School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 14/01/2022
Staying SafeWe pride ourselves at St. Helen’s College on ensuring that your children are well looked after and remain safe in our care. However, we also have the responsibility, along with you as parents, to ensure that the children understand how to stay safe when they are not under our supervision and that we are preparing them for life.
The simple definition of safety is being ‘free from harm or risk: unhurt or secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss.’
There are many aspects of our curriculum which build upon this and our school behaviour mantra ‘Ready, Respectful, Safe’ helps to embed the principle of safety. We ‘teach’ road safety, first aid and water safety (as part of the swimming programme). We encourage a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and physical exercise and our PSHCE curriculum promotes well-being and good mental health, incorporating aspects such as stranger danger, inappropriate touching, mindfulness, positive psychology and peer support.
As you are all aware, online safety is an increasingly important aspect of safety, in which it is crucial that home and school are supporting children from a very young age. As part of our ‘Pre-Parenting Programme’ for preschoolers we have focussed one of our Teddy Talks on digital awareness - it can be viewed here.
On Tuesday this week, we welcomed Paul Hay back to St. Helen’s College. Paul is an Internet Safety Consultant (Paul’s website can be viewed here) and he has trained with CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) as a training ambassador. This was Paul’s fifth visit to St. Helen’s College and pupils, staff and parents yet again benefitted from his expertise. Paul’s visit is part of our ongoing programme to help keep children safe online. Although we have software to control internet access at school and children work under supervision, it is through education that we can keep the children safe wherever they are. Rather like road safety, we need to hold children's hands when they are young but teach them how to be safe when we are not there. We discuss safety and well-being in PSHCE and computing lessons every year and in Year 5 the children build their own websites on the subject. Topics covered include stranger danger and keeping information secret but of equal importance is the children’s own behaviour online and ensuring they are as kind and honest online as they are in the playground.
Reception and Year 1
Paul shared the story of ‘Smartie the Penguin’ to capture the children’s attention and taught them a short snappy song about what to do if they came across something that troubled them on the internet - you may wish to view the story here.
The words of the song are a simple ditty for pupils and parents to share:
“Before you tap and click….
You need to stop and think…
And TELL someone!”
Years 2, 3 & 4
In advance of Paul’s visit the class teachers had shared a video with the pupils on ‘Playing Games’ - the video can be viewed here.
The key tips from Paul’s session following discussions with the children were:
1. People online may be not be who they say they are.
2. Be nice to people online.
3. Do not share private information.
4. If you are worried - tell an adult.
Years 5 & 6
The pupils took part in a ‘Private Information Exercise 2021’ which highlighted to the pupils the importance of not sharing personal information and revisited them being aware of ‘strangers’ online and the importance of speaking to adults if they feel uncomfortable about any activity they have online.
All our teaching staff also participated in a session after school with Paul and it was reassuring to know that all that we do as part of our normal routines was ratified by him in his talk to us. Paul was pleased that staff and parents have access to the National Online Safety website with training and weekly updates. If you have not already registered with NOS (National Online Safety) please do so here and you will be able to self register as part of the St. Helen’s College membership. I attach at the end of this blog the jpeg of one of December’s weekly updates on age-appropriate content. Each week there are very useful updates - this week’s happens to be all about ‘Fortnite’.
It was great to see so many of our parents attending the evening session with Paul via Zoom and we are grateful for your continued support in keeping your children safe online. At school our systems are very secure and the children are not able to access content which is not suitable. It is equally important that parents are doing their best to ensure that your children’s online activities are as safe as possible. Paul’s website (here) has lots of superb links and help and he is more than happy for parents to email him with any questions which they may have. Please feel free to email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you who were unable to attend the parent session we have a recording of the talk which may be accessed here.
As always it is gratifying to know that home and school are all striving to do our best to keep the pupils of St. Helen’s College safe but also to prepare them for this digital world which is ever changing but such an exciting world to be part of!
Posted on: 7/01/2022
Weekly News - Friday 7th January 2022ISI Inspection Report
We hope that all parents have now had an opportunity to read the report from the ISI Educational Quality inspection which took place towards the end of last term. We are sure that, in doing so, you share our pride in the pupils, staff and parents who make St. Helen's College such an amazing community. We were delighted that the inspectors found so much evidence of the superb work and excellent pupil progress at St. Helen's College, and were equally delighted that they were able to include so many examples in the final inspection report. The report is available on the website here and has also been featured by IAPS, ISC and Attain magazine.
We will be producing a printed booklet containing the inspection results and will send one home to each family when this is ready. If you have a local business or anywhere else to share more booklets with the community and would like some more copies, please just let us know by contacting the school office and we will be pleased to provide more.
Internet Safety Day Information
Next Tuesday, 11th January, will be an Internet Safety Day here at St. Helen's College. We will be joined at school once again by Paul Hay from PCLS Training. All classes from Reception to Year 6 will have specific lessons/workshops on Internet Safety, staff will receive a twilight training session and there will be an evening Zoom session for parents too. Information about this has been emailed directly to parents and is copied below.
Keeping your Child Safe Online
Tuesday 11th January 2022 7.00 p.m. – 8.00 p.m.
Our children live in the Internet Age. They love to use technology and play the latest games. However, it is not always easy for parents and carers to understand what they are doing and how we can help to do the right things to keep them out of danger.
It is important that parents are also involved so they are able to help their children when they are at home. We would like to invite you to an online talk, which will be delivered by Paul Hay, a specialist in internet safety. Paul will be spending the school day with the children and staff and will then present to parents in the evening.
He will tell you :
How young people use the Internet.
Show how children use programs such as Moshi Monsters, Minecraft, Roblox, Instagram, SnapChat and Tik Tok.
Describe how information young people post can be misused by people who are not their friends.
Explain what you, as parents, can do to help keep them safe.
Above all it will give you as parents and carers the confidence to help your child get the most benefit and enjoyment from the internet while keeping safe.
Topics will be discussed in language we as parents understand. No technical or computer knowledge is required or expected.
To attend this session, please join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 850 6989 0558 Passcode: 813801
We look forward to you joining us. You may join on the night but it would be useful if you could complete this short form if you intend to attend.
Ducklings/Nursery/Reception Parents' Evenings
Parents' evenings will take place for Ducklings, Nursery and Reception on:
Thursday 27th January 2022 (5.00 - 8.00 p.m.) - remote.
Tuesday 1st February 2022 (4.00 - 7.00 p.m.) - in school.
To book your appointment(s), please use the following link: https://sthelens.schoolcloud.co.uk/
Bookings will go live from 6.30 p.m. on Friday 14th January 2022.
For parents who chose to have a remote meeting last time, it would be lovely to see you face-to-face in school this time if you can make it.
Full class names should be used to access the system: Ducklings Kindergarten, Robins Nursery, Wrens Nursery, Owls, Kingfishers.
Year 5 Transfer Meetings
Mrs. Drummond will be holding individual meetings with Year 5 parents next week to discuss senior school transfer. If you have a child in Year 5 and have not yet booked an appointment with Mrs. Drummond, you can do so by following the link on the email sent out this week via SchoolsBuddy.
Co-Curricular Activities - Spring Term
Co-curricular activity sessions for spring term clubs will begin from Monday 10th January, apart from any clubs which take place outdoors at the end of the school day. These will begin from Monday 17th January (which will allow for more daylight as the days get longer).
RSPB Bird Watch Week 2022
We continue to encourage families to enjoy the outdoors and sign up for the annual Big Garden Bird Watch which will be running from 28th - 30th January 2022. Please see the link here on how to sign up.
Happier January Calendar and Happiness Jars
As per the Head's Blog this week please see the link here to download your Happier January Calendar. We look forward to hearing about the 'happiness jars' that your children are creating at home. You may wish to join them in this lovely gratitude/happiness activity.
We will not be having our usual annual Exhibition Day this year but instead parents will be invited to to view pupils' work back in the classroom following your child's class assembly. You may therefore wish to schedule in a little more time to spend at school on the morning when you attend your child's class assembly.
Covid-19 PCR Tests
Confirmatory PCR tests following a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result are to be temporarily suspended from Tuesday 11th January. This will mean that anyone who receives a positive LFD test result will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.
Posted on: 7/01/2022
Perseverance leads to HappinessHappy New Year to one and all! It is a joy to be back at school with our pupils and staff. The cold, crisp, blue skies of recent mornings have been such an invigorating start to this new term.
In the first assembly of this term our new school value of ‘Perseverance’ was introduced to the children along with the Action for Happiness calendar for January (feel free to download).
We are encouraging everyone to focus on small steps to try to boost happiness - for ourselves and others around us - to spread kindness and hopefully inspire others to do the same. Some days this may not be as easy as it sounds and perseverance is required. It is often easy to feel frustrated when we are challenged by something or someone, easy to give up, walk away or even respond in a negative way. However, if we can all nurture the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult, by persevering it can often lead to ‘happiness’. Happiness is an emotional state characterised by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfilment. While happiness has many different definitions, it is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction. Happiness is generally linked to experiencing more positive feelings than negative.
To help us all become more aware of our happiness the children have been challenged to create their own ‘Happiness Jars’. A happiness jar is quite simply a container in which you put a daily or weekly note of gratitude. On a piece of paper, write down one good thing that has happened or one thing you are grateful for that day, fold it up and pop it into the jar. My empty ‘Percy Pig’ jar has made a superb ‘happiness jar’ and I have already popped my first gratitude note for what made me happy in my jar. As I explained to the children in assembly, I will choose when I need to dip into my happiness jar to reflect on my happy moments to savour the gratitude and joy I experienced. It may be that I choose to do this regularly or wait until the end of the year to reflect upon my happy moments of 2022. We can choose when we may need to be boosted and reminded of the good things in our lives.
I wish you all a very ‘Happy’ start to 2022 and good health as we take steps into the next phase of our turbulent journey through this pandemic time we are living in. Let us take time each day to be grateful for our families, friends and each other.