School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 25/05/2018
Weekly News - Friday 25th May 2018The week has seen two very successful and much-enjoyed residential trips, with pupils returning today from Chateau de la Baudonniere in France and from Flatford Mill in Suffolk. There has also, of course, been much going on here at school...
Wrens Assembly - Minibeasts!
Wrens performed a heartwarming 'minibeasts' assembly on Thursday. They expertly wove the St. Helen's College values into their singing and acting and showed not only that they know a lot about minibeasts but also that they understand the qualities you need to be a good friend.
3T Assembly - Shortenills Residential Trip
3T gave a splendid assembly this week all about their adventures on their first residential trip to Shortenills Environmental Centre this term. It was wonderful to see them reliving and sharing their favourite moments from their time away - including a new school record for putting on a duvet cover! They are already looking forward to next year's residential trip!
5G Assembly - Henry VIII
5G were able to educate their audience this week with an assembly all about the life and marriages of Henry VIII. A traditional town crier announced the news of Henry's marriages and we saw Henry as young Henry, middle aged Henry and old Henry! The Tudor costumes worn by the children helped bring to life Henry's court and we saw just what an impact his reign had on British history.
She Rallies Family Fun
On Wednesday the girls in Year 2 and 3 were invited to bring their mothers or grandmothers to take part in a She Rallies tennis event at Upper School. Our pupils put the grown ups through their paces in fun skills challenges and simple racket games, which culminated in an exciting 'Queen of the Court' game to see which family would be crowned the day's queens! Everyone had lots of fun, got some exercise and learnt some new skills.
FREE Tennis Fun Day
Tripletts Community Tennis Centre is holding a Great British Tennis Weekend fun day on Saturday 2nd June from 2 - 5 p.m. with activities for all the family. Click here to find out what's on offer and to book your place.
World Environmental Day - Tuesday 5th June 2018
As a school we are keen to get involved with World Environmental Day which falls this year on Tuesday 5th June, just after half term. The focus this year is #BeatPlasticPollution - if you can't reuse it, refuse it!
The children will be involved in many activities on this day (and throughout the week) to raise their awareness of the problems plastic can cause and what we can do to help. The children will also be involved in one 'plastic free' lesson, from outdoor activities to those that persuade people to use less plastic. Along with these activities your child will be given a paper handprint to take home which we will be asking them to decorate and write at least one (up to three) pledges of what they are going to do to reduce their use of plastic.
For further information please look at the World Environmental Day website. Many thanks, in advance, for your support.
The new Library Reading Challenges are proving very popular with children. If your child is in Year 2 or above and is not already taking part, please do encourage him or her to join in.
It would also be helpful if parents and pupils would make use of half term to find any overlooked library books, ready to return these to school after the break. The library will soon be launching a new award for the most organised class, which will be given to the class that looks after its books well and has least overdue books.
Some very organised parents have already asked the school about purchasing uniform or equipment for the next academic year. The uniform list has been updated and the latest version is now live on the website and available here. Please refer to this when buying new uniform or equipment.
PA Summer Fete
It’s that time of year when the PA are busy with “all hands on deck” preparations for our flagship event, the PA Summer Fete. We would like to ask you to save the date:
Date: Saturday 30th June 2018
Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Upper School playground
One of the aims of the PA is to encourage community, friendship and fun for our children, parents and guardians and the wider St. Helen's family. Over the years, the Summer Fete has been a great event where the school community has come together by bringing their ideas, giving their time and providing much enthusiasm.
The fete is organised by the PA committee which, at present, comprises ten full-time working mums. There is still room for more and we would welcome new interest!
We rely on your help for the fete, so please let us know if you can lend a hand. Even half an hour cover on a stall would be greatly appreciated. We would love to have you on board. We are looking for all sorts of help and we will be putting out requests for help in the next few weeks. However, there’s no time like the present so we are looking for immediate responses for the following:
We need you
At least 10 helpers from each year group to commit to helping on the day of the fete - we will start at 8 a.m. and finish clearing up at about 6 p.m. but you don’t need to do the whole stretch. If you can pledge help for all or part of the day, please do let us know. We need help on many levels such as running stalls, serving food, making tea and coffee, face painting, henna art, glitter tattoos, moving chairs and tables, putting marquees up, clearing litter, PA audio technicians and barbecuing. If you feel worried about taking on tasks yourself, why not get a team from your class together? Each class has a class rep, who will also be communicating with you.
We need donations
We would be really grateful for donations of the following (NO BOOKS PLEASE):
Nearly new, good condition soft toys - for the toy tombola
Good condition used / new school uniform – for the uniform stall
Brand new toys - for the raffle and toy tombola stalls
New items or unwanted gifts - for the raffle
If you work for a company who might like to donate anything to the fete please let us know.
Fete collection bins will be put out at the entrances and exits on all three school premises after half term (Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School) for you to bring your donations, so please have a good sort out over half term. We will empty the collection bins on a daily basis.
We run a tuck shop where we sell drinks, sweets, ice creams and crisps. If you own a shop or can get reduced/discounted rates, we’d love to hear from you!
As in previous years, we will be having a range of stalls at the fete to cater for a variety of tastes. To help us make this happen, we are looking for volunteers to provide the cuisine - this could be anything from African to Mexican, Italian to Thai. We will also be looking for volunteers to man these stalls. If you are able to provide food for a stall or would like to volunteer to serve on a food stall (even if it’s only for an hour), please do get in touch.
If you have any ideas or suggestion for the fete, we’d love to hear from you and embrace these. We can only put this event on with your help so please do get in touch. It's an event that’s really enjoyed by the children and the whole St. Helen's College community. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you in advance for all of your help and support to make this year's fete a really special event for everyone!
Like many other organisations, St. Helen's College processes personal data and as such we are subject to the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into force today. We have always taken great care to protect personal information. The new regulations require that all data must be protected to even higher standards than those required by previous legislation, so we have taken this opportunity to review the data flow in the school and our systems for keeping data secure. We have also taken advice from an external consultant to ensure that these systems are robust and GDPR-compliant. To see how we use and protect your personal data, please see our Privacy Notices which are published on the website here. To speak to someone about the Privacy Notices or to update the information we hold about you, please contact Mrs. Cargill, our Privacy Officer, at email@example.com.
Posted on: 18/05/2018
Celebrating Success And Dealing With Disappointment - Head's BlogThroughout my career, I have often had to bite my tongue when I have heard of schools banning competitive sports days or stopping class assemblies/plays because pupils who did not have the ‘big’ parts felt undervalued and could not accept that the part they had longed for was given to another child.
School staff are educators who facilitate in preparing your children to be able to participate in our future world. We play such a precious part in the cultivation of learning from a very young age. That learning is a cognitive, emotional and social activity and, here at St. Helen’s College, we believe that learning to cope with disappointment and to celebrate success (your own and that of others) is crucial to a happy future life.
This term we have so many wonderful events on the school calendar where we celebrate the success of the pupils. The most recent was the Musicians’ Concert, where I was utterly delighted by the phenomenal calibre of performances throughout the evening. I was mesmerised by the focus and concentration of the performers, but also by the supportive environment that the children created for their peers. Their love and support for their friends were evident in their celebration of each other’s performances. I am assured by the pupils from Year 4 upwards that their Mindfulness training courses help them in these challenging situations, and I must admit that I did not notice any errors that evening despite being told by a couple of children afterwards that they had stumbled!
Later this term, we will have the major production of a child’s St. Helen’s College journey...the Y6 production. I had the delight of attending some of the auditions for singing and acting parts for this year’s show. Oh yes, the pupils have to audition, just like in the West End! Even our current West End actor Kai (who is currently playing young Simba in Disney’s worldwide hit The Lion King) had to audition just like his peers! There were no exceptions made. What was lovely about this process was that the children recognised each other's efforts and talents and congratulated each other on whatever part they were given. The enthusiasm from every child has been quite overwhelming and Mr. McLaughlin is brimming with pride in how this cohort of Year 6 pupils are working so collaboratively in preparation for this year’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ spectacular!
Our Year 1 and Year 2 children are also busy preparing for their big summer productions - and it is in these younger years where we start that process of celebrating the success of everyone who contributes to a year group production, regardless of what part they have been allocated.
I do recall a nativity play I was once casting where the part of the donkey became the starring role….it was the donkey who enabled baby Jesus to be born! In this particular production, the donkey was the real ‘star’ of the show! The child playing the donkey had no words and no dancing to do - just the odd hoof scuff, head jerk and the occasional ‘Eeew-awww!’ How we all loved that donkey part! The child who played it was so full of pride for many a year to come as she knew she played her part to the best of her ability. Her pride was sparked by the manner in which her fellow pupils and the adults embraced the importance of the ‘donkey’ part in that child’s ‘learning’. In fact, I bumped into the ‘donkey’s’ mother quite recently in Intu shopping centre and we reminisced on how that lowly part of the donkey was so embraced by parents and staff! ‘Donkey’ is now in her mid 20s and her dad is very successful behind the camera in the film industry. It is lovely that her parents knew that all those years ago that their daughter would be able to deal with disappointment with grace and resilience. Yes, she had wanted to be Mary, but she was not cast as such and she shone in her own way for the part she played. She continues to shine in her learning journey of life!
One of the joys of being an educator is the relationships that are built with families. There is a beauty in shared moments where we are able, together, to support children in coping with what they may see as failures or disappointments, and in celebrating all the good times too. School is like a practice for life; there will be challenging times when a child may not be cast in the role they had their hearts set on, or may not come first in the race they had been practising so hard for. Every child will inevitably suffer little knocks, which may seem massive to them. Part of our responsibility as teachers and parents is to help children learn to respond to these disappointments positively. We can teach them not to react in a negative way, but to step back from the situation, acknowledge disappointment or upset and be able to move forward despite these feelings, so that they may make a positive contribution towards the end goal and experience pride in doing so. This is all a crucial part of helping every child on that cognitive, emotional and social journey of life!
So as we prepare for the final busy half term, please do help us to support your child in celebrating their successes and efforts and in helping them to deal with any disappointments in a sensitive, kind but pragmatic way - the St. Helen’s College way!
I shall not be blogging next week as I will be on the Year 4 residential trip at Flatford Mill.
I wish you all a super half term holiday when it comes.
Posted on: 18/05/2018
Weekly News - Friday 18th May 2018Pupils throughout the school had a fabulous day yesterday taking part in lessons outside of the classroom as part of Outdoor Classroom Day. There was excitement and enjoyment as the children tried new ways of learning ideas, concepts, topics and subjects. There are photographs of this and many of the other exciting events of this week on our Galleries page.
Black Park Nursery Visit
Our Nursery children enjoyed a super outing to Black Park this week, where they made their own 'bug hotels' as well as helping to stock up the huge one already in use. This was great fun as the children went on a scavenger hunt to try and find things to put in the tunnels. They also went on a mini beast hunt to try and find real mini beasts in their natural environment. Lifting logs and digging in the undergrowth was lots of fun and a great way to explore nature. This was a really exciting way to spend Outdoor Classroom Day.
The children also got to use the adventure playground, and discovered that climbing, swinging and sliding is so much fun and a brilliant way to do exercise. The children behaved beautifully during their outing and the teachers were very proud of them, particularly as there was a lot of walking to do!
The pupils of 5W delighted us this morning with their account of their recent trip to the Isle of Wight. From the 3G swing, the 'leap of faith' and the visit to The Needles, our audience were captivated as the children performed with such confidence. It was clearly a truly memorable residential trip for the children - well done 5W.
A Royal Occasion
The school sites were an array of red, white and blue today as the pupils and staff prepared for the big day tomorrow with the forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan. Street party style lunches were enjoyed and the children's crowns dazzled in the summer sunshine!
5* Award to Accent Team
Amidst the preparations for our street parties across the school today, Soula and her catering team had a spot inspection from a representative from the Food Standards Agency. The inspector was so impressed by everything and we are delighted to announce that we have once again achieved the highest star rating and maintained our 5 stars! Thank you to the Accent team for all their hard work, not only in giving the children such a superb street party royal lunch today but for their dedication and commitment all year round.
Upper School Parents' Evenings
It was lovely to see so many parents over our two Upper School parents' evenings this week. The new timings seemed to work really well and we hope that you all found it useful to talk with the teachers about your children and their work.
Borough Tennis Champions!
Many congratulations to our Year 3 and 4 tennis teams, who took part in the Borough tournament held at Tripletts Community Tennis Centre this week. Tennis is such a popular sport at St. Helen's College that we were able to field three teams and all of our players performed well in some very competitive matches. Our C team and A team won all their matches in the group stages to proceed to the quarter final stages. The C team played very well but were defeated by Hillingdon School, but our A team defeated St. Andrew's to meet Dr. Tripletts in the semi-final - a match they won to reach the final to face Hillingdon. Eli played first and narrowly lost 10 - 9, Daniel then won 10 - 2, Catherine won 10 - 4 and Amar won 10 - 6 for the team be crowded Borough Champions! The team will now go forward to represent the London Borough of Hillingdon at the Crystal Palace School Games on 5th July. Miss Walker, who also organised the event for over 20 teams from across the Borough, said, 'I'm delighted with the way all our teams played; they showed great determination but also good sportsmanship and they were a credit to the school'. Well done to all of the players who took part: Aditya 3V, Samir 3T, Shaina 4T, Fredericka 3V, Patrick 4A, Harry 4T, Grace 4A, Lily 4T, Eli 4T, Daniel 4A, Catherine 4T and Amar 3T.
Mother and Daughter 'She Rallies' Tennis Taster Session
Next Wednesday after school we will be opening our doors to our Year 2 and 3 girls and their mums to come and try some tennis together. The fun taster session will take place in the Upper School playground on our mini tennis courts from 4 - 5 p.m. and will include lots of fun games and challenges for mothers and daughters to try. 'She Rallies' is a programme championed by Judy Murray to create opportunities for women and girls of all ages and experiences to be involved in tennis. Last year Miss Walker was invited by Judy Murray to become a 'She Rallies' ambassador. All our Year 2 and 3 mothers and their daughters are invited to come along. There is no need to book or to bring any equipment - just turn up wearing some trainers and something comfortable to move around in!
Tag Rugby Tournament
Our Year 5 mixed tag rugby team took part in the local district tournament this week held at Whitehall School. We played matches against Hillingdon, Oak Farm and St. Bernadette's, winning against Oak Farm. Thank you to all of the parents who came to support the team.
North Hillingdon Methodist Church Spring Fair
The North Hillingdon Methodist Church will be holding their Spring Fair this weekend. Parents may wish to take children along; there will be a variety of stalls and you can watch the royal wedding on the big screen too! Their flyer is here.
Mini Monets Art Classes
It may seem early to be thinking about the long summer holiday, but if your son or daughter is a budding artist and you are looking for something to keep them occupied, you might be interested in the summer art camps run in Beaconsfield by Mini Monets. Full details are available here.
Please would Upper School parents refrain from parking along Parkway. This causes unnecessary annoyance to our neighbours and we will be unable to continue running the 'drop and go' system if cars continue to park along the road on the opposite side to the school. Please pull up in the designated 'drop and go' zones only, or use the Court Park car park.
Posted on: 11/05/2018
Outdoor Learning by Miss WalkerNo doubt many of us were outside with our families enjoying the long bank holiday weekend last week. Being outside in the fresh air, engaging with our surroundings and being away from ‘screens’ I’m sure made us all feel good. There is a growing awareness of the benefits of the ‘outside’ in society and in particular for our wellbeing. For example, patients with a natural view from their window recover more quickly and require fewer painkillers than those who look out onto cityscapes. Being outside reduces the production of stress hormones, lowers blood pressure and boosts our immune system. Being exposed to the ‘outside’ as a child develops and instils lifelong benefits which are not developed if children remain inside too much during their formative years.
Research into the educational benefits of outdoor learning is growing too, with studies suggesting that outdoor learning can enhance cognitive abilities. This may lead to improved understanding of concepts and ideas, promote collaboration and meta learning, foster engagement, creativity and innovation and allow pupils’ confidence to flourish. We are proud that St. Helen’s College has, for many years, led the way, with an extensive co-curriculum programme of opportunities for our pupils to experience outdoor learning, including residential trips, day trips and visits to the local park. In fact I write this blog after another fantastic day spent outside on a residential trip, this week with Year 3!
However, over the past 18 months we have been incorporating more and more outdoor learning opportunities throughout the school and across all curriculum areas. We are determined to make the most of the beautiful school grounds we have at our disposal to support and enhance a creative and engaging curriculum through outdoor learning. As part of a UCL leadership course I completed in 2017, I ran a 12 month project to assess the impact outdoor learning had on our pupils and the results were compelling. 89% of pupils reported learning outdoors made them feel happier and more confident and 96% felt they learnt better outdoors. In interviews, pupils’ comments included, “examples in the playground were exciting, challenging and fun and helped me understand”, “you actually know how to do something because you get to do it”, “we get more involved together” and “fresh air stimulates my brain!”. Teachers also reported increased motivation and accelerated learning, progress in attainment and improved pupil self esteem.
As I walk around the school now I often see maths lessons investigating and measuring angles in nature, art lessons using natural materials to make pictures or sculptures and music lessons where children are making and recording compositions created using natural objects. Amidst it all, I see happy and engaged children and our teachers’ passion for teaching. It is little wonder then that we are taking part in Outdoor Classroom Day next Thursday, 17th May. This is a day to showcase and celebrate our commitment to outdoor learning but also share common goals with schools across the UK and the world in promoting the benefits of outdoor learning. Throughout the day our pupils will be challenged and inspired whilst learning outside the classroom. For more information about Outdoor Classroom Day please visit the website here.
Today as I watched our Y3 pupils’ growing sense of wonder and awe as they soaked up being in nature and learning through nature I was reminded of the William Henry Davies poem ‘Leisure’. In an ever busy and stressful world, its words resonate as a call for us all to be outside more and to find the time ‘to stand and stare’.
Leisure - By William Henry Davies
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
We hope that parents, too, will find time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors with children, friends and extended families.
Posted on: 11/05/2018
Weekly News - Friday 11th May 2018The children of Kingfishers Class educated and entertained us with an assembly about the history and traditions of 'May Day' this week. There was some superb singing, morris dancing and even maypole dancing! This was a vibrant and colourful assembly to celebrate those days of sunshine which we hope will be plentiful over the next few months. Well done indeed, Kingfishers. You can see photographs on our Galleries page.
Cancer Research Relay for Life
Today is 'Relay Friday' and we have launched Relay for Life to the children at school in assemblies. St. Helen's College teams have taken part in this special event for many, many years now, following the battles of dear colleagues against cancer and the losses of much loved family members, colleagues and friends to this merciless disease. Today we wore Relay for Life colours and explained to the children what the event is all about and why we will be working to raise money for this cause.
If you would like to find out more information about the event itself, and perhaps join the St. Helen's College team or sponsor us, please follow the link below. We would be delighted to welcome parents, children and extended family members to our team!
Royal Wedding Celebrations
Next Friday we are encouraging the children in Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School to come to school dressed in red, white and blue (no football tops please). Ducklings and Lower School children may wish to make a crown at home to wear on the day.
We will be celebrating the upcoming nuptials with a street party themed picnic lunch. (Ducklings children should supply lunch as normal).
Junior Language Challenge
There are now just three weeks to go in this year's Junior Language Challenge first round. If your child is taking part, please encourage them to put on a final push - all is still to play for and we hope that some of our pupils will manage to secure a place in the semi final!
More Music Results!
We are pleased to announce an additional music examination result:
Reece G Grade 1 Pass
Well done Reece!
Reminder - Holiday Club Bookings
We would like to remind parents that bookings for the May half term Holiday Club are now open. The booking form is available on the Documents page of the website and the deadline for bookings is next Friday, 18th May.
Summer School 2018
Bookings are now open for this year's Summer School, which will take place from 20th to 24th August. The themes for this year are 'On The Farm' for children currently in Nursery - Year 1, and 'Under The Sea' for children currently in Year 2 - Year 6. The Year 2 - Year 6 Summer School will take place at Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre. Both Summer Schools will include a programme of fun and exciting activities for the children. Full details and the booking form are available here.
PA Quiz Night - Cancelled
Sadly, the PA Quiz Night (which was scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday 12th May) has been cancelled due to lack of interest. We are very sorry that this event will not go ahead and we urge parents to support the PA's events wherever you can; the committee work so hard to put on events to bring our community together and it is such a shame that parents won't enjoy the feeling this year of 'beating the teachers'!
Tax-Free Childcare Accounts/Childcare Vouchers
If you are using a tax-free childcare account to pay the school, please email our Finance Office at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to let them know the account reference number. This will make it much easier for the school to locate your payments and allocate them correctly to your account.
We are aware that there is currently some confusion over whether parents may use a tax-free childcare account (or childcare vouchers) to pay for school fees after their child's 5th birthday.
As St. Helen's College is not an Ofsted registered school (because we are regulated by the Department for Education under the Independent Schools Inspectorate), we do not currently accept childcare vouchers or tax-free childcare account payments towards school fees after a child's 5th birthday. However, the school is currently taking independent legal advice on this issue and if there are to be any changes, we will let parents know as soon as possible.
You may continue to use childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare accounts to pay for Breakfast Club, After School Club and Holiday Club provided by the school on the school premises, throughout your child's time at St. Helen's College.
School Fee Plan/Third Party Providers
If you are using School Fee Plan or any other third party provider to pay your school fees, please ensure that the Finance Office knows this, so that they are able to correctly match payments received to your account. You can email the Finance Office at email@example.com.
Posted on: 4/05/2018
Weekly News - Friday 4th May 2018Welcome back to our Year 5 pupils, who have spent the week on the Isle of Wight where they have been busy undertaking coastal studies alongside all sorts of exciting, fun and adventurous activities. We are sure they will all enjoy a well-deserved rest over the bank holiday weekend and will sleep well! You can see photographs of their week on the Galleries page.
EYFS Development at Lower School
We are very excited, after receiving the long-awaited planning permission, to be able to announce formally that over the summer holidays the Nursery and Reception buildings at Lower School will be replaced with new, state of the art facilities. Our new buildings will enrich the experiences of the pupils and will enable the children to have greater access to the outdoor learning environment. This is a project which has been in the planning for some time and I am sure that all of our families and staff will welcome the addition of these superb facilities. I trust that parents now understand our need for the Lower School children to finish school slightly ahead of the Ducklings and Upper School pupils this term, to enable our contractors adequate time to complete the project ready for the new academic year. A 3D view of the plans is shared with you on the Galleries page - this gives you a general idea of what the new buildings will look like.
Lower School parents should please note that Holiday Club for the summer holiday will start on 11th July (half day), which is the day that term ends for the Upper School.
The Robins Assembly this week was a wonderful testament to the values that we hold dear at St. Helen’s College. The children demonstrated how ‘to have a friend we need to be a friend’ through the analogy of filling buckets with all the wonderful values and character traits our children are developing. They certainly filled our buckets full of joy and pride as they spoke and sang with such confidence and clarity. Well done everyone!
Our Year 6 golfers won the Borough Tri Golf Competition again this week, making it gold for St. Helen's College for 3 years running! They competed in eight different events, scoring points for every successful chip or putt. The team scored over 2000 points, which was an outstanding total. Congratulations to the team, which was made up of the same children who won the event last year as Year 5 pupils: Abigail Y, Lily F, Ryeesa S, Amishi K, Zara S-P, Veer B, Ethan V-B, Nirmit N, Lincoln B and Timi O.
The latest Welfare Newsletter has been posted to the School Documents page of the website and is available here. Please do take the time to read this as it contains important information about keeping your child safe and well over the summer.
May Half Term Holiday Club Bookings Now Open
The booking form for the May half term Holiday Club has now been posted to the School Documents page of the website and is available here. Please return completed booking forms by 18th May.
We still have some places available for our Year 3 Athletics Club which takes place on a Friday from 3.30 - 4.30 p.m. If your child would like to join the club, please email Miss Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.