School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 15/02/2019

Weekly News - Friday 15th February 2019

Half Term Activities Although no formal homework is set during the half term break, the teachers are offering some optional activities for pupils to keep them occupied. Please read on to find out more about these optional opportunities.   World Book Day - 7th March This year for World Book Day our theme will be 'Stories from Around the World.' We have a range of fantastic activities planned for the children throughout the week including a visiting book bus, author talks and book quizzes. We will not be dressing up for Book Day this year; however, we will be creating a photograph compilation display of the children in traditional dress from around the world. Form teachers will issue guidelines for the challenge following the half term break. "There are many little ways to enlarge your world.  Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy Mindful Sit Congratulations to the whole school for taking part in the Mindful Sit this week, sitting in complete silence for five minutes to experience the sound of silence. Many thanks to the Year 5 Mindfulness Ambassadors, who led the assemblies in Lower School and Upper School to explain what Mindfulness is and to demonstrate some practices. True ambassadors for how to be mindful! Assemblies This Week Money Money Money! 6W took on the challenge of financially educating the children in Upper School with their assembly all about money this week. They presented ideas about how to earn pocket money and how to make financially responsible decisions about how to use your money. The 6W pupils explained you can EARN, SAVE, SPEND or DONATE your money. There was even a working cash machine in the assembly issuing money! Developing our pupils' financial literacy and ability to manage money is one of our PSHCE themes and such an important life skill, so the 6W pupils have challenged the pupils in Upper School to take on an optional half term pocket money challenge. They have encouraged the children to find some helpful jobs they can do around the house to earn a little bit of pocket money and everyone has been given a half term 'Money Flow Diary' to complete to show how they EARN, SAVE, SPEND and DONATE their money during the week. After half term they will share their diaries and what they did with their class in PSHCE lessons.  The themes of 6W's money assembly and ideas about teaching your child about financial responsibility can be found on the Cha-Ching Family Zone here. The resources are excellent and may be of interest to families for developing the child's life skills with money.  Valentine's Day There was so much love in Lower School this week as Kingfishers Reception class performed their wonderful assembly celebrating the history and traditions of Valentine's Day.  We even had a marriage celebrated on the day with our bride and groom!  A delightful performance by all the children and so poignant as the children shared their Valentine's messages to their families.                 Nursery Counting Cushions The Nursery children absolutely loved counting on their new cushions this week, which have been kindly made by Brenda Hunt. The children used the Numicon pieces to count and then matched them to the cushions. Thank you very much Brenda!           Owls Visit the Art Studio The children of Owls Reception class visited the Upper School Art Studio and Miss Dear this week to create space-themed t-shirts for their upcoming assembly. The children were very excited to come over to the Upper School and see the Art Studio and they created some lovely t-shirt designs!         Year 2 Trip to Heath Robinson Museum Our Year 2 pupils enjoyed a super trip to the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner this week, where they looked at the different illustrations Heath Robinson had made and found clues in his pictures, like a swinging cat in a box. The pupils made felt with different coloured materials, using water and soap. It was great fun to have soapy hands!       JRSO Conference Our Junior Road Safety Officers were invited to attend an event at Brunel University run by the London Borough of Hillingdon’s Road Safety & School Travel Team this week. Our team, consisting of six pupils from Year 5 (Catherine L, Laura B, Jasmine B, Dhiya K, Esha T & Anaiya B) were invited to participate in a number of fun educational activities including a theatre performance, workshops and the Dragons Den (during which they had to present an idea and pitch for funding). Over the past few weeks the team have been discussing ideas to improve road safety or school travel and they came up with the idea of a loyalty scheme to encourage safe, active walking to school.  They investigated their ideas, looking at how it would be achieved and what the rewards for participating would be.  They then had to research the costs involved and produce a proposal in the form of a presentation. On the day the girls were excited but a little nervous and were part of the first group to be called in to face the “Dragons”. They came across confidently and gave a polished presentation. The Dragon’s commented on their well thought out ideas and clear costings.   Councillor Burrows remarked that he has never had a school ask for funding for a loyalty scheme, and he was impressed at the innovative idea to encourage everyone to make a commitment to our scheme. At the end of the day we all sat nervously waiting to find out if our pitch to the Dragons had been successful and I am delighted to say that not only did they endorse our idea but actually gave us more money they we had asked for, which is fantastic. This will enable to JRSOs not only to implement their idea but promote their scheme throughout the school with posters and banners. They very much deserved the funding that they received and we look forward to seeing their Active Walking Loyalty Scheme in action.  Well done girls.         Sports Results The Year 5/6 Netball B team played two matches this week, successfully winning both with improving performances. In their first match on Wednesday against Ryefield School they won 5 - 1. They then played St. Mary's School B team on Thursday, winning 3 - 0. The Year 5/6 Netball A team played St. Mary's School A team too on Thursday, dominating their match to win 12 - 0.  Our school football team resumed matches after the winter break with a 2-0 win against St. Andrew's, with Harry and Alex scoring the goals. This was followed up this week with a convincing 4-0 win over Laurel Lane School, with Alex scoring 2, Harry netting one and Jack H getting his first goal for the school. The team has started very well and hopefully we can keep this going for the remaining three matches. We welcome two new additions, Thomas W and Jack H, to the team. BBC 500 Words Competition The annual BBC 500 Words Short Story Competition is now open and entries are being accepted until 8th March for ages 5 - 13. This is a fun writing activity for the children with some fantastic prizes to be won, so we hope that you will encourage your child to enter. Half term is a super time for the children to plan and write a short story. An adult must submit a child's entry online so please feel free to submit your child's entry at home; alternatively, you may email the entry to your child's class teacher and we can submit it for you. Here is a link to the main competition information:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00rfvk1 Here is the link to the resource pack, including planning tips and activities:  http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/radio2/500words/500_words_2019_resource_pack.pdf Good luck to all entrants! Waste Week: 25th-29th March As part of waste week there will be a host of assemblies taking place by Mrs. Mann, Mrs. McLaughlin, Miss Dear and the Eco Reps. The theme this year is 'Say no to single use plastic', so we would like to set an optional half term challenge of taking photos of 'alternatives used instead of plastic'. These photos will then be displayed on our Eco Board for all to see. Please bring the photos into school and give to your class teacher no later than Friday 1st March. During the week, the Eco Reps will keep a record of single use plastic they see from their class and the results will be shared in assembly, the aim being that all classes have 0% single use plastic. Children will be focussing on the theme in more detail in their lessons during that week to discuss, learn and debate this very important issue.  We look forward to seeing all your photos after the half term. 
Posted on: 8/02/2019

Weekly News - Friday 8th February 2019

Quiz Club Success On Tuesday, eight members of our General Knowledge Quiz Club took part in the annual general knowledge quiz area heat at Davenies School in Beaconsfield. Two teams of four children went head to head against nine other teams to answer forty general knowledge questions. Subjects included geography, history, classical music, films and literature. It was a close contest and our teams showed great knowledge and determination. We are very proud to say that our teams finished in 2nd and 3rd place. Well done to Arushi (6M), Anisa (6M), Catherine (5A), Daniel (5G), Ben (4T), Vidhit (4T), Aryan (3B) and Anjika (3B).              Sign2Sing All across the school this week our children have raised awareness of a very small charitable trust, Sign2Sing, by taking part in their annual event 'Sign2Sing'. In their music lessons the children have been learning British sign language to a popular Take That song.  Mrs. Smith, one of our Year 3 Teaching and Learning Assistants,  has also been running a sign language club at lunchtime.  Each assembly gave me tingles and we were delighted that Tony the representative from the charity was able to join us yesterday to enjoy our performances.   It is so important that we raise our children's awareness of this disability but that they realise that deaf people are able to communicate and lead a very enriched and fulfilling life as they do.  For those of you who have not seen the Oscar nominated short film about Maisie the 6 year old girl I would highly recommend it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkIbPTV1NIE A special thank you is due to Georgia in Year 6, who has been inspired by this charity and arranged a 'Guess the number of sweets in the jar' event at Upper School, which raised £100 yesterday.  We will announce the full amount raised next week and thank you all for your kind donations. You can see videos of the assemblies here: Lower School - https://youtu.be/SwFWlEaXy40 Upper School - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj0R5EKWJeY&feature=youtu.be Year 5 Sell Their Cereals Pupils in Year 5 have been busy taking part in their own 'The Apprentice' challenge. The brief was to come up with a new cereal for children and our pupils worked in their English, art and computing lessons to put together a pitch for their own brand new cereal. In art lessons they made and designed cereal boxes, in English they wrote a presentation pitch which would persuade supermarkets to buy their product and finally, in computing, they put together an eye catching and informative stop motion animation for their pitch. The children worked enthusiastically to develop their ideas and the delivery of the pitches by all of the children was to a high standard and very professional. Watch out Alan Sugar - the next generation are on their way!         Chinese New Year We had a great time at school this week celebrating Chinese New Year. The children loved the special menu created by Soula and her team for lunchtime. The children in Year 2 particularly enjoyed seeing Joleen demonstrate how to use chopsticks properly!                     Assemblies This Week On Thursday, the children of Robins Nursery performed superbly as they shared with us the traditions and history of the Chinese New Year. A most colourful and confident performance from every child - congratulations!                                2H told us all about The Great Fire of London in their assembly today. Their re-enactment of the Great Fire of London was really entertaining, with wonderful singing, dancing and drama.  We are so fortunate to live so close to London and I am sure that many of the pupils will enjoy visiting so many of the landmarks they have been learning about.  The visiting 2H parents had an extra treat today as the Middle School children also performed their Sign2Sing song to their audience - a very poignant moment.                   5A performed a wonderful, thought provoking assembly this week on dreams and aspirations. The children recited a fun poem by Gareth Lancaster and re-enacted the traditional story of ‘The Three Trees’.  Parents and pupils alike joined in to sing 'A Million Dreams’, led by a confident and proud 5A, all dreaming big to be the very best that they can be in their futures.                          Sports News Handball Competition Last Saturday some of our Year 6 pupils took part in the district handball competition held at Oakwood School. The event, supported by Ruislip Eagles Handball Club, who provided referees, saw ten teams of boys and girls play this exciting and fast paced game.  St. Helen's College had two teams taking part and both teams played very well during the group stages, winning many matches. Our A team progressed to the semi finals to play Oak Farm in a thrilling match which was won by just one goal by Oak Farm. Player of the day was Thomas W who was outstanding in goal! Well done to everyone who took part and congratulations to the A team who were presented with bronze medals.  If your child is interested in handball, they might like to join the Eagles handball club for training. More details can be found here. Information about Thames Valley Cavaliers basketball club's Saturday programme and half term holiday camp can be found here. Netball Results Netball teams from Langley Hall came to St. Helen's on Wednesday to play netball against our Year 6 girls. Our A team won 9 - 0 and the B team lost 10 - 0.  In the local schools' netball league our team played Hermitage school last night. After a shaky start, the girls rallied in the second half and the final score was 10-4 to Hermitage. Mindful Sit Pupils from Ducklings to Year 6 will take part in a mindful ' Sit Together' on Monday, where they will embrace the moment and sit mindfully to enjoy a strong silence. This activity is being carried out by thousands of children across the UK to raise awareness for National Children's Mental Health Week. More details can be read here: https://mindfulnessinschools.org/sit-together-for-childrens-mental-health-week/ Month End Music Recital - Next Friday (15th February) We would like to remind parents that our February Month End music recital is happening rather early, next Friday, because of half term! Please do come along to this lovely informal occasion to hear the pupils perform, playing their musical instruments or singing. You will be most welcome, whether your child is performing or not. We look forward to seeing many of you there. PA Class Representatives - Forum Meeting Tuesday 12th February Please let your PA class rep know if there is any point relevant to the whole school community which you would like us to discuss at the forthcoming forum meeting on 12th February. Any points which relate specifically to your class or year group should, as always, be addressed to the class teacher. We are particularly interested to hear any feedback or ideas from the parent community about car sharing and how this may be embedded further throughout the school.
Posted on: 1/02/2019

Weekly News - Friday 1st March 2019

Owls Assembly - All About Space The children in Owls took us on an intergalactic tour of Space this week in their assembly and astounded us with their knowledge of Space. Singing and performances were out of this world!               Well done Owls - you are all our little stars! 2B Assembly - Colours 2B brought much colour to a rather drab Friday morning (dreich as I would say in Scotland!) with their creative assembly on colour, inspired by their recent trip to the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner. (Do visit if you are not aware of this superb local museum,  https://www.heathrobinsonmuseum.org/.)               The children then acted out a wonderful story told to us from the perspective of the crayons in a packet of Crayola crayons!  I am sure that we will all be more mindful and creative in our use of colours in the future but also a lovely reminder to allow our own true colours to shine through. Well done 2B! Quiz Team Success! Our Quiz Team have reached the semi-finals of the Prep School General Knowledge Competition, which will be held at Merchant Taylor's School on 20th March. They will be busy over the next few weeks acquiring even more general knowledge to prepare themselves for what will be a very high level challenge against the other qualifying prep schools. Year 4 Take Decimal Work Outside               The children in Year 4 made the most of  this week's good weather to take their learning outdoors as they worked interactively and cooperatively learning to multiply decimals by 100, 1000, 10000.  Great team work and fun in developing their mathematical understanding. Year 5 Drama The shrieking of witches and chants of spells resounded around the playground this week as our Year 5 classes practised performing their own versions of the famous 'Song of the Witches' from Shakespeare's Macbeth. Their focus is on characterisation, adding pitch, pace and vocal pauses where necessary. Great work, Year 5. You can see some photos and short videos of their work here. HeartStart We are delighted that the school has been re-affiliated for another year as a teaching school for HeartStart, the British Heart Foundation initiative to educate a future generation in life-saving skills. As part of our innovative and unique PSHCE curriculum, we run the HeartStart programme for all children from Reception to Y6 each year, teaching and building skills in emergency first aid including calling for help, dealing with conscious and unconscious casualties, choking, serious bleeding, strokes, heart attacks and cardiac arrest.   British Science Week 2019 1st - 8th March is British Science Week. Parents may wish to learn more, or look at some of the resources with your children, to help to spark their scientific interest! To do so, please follow the link below for more information on the theme, which is ‘Journeys’.  There are activity packs for all ages and families, and you can get involved with ‘Run with the Ancestors’, locate events near you, or get involved in ‘citizen science’ and help with digitizing old weather records! https://www.britishscienceweek.org/ Direct links to age-appropriate resource packs are below. EYFS (Ducklings, Nursery and Reception) https://www.britishscienceweek.org/app/uploads/2019/02/BSA_sciweek_pack_earlystages_0119v2.pdf Primary Pack (Years 1 - 6)https://www.britishscienceweek.org/app/uploads/2019/02/BSA_sciweek_pack_primary_0119v4.pdf Family Pack https://www.britishscienceweek.org/app/uploads/2019/02/BSA_EurotunnelTerminal_handout_1118_W1.pdf A further useful resource is the Science Live site: https://sciencelive.net/ We hope you will enjoy getting scientific together! Walk on Wednesday Our weekly initiative to encourage our pupils and parents to include walking as part of their journey to and from school returns next Wednesday.  Why not enjoy a stroll through Court Park or along Long Lane on the way to school each Wednesday?  It's a great way to start the day.  Our ''Drop and Stride' route will also operate from Court Drive where our older pupils can be dropped before independently walking down the path in Court Park to school. Our staff and Junior Road Safety Officers will be positioned along the path to supervise the route between 8.05 and 8.25 a.m. Pledge Sign Up Clinics Our Junior Road Safety Officers will be holding sign up clinics for the school's new Parent Parking Pledge on Wednesdays this half term in the Upper School gazebo. Signing up is quick and easy online and parents will receive their car pledge sticker immediately.  If you can not make Wednesdays to sign up for the pledge you can access the online form here. Let's see which class gets all their parents signed up first!  Sign2Sing Fundraising Many thanks to all who kindly made donations in support of our Sign2Sing initiative in the first half of term. We are delighted to report that the school raised a total of £400.56 for this most worthy of charities. More importantly, perhaps, we have once again raised the children's awareness of the importance of caring for those whose lives are more challenging than their own. Sports News Our football team suffered a defeat on Wednesday, losing 6-3 to Hermitage. It wasn't our best performance, but the boys showed a lot of character in the second half and hopefully this will help us moving forward. Goal scorers were Alex C, Jack H and Eli V-B. Exhibition Day We would like to remind parents that our annual Exhibition Day will take place on Saturday 23rd March. This year, to celebrate our new look Lower School, we would like to invite all parents and staff for a Bucks Fizz reception at Lower School from 9.30 a.m. The official timings of Exhibition Day at Ducklings and Upper School will be 10.00 a.m. until 12.00 p.m. Refreshments will be served from 10.00 a.m. in the Evans Hall. We do hope that you will all take this opportunity to celebrate your children's hard work and achievements on this special day. Speech Competition Children throughout the school are now busy learning their poems for our annual Speech Competition and aiming to produce performances of a really high standard. Nursery and Reception children will recite their poems to their parents, teachers and peers on Tuesday 26th March. All Nursery and Reception parents are warmly invited to attend to hear the children perform. Children in Years 1 to 6 will, as usual, perform their poems first to their class teachers, who will select semi-finalists. Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Smith will then hear the semi-finalists and select the finalists. Parents of finalists will be invited to the finals on Monday 25th March, when the finalists will perform their pieces to parents, staff, peers and our guest judge, the Reverend Ken Kingston. The children's performances will be judged on three things: expression, projection and clarity. Gesticulations or movements will not be counted. Some natural hand movement is acceptable but judgements will be made purely based on the quality of the pupils' speech. Choreographed actions are not permitted. We hope that you will encourage your child to learn their piece by heart, to practise with expression, projection and clarity in mind, and to support and encourage their peers in doing the same.  We are very aware that not everyone can make it through to the final so please support us in helping your children to cope with disappointment to strengthen their resilience. Registration Reminder If you, or any of your friends or family, have a child whose date of birth is between 01.09.15 and 31.08.17 and you intend for them to join St. Helen's College, please register them now as a matter of priority. The online registration form is available here. Trophies Reminder We would like to remind parents that all cups/trophies awarded at Prizegiving, Sports Day and the school tennis competition need to be returned to the school office this term. Please return trophies as soon as you can.  
Posted on: 1/02/2019

Weekly News - Friday 1st February 2019

Year 5 Armada Battles In their history lessons this week, 5A and 5G had great fun re-enacting the events of the Spanish Armada. Throughout their afternoon lessons, the children heard the story of the Armada whilst having their own 'mini battles'. On tables of four, children were split into two pairs, with one pair representing the English and the other pair the Spanish. Everyone had a picture of their monarch, a picture of the type of ship they would be in and a map of the English Channel showing the points of the various battles, as well as four sets of scenarios from different times during the event. The pupils were made commanders of their fleet, with the number of ships the Spanish and English actually had. As events 'unfolded', the children worked in pairs to make decisions about how to proceed, given three possible options for each decision. Each class then discussed all the choices they had made, and Mrs. Hopkins revealed what actually happened and what would have happened if the children had been the decision makers back in the sixteenth century! The pupils very much enjoyed examining their results cards to see whether they would have lost ships and ultimately been victorious!  Many thanks to Burn, our History Prefect, and Anisa for assisting Mrs. Hopkins with these exciting lessons! Year 5 gave some excellent feedback after the sessions, which were clearly extremely interesting and memorable for them. Times Tables Rock Stars We would like to remind all parents from Year 1 upwards that all of your children have a school subscription to the superb 'Times Tables Rock Stars' site, which is also available as an app to download. This online programme assists the children in learning their multiplication tables in a fun and interactive manner...so do remind them to use it regularly! The children are able to access Times Tables Rock Stars via the Learning Portal, as well as other online resources including Mathletics, Language Nut, Abacus and Curriculum Visions. DeLancey UK Chess Challenge The first online Delancey UK Chess Challenge begins this Friday 1st February, and the children from our Upper School chess clubs will be encouraged to take part. Please see the following link for details on how to register and take part.  https://www.delanceyukschoolschesschallenge.com/chesskid/  Alternatively, watch the following brief videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpl7XQdwRMM&feature=youtu.be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKAhDhFzhzQ&feature=youtu.be  St. Helen's College to become ABRSM Exam Centre We are delighted to announce that we will be becoming an examination centre for some of our music pupils. This will mean a large number of our pupils will be able to sit their examinations in a familiar environment on a Saturday instead of missing lessons during the week and travelling to other examination centres. Peripatetic music teachers who will use our centre will be in contact directly with parents.  Hillingdon Music Hub This week in assembly, Miss Collier gave a talk to Upper School children about the Hillingdon Hub. The Hub provides opportunities for young musicians from different schools to get together to play in a band or orchestra, on a Thursday evening and/or Saturday morning. Some current St. Helen's College pupils already attend, as do some ex-pupils. If your son or daughter has Grade 1, or plays at that level or above, they are able to join, and you don't have to live in the borough to attend. We would urge you to allow your children this extra musical opportunity! If any parent or pupil would like any further information, Mrs. Allery or Miss Collier would be pleased to provide this. You can also find more information by following the link below. ​https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/music Wrens Assembly The children of Wrens Nursery put on a roaringly good dinosaur-themed assembly this week, displaying quite astonishing knowledge and performance skills for children aged 3 and 4!. They knew lots of interesting facts about dinosaurs and educated their audience about herbivores, carnivores and what caused dinosaurs to become extinct, even re-enacting a meteorite hitting the earth! They also sang three very catchy songs and wore fantastic costumes. Each and every child spoke individually, remembering their words and projecting their voices beautifully. Well done, Wrens! Borough Basketball Our basketball team took part in the borough basketball competition this week held at Uxbridge College. The team played four matches in their group and after narrow defeats in the first two matches they bounced back to win the final two matches against Ryefield and St. Swithun Wells schools. Well done to the team.  Chinese New Year - Special Menu On Tuesday, we will be celebrating Chinese New Year with a special themed menu. You can see the special menu here. Year 5 Transfer Meetings Thank you to all the Year 5 parents who have met with me over the last couple of weeks to discuss the choice of schools available for your children’s senior school transfer. With us all working together, we can prepare the children for this exciting next step.  Car Sharing If you currently drive your child to school, we would like to encourage you to consider sharing the journey with other parents who live near to you. Car sharing has many benefits, including: Relieving parents of the need to drive to school every day. Encouraging friendships among children, either within the same class/year group or across the years. Reducing traffic congestion on local roads. Easing the difficulties of finding parking spaces around school. Reducing pollution in the local area. Helping to educate children to be responsible citizens by reducing pollution and congestion. Encouraging relationships between parents across the same/different year groups to enhance the SHC community. Freeing up parents' time at the start/end of the day on some days of the week to enable more working hours/free time! If you are interested in car sharing, please let your PA Class Rep know, as we will be discussing this further with Class Reps at the next Parents' Forum meeting. We would be delighted to see more parents car sharing at morning drop-off and evening pick-up, and we will be actively promoting car sharing to the children in assemblies and via our Junior Road Safety Officers too. Thank you, in advance, for your efforts in arranging car sharing in order to improve the school run for everyone. St. Helen's College Parent Parking Pledge  We are asking you to consider making the Parent Parking Pledge in an effort to manage congestion and improve safety near our school at busy times. The idea is simple: in return for agreeing to follow some basic principles, your car can carry a sticker that tells the world you are doing your bit to make a difference. Parents at schools across Hillingdon are agreeing to: • Help my child/children travel actively at least once a week • Drive with consideration for others • Park away from the school gates • Never block a driveway • Turn off my engine when parked In addition we have three pledges that apply here and trust that you will agree to: • Follow the St Helen's College parking regulations • Use the 'Drop & Go' and 'Pick Up & Go' zones safely and efficiently • Respect and adhere to the parking restrictions in operation around all our school sites If you are happy to make the Pledge, it would be great if you could follow the link and complete the form. Once submitted, you will get your car sticker that will show others your commitment to pupil health and safety. Thank you!  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScEIokFqGjH68LP5qCH9miaJIxA4i6cTB4J67WMDB009-j5PA/viewform?usp=sf_link
Posted on: 25/01/2019

Weekly News - Friday 25th January 2019

Class Assemblies This Week 1HC Assembly - Roald Dahl Pupils in 1HC brought the world of Roald Dahl to life with their wonderful assembly this week, recounting their recent visit to the Roald Dahl Children's Gallery. Their passion for reading and for Roald Dahl's books in particular shone through in their confident and enthusiastic performances. They also communicated clearly that Roald Dahl's books teach us all about character and the virtues we all aspire to lead our lives by.   One of my favourite Roald Dahl quotes is this one: 'So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookcase on the wall.'' 5G Assembly - Food Glorious Food! 5G's assembly this week certainly was a varied recipe of stupendous performing and sharing of information to raise our awareness of the importance of a balanced diet. How fortunate we are at St. Helen's College to have Soula and our wonderful catering team keeping our children healthy to enable them to benefit from all that they do at school. The behind the scenes documentary enlightened us all as to the thought and the processes involved in food preparation each and every day for our children. Thank you to all of the staff and pupils involved. You can see the assembly powerpoint presentation here. You can see 5G's documentary here: https://youtu.be/8lB3rAZ5J6o Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Well done to all of the children who stepped out of their comfort zone to taste something different today to celebrate Robert Burns Day. Thank you to the Accent team for preparing Scottish specialities including the cranachan dessert.   Sit Together for Children’s Mental Health Week The Mindfulness in Schools Project community is coming together to mark Children’s Mental Health Week 2019 and to raise awareness of the need for young people to develop skills to support their own wellbeing, both inside and out. On Monday 11th February, pupils and staff in Lower and Upper School will be invited by Mrs. Drummond  to join with other teachers and students from primary and secondary schools all over the world who have introduced mindfulness into their schools in a shared mindful 'sit together'.    Parents may also wish to take the opportunity during this week to have some mindful moments at home with your children. All our pupils know how to take part in the finger breathing practice and I am sure they will share this with you.  Staff News It is with a heavy heart that we announce that, following 20 years of distinguished service at the school, Mrs. Stark has decided to embark upon her well-deserved retirement and will be leaving us later on this year, once we have appointed a new Deputy Head. Mrs. Stark has been an integral member of the staff at St. Helen's College for many, many years and her contribution to the school has been immense. Mrs. Stark joined St. Helen's College as a part time French teacher and introduced the school to other languages. She should be very proud to leave the Languages department enriched with Spanish, French and Latin. Mrs. Stark went on from being a part time teacher to a full time Year 5 class teacher for many years before becoming Deputy Head ten years ago. She will be very greatly missed by colleagues, pupils and parents and I am sure that you will join us in wishing her all the very best for a long, happy and healthy retirement. Mrs. Stark is looking forward to spending time with her family and her four delightful granddaughters but we know she will always remain part of the St. Helen's College community. Sign2Sing Fundraising This half term we will be supporting the charity Sign2Sing. Your child has been busy learning to sign the song 'Greatest Day': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNuVOO_-uHk Sign2Sing is an annual event, organised by the Deaf Health Charity SignHealth, which provides health and wellbeing services in sign language for deaf people. They are committed to breaking down the barriers that deaf people continue to face, with poorer communication support and poorer access to health services than hearing people. Sign2Sing is designed to promote sign language as a communication tool and make music more accessible to those who can’t hear it. It provides us with the opportunity to become deaf aware, while also raising essential funds for their projects which support the deaf community. The children will be performing the song together on Monday 4th (for Lower School children) and Thursday 7th (Middle and Upper School children). We would ask that your child pays a £2 suggested donation to take part in this event, but all donations are greatly appreciated by this small charity.   The Upper School Library book sale on Wednesday raised an impressive £65 for Sign2Sing. This total will be added to the school's fundraising efforts this half term. Thank you to all those parents and children who bought books - enjoy your reading! Coding Club We still have a few places available in our Coding Club and we will now be opening this club up to Year 4 children too. If you have a child in Year 4, 5 or 6 who would like to attend Coding Club after school on a Friday, please email Miss Lang at mlang@sthelenscollege.com as soon as possible. The remaining places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Month End Music Recital Well done to the children who performed in today's informal Month End Music Recital. As usual, there were some very impressive performances and it was lovely for the children to be able to begin their performing 'journey' in front of such an enthusiastic and supportive audience. Sports News England Roses Inspire St. Helen's College Pupils  Last Sunday, over 50 St. Helen's College parents, pupils and staff travelled up to the Copperbox Arena to watch some international netball. The event was part of the Quad Series of matches being played between England Roses, Australia Diamonds, New Zealand Silver Ferns and the South African Proteas this winter in preparation for the Netball World Cup taking place in Liverpool in July. The first match, between South Africa and New Zealand, could not have been closer! With the score tied at the end of full time and still tied at the end of extra time, the teams had to play on until one of them won by two goals. Finally it was New Zealand who won 62 - 60.  Next up was England versus Australia, their first match against each other since England beat them in the epic Commonwealth Games final in 2018. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the Copperbox as it seemed the whole crowd got behind the Roses. Our pupils and parents were on the edge of their seats watching the game as it swung in England's and then Australia's favour but it was England who found the resilience to come through in the final quarter to win the match 52-49. Our pupils were truly buzzing after the match and one was even overheard saying, 'I want to play for England when I'm older'. Let's hope the visit to watch the England Roses has inspired them to strive for excellence and realise their dreams one day.  Netball League Results St. Helen's College played Cowley St Laurence this week and won 9 - 3.  Gymnastics Many congratulations to our Y3/4 and Y5/6 gymnastics teams who took part in the Borough competition this week at Botwell Leisure Centre. Teams of four, two boys and two girls, from eleven schools across the Borough competed at the event. Each team member had to perform a floor routine, a body management routine and two vaults in front of judges at the event. Our team members had been practising their routines and vaults for the past few weeks and all their hard work really showed in the confident and polished performances they gave. Anaya K (Y4) achieved the highest score of all the Y3/4 competitors on the floor and second highest score on the vault, Mark R (Y4) achieved the highest score of all the Y3/4 competitors on the vault and second highest score on the floor and Ionie M (Y6) achieved the highest score of all the Y5/6 competitors on the vault and second highest on the floor. Overall in the team competitions our Y3/4 team came 6th and our Y5/6 team came 5th. The children thoroughly enjoyed the competition and are already planning how they will practise and improve for next year!  Travel To/Around School Car Sharing If you currently drive your child to school, we would like to encourage you to consider sharing the journey with other parents who live near to you. Car sharing has many benefits, including: Relieving parents of the need to drive to school every day. Encouraging friendships among children, either within the same class/year group or across the years. Reducing traffic congestion on local roads. Easing the difficulties of finding parking spaces around school. Reducing pollution in the local area. Helping to educate children to be responsible citizens by reducing pollution and congestion. Encouraging relationships between parents across the same/different year groups to enhance the SHC community. Freeing up parents' time at the start/end of the day on some days of the week to enable more working hours/free time! If you are interested in car sharing, please let your PA Class Rep know, as we will be discussing this further with Class Reps at the next Parents' Forum meeting. We would be delighted to see more parents car sharing at morning drop-off and evening pick-up, and we will be actively promoting car sharing to the children in assemblies and via our Junior Road Safety Officers too. Thank you, in advance, for your efforts in arranging car sharing in order to improve the school run for everyone. St. Helen's College Parent Parking Pledge  We are asking you to consider making the Parent Parking Pledge in an effort to manage congestion and improve safety near our school at busy times. The idea is simple: in return for agreeing to follow some basic principles, your car can carry a sticker that tells the world you are doing your bit to make a difference. Parents at schools across Hillingdon are agreeing to: • Help my child/children travel actively at least once a week • Drive with consideration for others • Park away from the school gates • Never block a driveway • Turn off my engine when parked In addition we have three pledges that apply here and trust that you will agree to: • Follow the St Helen's College parking regulations • Use the 'Drop & Go' and 'Pick Up & Go' zones safely and efficiently • Respect and adhere to the parking restrictions in operation around all our school sites If you are happy to make the Pledge, it would be great if you could follow the link and complete the form. Once submitted, you will get your car sticker that will show others your commitment to pupil health and safety. Thank you!  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScEIokFqGjH68LP5qCH9miaJIxA4i6cTB4J67WMDB009-j5PA/viewform?usp=sf_link Chess Challenge Uxbridge Chess Club will soon be hosting a UK Chess challenge tournament. Several St. Helen's College chess players already attend the club, but the tournament is open to any entrant, whether they are a member of the chess club or not. Any players scoring 3.5 from 7 games will qualify for the UK Chess Mega, then Giga finals. The tournament will take place in a hall near to Uxbridge town centre. If you have a child who would like to enter, we would encourage you to do so.​ Full details are available here. Uxbridge Chess Club is run by a St. Helen's College parent, Mr. Knight, and we would encourage any keen chess players, or those who would like to give chess a try, to go along and try the club!
Posted on: 18/01/2019

Weekly News - Friday 18th January 2019

It has been a week of sports festivals, with our Year 5 and 6 pupils taking part in a Hillingdon borough badminton festival and our Year 1 and 2 children taking part in a multi skills festival at St. Mary's School, Gerrards Cross.  Badminton Some children from our Badminton Club and from across Year 5 and 6 attended the inaugural badminton festival for Hillingdon schools this week, taking part in different skills activities related to badminton. This event promoted badminton to pupils and it was great to see some of the children from Badminton Club extend the skills they've been learning at school. Multiskills Festival Thirty two pupils from our pre-prep department got their first taste of representative sport for St. Helen's College this week when they took part in a fun multi-skills festival, hosted by St. Mary's School. The event was led by their Year 10 and 11 young sports leaders, many of whom were old girls from St. Helen's College. Jumping, running and throwing challenges were set up at skills stations by the leaders and our pupils rotated around the sports hall trying all the activities. There was a huge amount of energy on display as our pupils demonstrated some great skills. Our Year 1 and 2 pupils were super ambassadors for St. Helen's College, upholding the school values and showing they were model students who were ready, respectful and safe. Congratulations to everyone who took part.  Netball Team Off To A Flying Start The local netball league resumed this week after the winter break and our Year 5/6 team were off to a flying start in their first match back this week against Laurel Lane school, winning 15 - 0. Well done to the girls! 4KT Assembly - Perseverance 4KT gave a very polished assembly performance today, reminding us all of the importance of 'persevering' - superb drama performances, poetry recitals and singing - thank you 4KT for a most poignant assembly for pupils and adults alike. A great assembly as our first class assembly of the year. Please see the link below if you are interested to watch Austin's Butterfly, which I referred to this morning: https://vimeo.com/38247060 Book Sale - Wednesday 23rd January The Upper School Library will hold a book sale next Wednesday (23rd January), in the gazebo in Upper School playground. The sale will open at 8 a.m. and close before the bell rings at 8.30 a.m.  Pupil Librarians will be offering for sale a range of paperback books, suitable for all school years, which are no longer required in the library. Books will be priced at 50p or 25p and the money raised will contribute to our efforts this term for Sign2Sing. We thank you, in advance, for allowing your children to bring in some spare change to buy books! Casting Opportunity We have been approached by a casting director who is looking for a non British accent 10 year old girl for an exciting role in a major studio feature film in London this spring. It would not be an extensive time commitment - just a couple of weeks. Please see this document for further information. Parking Next Week We have been informed by the council that the three lay-bys along Long Lane between the shops and Lower School will be resurfaced next week. They will be closed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. while the work is carried out. Please do be mindful of this and leave plenty of time for your journey and to find alternative parking if necessary.  
Posted on: 11/01/2019

Weekly News - Friday 11th January 2019

Our Year 6 pupils are currently very busy attending interviews and sitting independent school exams for senior school entry. We wish them well with their offers, which should come in over the next few weeks.  Mrs. Drummond is currently busy meeting with the Year 5 parents individually to discuss the senior school transition process. There will also be evening meetings for both Year 4 and Year 5 parents during the summer term regarding the senior school application process. Enrichment Many families will remember our very first STEAM Day, where Nick and his STEAMCo truck visited us and we launched rockets in the playground. STEAMCo are now involved in the ArtsConnect Festival, which celebrates the power of creativity, technology and people. This may be a super opportunity to further engage your children and families in workshops, performances, talks, films and more which will inspire their interest in science, technology and the arts. Do take a look at the link below. ​http://www.steamco.org.uk/artconnects If your child is interested in drama, you might like to take a look at the upcoming auditions for Rare Productions shows, which will be held in Watford, Rickmansworth and Chesham. Details can be found by following the link below. https://www.rareproductions.co.uk/auditions First Class Music Achievements! Chamber Choir Qualifies for Final of National Barnado's Competition We are delighted that the Chamber Choir have, once again, qualified for the finals of the National Barnado's Choir Competition. This competition sees hundreds of choirs from all across the nation compete, via a submitted recording, for the chance to perform in the finals at the Royal Festival Hall in March. St. Helen's College is one of only 18 schools who have qualified for the final! This is an amazing testament to the strength of vocal and choral teaching and practice at the school. Many congratulations to our Chamber Choir, led by Mrs. Garnes and Mrs. Allery, and to all of the staff at the school who have, over the years, prepared the pupils so well musically through class/individual teaching and co-curricular activities. ABRSM Music Examination Results - Autumn Term 2018 An enormous well done to these pupils, who received an excellent set of results in their ABRSM exams last term: Piano   6W Xaviella F Grade 8 Distinction    Saxophone   6W Ionie M Grade 1 Distinction    Singing   6M Nidhi U Grade 2 Distinction 5G Dhiya K Grade 1 Distinction 3M Chrissy S Prep Pass 3B Natalia C Prep Pass    Trumpet   6M Thomas G Grade 1 Distinction 6W Luke J Grade 1 Merit    'Cello   5A Rhea A-V Grade 1 Merit     Guitar   6M Nicholas S Grade 4 Pass  5G Jasmine B Grade 3 Merit  6M Amar C Grade 2 Pass  6W Agastya S Grade 1 Pass Heartstart It has been wonderful to see our pupils from Year 1 upwards so actively engaged in their Heartstart programme this week, learning the critical and crucial skills of emergency first aid. During their time at the school, our pupils all learn how to react in an emergency situation, call for help, put patients into the recovery position and administer life saving first aid, including resuscitation. We are very proud of our PSHCE curriculum, which prepares children so well to be responsible citizens in the future. Charity News Many thanks to those parents who attended our carol service at the end of last term and made donations. The collection raised a total of £130.46, which will be split evenly between Noah’s Ark and the Blood Fund. An additional £100+ was raised for Noah's Ark through the sale of Christmas cards and contributions to Mrs. Cheema's JustGiving page.
Posted on: 14/12/2018

Weekly News - Friday 14th December 2018

It has been a busy term in the classroom and your children have worked very hard indeed. Particular mention must go to our Year 6 pupils, who have been striving for excellence throughout their 11+ preparation with many of our pupils now preparing for independent school examinations in January. We wish them all well and they should remember the advice given to them to be themselves...and keep reading! As you are aware, no formal homework is set for students over the holidays; however, we would assume that every child will continue their reading journey throughout the holidays. The festive holidays are a particularly good time to spend quality family time together, playing good old traditional board games such as chess, Ludo, Monopoly, card games, Pictionary etc. You may like to look at the Happy Puzzle Company (for Years 3-6) and Orchard Toys (for Ducklings - Year 3) for appropriate games and puzzles to enrich the pupils' learning while having fun together.  Enjoy visiting places of interest, talking to your children and remember to have some calm and peace over the festive season. Christmas Events and Celebrations It has been a most Christmassy week here at St. Helen's College as we have remembered the true meaning of Christmas and celebrated this special time of year through many events. The week began with Nursery and Reception children putting on their nativity plays for their peers and parents; these were incredibly accomplished performances. It is astonishing to think, when watching these young performers, that they are only 3, 4 and 5 years old! Their ability to remember lines, move correctly around the stage and perform confidently in front of a large, enthusiastic audience was really very impressive indeed. As I commented at the end of the performances, we are in good hands with our leaders of the future. The children of Ducklings and Lower School were really amazed on Thursday when they had a very special visitor. Yes, Santa managed to make time  to come and see them! Mrs. Crehan also joined with Santa for some Christmas singing with the Ducklings. Sadly, Mr. Crehan was unable to join us as he was busy looking after reindeer for a friend! Lower School children enjoyed their Christmas party afternoon and pantomime (performed by West End in Schools) on Thursday afternoon. The day before, all Upper School children had had a fantastic trip to the Theatre Royal, Windsor to see Dick Whittington. Christmas lunch was served on Thursday for all, and it was a joy to see the children enjoy the festive lunchtime so much, with music, crackers and lots of good cheer! Special thanks must go to Andrew, our Chef, Soula, our Catering Manager and all the wonderful Accent staff who look after us so well in the dining hall all year round. Our Head Girl and Head Boy gave a heartfelt vote of thanks on behalf of the school. Well done to our Christmas tree decoration competition winners. They were: Ducklings - Aaria M Wrens - Leo A Robins - Armaan​​ V Kingfishers - Alexia C Owls - Veer K 1HC - Riya S 1J - Rian M 2B - Milo M 2H - Saanvi S 3B - Deven D and Eshan N 3M - Anokhi B 4T - Maya S 4KT - Georgia S 5A - Ciaran R 5G - Anaiya B and Keaton P 6M - Mia N 6W - Hebe E Thank you to all of the parents who attended our end of term Carol Service today. As ever, it was a poignant occasion with lovely performances from the choirs, orchestra and staff choir. We thank you all for your generosity in supporting the charities with the leaving collection. Music and Sports Personality of the Term An enormous well done to Xaviella F, who has been named Musician of the Term for her outstanding effort, commitment, dedication and achievement within the music department. Xaviella has always worked conscientiously and demonstrated enormous enthusiasm over several years, in all aspects of music at St. Helen’s College. She has excellent music skills and applies and shares creative ideas successfully in class work. She began singing in the Lower School choir and has continued in the Upper School. Two years ago, she was selected to join the Chamber Choir and has already performed at two prestigious venues in London. Xaviella is an asset to the music department and now holds the responsible position of Music Prefect. Instrumentally, she is a fluent recorder player, plays the violin in the school orchestra, has recently taken up the double bass and, as her crowning glory so far, has successfully achieved a distinction in her Grade 8 piano exam! Well done, Xaviella. You are an inspiration to the young musicians of St. Helen's College and you thoroughly deserve this accolade. Our Sports Personality of the Term trophy was also awarded today. This term, the trophy went to Zoe K, a young lady who represents the school in many sports and always works hard to contribute to team success. Zoe was a member of the football, tag rugby, sports hall athletics and cross country teams this term and also regularly plays in the netball team as well as representing a netball team outside of school. Zoe was a double champion this term, winning both District and Borough cross country titles and she went on to represent Hillingdon at the London Youth Games cross country championship. A fantastic WELL DONE to Zoe. Cookery Club Year 4 and 5 children enjoyed the first ever Cookery Club in Upper School this half term. It was such an exciting and fun club for them, as shown by their Cheshire Cat grins and gleeful little leaps as we announced the recipes for the sessions!   The children started each session by putting on their chef hats and aprons and issuing a warm greeting to Soula, our chef. They were shown good hygiene practices and all the necessary health and safety rules in the kitchen as they were shown around how the school kitchen works. At each session, the children prepared and cooked/baked different recipes which included smoothies, apple crumble, savoury mince pasty, vanilla sponge cupcakes and even a  festive Christmas Tree chocolate sponge cake. The children learned  food preparation and cooking techniques but, equally importantly, they experienced the joy and love of cooking and food, which is essential as a life skill. Many thanks to Ms Gilham and to Soula for running the club. Spring Term 2019 The lunch menu for the spring term has been published to the School Documents page of the website and is available here. Co-curricular clubs will begin the week commencing Monday 14th January. Thank you for submitting your selections; final allocations will be sent to you in due course. Please make your payment via SchoolsBuddy to confirm your child's place at your allocated clubs. Breakfast Club bookings for next term should be made via your SchoolsBuddy account. Please note that you must book your Breakfast Club places through SchoolsBuddy or your child will not be able to attend; places are limited and are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Subject to availability of places, you may book a place at Breakfast Club up until 7.30 a.m. on the day of attendance. You can do this using a computer or mobile device, including smart phone. If you are unsure of how to do so, please see a member of the office team at your earliest convenience.
Posted on: 7/12/2018

Weekly News - Friday 7th December 2018

Many thanks to Mrs. Patricia Adams, the Head of St. Mary's School in Gerrards Cross, who visited us this afternoon to run an interview workshop with our Year 6 children, many of whom will have senior school entrance interviews early next term. Mrs. Adams gave our pupils some great advice and we hope that they will have taken her two most important messages to heart: that 'over-preparation is the foe of inspiration' and that 'magic happens when you believe in yourself'. Masterclasses like this are the cherry on the cake of preparation for interviews and public speaking in general, which begins at St. Helen's College from the very earliest years. Our pupils perform publicly regularly and the many and varied opportunities they get at school to challenge themselves intellectually and to get involved in all sorts of activities, sports and music give them plenty to speak confidently about! We wish our Year 6 pupils all the very best in the various interviews they will be attending next term.  Assemblies This Week Wow! Well done to Year 1 for a fabulous Christmas assembly today. The children sang with confidence and real rhythm, and without exception they spoke their lines with excellent clarity and projection. It was super to hear some of the history of Christmas, including how Christmas trees and Christmas cards originated, as well as to consider the true meaning of the Christmas story. Very well done to everyone involved. 3M performed their Christmas-themed assembly today too, which incorporated both an alternative and a traditional Christmas story and ended with an interactive carol involving staff and pupils, with a lyrical twist! The pupils' delivery of their (many) lines was flawless and the acting was first class. The children managed to combine humour with poignancy, showing great maturity in their performances. Well done indeed, 3M. Christmas Is Coming! Thank you to all of the many parents who visited school today to hear the Infant Choir perform Christmas songs this morning, with a special guest visit from the Mayor of Hillingdon, and to join us for our annual Carols Around the Tree this afternoon. It was super, as always, to bring our community together in this way to look forward to the joy of Christmas. Please read on below for details of Christmas events next week and the end of term arrangements. Monday 10th December 8.45 a.m.  Nursery Christmas Assembly at Lower School All Nursery parents are warmly invited to join us to watch the children perform their Christmas assembly.  Coffee will be served in the Lower School Hall from 8.15 a.m. Tuesday 11th December 8.45 a.m.  Reception Christmas Assembly at Lower School All Reception parents are warmly invited to join us to watch the children perform their Christmas Nativity. Coffee will be served in the Lower School Hall from 8.15 a.m. Children from Nursery, Year 1 and Year 2 will have had the opportunity to watch the Reception dress rehearsal on Monday 10th December. Wednesday 12th December Upper School (Years 2-6) Pantomime trip to see Dick Whittington at Theatre Royal, Windsor. Please note that details will be sent to parents separately.  Thursday 13th December Christmas lunch for Nursery to Year 6, followed by a pantomime performance for Nursery to Year 1 at Lower School by West End In Schools. Friday 14th December 11.00 a.m. Carol Service at All Saints Church (Years 2-6).  All parents are warmly invited to join us for our annual Carol Service at All Saints Church.  End of Term - Half Day (12.00 N/R, 12.10 Y1/2, 12.20 Y3/4, 12.30 Y5/6). Holiday Club running p.m. only. Holiday Club will then be running from Monday 17th to Friday 21st December. Please remember that all bookings must be made through SchoolsBuddy. Chess Fixture Monday afternoon's chess match against St. Bernadette's was good fun and closely fought. The atmosphere was competitive but friendly and it was great to finish the term's chess on a high in what has become a regular and most enjoyable fixture. St. Bernadette's team won by a margin of the result on just one board. Well done to those who played. Co-Curricular Clubs There are a few clubs which will run an extra session next week to make up for a session missed earlier in the term; parents whose children attend these clubs have been emailed directly. All other co-curricular clubs for the Autumn term have now finished. The co-curricular programme for the Spring term will be published on Monday via SchoolsBuddy. Please note a change to our booking procedures. In order to protect some time for the children to play with their peers and, particularly in Upper School, for staff to be able to catch up with children regarding their school work, we are restricting the number of clubs children may attend at lunchtimes to three per week. I trust that you understand that the well-being of the children is paramount. There will be no restriction on after school clubs.  

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