School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 10/07/2020

End of Term News - 10th July 2020

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday! Our final 'feel good' staff video of the lockdown can be found here. Enjoy and have a wonderful summer holiday! 2019-2020 School Magazine We have, as always, been working very hard to produce a school magazine which showcases some of the excellent work the children have done this year, as well as some of the many activities in which they have taken part. This year we are not printing/distributing the magazine due to COVID-19 restrictions, but you can see the electronic version here and it will remain available on the school website. We hope that you enjoy looking through this lovely keepsake...the children might like to look at what the year group above theirs has been doing too, so that they get an idea of what life will be like for them when they enter their new year group in September. Musician of the Summer Term The Musician of the Term trophy is awarded for outstanding effort, commitment, dedication and achievement within the music department. The winner this term is someone who 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 has been a regular member of the Junior, Senior and Chamber Choirs. She is an excellent role model within the music department and is a music prefect, regularly performing at assemblies, recitals and outside of school. As well as playing the recorder fluently, she has singing lessons and is preparing to take Grade 7 on the piano.  An enormous well done to Anaiya B! Lockdown Summer Term Sports Personality  A huge well done to Samir H, who has been named the Sports Personality of the Summer Term! Samir engaged with all of the Virtual Sports Day events, uploading lots of videos of himself taking part, and also completed a 26 mile charity challenge. Samir is a talented tennis player and has skills which would have made him a member of several sports teams this term, had school been 'normal'. He always encourages others to get involved and has been particularly encouraging to his younger sister during the period of lockdown. Congratulations, Samir!   Lockdown Sports Champions Our Year Group Winners were: Y3 - Oliver K Y4 - Charlotte M Y5- Vidhit N Y6 - Eli V-B The overall champion was Samir H. Very well done to all those who took part in the virtual sports events!  Spring Term Sports Personality of the Term Well done to Rhea A-V, who was named the Sports Personality of the Spring Term (which could not be announced at the end of the spring term due to lockdown).  Rhea is a real all-rounder and has been a stalwart of many school teams. She has shown great leadership both on and off the sports pitch and has excelled in the football and netball teams and in her role as a Sports Captain, organising the table tennis trials. Congratulations, Rhea!  Sports This Year The full sports round up for this year is here. Mythology Competition Success! Jasmine B and Uma D (Year 6) have been awarded joint 1st prize in the Arts section of the 2020 Annual Mythology Competition organised by The Primary Latin Project. They each wrote and performed their own individual song as a response to the story of Daedalus and Icarus.  There were some other excellent entries from children in Years 2-6, such as the lovely mythology-inspired piece of artwork by Riya C which you can see here. The judges made the following comments. 'This year’s entries have been fantastic with such a wide range of materials and ideas used to help to convey the elements of the myths. It has made my job as judge of the art competition very tough because there were so many brilliant entries! Top prizes this year include songs, paintings on canvas, digital art and 3D models. Judging was done taking age of entrants into account to ensure ability was judged fairly. Higher marks were given to the originality of the entry, the attempt to convey all elements of the myth as fully as possible and overall presentation.' Very well done to all those children who submitted entries and particular congratulations to Jasmine and Uma! Junior Language Challenge The uTalk competition played out very differently this year due to Covid so there were no national finals. Certificates have been allocated on different criteria as below.   https://mailchi.mp/aa4df991944e/the-utalk-junior-language-challenge-has-come-to-an-end Leo J (4KT) is one of only 13 children out of over 2300 to get full marks in both rounds and he has won a gold medal and  £200 worth of uTalk language software! Tanishka M has won a silver medal and £50 of uTalk software. Other pupils were awarded bronze certificates. Very well done to everyone who took part, and special congratulations to Leo and Tanishka! House Art Competition Many congratulations to all of the children who entered our House Art Competition, who will each receive certificates. Winners' trophies were awarded to: Windsor winner - Anjika G (4T) Cambria winner - Ruby L (2H) Ducklings Summer Picnic Our Ducklings children had so much fun this week when they visited Father Desmond's garden for their summer picnic. You can see more photographs of the children enjoying this special event on our Galleries page here. Mrs. McGee and the Ducklings staff are very proud of the resilience and joy our youngest children have shown throughout their disrupted first year with us, and we know that they are well equipped to move on for a very happy year in Nursery from September.     Lower School Beach Party The children attending Lower School had a super day today, celebrating all that summer might bring with their very own beach party day! You can see more photographs of the fun and colourful time they had on our Galleries page here.           Spaghetti and Marshmallow Challenge Our Year 1 children took part in a marshmallow and spaghetti challenge this week. The winners from Blue Whale pod (1HC) were Roshni and Ashvika, who managed to build a tower that measured 65 cm high. They were also the team that showed the most perseverance and determination. Well done, girls!   The Year 1 children would usually have been visiting Mad Bess Woods, where Mrs. Hunt lives, during their final week of term, where they would have had a wonderful time exploring and having ice creams. We couldn't quite bring the woods to school, but we could certainly bring the ice creams and the children enjoyed them immensely!         Year 6 French Day and Play In A Day The Year 6 pupils enjoyed a 'fantastique' day of French themed activities on Wednesday, including bread making, disco dancing, French quizzes, traditional games and of course the annual talent show! Tasty crepes were served at lunchtime from a wonderful crepe van too. Well done to everyone for embracing the day. You can see more photographs from the day on our Galleries page here.   On Thursday, they put on a 'Play In A Day' version of 'Singing In The Rain', which would have been their grand Year 6 musical. The children entered into the challenge with enthusiasm and demonstrated their well-developed performance skills. The weather wasn't fantastic on Thursday and once or twice they were actually singing in the rain! You can see the video of their efforts here.   Leavers We wish all pupils and families who are leaving us all the very best for the future. We will miss you...please, please keep in touch. Old Helenian news should be sent to susmith@sthelenscollege.com - we would love to hear all that your children get up to and to celebrate their future successes with you. We also wish the staff who are leaving us every success for the future and thank them for their commitment to the school. We know that they will keep in touch with us and look forward to hearing from them. All the very best to class teachers Miss Dear, Mrs. Rance and Mr. Tovell and to Mrs. Stubbs (Music) and Miss Williams (Funtasia). Mrs Califano (1HC) will be leaving us to start her maternity leave and we look forward to hearing happy news later in the summer from her and from Mrs. Rance too. Mrs. Hunt, who has been a class teacher at St. Helen's College for 20 years, is stepping away from her class teacher role in September to concentrate on her leadership duties as Head of Lower School and one of our Designated Safeguarding Leads. We thank her for her excellent work as a class teacher over so many years. Summer Reading Challenge We know that many families have enjoyed visiting their libraries during the summer holidays and participating in the summer reading challenge. However, with the disruption to library services due to COVID-19 the challenge will this year take place digitally. Please do sign your children up to enjoy some super reading challenges, quizzes and other activities by following this link:  https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/parents-carers   We look forward to hearing about the children's summer of reading for pleasure! Summer Holiday Activities Parents might be interested in these ideas for some activities to keep your children busy and entertained over the summer holidays.  https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/have-some-fun/competitions/win-an-original-drawing-by-ed-vere-plus-a-set-of-signed-books/ http://www.eparenting.co.uk/celebrations/summer.php
Posted on: 10/07/2020

Summer Wishes

It is with immense pride that we bid our staff, pupils and parents a safe and restful summer holiday after what has been a remarkable year indeed. However, we must not allow ourselves to dwell on the negative aspects of living through this pandemic but focus our attention on what an incredible year we have had.  Your children have proved that they are adaptable, resourceful and resilient young people who bring so much joy to us all each day.   There have been so many highlights throughout the year as we have watched your children thrive and develop in our care and even when we found ourselves in lockdown in March, the staff rallied together to ensure the quality of our provision and pastoral care of the children was the best it could possibly be.   As a Head, I feel privileged to have led the school through this period of uncertainty and what has stood out for me is the sense of community which has brought us much closer together. You as parents stepped into new roles at home to support your children’s learning as the staff facilitated this remotely - you have juggled family life with home life (as many of our staff have also had to do) and we have so much mutual respect for the sacrifices and hard work which this has meant for everyone. I look forward to September with positivity and excitement - it will be a joy to have our whole community back together as one. There will be elements of our remote learning which will remain as part of our practice now, but it will be uplifting to have face to face interactions again, and for the children to be with their friends and teachers once more. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to every member of the St. Helen’s College community for just being who we are, supporting each other and staying strong together - never before has the children’s motto for SHC meant so much: Strive for excellence Help everyone achieve Care for each other Have a safe summer everyone and we look forward to seeing you all again in September. God Bless, Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 3/07/2020

Weekly News - Friday 3rd July 2020

Feel Good Friday - All About Me We hope that the children enjoyed expressing themselves today by wearing something on the theme of 'All About Me'. What was very obvious, from the outfits worn by the children (and staff) both in school and at home, was what a diverse and vibrant community we are! Many among us chose to wear dress reflecting our culture or background and an enormous number of activities, sports and interests were represented too. Well done everyone for the effort put into outfits today, and I hope that you will continue to reflect on all that makes you an individual, including your heritage, your interests and talents and your dreams for the future. You can see photographs of the children on our Galleries page here. Virtual Sports Day Awards Over the summer term, Upper School pupils have been preparing at home and participating in our Virtual Sports Day. The leadership board has been changing weekly in what turned out to be a hot contest! Congratulations to all who took part; the list of event winners is available here. Overall year group winners will be announced at the final assembly next Friday. Chamber Choir 2020-2021 Thank you to everyone who submitted a video entry for our online Chamber Choir auditions. We are pleased to announce that the following children have been selected: Advik 3M Annabelle 3B Arshia 3B Arshvir 3B Inaya 3B Minaya 3B Anaiya 3M Leila 3M Eshanvi 3M Anjika 4T Diyan 4T Ria M 4T Layla 4KT Zach 4KT Anokhi 4KT Chrissy 4KT Eshan 4KT Riya C 5G Samir 5G Vidhit 5G Manisher 5G Zara 5G Mrs. Fawbert and Mrs. Garnés very much look forward to working on beautiful choral music with you. Thanks to Mrs. Allery also, who was as usual part of the selection process. Many congratulations to our newest members! Old Helenian News We are delighted to share the news that Old Helenian (and school neighbour) Rex Baldwin has just been made Deputy Head Boy of The John Lyon School for the academic year 2020-2021. Last Day of Term Next Friday, 10th July, is the end of term and is a half day. Collection times for each year group are shown below. Please do adhere closely to these in order to help us to maintain social distancing outside the school gates. Ducklings - 12 p.m. Lower School Site Nursery - 12 p.m. Reception - 12.15 p.m. Upper School Site 1HC - 12 p.m. 1C - 12.10 p.m. Key Workers Year 2-5 - 12.20 p.m. Year 6 - 12.30 p.m. To end our term with the Nursery and Reception children, we will be having a Bubble Beach Party at school on Friday 10th July.   We will use our last morning together to share in some fun activities around a 'Hawaiian summer beach party' theme in each of our bubbles here at Lower School.  We would very much like to encourage the children to dress accordingly, so please do have a look at home for shorts, t-shirts, sunglasses or even a grass skirt for the children to wear on the day!   Children from Year 1 to 6 who are in school will have a socially distant final assembly at 11 a.m. in the playground at school (weather permitting), which we intend to live stream out to the children at home. We look forward to sharing a fun-filled and no doubt emotional final day together. Flute Vacancies All instrumental tuition for September has now been allocated and our timetables are full on all instruments except (unusually!) the flute. We have some outstanding Year 6 flautists who are leaving us this summer to transfer to their senior schools, creating a few more vacancies than usual. The flute is a beautiful instrument to learn and play, not too noisy to practise (!) and much prized by senior schools, since woodwind groups and orchestras need talented and experienced flautists. If you have a son or daughter in Year 2-6 who would like to learn the flute from September onwards, please contact Mrs. Allery directly at rallery@sthelenscollege.com. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Field Studies Council Summer Breaks Families might be interested in booking a summer break at one of the lovely Field Studies Council locations across the United Kingdom. The locations are safe, remote and provide a lovely opportunity for your children to connect with nature. They can let their imaginations run free: get muddy, ford streams, build dens and create their own adventure. There is wildlife to spot, woods to explore and amazing creatures to wonder at. The beautiful FSC sites have peaceful nooks and crannies aplenty so you can finish reading that book, enjoy a real face-to-face chat and find the perfect spot for a picnic. Why not get out there and make the most of all that nature has to offer in our beautiful country? https://www.field-studies-council.org/stay-with-us/?ref=email&dm_i=65YE,1THW,10DVOT,6TN0,1  
Posted on: 3/07/2020

A Governor's Perspective

Over the past few weeks you have had the opportunity to read blogs from Mrs. Drummond, parents and children all giving their thoughts on the distance learning provided by St. Helen’s College during these unprecedented times. I am writing now as someone who has looked on from the outside and has, for the past half term, been right inside “at the chalk face” or at least today’s IT equivalent! Back in the autumn, when Mrs. Drummond asked me if I would be willing to take on the supply maternity cover for Mrs. McLaughlin for the second half of the summer term, I was only too pleased to accept, but neither of us could possibly have imagined at that time what the summer term would bring.   At the beginning of 2020 we were being made aware that a pandemic might be just around the corner, but few of us understood what an impact that it would have upon our lives. As the spring term progressed, it became increasingly obvious that, in all likelihood, St. Helen’s College and all other schools would be asked to close and that the children would have to be educated at home. Waiting for that to happen was a surreal time as plans were made for what was surely to come, while the daily life of school continued largely unaffected. As Governors, we were kept fully apprised of the developing situation and we were always on hand to give advice and support to Mrs. Drummond and the SLT as they made their plans. As a former Head of many years standing, I have many experiences to draw upon but, like the majority of serving and ex Head Teachers, none that fully prepared us for this previously unimaginable situation.  As remote learning got underway at St. Helen’s College, I saw how much time and effort the teaching and support staff were putting into making necessary amendments to their lessons, planning and timetables. This was not in order to produce a ‘watered down’ curriculum, but rather to ensure the delivery of the richest curriculum possible from a different platform. As always, their aim has been to maintain the provision of as many opportunities as possible for the children to extend their love of learning and to develop independence, resilience and mutual respect as they grow as young people ready to make their mark in our ever-changing world.   This aim has been achieved successfully despite the challenges for staff, for the children and for you as parents. Even the most “tech savvy” people have had to learn new skills and understand new aspects of technology. St. Helen’s staff and children are fortunate in that many of them were familiar with, and aware of the power of, Google Classroom, but still there has been so much for all of us to learn. So, having been observing closely from the outside, on 1st June I entered fully into the St. Helen’s College online teaching experience.  I knew the Year 3 curriculum well, I had already met the children in 3M and had been fully briefed by Mrs. McLaughlin, but I also knew that I had much to learn about the technology, and my learning curve in that department has been steep! I am really enjoying teaching 3M. I have always enjoyed working with children, seeing those ‘light bulb’ moments, helping pupils to understand something new and exciting  about the world or about themselves. I love watching as they grow and develop, ask questions and form their own ideas and opinions. All of these and many others are the reasons why I have been involved in the education of young people for so long. Yet remote learning and teaching online is a real challenge; it is hard work! There is no other way to describe it and my current experiences have brought me to reconsider many aspects of classroom teaching that I had previously taken for granted.   All teachers plan their lessons carefully. There is a curriculum to follow and many would argue that, as educators, we have been too bound by that, but that is a discussion for another day. However, we are, by our very nature, spontaneous beings.  With the children in the classroom, no teacher would want to stick blindly to the plan when a new, unexpected learning opportunity appears. We are working with people, not machines, and therefore we want to respond to their needs as they arise. We constantly encourage our pupils to be independent. This is so much easier physically in the classroom where the teacher is able to monitor progress more closely during the lesson and gently steer a child back on course if they have drifted, often by asking a relatively simple question at the right time. With remote learning, a child may complete a considerable amount of work before the realisation that they are not quite on the right track. Similarly, with resources it is much easier to provide an individual with appropriate support or extension exactly as and when it is needed in a more discreet manner. Last week one of the pupils in 3M remarked that there were so many attachments to the assignment that day, so I explained that these were necessary ‘just in case’ for some and not all of the activities would be used by everyone.  However, I think that the greatest challenge of not being in the classroom with the children is that we cannot really see and appreciate each other as people. Yes, if all of the cameras are working and switched on then we can see faces, but not all of them all the time, and particularly not when the teacher is in ‘presentation mode’ on their device. As humans we constantly send out and respond to non-verbal messages, so not being able to see most, if not all, of these signals is very hard. A teacher is able to respond naturally and immediately to a smile, a shrug, a frown, a raised eyebrow or a despondent droop of the shoulders in the real classroom. These signals are unseen in a remote learning classroom and I have found this a very strange and quite challenging situation to which to adapt. The very term ‘remote’ is exactly what we, as teachers, do not want to be. We are not, and should not be, remote and distant; the children are used to us being there for them and that is how we have been used to working. The majority of teachers are not used to speaking into a void, to an unseen audience either and certainly that is something that I found I had to become used to pretty quickly. Some children have found it challenging to speak online; they feel more shy than they would be in the real classroom, and this can also prove to be a barrier to learning. A quiet, discreet chat is possible when we are physically in the same room but there is no such thing as a quiet chat in a Google Meet lesson where everything is heard, or printed, for all to see.  Fundamentally, of course, I am the same teacher that I was before this experience. I still want to undertake all that I am used to being able to do in the classroom, and so it has been frustrating when this has not been possible. I have no doubt that moving forwards there are some aspects of remote learning that we will want to keep. There are always positives that emerge from any situation, however difficult it might be. Remote teaching and learning has certainly made me ponder on which aspects of my role as teacher are the most important to maintain and those that I really would prefer not to continue.    After five weeks of teaching remotely, I can honestly say that it is only now that I am immersed in the situation myself that I can fully appreciate the enormous amount of time and effort it has taken the staff every day to provide for their pupils during this pandemic. So many aspects are involved: planning, delivering, marking, giving feedback, ensuring that pastoral care is all that it should be so that no child feels that their worries are not being heard and acted upon, speaking to the children about everyday matters, contacting parents to give information and reply to concerns, liaising with other staff and a myriad of other unexpected matters to be attended to. All of these things take so much longer than in a ‘normal’ school day. There simply are not enough hours in the day, or days in the week, and that is without taking into account the family commitments that all staff also have. All of the staff at St. Helen’s College always work hard and thoroughly deserve their summer break every year but this is particularly true this year, far more than any other. As a Governor, and I know that I speak for Mr. and Mrs. Crehan and the other Governors too, I sincerely congratulate the staff and thank them, not only for surviving and rising so well to all of the many challenges presented to them recently, but also for their dedication and determination that has meant that they have provided your sons and daughters with such a rich and varied experience over the past months.  During the past weeks you have been able to have increased insight into your child’s school experience at St. Helen’s College and I hope that you have found it to be an interesting and rewarding one. We do not know exactly what the future will hold, but your sons and daughters are growing up in a very special school in historic times.   I wish you, St. Helen’s College pupils and the rest of your families a safe, happy summer break as refreshing as possible in our current times.   Miss Beckett
Posted on: 26/06/2020

Weekly News - Friday 26th June

Ready to Rumble Here is our next 'feel good' video, made in recognition of the fact that today would have been the Prep Sports Day. We hope it will remind you all that the St. Helen's College staff are keeping in good spirits and thinking of all members of our community, even while it is not possible for us all to be together in person. We hope you enjoy it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=kQbDi_jhnZQ&feature=youtu.be Fun Friday It has been super to see the children back in their uniforms today for this week's Fun Friday theme. For some of them, it will be the last chance they have to wear their St. Helen's College uniform before they move on to their next schools, and it was lovely to see them so smart and so proud of their school colours. We were also thrilled today to have a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Crehan, who were able to walk around the school and 'visit' the children by waving hello from the doorways of the pods. Here they are in the Zen Garden - it was very hot, but the fountain was bubbling away just in front of them!       We have also been making an alternative marketing video at school today, to give prospective parents (who are currently unable to visit) a natural flavour of the school. The video has been directed by Mrs. Smith, filmed by Mr. Smith (no relation!) and stars Catherine and Anish, our Head Girl and Head Boy. It will be edited and the final version will be posted to the website in due course, but for now, here is a sneak preview of the likely ending. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBAiyO_4l18&feature=youtu.be     PA Virtual Family Quiz The Parents' Association will be running a virtual family quiz on Saturday 4th July at 3.00 p.m. Full details are available here. We hope that many of you will take part! House Art Competition Thank you to all of the children who have entered the House Art competition. You can see entries on the Galleries page. The winning house will be announced in the final assembly of term. Instrumental Tuition Music places for individual tuition from September have now been allocated. However, we do have a few vacancies for flute, trumpet and violin tuition. These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, so please contact Mrs. Allery as soon as possible if you would like your child to begin lessons on one of these instruments. You can reach Mrs. Allery at rallery@sthelenscollege.com.  Holiday Club We have communicated with parents directly today to confirm that, sadly, we will be unable to run our Holiday Club this summer due to the Covid-19 restrictions in place which require strict consistency of staffing. Here are some alternative clubs that might be of interest to parents this summer. https://www.fun-fest.co.uk/ruiview/funfest/availability/   https://all4kidsuk.com/holiday-clubs-and-courses-childrens/greater-london/hillingdon   Registration Reminder If you have a son or daughter who will be eligible for entry into St. Helen's College Nursery in September 2021 (children born between 01.09.17 - 31.08.18), and you have not already registered him/her, please ensure that you do so soon. We give priority to siblings when we are allocating the Nursery places, but they do need to be registered with the school in order for us to do so! You should register your child by completing the online registration form at: https://www.sthelenscollege.com/257/registration-form Attain Some parents might be interested to read the latest articles from Attain Magazine, which can be found by following this link. https://attain.education/magazine/sthelenscollege
Posted on: 26/06/2020

Diversity

Last week in the Upper School assembly I spoke to the children about ‘Diversity’.  This was prompted not only by my attendance the previous weekend at the DiverseEd annual conference but also by the media coverage surrounding the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests which have occurred around the globe. My opening slide in assembly was this, which shows our current Year 6 pupils back in Year 5. I asked the children to take a long look at the photograph - what did they notice? What stands out for me is that we have the most wonderful group of 41 individual children in our current Year 6 - but to extend this further we have the most incredible school of 375 unique and wonderfully different and diverse children. What is diversity in simple words? It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. I am sure that many of the older children were aware of the anti-racism demonstrations surrounding ‘Black Lives Matter’ and it is important that as a school we continue to educate your children to be aware of what is going on in the world around them. The children had the opportunity to listen to a very simple video message from one of the Cbeebies presenters which I also urge you as parents to view: ‘A message from our house to yours’ https://twitter.com/CBeebiesHQ I do not wish to dwell on just one aspect of Diversity but over the past few weeks I have reflected on my role as a leader and at the end of the DiverseEd conference we were all asked to make a pledge to ourselves as to how we will continue our journey to ensure that we are preparing children for the future ahead. I will share my pledge with you all - ‘To keep raising awareness as a leader; to continue to educate myself more to enable greater good in my community and be proactive for change.’ During the online conference, which was attended by over 400 other educators from the UK and overseas, we heard from a diverse range of leaders and educators who continue to make a difference to their communities with the work that they do educating young people on diversity. I realised that, prior to leaving Scotland back in 1989, I had led an incredibly sheltered life. I was brought up in a small coastal town where there really was not much diversity at all in terms of race, religion, sexual orientation or even physical abilities. I do not think that this has adversely affected me as I believe that it is the core values which we adopt and are immersed in that allow us to be accepting of everyone in our society. However, looking back there are possibly some very uncomfortable truths in the lack of education surrounding diversity in my school days. Thankfully over the years I have met and connected with such diverse groups of people that I have become the person I am now and the values of St. Helen’s College - respect, love, harmony, kindness, friendship, truth, honesty, integrity - are why this school, our ‘second family’, is so important to us all. I am proud that at St. Helen’s College we have good practice and an understanding around diversity; however, we must continue to educate ourselves and each other to ensure that we are correctly informed and this involves parents, of course, as you are a crucial part of our community too. Schools need to be safe places for everyone to have discussions regarding diversity.  I am sure that there are many of us who have faced discrimination at some point in our lives and it is our responsibility to ensure that any low level discrimination that takes place is challenged - whether at school or in the work place. We can no longer accept comments which in the past may have been passed off as ‘banter’. We should be vigilant and spot stereotypes in images or sadly the unconscious bias that people may show. Such discrimination needs to be called out and this is not always easy but it is necessary. We know that the bystander is often as powerful as the perpetrator when discrimination takes place  – what we don’t do if we don’t challenge is as much a part of the problem as blatant discrimination. I expect that, throughout your own lives and careers, there have been diversity issues which you have faced? I hope that, if so, you can use those to inspire you to help be a part of the solution. As adults it is our role to ensure that children do not face the same challenges which we may have encountered. It is by continuing to uphold good core principles, listening and discussing that we will further educate ourselves and help the youngsters of today to become aware, responsible adults of the future - a future which we would want for our children.  Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 19/06/2020

Weekly News - Friday 19th June 2020

Funny Face Friday! It has certainly been a fun day today both in school and at home, as the children have donned their 'funny faces'. Here you can see some of our Nursery children making their funny faces! There are lots more photographs from around the school and home on our Galleries page here.       Art Competition Thank you so much to the children who entered our House Art Competition, depicting the school values. We have thoroughly enjoyed all of the entries and the winners will be announced in assembly on Monday. Next Week - Uniform Friday/Alternative Mufti Day! Next Friday will be a flipped 'mufti day', when we invite children to wear their school uniform throughout the school day, whether they will be on the school site or learning at home. It might feel very strange to some of them to put it on for one last time this year! Of course we understand that some children might have grown out of all or part of their uniform, so please feel free to be a little creative if you need to, or to use PE kit, but please do encourage the children to wear their full school uniform if they have it. Chamber Choir Auditions If you have a child in Year 2 to Year 5 and they would like to audition to join the Chamber Choir, please check your Google Classroom for further details which have been sent out today. Rising Up Together A lot of information follows below about how things currently stand at school, and what the immediate and longer term future might hold. One thing is sure...as a school community, we have remained strong throughout lockdown so far and we will rise up, ready to come back together fully with joy and gratitude when we are finally allowed to do so! We hope that you will share this sentiment as you enjoy our latest SHC lockdown video, Rise Up: https://youtu.be/qyrbdDEqGdo    The Remainder of This Term We have, over the past week, surveyed parents of those children who are currently eligible to attend school but have not yet been back to the school site. Many have indicated that their children will return next week or the following week and we have made plans to accommodate them safely. Unfortunately we will therefore not be in a position to invite pupils from any other year groups back into school before the end of this term. We understand that this will be disappointing news for many families, as it is for us, but we are sure that you understand that, with the restrictions which are currently in place for school, all our school space and staffing is being fully utilised.  Travel To School As the number of pupils on site has continued to increase gradually, the London Borough of Hillingdon's Road Safety Team have produced a poster to remind parents about best practice when travelling to/from school. You can read this here. Online Safety We have sent a direct email to parents today about Online Safety. If you have not already done so, you can register for our 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 a comprehensive course.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require additional guidance or if you have any concerns about your child's online safety. Our Designated Safeguarding Leads are: Upper School: Mr. McLaughlin amclaughlin@sthelenscollege.com Lower School/Ducklings: Mrs. Hunt lhunt@sthelenscollege.com 2nd Uxbridge Beavers - Places Available Now Before Coronavirus prohibited face-to-face Scouting, the 2nd Uxbridge Beavers Group met weekly at the Scout HQ on Gatting Way (the same road as Hillingdon Leisure Centre). They are currently running weekly online meetings for their Beavers children. These meetings allow the children to burn off a little energy and also to safely connect online with other children their own age, which is more important now than ever.   The group currently has places and would be delighted to have girls and boys aged between 5¾ and 8 years old join them. You can find full details here. Summer Holiday Club Current government guidance, staffing restrictions and the protocols in place within school regarding grouping children mean that it will most likely not be possible for us to offer Holiday Club provision over the summer holidays. We will of course update you if the situation changes. Staff Changes As parents already know, we will be saying goodbye to some members of staff at the end of this academic year. Mrs. Rance will be leaving us as she and her husband await the birth of their second child; they have decided to move further away from the school. Mr. Tovell is leaving us to move to a position much closer to his home, to enable him to spend more time with his family; he is also expecting his second child. Miss Dear has decided to step back from teaching altogether to devote more time to her family at home, and Mrs. Stubbs will also be relinquishing her peripatetic music commitments with us. After 20 years as a class teacher at St. Helen's College, Mrs. Hunt will not be a form teacher next year. She will remain in her role as Head of Lower School but will now have the opportunity to teach some lessons in Year 1 and also to follow the progress of the children as they transition to Year 2.  Mrs. Hunt also oversees Ducklings and is our Designated Safeguarding Lead for Ducklings and Lower School. Mrs. Hunt will miss the role of form teacher but she will now have the opportunity to visit all the classes and to assist across the EYFS to Year 2. Mrs. Allery, while remaining with us as a Year 5 form teacher, will no longer be Director of Music as she would like more time to focus on supporting her family, and Miss Phoebe Williams will no longer be working with us as a Funtasia Assistant. Mrs. Blackstone will, after some years of semi-retirement, be taking the plunge and retiring fully. We wish them all the very best as they move onto their next phases. As previously announced, Mrs. Claire Fawbert will be joining us as our new Director of Music from September. Mr. Steve Roche will be joining us as Head of English and Year 6 form teacher. Miss Kyra Linton will be joining us as Head of Maths and Year 4 form teacher. Mrs. Victoria Briggs will be covering for Mrs. McLaughlin in 3M while Mrs. McLaughlin completes her maternity leave. Mrs. Nadine Pruce will be joining us as Head of Art, Miss Emma Rackham will be joining us as Year 1 class teacher and Mrs. Jane Smith will be joining us as a peripatetic flute teacher. We are also in the process of appointing an Early Years Assistant to work in our Ducklings class while Miss Hill completes her maternity leave. Class Allocations 2020/21 Please find below the list of class/teacher allocations for the next academic year. Our new intake of Ducklings will be led by Mrs. McGee The new Robins Nursery class will be led by Mrs. Mann The new Wrens Nursery class will be led by Miss Carmichael Robins Nursery will become Kingfishers with Ms Matthews Wrens Nursery will become Owls with Miss Joiner Kingfishers will become 1R with Miss Rackham Owls will become 1C with Miss Cooper 1C will become 2H with Mrs. Hussein 1HC will become 2B with Mr. Bustard 2B will become 3M with Mrs. Briggs (Mrs. McLaughlin following maternity leave) 2H will become 3B with Mrs. Belvoir 3B will become 4L with Miss Linton 3M will become 4T with Mrs. Thompson 4KT will become 5A with Mrs. Allery 4T will become 5G with Ms Gilham 5A will become 6R with Mr. Roche 5G will become 6M with Mr. McLaughlin New parent meetings and transition meetings for parents whose children will be joining year groups from Ducklings to Year 2 have been arranged over the coming weeks. These meetings will take place online and parents have been sent the dates and will be sent further information before each meeting takes place. Meet the Teacher evenings will take place, as usual, in September for parents of children in Years 3 to 6. The provisional dates are below - please add these to your diaries now. Thursday 3rd September at 7 p.m. - Year 3 and Year 6 Tuesday 14th September at 7 p.m. - Year 4 and Year 5 We hope that these Meet the Teacher evenings will take place in person, on the school premises, as usual. If this is not possible, they will take place online. Again, further information will be sent to parents before each meeting takes place. While we will not be able to hold our 'moving up mornings' this term as we usually would, there will be an opportunity towards the end of term for the children to 'meet' their new teacher online, and to welcome new pupils who may be joining into their class from September. Further details about this will be provided by class teachers. Planning for September Some parents have contacted us to ask about plans for our return to school in September. The truth is that, like schools across the country, we just don't know what September will hold for us all yet. We are, of course, hoping and planning for a full return to school and for normal life to resume for everyone. Although we are also considering possible alternative scenarios, we will not be able to make any definite plans until nearer the time when the government makes further decisions and announcements based on the course of the pandemic at that point. Staff will have a well-deserved and much-needed break over the summer, but we will certainly also spend time over the summer planning carefully and communicating with staff and parents. While it is hard for us all to sit with uncertainty for now, we just don't have any other option. We ask you to refrain from speculating or from contacting staff over the holidays; we will communicate with parents by 14th August over planning for the September return, and at least weekly from then on. Uniform Parents are reminded that the uniform and equipment list is available in the Parents section of the website here. Please do take a look at what your child will need for September onwards as they move into their new year group. Our uniform suppliers, Pullens, re-opened their shops on Monday 15th June and visits are currently by appointment only. Pullens have asked us to let parents know that they have the following measures in place to prepare for social distancing and to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of customers and staff: Installed hand sanitising stations at the entrance to stores, placed physical markings throughout to ensure social distancing and positioned PPE equipment. Stores are open by appointment only to limit the number of customers in store at any one time. Late night opening on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, by appointment. Request one adult per family with only the child/children who require uniform. Card payments only. Exchange/Refund policy – extended to 120 days. 10% discount, in June and July, on all orders placed online with a minimum value of £100, using code U4K10. No-contact returns processes in place for online orders. Live Chat available online, during working hours. Click & Collect service from outside stores. Specifying a deadline for families to order uniform online by 10th August to ensure uniform is delivered by the start of term.  
Posted on: 19/06/2020

Pupil Perspective: Lockdown Learning

This week I invited our Head Boy, Anish, and Head Girl, Catherine, to co-write a blog to give us a pupil perspective of 'Lockdown'.  I was so moved to read their blog, as I am sure you will be.  We have the most wonderful ambassadors for what St.Helen's College stands for in our pupils - do enjoy! Mrs. Drummond   Home schooling Sometimes, life does change overnight. One day, the cities are hustling and bustling with myriad activities and children come back from school with dozens of stories to tell. The next day we wake up to empty streets and an untimely school holiday. We have been in Lockdown since 23rd March 2020. It seems a long time ago but that is when all of the children and teachers started homeschooling. This global pandemic has brought our country to a standstill. However, as we know, every grey cloud has a silver lining and understandably such difficult situations bring out novel challenges that we need to adapt to and overcome! It must have been extremely difficult for the teachers but they embraced the challenge and have been doing and are still doing an amazing job. All of the children have really enjoyed learning from home. The lessons are still bags of fun and everyone is co-operating to help each other do the best they can do. Year 6, with the help of their terrific teachers have even been doing their Year 6 projects at home! This lockdown has brought in a wonderful opportunity for us to engage in activities we never had a chance to do before and we are able to spend quality time with our family. Also, this lockdown has allowed us to actually and properly direct our attention to nature. Everyday, everyone is waking up to the joyous sing song of the sparrow. Another great thing that has happened during the lockdown is the reduction of pollution maintaining the tranquillity of nature. Not many of us are going out as often and therefore we are reducing the acceleration of climate change. This is positive news, meaning that we may still have time to save the planet and preserve nature for future generations to come. Being at home gave us a new insight into school. It was a new step for all of the St. Helen's College community, but we overcame the technical difficulties and set up a hugely successful online learning programme. Google Meet, Google Classroom and Century Tech have allowed us to be able to adapt to these circumstances and still be able to thrive. As Ms Gilham has been teaching us, “The species that adapts will survive; those who don’t will perish”. Having the opportunity to experience home learning is something that has not only added to our ever-growing list of experiences, it has shaped us into stronger people and given many the chance to develop new passions. It is so important to look for the good in things. As young people, we need to remember these events and reflect on them, for that is the only way we can improve and make a version of ourselves that contributes to society. In this blog, we would like to show gratitude to all the teachers, staff and parents alike, for their support and hard work. The teachers have put so much effort into making sure we get the best out of our lessons, something which requires a lot of attention and time.  For us, home learning was very enjoyable, though vastly different. We have been keeping in contact with all our friends, via Skype, Zoom, Facetime and lots of other apps. Weekly, on the weekend, 6RD girls have been doing online quizzes using Zoom and Kahoot. This has been so vital, and has helped to bring joy into many people’s lives. This spirit is what will get us through this turbulent time; the sense of community.  As the number of cases have gradually begun to slow down, the Government has allowed schools to reopen partially by allowing Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 back. Many of our friends have said that it is great to be in school and that they feel that they are protected with all the safety precautions that the St. Helen's College staff have put in place.  Since then, most of the children have been back in school learning with great gusto. The children definitely showed their love for learning and the teachers are going above and beyond to help us settle in new conditions and have as much fun as possible. The safety of others has always been the priority. Some of the fun topics in lessons have been maths mysteries, drawing for the Hammersmith Hospital in art, Year 5 preparing for 11+ exams at home, creating board games with Year 6 and the school has been using a new website called Century Tech. Century Tech creates a learning path for you to follow, thereby nourishing your knowledge. In English, Year 6 have been working on their WW2 scrapbooks and Year 1 have been making their very own stories in computing! And the list doesn’t end there…everyone has been enthusiastically listening and participating in the bi-weekly assemblies and class meets. Everyone has loved every minute of this roller coaster experience. It shows how strong and determined our fantastic community is. If we work together and follow the rules, then we can be successful in defeating this virus.  Google Meets are a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family, but if we persevere we will meet each other in person in the end. Certainly there is a light shining proudly at the end of the tunnel, and if we work together, we shall get there very soon! Catherine L and Anish A  
Posted on: 17/06/2020

Weekly News - Friday 12th June 2020

La-La-La Lockdown We hope you enjoy this video to lift all of our community's lockdown spirits! Thanks go to Miss Walker and her son for teaching everyone the dance, and to Mrs. Crehan for the soundtrack. Well done all those who took part! https://youtu.be/QPHRkvQaqtw Assemblies We enjoyed some wonderful music in the Upper School assemblies from our Year 2 children this week; well done to Ruby and Hana for their beautiful flute playing. It is such a delight for us to continue to celebrate the musicality of children.  Mrs. Nash will also be looking for some new violinists from next year - do contact Mrs. Allery if you have a child at either Lower School or Upper School who may be interested in learning the violin from September. You can reach Mrs. Allery at rallery@sthelenscollege.com. Mrs. Nash herself has been very committed to improving her own skills and is on Day 87 of 100 consecutive days of violin practice - she started this about a week before lockdown! She has also just started an online course with an amazing violinist in the US which lasts for 3 months. He sets daily practice assignments which take about an hour a day.  Mrs. Nash is a true advocate of our current value of 'self-discipline'. Funny Face Friday Next Friday (19th June) we invite children to 'Funny Face Friday'. All children, whether attending school in person or taking part in remote learning, are encouraged to make their face a 'funny face'. Hats, wigs, glasses of any description, face paint, stick on jewellery....anything is welcome! We hope that this will be a real spirit-lifter for us all!  House Art Competition - Final Week For Entries We would like to remind pupils to submit their entries for our House Art Competition. Pupils may be as creative as they like in producing their pieces of artwork: drawing, painting, sculpting, modelling, sticking/collaging: all these are welcome, and more! Art must be on the theme of a school value, and each piece of work must be accompanied by a note (NOT WRITTEN ON THE PIECE OF WORK ITSELF) which should give the child's name and class and clearly state the value depicted. The list of values to choose from are: Caring Helpfulness Co-operation Courage Kindness Perseverance Fairness Friendliness Patience Respect Courtesy Forgiveness Determination Self-Discipline Gratitude Honesty The deadline for submitting entries (to your class teacher or pod supervisor) is Friday 19th June.  Quiz Thank you to Vandan V (Year 5), assisted by Sulaiman M, who shared this super quiz with his classmates this week. You might like to have a go too! First News In our fast-paced society, it is important that young people know how reliable sources of news are constructed, learning how to identify bias and unreliable or misleading information in its different forms. Regularly reading a reputable newspaper will help pupils to access reliable news and to understand the concept of sources, the purpose of reports and the role of journalism in society. In school, we subscribe to First News, which pupils can read while here. We would like to remind you that you could take out a personal subscription to this excellent children's newspaper if you would like to do so. At the moment, there is a special offer so that you pay just £1 for your first three issues. More information is available at https://www.firstnews.co.uk/. Book Token Competition Our school needs you! Help us win £5,000 of National Book Tokens for the school library - and get £100 for yourself! Just enter the competition online, it only takes a minute: https://www.nationalbooktokens.com/schools Pupils might like to get creative and enter the National Book Tokens competition to design a book token gift card. They could win £10 book tokens for all of their classmates if their design is chosen as the winner! https://www.nationalbooktokens.com/create-a-national-book-token-for-your-class

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