the wonderful activities and work going on here at school to ensure that we are fulfilling our responsibilities. We are always learning about each other and we have a vibrant and supportive staff, parent and pupil body.
Throughout the school our staff plan lessons and activities within and outside of the curriculum which take the following aspects into account.
Race and diversity.
All of these opportunities allow the children to be prepared for their futures in order for them to contribute to society as well rounded, kind and empathetic individuals.
I am sure that many of you were aware of the sad news that Doddie Weir, who suffered from Motor Neurone disease, died earlier this week. Tonight Rob Burrows, who also has MND, will be the first non-verbal person to read the bedtime story on CBBC using special technology. I urge you to watch this with your children tonight if possible (the link is here). This is another chance to open up discussions about how we are all different and to encourage acceptance of this fact.
Pupils in Upper School recently met Mrs. Briggs' cousin, Jamie Beddard, who has cerebral palsy, in an assembly. I am sure that many of your children spoke to you about this inspirational gentleman who has not allowed his disability to stop him in his acting and directing career. Indeed, his disability has also opened up many other opportunities for him to bring about change.
There is so much for us all to learn and share on DEI but I will end my blog with a quote from the late Doddie Weir from 2019 when he was awarded the Sports Personality of the Year.
“Enjoy the day because you don't know what happens tomorrow.”
Happy weekend everyone!