School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 14/06/2019
Head's Blog - Are Outdoor Lessons Just A Distraction?
A recent article in the Times Educational Supplement, which I highly recommend that parents read, reaffirms the belief which we have here at St. Helen’s College about the benefits of learning in the great outdoors.
A couple of years ago, Miss Walker as part of her professional studies further engaged our staff with ‘outdoor learning’ across the curriculum and it has been so wonderful to hear the feedback both from children and staff of the benefits of taking their subjects outside.
On a daily basis we have pupils across the school using our outdoor spaces for learning and I am always delighted when the pupils are able to articulate what they have learnt with not a textbook or school desk in site!
Traditionally many schools felt that the best learning was conducted in a classroom environment with a very structured curriculum directed by the teacher. Thankfully, due to all the valuable evidence research which has been carried out, educationalists are now so aware of the benefits, not only academic but social and emotional, which outdoor lessons provide.
Our EYFS pupils in Ducklings through to Reception spend a great deal of time in the outdoors and the best practice can often be found amongst Early Years practitioners. Last week I spent 3 days as a member of the Independent Schools Inspectorate inspecting the educational quality of a school. The inspection team had to gather evidence on the pupil outcomes in relation to academic achievement and progress as well as their personal development. Much of the evidence was sourced by the team in the great outdoors!
Below I have extracted an example from the independent schools regulatory standards of some of the areas which schools must be seen to be fulfilling. As you read the list below I hope that you will be able to visualise your son or daughter (from Ducklings to Year 6) actively learning in the outdoors - as this is where much of this wonderful rich learning is taking place!
Pupils’ academic and other achievements
Knowledge, skills and understanding (KSU); the development of their knowledge, understanding and skills across the areas of learning (linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological, human and social, physical and aesthetic and creative education.
Communication; the development of their competence in communication (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and its application to other areas of learning.
Numeracy; the development of their competence in numeracy and the application of their knowledge and skills in mathematics to other areas of learning.
Study skills; the development of their study skills, including the ability to draw upon a suitably wide range of sources and to develop higher-order skills, including the ability to analyse, hypothesise and synthesise.
Attitudes; their attitudes towards learning, including their ability to demonstrate initiative and independence, their willingness to work collaboratively and the extent to which they take leadership in their learning.
Pupils’ personal development
Self-understanding; develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-discipline and resilience, including an understanding of how to improve their own learning and performance, so that they are well prepared for the next stage of their lives.
Decision-making; understand that the decisions they make are important determinants of their own success and well-being.
Spiritual understanding; develop spiritual understanding and an appreciation of non-material aspects of life, whether religious, philosophical or other.
Moral understanding and responsibility for own behaviour; distinguish right from wrong, understand and respect systems of rules and laws, and accept responsibility for their own behaviour, including towards others.
Social development and collaboration; are socially aware and so are able to work effectively with others, including to solve problems and achieve common goals.
Staying safe and keeping healthy; know how to stay safe and understand how to be physically and mentally healthy, particularly in terms of diet, exercise and a balanced lifestyle.
Our day trips and residential trips, which are such an important part of our educational provision, allow your children to achieve so much academically and personally and it has been wonderful to receive such positive feedback form the parent body recently as our Year 3 to Year 6 pupils have all returned from this year’s trips. The recognition of the pupils' personal development is quite remarkable with comments such as:
‘he really seems to have grown up in such a short time!’
‘She is so much more independent and took risks we never imagined she would take’
‘I cannot believe my daughter was rolling about in mud and loved it so much!’
‘He genuinely seems more organised and considerate since he came back’
‘ He hasn’t stopped talking about the trip - every day we seem to hear something else!’
As a school when we receive such positive feedback from parents after the residential trips it is so rewarding and makes our jobs even more enjoyable, knowing the difference that we make to a child’s development.
Education should be rich in experiences and prepare young people for the future. All the experiences that your children are having in the outdoors are contributed to by the lessons the teachers are planning, the trips and activities they have the opportunity to take part in and of course the superb outdoor space we have at school.
Experiences bring us happiness not just when we’re having the experience, but also when we simply think about them. I am sure that you have seen your child’s face light up when they talk about some of the things they have done outside of the normal classroom environment.
Many of you are possibly starting to plan some of the things that you may be able to do with your children over the summer holidays. So please do continue the ‘outdoor’ learning for the children, giving them the opportunity to explore the great outdoors - it is called the ‘great’ outdoors for a reason!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”â—âMark Twain
Posted on: 14/06/2019
Weekly News - Friday 14th June 2019Singers' Concert
Our annual Singers' Concert on Tuesday evening yet again left the audience with a sense of pride and awe at the calibre of our pupils' musicality as they entertained us with a range of songs and choral numbers. Congratulations to all of the children who took part, whether they were Singing Competition winners or sang as part of one of the school choirs.
Six of our Year 3 pupils attended a maths challenge day at Edge Grove Prep School this week. They participated in a variety of problem solving challenges and earned shells for correct answers. They collaborated really well and worked with both speed and precision, finishing second overall. The team consisted of Zach F, Luka K, Anjika G, Shruthi T, Aryan B and Devan S.
4T Read to Reception
On Wednesday, 4T visited Reception. As a class, they first performed the basic version of the tale 'The Blind Man and the Hunter', using actions, before sharing their superb versions of the story, which they had worked hard to write, reflect upon and improve. The Reception children behaved impeccably and were engaged throughout the session.
Mindfulness Course for Parents
Please see below the link for the next Mindfulness course for parents which is being offered by the Mindfulness in Schools Project. This online course begins in September and runs online for 8 weeks.
Kingfishers class took us on a journey to the continent of Africa to retell the story of Handa's Surprise with their colourful costumes, animals, African instruments and tremendous singing in Swahili. Well done to all of the children!
The children of 4KT used their class assembly to share their experiences on their recent residential trip to the beautiful Flatford Mill in the heart of Constable Country.
JRSOs - Roadwatch
Our JRSOs had a wonderful opportunity this week to work with the Hillingdon STARS Team and the Metropolitan Police piloting the Junior Roadwatch scheme. The girls worked alongside the Met Police on Long Lane and drivers who were pulled in for speeding were offered the opportunity to have a conversation with our JRSOs as an alternative to receiving a fine and penalty points.
We are very fortunate to have been involved with the Junior Roadwatch pilot and hope that in the future this will be rolled out across the London Borough of Hillingdon to increase safety on our roads and to raise public awareness of the dangers of speeding. It has also been a great opportunity for our children to raise awareness to their own parents who drive the children to school each day!
May we take this opportunity to ask parents who drive along Parkway to be very aware of their speed as they approach school.
Parent Parking Pledge
Thank you to those of you who have now signed up to the Parent Parking Pledge - please can we ask that you display your badges with pride!
The London Borough of Hillingdon are running a few 'Bikespiration' events soon to help to encourage local residents to use bicycles. Further information can be found here.
Harefield Colts Cricket
If you have a budding cricketer you might be interested in Colts Cricket at Harefield Cricket Club. The club offers professional, safe, fun coaching with ECB qualified coaches, a superb club house and cricket facilities for all ages from U9 to U17. Training for U9 to U15 age children is on Friday evenings from 6.00 - 7.30 p.m. If you would like further information, pop into the club or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The PA provides a refreshments stall for parents to enjoy at the Sports Days and we really need your help please with donations of cakes, biscuits, snacks, soft drinks and bottled water. Please contact us at email@example.com to let us know if you will be able to make a donation - any contribution would be very gratefully received. You can drop your donations to the Upper or Lower School office. Thank you.
We will have some vacancies for September for individual tuition in trumpet, clarinet and flute at Upper School. If you are interested in lessons for your son or daughter on one of these instruments, please email Mrs. Allery directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
All places for the other instruments have now been allocated.
Posted on: 7/06/2019
Weekly News - Friday 7th June 2019PA Summer Fete
The date for the PA Summer Fete is approaching quickly and PA class reps will be busy over the next couple of weeks arranging rotas for stalls and collecting in donations. We urge all parents to give your support to this special event - please sign up for a slot on your class stall or one of the general stalls and please do be generous with your donations so that this year's Fete may be the biggest and best yet! Most importantly, please do come along on Saturday 29th June and enjoy the day with your family and friends. All are welcome and there will be a wide variety of stalls, entertainment and food and drink to enjoy.
World Environmental Day
Wednesday this week was World Environmental Day, which this year had a focus on air pollution. Classes were spoken to about air pollution, its effects and how we can help to limit this particular type of environmental hazard. Eco Reps were also involved in making posters to highlight this important issue.
If you would like to follow up on this with your children at home, you might find the following links useful.
Today saw children in Middle and Upper School compete in our ever-popular annual Singing Competition. Very well done to all those who took part! It was clear that the pupils had been practising very hard and the standard was, as always, very high. Many congratulations to the winners, who will perform at our Singers' Concert at All Saints Church next Tuesday evening. All parents are warmly invited to attend the Singers' Concert. There was not enough time to complete the Upper School competition this afternoon so this will be completed, and the winners will be announced, early next week.
Tennis Borough Champions!
Many congratulations to our Y5 and 6 tennis players who took part in the Borough tennis tournament this week held at Tripletts Community Tennis Centre. Our three teams displayed some great play during the course of the competition, resulting in both our A and B team reaching the final to play each other! The matches in the final were highly competitive but it was the A team that came through to take the title and retain the cup for St. Helen's College this year. Our team will now progress to the London School Games Finals to represent Hillingdon against schools from across London.
Well done to everyone who took part: Rishi, Daniel, Aaria, Catherine, Eli, Alex, Hebe, Tamara, Patrick, Ciaran, Mia and Kyra.
Opening Training Sessions - London Girls Development Academy of Football
Watford FC Girls are rebranding as LGDA (London Girls Development Academy) and will be holding open training sessions on the following dates/times. If your daughter is interested in football why not encourage her to go along.
Saturday 8th/Sunday 15th June
U8/9/10 10.00 a.m. - 11.00 a.m.
U11/12 11.30 a.m. - 1.00 p.m.
Walking Loyalty Scheme
Our Year 5 Junior Road Safety Officers will be launching their walking loyalty scheme for Upper School pupils from next week. The scheme, which has been designed by the pupils and has been supported with funding from the London Borough of Hillingdon's School Travel and Road Safety team, is an exciting way to reward our pupils for walking to school this term. Pupils will be able to collect a loyalty card from our JRSOs and, for each day they include a significant element of walking to school as part of their journey, they will be able to collect a stamp for their card. For pupils who are unable to walk all or part of the way to school, a walking circuit will be available in the playground and they may complete ten laps before school starts to gain a stamp. As pupils collect enough stamps they will be rewarded with bronze, silver and gold certificates and at the end of the term medals will be awarded to pupils who have impressed our JRSOs with their commitment to walking to school. We do hope that lots of our Upper School pupils will get involved and, if successful, the scheme may be extended to Lower School next term.
Year 6 Summer Production - Romeo and Juliet - Tickets Now Available
Tickets may now be purchased for our grand Year 6 musical production at The Compass Theatre, Ickenham. This year, our Year 6 pupils will be presenting Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Performances will take place on:
Thursday 4th July at 7.30 p.m.
Friday 5th July at 2.00 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.
Parents will be permitted to take pupils out from school on the Friday in order to watch the matinee performance.
You may book tickets by following this link:
Sports Days - Message from the PA
The PA is organising a refreshments stall in Court Park for the Lower School Sports Day on 20th June and another at Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex for the Upper School Sports Day on 28th June and we really need your help.
We would be really grateful for any donations of cakes, crisps, drinks and other snacks which we will then be able to sell to parents in order to raise money for the school. If you are able to donate anything, please let us know by emailing email@example.com so that we can gauge quantities. If your donation is not perishable, you can drop it off at the Upper or Lower School office at any time before the day and we will pick it up from there. If your donation is perishable, please bring it to the relevant venue on either 20th or 28th June 2019. Any support that you can offer would be very welcome.