School News and Head's Blog

6 Blog Posts found

Posted on: 18/09/2020

Weekly News - Friday 18th September 2020

Chamber Choir Re-Starts! We are delighted that we will be able to re-start Chamber Choir rehearsals shortly, with an adapted timetable to allow children to practise in their year group bubbles. Remote Chamber Choir will start from next week, with lyrics and backing tracks put onto Google Classroom each week for the children to learn.  Mrs. Fawbert, our new Director of Music, will then begin to lead in-person rehearsals on Friday mornings from 8 - 8:30 a.m. in the Upper School Hall, as follows: Friday 2nd October  for Year 6 pupils  Friday 9th October for Year 5 pupils Friday 16th October for Year 4 pupils. Rehearsals will then continue after half term.  Harvest Festivals COVID restrictions do not allow us to put on Harvest Festival assemblies at Lower School or our Upper School Harvest Festival church service in the way that we usually would. We know that parents, pupils and staff will still wish to make donations of food items at Harvest time to support those in the local community who do not have enough to eat. Hillingdon has a website for Food Banks which highlights where to donate food and when, which you can see here: https://hillingdon.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/ Year 5 will be leading our Harvest assembly and we will be sharing further information about this in due course. Ducklings Kindergarten Our youngest children have been very busy this week building their relationships with each other and exploring their world through play and more focussed sessions, all carefully planned and linked to the seven areas of learning and development. You can see photographs of them enjoying themselves on our Galleries page here. Individual Pupil Photographs Individual pupil photographs will be taken by Tempest on:  Monday 21st September (Ducklings) Tuesday 22nd September (Nursery, Reception and Year 1) Friday 25th September (Years 2-6) Please ensure that your child attends school looking smart in their full school uniform, including blazers for Upper School children, on the day of their photograph.  We are sorry that, due to COVID restrictions, it will not be possible for sibling photographs to be taken at school this year. Welfare, Child Safety and Uniform Reminders Please note that, if you feel the need to give your child Calpol or any similar paracetamol based product in the morning, you should not send him/her into school. These products mask symptoms, including but not limited to high temperatures, which is why it is not appropriate to send a child to school after taking such medicines. If your child cycles or scoots to school, please ensure that they wear a suitable protective helmet. Girls who are currently wearing summer uniform should ensure that what they are wearing complies with the uniform list. Summer dresses should be worn with white socks only and never with tights. Modesty shorts may be worn under the summer dress for lunchtime physical activity (e.g. for girls who are likely to cartwheel!). These must not be visible when worn under the dress. Leggings and other long-leg coverings are not permitted. Drop and Go  Year 2 children may now use drop and go/pick up and go on Parkway, and morning drop and go on Long Lane. If you are dropping off at 227, you must not leave your child until there is a member of staff available to see them safely into school. Message from the Parents' Association On behalf of the PA Committee I would like to convey a huge warm welcome to the St. Helen's College new parents. We hope that you have all settled well into school life and that the children are enjoying their time at St. Helen’s College so far. This Saturday the PA team would have hosted the annual welcome event we hold for new parents, serving delicious fresh homemade cakes, sandwiches, tea and coffee. For the last few years we have had great weather so we are able to sit outside in the garden, mingle and chat. Unfortunately this year we have had to cancel this event due to the current situation we face. Many other events have also been cancelled this year but we hope next year we may be able once again to hold the PA Summer Fete, children’s Christmas parties and co-ordinate other activities for parents and students. The main purpose of such events is to bring the St. Helen’s College community together; however, some events that we host do generate funds and these funds are used to buy things that can enhance our children’s experience at school. This has included things like Camelot at Lower School and the tree house and games tables at Upper School. Those parents who are part of the PA Committee and wider PA Class Rep team really enjoy the role and are proud to make such an impact in our children’s experience here at St. Helen’s. However, time is a precious resource that we are sadly lacking, so we are always really grateful for any support that you can give. Please do look out for future updates on any events we plan to hold, what support is required and how you can get involved. If you have any suggestions then please do get in touch, we are always looking for fresh ideas to help our children get the best out of this fantastic school. If you would like to get involved please contact us at pa@sthelenscollege.com. Mrs. Jamani, PA Chair
Posted on: 18/09/2020

Caring

  CARING (Adjective. feeling or showing care and compassion) The value which we are focussing on around school at the moment is ‘Caring’ and I am so proud of the whole school community as I observe such incredible examples of ‘care’ from the children, staff and parents. Over the past two weeks with our return to school there really has been an abundance of ‘care’, from the carefully planned and staggered gradual settling in of our very youngest new Helenians to the care shown by children welcoming new pupils joining existing classes, and the care shown by teachers as they lovingly and thoughtfully establish relationships and routines with their new classes. As you know,  part of our school motto,  written by the children, is ‘Care for each other’ and I will repeat also the wise saying Mr. Crehan quoted in his blog last week: ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.  I have actually been quite overwhelmed since the start of term at how our ‘village’ is coming together to support each other with such kindness and loving care. We have 79 new children, from Ducklings through to Year 5,  who have just started at St. Helen’s College, and I trust that all of our new families feel that they have received a warm welcome and feel cared for by everyone: staff, pupils and ‘older’ parents alike. If you are one of our new families, we look forward to many happy and fruitful years as a community, working together to care for your precious children and develop them into caring, responsible and loving members of our school and the wider community. The fact that we all show care ourselves is so important. Children learn best by example and it is every parent and educator's responsibility to raise caring children. Research in human development shows that the seeds of empathy, caring and compassion are present from early childhood but our children need adults to help them throughout their childhood to nurture and develop these virtues. We can do so by leading, suggesting or ‘instructing’, but surely the most effective way is by modelling: showing our children that we care, and that caring is rewarding and generates happiness and security. We need to cultivate children’s concern for others, partly because fundamentally it is the right thing to do, but also because when children can empathise with and take responsibility for others, they are likely to be happier and more successful. They will have better relationships their entire lives, and strong relationships are a key ingredient of happiness. In today’s workplace, success often depends on collaborating effectively with others, and children who are empathic and socially aware are also better collaborators - and likely to make better friends! As your children move through St. Helen’s College and they develop these key virtues, our young learners apply them every day - in the playground, in the classroom and at home.  It is heartwarming for me to take a virtual ‘learning walk’ around Google Classroom and pop into the classes - collaboration and care is evident in abundance as the pupils and staff question, support and challenge each other in their learning with the utmost respect and care for each other. Feedback is given, additional challenges are set (pupils and teachers) and the sense of belonging and pride in these virtual classrooms is phenomenal.  As a Head, I never envisaged the day where I would be able to take a virtual tour of the school and I feel such a sense of pride in the progress and outcomes of our pupils.  I am, however, grateful for now that Google Classroom has returned to its usual place as our flipped learning platform for homework (or home learning as I like to call it - the adults go to ‘work’!). There is no doubt that it is wonderful that face to face teaching has returned for our pupils, and that it is easier and more natural to show in person the care that is such an important part of the teaching/learning relationship.   Our current Year 6 pupils are stepping up to their new positions of responsibility and showing real care for others as the oldest pupils in the school; they should feel very proud of themselves. They are also preparing to sit the 11+ examinations which were postponed from early in the term and I would like to thank all the parents and teachers for the care they are giving the children as they approach this milestone in their educational journey. Our Year 6 pupils are superb ambassadors for St. Helen’s College and it is the exceptional care that they have received over the years which has enabled them to blossom into such inspirational young people: they are budding lifelong learners who contribute greatly to our school community and beyond. Finally, a word about self-care. Through our focus on Mindfulness, philosophy and positive psychology, as well as our wider PSHCE programme, we teach children that caring for themselves is one of the most important things they can do. As a school, we believe that when a child feels loved and valued, they are best able to learn and achieve their full potential. This is why school staff and parents show our children such exceptional care, but it is important to recognise that a significant part of feeling loved and valued is loving and valuing ourselves, too. So I encourage you to take care not only of your children but of yourselves and, in doing so, to set another excellent example for them. In this busy, busy world of full time jobs, parenting and caring for others, we can lose sight of how important it is to look after ourselves. You might like to re-visit the Self-Care September calendar from Action for Happiness, which has some great tips for self-care this month.  Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 11/09/2020

Weekly News - Friday 11th September 2020

Our first full school week has been a resounding success! Well done to all our new Ducklings and Nursery children, parents and staff. All of the children seem so happy and settled, learning new routines and making new friends. Mrs. Drummond was welcomed into the Ducklings garden this afternoon (socially distanced of course!) and enjoyed meeting the newest, youngest members of the school community. It is a credit to the staff and parents that the children are already so comfortable in their new surroundings. Sadly, the PA will be unable to run their usual 'Welcome Event' for new joiners and their families this year. However, we hope that all new families have now made contact with their PA class rep and feel welcomed by the parent body. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at all. Art This week we have launched our official St. Helen's College Art Instagram account. Please follow us to see examples of the lovely artwork being produced around the school! Just go to Instagram and follow St. Helen's College Art.  Mrs. Pruce has also introduced 'Artist of the Week' at Upper School. The 'Artist of the Week' will be announced every Friday in assembly. If you do have a budding young artist, you might be interested to know that Mini Monets Art Club are soon re-opening their doors to run children's art classes once more. You can find full details here. Language Teaching We have reviewed some areas of our curriculum for this academic year and have made some adjustments to our languages teaching programme. Pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 will now focus on French as the main language, with Latin being introduced at Year 5 and continued into Year 6. We hope to be able to offer a Spanish Club to those pupils who would like to continue with Spanish beyond Year 3 and further details of co-curricular clubs will be shared in due course. Pupils lower down the school will continue to be taught Spanish up to the end of Year 3. Mr. Aguiar, our Spanish teacher, is absent from school but we are delighted that Mrs. Rance will be teaching Spanish to the children in his absence. Year 6 Senior Team We are delighted to announce our new Year 6 pupil leadership team for this academic year. Head Girl - Jena J Head Boy - Zail T Deputy Head Girl - Maya T Deputy Head Boy - Samir H Congratulations to all of the other Year 6 pupils who stood for the positions - it was an incredibly difficult decision as they all were strong candidates and superb ambassadors of the school. Hustings and voting will take place next week for the positions of House Captains and Sports Captains. Autumn Term Welfare Newsletter Please take the time to read the Autumn Term newsletter from Mrs. Wilcock, the school Welfare Officer. This contains important information about medication, asthma, flu vaccinations and more. Raising Emotionally Strong Children - Parental EQ App We would like to draw your attention to this new app which has been recently developed and launched by a group of experts, drawing from the fields of child development, behaviour psychology and clinical psychology. As parents, we all need as much help as possible and ultimately we all want to be the best parents possible to enable our children to flourish. This app has been designed to help parents be more self-aware, confident and connected with their children.  Do take a look at the app and if you decide to download it we would love to hear your feedback. Please follow this link for further information: https://parentaleq.com/ Upper School Arrivals and Pick Ups Thank you to all parents for adhering to the dedicated arrival time. We would like to remind all Upper School parents that children in Years 4-6 must not be dropped off prior to 8.15 a.m., unless they are with a younger sibling. Weather Next week we are due to have unusually hot weather. Please ensure that your child/ren come to school with sun cream applied prior to arrival and that they have their sun hats. School Photos Individual pupil photographs will be taken by Tempest on:  Monday 21st September (Ducklings) Tuesday 22nd September (Nursery, Reception and Year 1) Friday 25th September (Years 2-6) Please ensure that your child attends school looking smart in their full school uniform on the day of their photograph.  We are sorry that, due to COVID restrictions, it will not be possible for sibling photographs to be taken at school this year.  
Posted on: 11/09/2020

Back To School

It is so good to see all of the children and staff back at school! There is a real buzz of enthusiasm in the classrooms, and the sound of children’s laughter in the playground is a delight.Last term the children showed great resilience and determination with their learning and engaged fully with the online lessons and activities, but they are clearly thrilled to be back at school with all of their friends and teachers. I am not surprised. A good school is, if you will excuse a cliché, a ‘home from home’. And if I may employ another wise saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Children benefit enormously from the variety of interactions and mutual love that a small community can provide, whether it be an extended family, a close, local community or a school. Nowadays, with smaller families (my parents’ Irish country background was very different), and less cohesive neighbourhood communities, school, for most children, provides a daily multiplicity of human interaction which educates, enriches and enlivens. Not so long ago, ‘BC’, some forward thinking educational pundits argued that schools would gradually become obsolete. A brave new world of online classrooms and remote teaching would replace the existing arrangements, eliminating wasteful practices such as the school run and playtimes. A recent review of over 1500 studies carried out by academics at the University of Dundee concluded that online and blended learning are often more effective than traditional instruction. Certainly, last term’s lockdown experience showed us the enormous value of communication technology, and proved that pupil learning and well-being could be promoted very effectively remotely by skilled teachers using advanced online methods. But I am sure that every parent, pupil and teacher will agree with me that, while online use of IT can be used to support learning really well as part of a blended learning experience, actually being at school makes all the difference. We are social creatures, and learning is a social, interactive process which is built upon strong relationships. It is very difficult to build and sustain such relationships online, and with the best will in the world they can never match the quality of face to face interactions, which foster friendship, trust and love. A huge amount of learning takes place during playtimes, working together in sports teams, choirs and clubs, through taking on positions of responsibilities, and by observing respected role models such as staff and senior pupils.  Covid-19 continues to constrain us, but the most important step has been taken – everybody is back at school. I know that my colleagues on the staff are totally committed to promoting your children’s education in the broadest sense to the very best of their ability, and that your children will flourish under their loving guidance. Mr. Crehan
Posted on: 4/09/2020

Weekly News - Friday 4th September 2020

It has been so wonderful to hear the laughter of the children, see their smiling faces and feel the love within our community over the past two days. From our youngest Ducklings to our Year 6 pupils, there has been a calm and happy return to school.  Thank you to all parents for supporting us with the new drop off and pick up routines and social distancing as we opened our doors this week. Please note that, if you have a child in Year 3 - Year 6, or have a child in Year 2 and a child at Lower School, and you would like to collect your child from the Long Lane entrance, you must email your form teacher to let them know. This will ensure that your child is sent to the correct exit at the end of the day. Year 2 parents who do not also have a child at Lower School must use the Parkway pick up point. Year 6  Our Year 6 pupils are already demonstrating their leadership qualities around the school and setting a great example for the younger pupils. Next week we will be hearing from those pupils who wish to stand for the positions of Head Boy and Head Girl as they will be presenting speeches in our remote assemblies. In Upper School assembly today, last year's Head Boy (Anish) and Head Girl (Catherine) shared some words of wisdom and encouragement with the children.   Speed Reading Success We are delighted to report on the success of one of the pupils who left us at the end of Year 6 in July. Michael K came 7th overall (adults and juniors) in the Mind Sports Olympiad Speed Reading competition in August! Competitors from around the world were given a brand new adult novel (372 pages) to read and then given a comprehension test. Michael read the 372 page book in 110 minutes and then did the test. There were some high level competitors in the competition. They calculated his raw reading speed at 909 words per min. Now that all of the results have been officially ratified, Michael will receive the Bronze Junior Medal. https://msoworld.com/2020-medal-table/ Michael's parents kindly shared with us that they have no doubt that the access Michael had to all kinds of books at St. Helen's College, and the emphasis we place here on reading regularly, must have helped him in this super achievement! Road Safety Competition Presentation Out of 470 entries, Arjun C (3M) was awarded second place for the Hillingdon Road Safety Dream Bike competition, which we shared on the school news last term. Arjun's design, the 'Weird and Wacky Bike', really impressed local councillors and over the summer break he was invited to the awards ceremony at the Uxbridge Civic Centre where the Mayor and councillor Keith Burrows presented him with a digital copy of his dream bike art work. Many congratulations, Arjun!     Asthma The Hillingdon Asthma Team have asked us to remind parents that, if your child has asthma and uses a preventative inhaler, you must make sure it is being taken regularly EVERY DAY as we are heading towards the most challenging season for asthmatics. Flu Jabs The school has a booking for flu jabs for all children from Reception to Year 6 for 2nd December. However, in the current situation we are unable to confirm the arrangements for this and we would therefore encourage any parents who are being offered flu jabs by their GPs to have children vaccinated independently from school if you would like to do this. 11+ Transfer: Senior School Open Evenings We would like to remind Year 5 and Year 6 parents that many schools have virtual open evenings coming up and now is the time for parents to be be pro-active about looking into and booking these for any school for which you might wish to apply. 2+ and 3+ Entry To St. Helen's College Next Year  If you have a child born between 01.09.17 - 31.08.19 and you have not yet registered him/her with us, now is the time to do so! As always, we will begin the entry process for next September's new Ducklings and Nursery classes later this term, so please make sure that your child is registered if you have not already done this. The online registration form is available here. Please do remind any other friends and family who may be eligible for entry next year to register early too. We now have a 'virtual tour' available on our website, hosted by last year's Head Boy and Head Girl, which prospective parents may watch to get a flavour of the school. Although we are unable to run Open Mornings for now, we will be able to accommodate individual (and slightly restricted) tours of the school for prospective parents as the term progresses so please do encourage friends and family to telephone Mrs. Smith if they would like to visit the school. Parent Practice Many of our parents attended a superb workshop last year run by Elaine Halligan from the Parent Practice. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, they are sadly unable to visit us this year but all their training and courses are now available online at https://www.theparentpractice.com/programmes/about-our-courses. They also have a free pack for any parents who sign up to their newsletters 'How to get the best out of your children'. You can sign up at https://www.theparentpractice.com/signup. We would be very interested to hear from any parents who do attend any of the workshops.
Posted on: 4/09/2020

Journeys

  (Definition: travelling from one place to another) One of the groups which I am involved with outside of school supports and inspires each other in our jottings or blog posts and this month the theme to write about is ‘Journeys’.  This has sparked many ideas for me in the last week as I have begun reflecting on what this means to me both personally and professionally and what it may mean to our St. Helen’s College community. We all go on journeys of one form or another, be it physical, emotional, mental or, more recently, virtual!    Over the weekend do give yourself some time and space to reflect on the following: Journeys we have been on Journeys we are on Journeys we will go on Perhaps you could find a way of bringing the family together to discuss this theme or even inspiring older children to write reflectively or creatively about their journeys? Journeys we have been on Many of us look forward to physical journeys each holiday and this summer, although there were many restrictions on our travel, I still managed to travel north to visit my mother and friends in my home town of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. I then continued my journey eastwards to Aberdeenshire for a long overdue visit to my sister, brother-in-law and nieces.  There were no visits to the airport this summer, packing sunscreen and beach towels, but my journey this summer was nourishing and grounding and took me back to my roots. For the first time in a long time I really appreciated the ‘journey’ and did not dwell on the destination and I soaked up the scenery, taking in the magnificent views as I drove from the south to the north. I am sure that many of you also appreciated our local environment and explored areas which we have perhaps neglected in the past when opting for overseas journeys for our summer holidays. Journeys we are on The journey we all find ourselves on at the moment during this global pandemic has been unique and one which we could never have ever imagined. However, it is so important to reflect on the positives on this journey.  Families have found themselves spending so much time together, new routines have been established, and we have perhaps learned more about ourselves and others around us then ever before. Journeys we will go on I have not planned any physical journeys for the immediate future; however, I have promised myself some sea air as often as I can in the next few months. Visits to my daughter at university in Kent may be the driver of these journeys! The emotional and mental journeys ahead for us all are unknown at the moment and I will most certainly be using my mindful meditation, bringing attention to my breath and grounding myself to assist in coping with future journeys in a calm manner. Upper School pupils have taken part in some ‘grounding’ mindful exercises in our remote assemblies this week to help them through the journey of their busy day - please do ask your children how they ground themself and the effect that this can have for them. I know I have commented on this before, but I will reiterate that our St. Helen’s College community is incredibly committed to working together on this strange journey we are currently experiencing. The trust, mutual respect and relationships between us all are being forged ever stronger as we journey together through this most bizarre time of our lives.  If you would like to pen your thoughts on ‘Journeys’ - those you have been on, those you are on or those you will go on - please feel free to share them. Over the course of this new academic year it would be wonderful to have some more guest bloggers to share this spot with me! Have a wonderful weekend and a safe ‘journey’ to all this year. I will leave you with you a photo of one of my favourite creatures - to whom I managed to get up close! - and a scenic view from my journey this summer. Mrs. Drummond

6 Blog Posts found