School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 25/11/2022
Weekly News - Friday 25th November 2022Be Bright, Be Seen
As part of our road safety initiative, children and staff throughout the school wore bright clothes and accessories on Thursday to remind us that, in the dark, it is important to wear something fluorescent so that we can be seen by drivers and other road users.
Our Junior Travel Ambassadors also visited Lower School to give an assembly to the younger children, speaking about the Green Cross Code and how to stay safe.
Switch Off Fortnight
Our Upper School Eco Reps have been monitoring electricity use in the classrooms at Upper School this week as part of our drive to reduce energy usage in general and during Switch Off Fortnight in particular. Joleen Z (Year 6) explains why Switch Off Fortnight is so important:
Switch off Fortnight is a period of 14 days when we all try to save electricity and power to help the environment.
We can help by: turning off lights when we don’t need them, turning off the tap while brushing our teeth and closing doors in our classrooms to save heating. Helping the environment can also mean saving pocket money! If you spend just one minute less in the shower, then it can save you £10 per person. Sadly a lot of people disregard these rules and litter in local parks and adults often use plastic bags to pack items in shopping. These are some vital tips to help!
Use leather or reusable bags to put shopping items in.
Help our environment by picking up litter.
Spread the news! Making sure everyone understands is very important.
Remember the 3R method! Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
By the end of the fortnight, we all hope for you to remember the skills to help our world!
Packham Cup Football Tournament
Last Saturday, for the first time in three years, our football team took part in the Packham Memorial Trophy at Ryefield Primary School.
We started quite slowly in our first match against Ryefield, with neither team really threatening a goal in a game which ended 0-0. Our second match was against St. Catherine's B and our morning started to get into gear. The boys played with more positivity and a super cross from Sean R was flicked home by Mikail O for an excellent 1-0 win. Our last group game was against a strong Oak Farm team and this is where we really raised our levels. After going 1-0 down to a soft goal, we started to show great determination and character and deservedly got an equaliser through a superb goal, again taken by Mikail O.
With three teams on five points, we unfortunately came third and were eliminated on goal difference (losing out by one goal). Overall, with two Year 4 boys, 4 Year 5 boys and 2 Year 6 boys making up the team, Mr. Dyson felt that this was an amazing achievement from the boys and the parents were similarly proud. If the boys keep producing this effort and spirit, the future looks bright for the St. Helen's College football team!
Team: Ollie K, Kamran-Cyrus A, Sean R, Joseph T, Mylo D'O, Rian M, Maicen M, Mikail O.
We will sadly be saying farewell to Mrs. Sarah Smith at the end of this term. Mrs. Smith has been with us for 10 years as a TALA in the Middle School and after graduating with her Post Graduate Certificate in Chaplaincy this year she has decided to step back and spend more time with her family in Wales. However, we are delighted that Rev. Smith will visit us regularly to lead more of her wonderful assemblies and join us for our special community events.
Parents of the classes shown below are warmly invited to join us for their class assemblies next week.
In addition, all parents (Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School) are invited to come together on Friday 2nd December at 4.00 p.m. in the Upper School playground for our annual 'Carols Around The Tree' event.
Tuesday 29th November - 1C Christmas Assembly at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.)
Wednesday 30th November - 1R Christmas Assembly at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.)
Thursday 1st December - Owls Christmas Nativity at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.)
Friday 2nd December - Kingfishers Christmas Nativity at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.)
Friday 2nd December - 3B Class Assembly at 8.40 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.)
Friday 2nd December - Carols Round the Tree at 4.00 p.m. in the Upper School playground (all families welcome).
At our Carols Round The Tree event, Grace O (5A) will be running a stall to raise money for the RSPCA. The stall will be selling handmade knitted and felt Christmas tree decorations, knitted gloves, mittens and hats, festive red bows that can be slipped onto a dog's collar or onto a hairband and handmade cloth-covered trinket trays. Grace would truly welcome your support for this worthwhile charity.
Christmas Tree Decoration Competition
Our Christmas trees will soon be arriving in school and, as usual, we are asking children to design and create their own Christmas decoration for display on the trees. Please ensure that your child's decoration is clearly labelled with their name and class, as there will be prizes for the winning decoration in each class. Decorations may be brought into school from Monday 28th November to be hung on the trees.
Christmas Holiday Club
Holiday Club bookings will open at 4 p.m. today. Please log in to your SchoolsBuddy account to make your bookings.
Salvation Army Christmas Present Appeal
Thank you to everyone who has already donated to the Christmas Present Appeal for the Hillingdon Salvation Army. If you have yet to do so there is still time! Please choose a brand new toy/game for ages 3-11 with a value of approximately £12. The Salvation Army has also suggested Amazon vouchers. The item should not be gift wrapped and should fit inside a plastic shopping bag.
Each class teacher is collecting the gifts so please encourage your child to take donations to their classroom. All toys will be collected by the Salvation Army on the 2nd December.
Thank you once again for your generous support.
Our Cookery Club members had a super time (and learnt a lot!) this week, making Singapore noodles and Cavolo Nero crispy seaweed. They even practised using chopsticks!
Mother/Baby Mindfulness Classes
Our next set of Mother/Baby Mindfulness classes will begin in 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 email@example.com 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.
A St. Helen's College parent will be running Squash Stars sessions in the new year, which may be of interest to some families. Aimed at 5-11 year olds, Squash Stars is a new six week junior beginner programme at Hillingdon Squash Club starting on Saturday 4th February at the Brunel University Sports Centre.
The cost is £42, for which each child can enjoy six sessions of squash and a kit bag which includes a racket, ball, Squash Stars t-shirt and a pair of goggles.
Squash is suitable for children of all backgrounds, shapes and sizes and is an inclusive, indoor sport. By taking part in Squash Stars, your child will benefit in many ways:
They'll have lots of fun whilst being active and learning something new.
It’s an opportunity to make friends outside of school.
They can put their new skills into practice and head to the court as a family, giving you an opportunity for extra quality time together.
The sessions boost confidence and encourage them to reach for the stars.
Parents can find out more and sign children up at squashstars.co.uk
Posted on: 18/11/2022
Weekly News - Friday 18th November 2022Children In Need
We have had a thoughtful and colourful day at school today as we have supported the charity Children In Need by wearing our own clothes to school and taking part in raffles and other activities. We have used the day to consider the important work being done by Children In Need to help children whose lives are challenging in so many ways. We have discussed with pupils how lucky we all are and how important it is always to think of those less fortunate than ourselves. The children have enhanced their understanding of the value of giving selflessly to help others through acts of kindness or by donating time, money or ideas.
As well as the whole school fundraising effort, individual pupils have taken the initiative to raise money for those in need. Raiden B (5G) ran a Rubik's Cube competition at break times today to raise additional funds for Children in Need, and Leo A (3M) has raised money for Children in Need by selling his own artwork to family and friends.
3M presented a thoughtful and energetic assembly at Upper School this morning. They told us the history of the Children In Need appeal and reminded us of the phenomenal amount of money Children In Need has raised over the years. Some of the children and some of the parents who were watching also took part in live 30-second challenges in return for the Year 3 staff donating funds for the charity. The children then sang a beautiful, thoughtful hymn and led us in prayers to remind us to be thankful for all that we have. Well done, 3M, this was a most enjoyable and valuable assembly.
You can see some photographs of Children In Need Day on our Galleries page here.
EDI stands for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Mrs. Briggs is our EDI lead and Leila A is our EDI prefect. These posts, new this year, reflect the commitment to inclusion here at St. Helen’s College. Much is already happening at school, including social responsibility lessons, Debating Club, curriculum changes and the Think Equal initiative, and we are always looking for ways to improve and learn. We are currently trialling an online newspaper called The Day, which contains articles that have been edited so that the language is appropriate for differently aged pupils. Year 6 read an article about the upcoming World Cup this week and some of the children, without being prompted, referred back to recent PSHCE work on the Universal Declaration of human rights. They then discussed human rights in various countries around the world.
Switch Off Fortnight
Switch Off Fortnight is an opportunity for schools, homes and young people to make small changes in their lives that save energy and help to protect the planet.
We have had a very successful start to our Switch Off Fortnight. All of the children have been very active in ensuring the lights are being turned off in their classrooms and other empty rooms, powering down their chromebooks when not in use and making sure that the teachers are turning off the overhead projectors and computers at the end of lessons. We will continue our energy saving campaign next week, when we will also be announcing which class had the most amount of switch offs and will be awarded the title of Eco Class of the week.
There is some information about how energy gets to our homes here.
There is an activity poster to help families think about power and its uses here.
National Online Safety
We would like to remind parents that you can register, for free, with the St. Helen's College National Online Safety platform by clicking on this link and proceeding as a parent/carer. You will then be able to access many useful resources and comprehensive courses to help keep your children safe online. Subscribers will also receive a weekly email updating them on topical online safety risks.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require additional guidance or if you have any concerns about your child's online safety.
Upper School - Mr. McLaughlin firstname.lastname@example.org
Lower School - Mrs. Hunt email@example.com
We are delighted to report that the St. Helen's College community raised a total of £561.89 for this year's Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Many, many thanks to all those who contributed.
Be Bright, Be Seen
With clocks going back and evenings getting darker through the winter months, many of the children may be travelling home in the dark. The 'Be Bright, Be Seen' campaign brings awareness to families about what they can do to help children be seen by road users when travelling to and from school.
We are holding our 'Brightest School' event during road safety week on Thursday 24th November to promote the Be Bright, Be Seen initiative. On that Thursday we are asking pupils throughout the school to wear their brightest clothes to school. Children may wear their own clothes or add something bright/fluorescent to their school uniform/bag.
Spring Term Co-Curricular Programme
We would like to remind parents that the co-curricular programme for the spring term (for children in Reception to Year 6) is now available on SchoolsBuddy. The deadline for making your selections is midnight on Sunday 20th November.
Please remember to discuss the programme with your child and only select clubs in which your child has a genuine interest.
Spring Term Calendar Dates
The school calendar has been updated with dates for spring term events. Please do check it and make a note of relevant dates for your child(ren).
Thank you to the PA committee and class representatives who attended the PA Forum meeting with Ms Drummond, Mr. McLaughlin, Mrs. Hunt and Mrs. Smith on Tuesday evening. Minutes are being prepared and will be sent by email to all parents.
Science Quiz Club
St. Helen's College entered two teams into the Quiz Club Science competition this week. The children did really well with some tricky questions and there is a chance that one of the teams may make it into the next round. We are currently waiting to hear final news on this. Well done to those children who represented the school.
Posted on: 18/11/2022
Do We Ever Stop Learning?This week we have a guest blog from our Head of Art, Nadine Pruce, who reflects on the importance of being a lifelong learner.
During lockdown I stumbled upon the amazing work of Darrell Wakelam and have followed him on both Instagram and Twitter ever since.
Darrell spent the first thirteen years of his career as the Art Tutor at Ingestre Hall Residential Arts Centre in Staffordshire before moving down to Dorset to set up his business ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ in 2005. Since then, he has provided art workshops and training sessions for hundreds of different organisations including many primary and secondary schools.
As part of my subject leader role for IAPS, I invite an artist to host a workshop for art teachers who are part of the IAPS organisation. This gave me the perfect opportunity to meet him! I sent him an invitation and he responded straight away with a resounding yes; he would love to come and show us how to do what he does.
So on Thursday this week, he came to St. Helen's College along with a dozen art teachers from around the country and we were set to work. The delighted squeals and laughter emitting form the art room would have had you thinking it was a class of children, not grown adults!
Continuous learning is essential to our existence. Just like food nourishes our bodies, ongoing discovery nourishes our minds. Lifelong learning is crucial for every career and organisation. From a simple, fun day with an expert in his field, a dozen art teachers skipped off into the sunset bursting with new ideas and plans of how to include our learning in our student’s lessons. Watch out…next term I will be mainly using cardboard!
'Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.'
Posted on: 11/11/2022
Weekly News - Friday 11th November 2022Remembrance Day
We marked Remembrance Day at school today with a two minute silence, during which we remembered and gave thanks for the men and women who have given their lives during wars to secure the freedoms which we enjoy in Britain today. At Upper School, Year 6 pupils read us a poem and Mrs. Fawbert played The Last Post for us. At both sites, the children showed great respect in thinking with gratitude of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
We would like to thank parents, pupils and staff for donations made to The Poppy Appeal.
Year 1 Visit Roald Dahl Museum
This week, our Year 1 classes visited the Roald Dahl Gallery in Amersham where they certainly fired up their imaginations! Ishani A said:
“I loved going to the Roald Dahl Gallery, especially making dream bottles! It was really fun when we did some green screen recording, it looked like we had shrunk onto the television screen like Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also liked crawling through the tunnel like Fantastic Mr Fox.”
Sports News - Reddiford Challenge Cup
At the Reddiford Challenge Cup football tournament yesterday, our players acquitted themselves very well indeed. There was some excellent play and the team finished fourth overall. We are also delighted to report that Malek C was awarded player of the tournament! Well done to all those who took part.
After School Sports Clubs
We would like to remind parents that, from next week, there will be no after school sports clubs due to lack of light. The exceptions are Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 netball clubs which will continue until the penultimate week of term. All other clubs will continue until the penultimate week.
This term's PA Forum meeting will take place on Tuesday 15th November. The PA committee and class reps meet with Ms Drummond, Mr. McLaughlin, Mrs. Hunt and Mrs. Smith to discuss issues of school-wide relevance. Thank you to those parents who have already sent points for discussion. Some queries may be fed back directly to specific year groups but whole school matters will be minuted and circulated. If you have any whole school points to raise, please forward them to your class rep so that they can be sent on to Mrs. Smith by Monday 14th November at the latest. Minutes will be circulated to all parents after the meeting.
Flu Vaccinations - Reminder
If you have a child in Reception to Year 6, please check that you have completed and submitted your flu vaccination forms. We still have a few forms that are showing as pending, which means they may not have been completed fully. Please ensure that you put your child's class on the form - do not leave it blank or put just the year. If you are unsure, please ask your child or contact the school and we can advise you which class they are in.
Children In Need
Children In Need Day is next Friday, 18th November. On this day children should come to school wearing colourful, spotty clothes.This year we are asking the children to bring in a suggested £5 donation for Children in Need or this can be paid online on our Just Giving Page here.
The donation will cover the tog day, 1 raffle ticket per child and the choice of one of two pin badges. Class reps will be asking parents which pin badge (Pudsey or Blush) your child would like, and there will be extra pin badges for sale if your child would like one of each. The £5 is a suggested donation, so if a child has not brought in all of the £5 they can still have a raffle ticket and pin badge.
We will be raffling a large Pudsey bear and a large Blush bear and there
will be extra raffle tickets available for the children to buy leading up
to the day.
Many thanks, as ever, for your support.
We would like to remind parents that EVERY item of your child's property should be named. Not only uniform but also snack boxes, water bottles and stationery should be clearly labelled. Even with frequent reminders, children do often forget items or leave them in unexpected places and it is impossible for the school to reunite owners with their property if it is not clearly named, especially as several children will often own identical or similar-looking items. Unnamed and unclaimed items are disposed of regularly.
Following the announcement of the extra bank holiday on May 8th, 2023 in honour of the King's coronation, we have updated our term dates document for 2022-2023. We have also now published term dates for 2023-2024. You can find the term dates on the School Documents page of this website.
Salvation Army Christmas Appeal
St. Helen’s College has run the Christmas Present Appeal for the Hillingdon Salvation Army for a number of years with great success. Originally inspired by current pupils at the school, this is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our school’s core values by helping those local families less fortunate than ourselves.
Therefore we are inviting your child to choose a brand new toy/game for ages 3-11 with a value of approximately £12. The Salvation Army has also suggested Amazon vouchers. The item should not be gift wrapped and should fit inside a shopping plastic bag. This year the Salvation Army has also requested donations of wrapping paper.
Please allow your child to bring in their donation by Friday 2nd December.
We will launch the appeal in our assemblies and really hope it is something you feel able to support.
Thank you so much in advance for your kindness and generosity.
St. Helen's College Trust
The St. Helen's College Trust (Registered Charity Number: 1196657) is an independent charity which exists to promote educational opportunities and all-round development of children aged 0-11 in Hillingdon and the surrounding areas. The charity was established last year and we are delighted that St. Helen's College parents have been generous in their support of it so far.
We reported in October that the charity's Trustees approved applications for grants from local charitable bodies for the following:
Ickenham Youth FC: Funds to set up an U6/U7 girls' football team.
Home Start Hillingdon: Funds to train volunteers in their spring training programme.
Hillingdon Basketball Club: Funds to buy equipment and t-shirts for youth members.
The charity is inviting grant applications on a rolling basis. The criteria for grant applications is wide: the only restrictions are that funds applied for must be used for the direct benefit of children aged 0-11 (whether individuals or groups) in Hillingdon and the surrounding areas and that the charity cannot approve grants to be spent on educational equipment or services that should be provided by the Local Authority. If you do know of any group or individual who might like to apply for funds, please direct them to the simple online application form here.
There are also two easy ways in which you can support the St. Helen's College Trust at no cost to yourself.
There is a textile bank outside 227 Long Lane into which you can donate unwanted old clothing, shoes, bags, towels and bed linen. Please note that the textile bank cannot accept branded clothing or cushions/pillows/duvets. Items donated to the textile bank are given to those in need of clothing, towels or linen. If there is anything that cannot be donated, it is recycled into industrial cleaning cloths so that nothing ends up as landfill. All donations are gratefully received; the charity receives a small payment per kilo collected.
You can also sign up to support the Trust through EasyFundraising. The SHC Trust will receive a small donation from retailers whenever you shop online. Simply download the EasyFundraising app and search for St. Helen's College Trust, then remember to open the app whenever you shop online at most major retailers.
Thank you very much indeed for your support.
On Monday 21st November, we will have a special lunchtime menu to celebrate the football world cup. You can see the menu here.
Please also find this month's recipe booklet for parents, Eat The Rainbow, here. We hope you will have fun trying these recipes with your children at home.
Thames Valley Cavaliers - Free Tickets for SHC Pupils
Once again, Thames Valley Cavaliers are offering free tickets to St. Helen's College pupils for their match this weekend. Tip-off is at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday; you can find details here.
If you are beginning to think about Christmas presents for children, you might be interested in Elf UK's offerings which have been designed to enhance children's wellbeing. You can find details here.
You can also find details of our very own Mr. Roche's children's book, Niji's Dream, here.
Posted on: 4/11/2022
Weekly News - Friday 4th November 20222R Class Assembly
The children of 2R today presented a wonderful assembly all about Bonfire Night. They looked at the history and traditions of fireworks, shared lots of interesting facts and reminded us to 'remember, remember the 5th of November'. They also let us know how important it is to be careful on Bonfire Night itself around fireworks and sparklers.
As a grand finale, they sang Katy Perry's Firework with lights and glitter pom poms. This was an informative, enjoyable and very well presented assembly. Well done 2R!
Nursery Trip to Playtrain
Our Nursery children had so much fun on their first Nursery trip to the Playtrain soft play centre today! They were very well behaved and loved the experience of being on a coach with their friends.
Our pupil Eco-Team developed a St. Helen's College Eco-Code last year and we would like to ensure that families are aware of this, so that you can support pupils in following it. You can see the Eco-Code here.
We are also very keen to find out whether any members of our community are involved in any eco work outside of school. If your child(ren) are involved in anything either as individuals or through other organisations (e.g. Scouts, Brownies etc.) then please let us know by emailing Mrs. Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Year 5/6 girls' netball team played a match against Cowley St. Lawrence School this week and won 4-0. They demonstrated some great team play and individual skill and, most important, thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Well done, girls!
The Y5/6 boys' football team also played this week, against Ryefield School. It was a close match in which we saw some excellent play. The game ended 2-2.
Year 5 Cookery Club
In the first Year 5 Cookery Club session this week, our budding young chefs really enjoyed making rice and peas, jerk chicken, sweet potato and fried plantain. Yum yum!
As many parents will already know, Parkruns are free and available for the children to take part in on the weekends.
All of the information for the nearest Junior Parkrun (2K) can be found here https://www.parkrun.org.uk/northalafields-juniors. If children are feeling more ambitious they could always do the longer distance (5k). Information on the 5k events can be found here https://www.parkrun.org.uk/northalafields/ or here https://www.parkrun.org.uk/blackpark/.
We hope that many children will choose to take part regularly.
Christmas Card Competition
Children in Reception to Year 6 at St. Helen's College have been invited to take part in a competition to design our local MP's 2022 Christmas card, which will be sent to many dignitaries and even to His Majesty The King.
Reception and Year 1 children will design their entries at school, while Upper School children should work on their designs at home this weekend if they would like to take part.
Full details are on the letter here. Please ensure that your child follows the guidelines and hands their design in on time: all entries must be handed to class teachers by Monday 7th November.
Flu Vaccinations - Reminder
If you have a child in Reception to Year 6, please check that you have completed and submitted your flu vaccination forms. We have a few forms that are showing as pending, which means they may not have been completed fully. Please ensure that you put your child's class on the form - do not leave it blank or put just the year. If you are unsure, please ask your child or contact the school and we can advise you which class they are in.
We will be marking Remembrance Day at St. Helen's College, as always, by reflecting on the day's meaning and significance and by observing a two minute silence. Our Year 6 Charity Representatives will continue to sell merchandise at Upper School arrival next week. There are traditional poppies, reflector poppies and wristbands for the children to purchase. Please allow your children to bring some money into school if they would like to buy any of these.
Oak Farm Library - Autumn News
Oak Farm Library have several activities and sessions for primary aged children. You can find details of their latest programme here.