School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 28/02/2020
Weekly News - Friday 28th February 2020World Book Day
We would like to remind you that next Thursday, 5th March, we will be celebrating World Book Day. The theme for Ducklings and Lower School is 'Enchanted' and the theme for Upper School is 'Harry Potter'. The children are asked to dress as a book character of their choice (which may of course link to the themes if you wish). It is sure to be a fun-filled day, celebrating the fantastic world of books and all the reading done throughout the year. The children are also asked to bring the book their character is from on the day so that we can share them together.
There will be a special themed lunch menu on World Book Day. You can see this, and associated allergens, here.
In conjunction with our World Book Day celebrations, the school is taking part in a sponsored read through Usborne Books in a bid to get even more fresh new books into our classrooms and libraries for your children to enjoy. Sponsorship forms and reading logs have been sent home with your children and full details have been sent out on SchoolsBuddy. Many thanks for your continued support of the children's reading.
As part of World Book Day, we will be holding a book sale of pre-loved books surplus to the library. It will take place in the Upper School gazebo between 8 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. on Thursday and books will cost 25p, 50p or £1. The money raised will be used to buy new books that will boost our wellbeing and good health! Please do come along with your child(ren) if you can.
Children are busy preparing their Speech Competition entries and recitals. This is one of the many opportunities across the year which enables the children to showcase their verbal skills and to develop their confidence in public speaking. Please note that children must not use gestures or choreography of any kind in their performances. For Years 1-6, the judging criteria are: expression, projection and clarity.
Year 2 Visit The Heath Robinson Museum
Year 2 had a very enjoyable trip to the Heath Robinson Museum on Monday.
They had a look around the beautiful museum and then took part in an art activity using different coloured wool and lots of soap and water to make felt. They used the colour wheel to decide on different colours for their designs and have created some lovely pieces of art work.
This beautiful, local museum offers lots of craft activities over the holidays for families so please do consider taking your children during school holiday times too!
On Wednesday our Junior Road Safety Officers were invited to attend an event at The Winston Churchill Hall by the London Borough of Hillingdon’s Road Safety & School Travel Team.
Our team, consisting of six pupils from Year 5 (Fredericka, Georgia, Samir, Vidhit, Jena & Manisher) were invited to participate in a number of fun educational activities, including a theatre performance, workshops and the “Dragons Den”, for which they had to present an idea and pitch for funding.
Over the past few weeks the team have been discussing ideas on how to improve road safety and decided upon a drive to raise speed awareness amongst parents, staff and pupils. They came up with various ideas of how this could be achieved including signage, banners on the railings, a portable speed bump to reduce speed in Parkway to 10mph, assemblies for parents, leaflets and making their own awareness video similar to the TfL “Watch your Speed” campaign. They researched the resources that are available and then calculated the costs involved. They then produced their proposal in the form of a presentation.
On the day they were all very excited and a little nervous before they were called in to face the “Dragons”. They spoke confidently and delivered a polished presentation. The Dragons gave them quite a grilling at the end of their presentation and they answered all their questions with confidence. Councillor Burrows remarked that he was unable to authorise a speed bump but was impressed by their well thought out ideas for raising speed awareness.
At the end of the day we all sat nervously waiting to find out if their pitch to the Dragons had been successful and we were delighted that not only did the Dragons endorse the children’s ideas but actually gave them more money than they had asked for! We received a total of £500 which will enable the JRSOs to get working on their campaign. We look forward to seeing their Speed Awareness Campaign come to life!
Year 3 Pedestrian Training & Year 5 Road Safety Workshop
Our Pedestrian Safety training programme continued this week, with Year 3 pupils undertaking their road safety training with the London Borough of Hillingdon's Road Safety Team, and Year 5 children enjoying a visiting Road Safety Workshop from 'Riot Act' today.
Kingfishers Class Assembly - Space
The children in Kingfishers rocketed us into space this week with a superb assembly, teaching us all about the solar system and space travel. We even met some cheeky little aliens! We were also reminded of how to look after our planet by reusing, reducing and recycling our waste. The children performed confidently and it was a very informative and enjoyable presentation. Well done, Kingfishers.
Woodlands Care Home Visit
On Thursday a group of our Year 6 children, Mrs. Belvoir, Mrs. Drummond and Mr. Barnard visited Woodlands Care Home in Ickenham. This was the first 'getting to know you' visit for the children and the residents and our pupils are incredible ambassadors for the school. Many of the residents suffer from dementia/Alzheimer's and the children were so incredible with their communication and the interest they showed in their new friends. Our new relationship with Woodlands is particularly special for Mrs. Belvoir as her mother is one of the residents who enjoyed the company of the children.
Friday Informal Music Recital
We enjoyed another superb informal music recital in the Evans Hall at the end of the school day today, with performance from pupils from many year groups. It is wonderful to see the children gaining confidence in performing to a supportive, friendly audience and we are sure that many of them will go on to a lifetime of performance and musical achievement! Well done to all those who took part.
Football - Cup Match v. Oak Farm
Unfortunately on Wednesday we suffered our first defeat of the football season, going down 4-0 to Oak Farm in the Cup. The team weren't at their best and hopefully we can rectify that for our remaining two league games.
Our annual Exhibition Day will take place on Saturday 21st March from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is a wonderful St. Helen's College tradition and we hope that all families will attend so that you may view the displays of children's work across the curriculum. Pupils should wear full school uniform please. Please note that Friday 20th March is a half day and that there will be no Funtasia available on this day as the staff prepare for Exhibition Day.
StarGazing Event at Ruislip Lido This Weekend
The West of London Astronomical Society would like to invite children, parents and staff to a public stargazing event being held at Ruislip Lido this coming weekend: Fri 28, Sat 29, Sun 1 Mar, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Details are on the poster attached which you are invited to print and publicise as you wish.
Medium term forecasts are now quite reliable and are currently saying:
Sat: starting partially cloudy then clearing
Sun: the most promising, again improving over the evening.
Please check the WOLAS website before setting off: http://www.wolas.org.uk when the GO/NOGO call will be made by 4pm.
The next stargazing weekend is 20 - 22 November, at the end of National Astronomy Week when Mars will be at its closest until 2035.
We do hope that many of you will take your children along to enjoy some stargazing!
Love Productions, the company behind The Great British Bake-Off, are currently looking for young budding bakers between 9 -15 years old for a new series of Junior Bake-Off. Filming would take place from July 2020, but applications close on Sunday 5th April 2020.
Interested young bakers can apply online at WWW.APPLYFORJUNIORBAKEOFF.CO.UK.
Spice of the Month - Caraway
Accent Catering's 'Spice of the Month' for March is Caraway. You can find lots of recipes including Caraway here - we hope you will enjoy making some of these with your children!
Posted on: 28/02/2020
HygieneWith Coronavirus dominating the news, we have of course been reviewing the risks to our school community and ensuring that we all have possible measures in place to promote and safeguard the welfare of our pupils, parents and staff.
This week, children have been reminded in assemblies and/or class time about the importance of good hygiene and about how they can help themselves by adopting good hygiene habits for life. It is important that these habits are reinforced consistently at home and at school, so I would like to share with you the areas on which we focus and ask parents and other carers to convey these messages at home too.
By far the most important hygiene measure is proper hand washing. Children are asked to wash their hands in the mornings, after using the toilet, before and after eating, and at the end of the school day. It may be appropriate for them to wash their hands at other times too.
The key message here is to wash hands properly. Children are often in a rush to get to the next exciting thing – particularly food! – and do need reminders and encouragement to wash their hands thoroughly, using the hand soap provided. Pupils have been shown this short ‘Germ Smart’ handwashing video which explains exactly what they should do when washing their hands. Please do watch this and ensure that your children follow these procedures when hand washing or using hand sanitising gel.
‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’
We use the mantra ‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’ to teach children how to sneeze or blow noses into tissues and then throw those tissues away promptly, followed by a thorough hand wash to kill any germs. This short video is a useful reminder of how to catch, bin and kill germs that could be transmitted through sneezing or touching your face and then touching other surfaces.
Thank you for your support in continuing to share these resources with your children. Perhaps the most important thing is that all adults lead by example, modelling good hygiene practices whenever you can so that your children see good hygiene as a normal, essential part of life. Children ‘learn what they live’ and will, almost unknowingly, adopt the behaviours they witness regularly. So every time you wash your hands properly or ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’, you are doing something good not just for yourself but for your children too!
Posted on: 14/02/2020
Weekly News - Friday 14th February 2020Well-Being Week
Our focus on well-being this week was kick-started on Monday with wonderful performances in assemblies from children who wished to share their talents with their peers. We enjoyed singing, dancing, poetry recitals, trumpet playing and ballet to name but a few talents. It was such a joyful start to the week!
Yesterday was a wonderful day throughout the school as the children from Ducklings to Year 6 participated in a wide array of well-being activities from making gratitude jars and well-being snow globes to listening ear crowns, yoga, mindful nature walking, a tree of life activity, reflective diary writing.... the list goes on! Do speak with your children and discuss what they did on the day. I am sure that many of the activities they did they would love to do again with their families.
For those of you who were unable to attend last night's parent presentation and workshop evening, please see our booklet for information, some activities to do with your child and top tips to support your child's well-being.
Some children had the opportunity to take part in a session with 'Youth Fit' whilst others took part in other physical activity sessions during the day yesterday. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. If you would like to sign your child up for Youth Fit sessions outside of school, you can find out more information here.
Happiness exuded from the Lower School Hall yesterday as the Owls class launched the Lower School well-being day by sharing their smiles and happiness with us all in songs and poems. Mr. Happy even managed to put a smile on Little Miss Miserable's face!! They were all little rays of sunshine! Well done Owls.
5A shared the love of Valentine's Day with everyone today, re-enacting the story of St. Valentine and reminding us that it is not all just about roses, chocolates and cards but in the ways that we can demonstrate our love towards each other, towards ourselves and to our community. Well done, 5A!
Soula and her team delighted everyone at lunchtime, continuing the Valentine's theme, with love-heart shaped strawberry cheesecakes. LOVEly!
Asthma and Allergy Training
All of our pupils from Year 4 to Year 6 participated in a superb training session this week from Rebecca, the asthma and allergy nurse from Hillingdon.
The children now have a much better understanding of what asthma is, how it can affect people and how important it is that children and adults who are diagnosed with asthma follow the medical advice they are given and use their inhalers as appropriate. Rebecca also spoke to the children about the types of allergies people can have and the treatment that is given if someone has a reaction. Our pupils at St. Helen's College really are equipped with amazing life skills.
We travelled to John Locke on Wednesday afternoon after our win last week, when we beat St. Andrew's 6-0. Looking at the very uneven pitch, we thought we were in for a tricky game at John Locke and this proved to be the case. We managed a 1-0 win thanks to Adam K and the team showed great determination and desire to come out on top. This puts us in a very strong position in the league with two games to play against Heathrow and St. Matthew's. Winning both should see us crowned as champions! We entertain Oak Farm the week after half term in the Borough Cup, with kick off at 3.45 p.m. on Wednesday 26th February in Court Park. All support welcome!
North Hillingdon Methodist Church - Worship KidStyle!
The North Hillingdon Methodist Church are holding new church services especially for children on the third Sunday of every month, with the first one taking place this Sunday, 16th February. Why not take your child along to join in. You can see their Kidstyle poster here.
Coronavirus and Half Term Travel
Many families might be travelling abroad over the half term break, so we would like to remind you that, as a school, we are following the advice issued by the government concerning the Coronavirus. This advice is being updated online daily at 2 p.m. and can be accessed at this link:
All parents should check this advice and, if you are travelling abroad, please continue to check the latest government advice before, during and after travelling. During and after travel, please be vigilant for signs of illness in children or other family members, and comply with the latest advice issued if you have any concerns.
Posted on: 14/02/2020
Celebrating LearningOver the past couple of weeks around the school there has been a constant celebration of pupils' learning. Traditionally this may have taken the form of high marks in exams, full marks in tests, pressure and public accountability for achieving highly but at St. Helen’s College the teachers and pupils have taken a more creative slant to celebrating success!
As you are aware, we like to challenge our children in all that they do - we all need to feel the heat in our learning journey - feel the challenge, experience what it feels to be out of our comfort zone. Our pupils thrive on this and astonish us with their creativity in being able to demonstrate their tenacity and their ability to demonstrate what they have learnt in their own unique way.
In Science lessons I have witnessed pupils writing poetry, performing raps, composing and singing songs and creating the most incredible models. In all these forms of learning outcomes the pupils have taken risks in their learning. They have been individual; they have not followed the crowd; they have used their knowledge of subject matter to challenge themselves to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of concepts taught to them.
It is such a joy to engage with the children as they describe to me what they have been learning about. Taha (Year 6) was particularly animated last week as he exclaimed, ‘It was disgusting Mrs. Drummond - my hands were covered in blood but it was amazing...I could see the inside of the heart and lungs, all the tubes and other parts - it was great!”
I must add that it is a credit to all the pupils, the parents (for giving their permission) and to Ms Gilham (and her butcher) that we are able to extend the children's learning at such a young age to give them first hand experience of being able to dissect a sheep's heart and lungs to see for themselves the circulatory system which they have been studying.
A recent article in the NACE (National Association for Able Children in Education) journal cited an article written by York St John titled ‘Perfectionism in more able learners; what do we know and what next?” I quote an extract below.
“Recent research suggests that perfectionism has become a hidden epidemic among students over the last 30 years, with students now more perfectionistic than ever before. In addition, this complex characteristic has been found to explain a wide range of outcomes among students. On one hand, some aspects of being perfectionistic are related to better academic performance. But, on the other hand, other aspects of perfectionism have been found to be significant sources of psychological distress for students, including burnout and depression.”
I am writing this blog on the eve of our Wellbeing focus day and it is with a sense of pride that I feel confident that our pupils at St. Helen’s College are given the correct classroom climate where there is healthy challenge and opportunity to revel in their success without the damage which can often be done where a culture of ‘perfectionism’ can exists.
Words that spring to mind every day when I listen and breathe in the culture of St Helen’s College are:
collaboration mindset creativity excellence challenge resilience wellbeing
We have children of all abilities at St. Helens’ College and pride ourselves that we endorse a ‘Challenge for all' attitude to learning - all children are encouraged to do their best by parents and staff but it is by ensuring that our expectations and classroom culture are appropriate, that we do not allow the children to fixate on mistakes and errors. FAIL - that 'first attempt in learning' is so important. We celebrate success and effort by all.
I am sure your children will come home on Friday evening for the half term break revelling in the events of our Wellbeing focus day - but that I will keep for a future blog!
Have a super half term break and look after your wellbeing!
I leave you with one example of learning from Catherine in Year 6!
Healthy Bodies Poem
Ms Gilham, a science teacher, and amazing too,
Taught us about living healthily to help beat the blues
She’s told us about striving to eat a varied diet,
To give us minerals and energy, you cannot deny it!
But this is because it’s important to eat,
Our 7 food groups: fibre, protein, vitamins,
fats, water and carbohydrates (including wheat!)
We’ve learnt about Dr Livingstone who
Found out about scurvy to help beat the flu,
The sailors, who were suffering from scurvy onboard,
Were found to lack vitamins but were soon restored,
By eating 2 oranges and a lemon a day,
They just needed some Vitamin C, hip, hip, hooray!
But we know about alcohol, smoking, medicine and drugs
We know they can cause harm, even a stomach bug,
Though not all are damaging, there are one’s that help you,
Like penicillin, Nurofen and many more too!
Cocaine and nicotine are highly addictive,
They can give you heart problems, that’s why they’re constrictive.
Alcohol is permitted in small doses
But drinking too much is bad as it poses
Threats to your physical and mental state,
That can sometimes, if you’re not careful, lead to your fate!
Remember, please, to try not to smoke,
It causes so many problems and can lead to a stroke,
Turns your lungs a sooty black hue,
And because I breathe the toxic air, it harms me and you!
Taking blood from to the heart to the cells and back,
Dealing with all things vascular and cardiac.
Next up, we’ll talk about the arteries,
They take blood from the heart where its gotta be,
The biggest artery, the main transporter,
Right next to the heart,
It’s called the aorta.
Posted on: 7/02/2020
Weekly News - Friday 7th February 20201C Assembly - Brazil And The Rainforest
The children of 1C took us on a journey to Brazil on Thursday and shared the delights of their culture, landmarks, traditions, football and of course the wonderful Amazon rainforest. Superb performances from all children - thank you!
Albert Einstein and Benjamin Bloom graced us with their presence this morning as 5G explained relativity, why the sky is blue and how to ask outstanding questions using Bloom's Taxonomy. The children engaged their audience with their knowledge and understanding of critical thinking skills and performed the popular song from Matilda 'When I grow up'. I am sure that everyone present is confident that when our children grow up our world will be a very interesting place indeed! Well done 5G.
Tremendous congratulations to our Chamber Choir pupils who performed at the Children's Trust London Schools Concert in St. John's Smith Square on Sunday to a most appreciative audience of approximately 800 people. All the staff who attended and Mr. and Mrs. Crehan were so proud of the children. Thank you to all the families who supported the event
We wish the Chamber Choir well for this weekend, too, as they will be representing the school at a concert at St. John's Church, Royal Lane, Uxbridge on Saturday evening. The concert will begin at 6 p.m. and tickets will be available on the door at a cost of £5 each. Please do come along and support the Chamber Choir if you can!
Pupils from Year 2 - Year 6 and staff participated in the national Mindful Sit on Wednesday during assembly time in recognition of National Mental Health week. Pupils were guided through a practice of noticing with their attention finally settling on their breathing. A wonderful start to the day as the children returned to their classes ready for the day ahead with a clear and calm mind.
Pedestrian Skills/Road Safety Training
Our annual pedestrian skills/road safety training programme has commenced for this year. Our Year 2 children received their training this week and other year groups will be taking part in training and/or workshops over the coming weeks. The children have really enjoyed wearing their new hi-vis jackets which we have been able to purchase for every child in the school, thanks to a grant from the London Borough of Hillingdon Road Safety Team.
Our netball and our football teams remain at the top of their respective local leagues, having both won their matches this week.
The handball tournament last Saturday was well-attended and most enjoyable. The St. Helen's College children played well in their matches and enjoyed putting the skills they have been learning at school into practice.
Co-Curricular Clubs Led By Pupils
It is always wonderful to observe our children using their leadership skills around the school. Several clubs are running this term led by pupils. One such is the Coding Club, which began this week and is led by Michael K in Year 6.
World Book Day
The school will be celebrating World Book Day on Thursday 5th March. The theme for Ducklings and Lower School is 'Enchanted' and the theme for Upper School is 'Harry Potter'. The children are asked to dress as a book character of their choice (which may of course link to the themes if you wish). It is sure to be a fun-filled day, celebrating the fantastic world of books and all the reading done throughout the year. The children are also asked to bring the book their character is from on the day so that we can share them together.
World Cancer Day
St. Helen's College staff have supported World Cancer Day this week by buying wristbands and donating money in return for staff room treats! Thank you to all of the staff who have contributed.
Uxbridge Library Exhibition - Hillingdon Geological Society
Harrow and Hillingdon Geological Society will be holding a 'hands on' exhibition in Uxbridge Library from 12th to 28th February. Pupils might like to go along to explore the geology of our local area and discover, amongst other things, that Ruislip was once warm waters of a shallow subtropical sea!
The next PA Forum meeting will take place on Tuesday 25th February. If you have any points of school-wide relevance that you would like discussed at this meeting, please send these to your class representative as soon as possible. Class rep's should send any issues for discussion to Mrs. Smith by Friday 14th February please, just before we break up for half term.
Robins Nursery class do not currently have a class representative - if you have a child in Robins and would like to volunteer, please contact Mrs. Smith as soon as possible. Mrs. Smith can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning the Upper School office.
As usual, we will circulate minutes from the PA Forum meeting to all parents after the meeting has taken place.
School Arrival and Collection
The safety of your children whilst they are at school is crucial to us all. Please note that pupils are not permitted to enter the Upper School via the Long Lane entrance after 8.30 a.m. when the door is closed. After this time, parents must accompany pupils to the Parkway entrance and sign them in as a late arrival.
Parents are also reminded that they must not hold the gates/doors open for other parents or visitors to enter the school sites at any time.
Parents using the 'drop and go' system on Parkway are reminded that your child must be ready to leave the car independently (with their belongings) as you pull up alongside the kerb, and that they must exist the car on the kerb side. Please then pull away promptly to allow other cars to move up and drop children off. Children should exit the car when their car is the first in the line (just before the barriers) and not further down Parkway. Parents using 'drop and go' should not exit the car or linger at the kerb after a child has exited; it is crucial that we keep traffic flowing at this busy time of day.
Many thanks, as always, for your support.