School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 25/11/2022

Weekly News - Friday 25th November 2022

Be Bright, Be Seen As part of our road safety initiative, children and staff throughout the school wore bright clothes and accessories on Thursday to remind us that, in the dark, it is important to wear something fluorescent so that we can be seen by drivers and other road users. Our Junior Travel Ambassadors also visited Lower School to give an assembly to the younger children, speaking about the Green Cross Code and how to stay safe.       Switch Off Fortnight Our Upper School Eco Reps have been monitoring electricity use in the classrooms at Upper School this week as part of our drive to reduce energy usage in general and during Switch Off Fortnight in particular. Joleen Z (Year 6) explains why Switch Off Fortnight is so important: Switch off Fortnight is a period of 14 days when we all try to save electricity and power to help the environment.  We can help by: turning off lights when we don’t need them, turning off the tap while  brushing our teeth and closing doors in our classrooms to save heating. Helping the environment can also mean saving pocket money! If you spend just one minute less in the shower, then it can save you £10 per person. Sadly a lot of people disregard these rules and litter in local parks and adults often use plastic bags to pack items in shopping. These are some vital tips to help! Use leather or reusable bags to put shopping items in. Help our environment by picking up litter. Spread the news! Making sure everyone understands is very important. Remember the 3R method! Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. By the end of the fortnight, we all hope for you to remember the skills to help our world! Packham Cup Football Tournament Last Saturday, for the first time in three years, our football team took part in the Packham Memorial Trophy at Ryefield Primary School.  We started quite slowly in our first match against Ryefield, with neither team really threatening a goal in a game which ended 0-0.  Our second match was against St. Catherine's B and our morning started to get into gear. The boys played with more positivity and a super cross from Sean R was flicked home by Mikail O for an excellent 1-0 win. Our last group game was against a strong Oak Farm team and this is where we really raised our levels. After going 1-0 down to a soft goal, we started to show great determination and character and deservedly got an equaliser through a superb goal, again taken by Mikail O. With three teams on five points, we unfortunately came third and were eliminated on goal difference (losing out by one goal). Overall, with two Year 4 boys, 4 Year 5 boys and 2 Year 6 boys making up the team, Mr. Dyson felt that this was an amazing achievement from the boys and the parents were similarly proud. If the boys keep producing this effort and spirit, the future looks bright for the St. Helen's College football team! Team: Ollie K, Kamran-Cyrus A, Sean R, Joseph T, Mylo D'O, Rian M, Maicen M, Mikail O. Staff Leaver We will sadly be saying farewell to Mrs. Sarah Smith at the end of this term.  Mrs. Smith has been with us for 10 years as a TALA in the Middle School and after graduating with her Post Graduate Certificate in Chaplaincy this year she has decided to step back and spend more time with her family in Wales. However, we are delighted that Rev. Smith will visit us regularly to lead more of her wonderful assemblies and join us for our special community events.  Christmas Events Parents of the classes shown below are warmly invited to join us for their class assemblies next week. In addition, all parents (Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School) are invited to come together on Friday 2nd December at 4.00 p.m. in the Upper School playground for our annual 'Carols Around The Tree' event.  Tuesday 29th November - 1C Christmas Assembly at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.) Wednesday 30th November - 1R Christmas Assembly at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.) Thursday 1st December - Owls Christmas Nativity at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.) Friday 2nd December - Kingfishers Christmas Nativity at 8.45 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.) Friday 2nd December - 3B Class Assembly at 8.40 a.m. (with coffee served from 8.15 a.m.) Friday 2nd December - Carols Round the Tree at 4.00 p.m. in the Upper School playground (all families welcome). At our Carols Round The Tree event, Grace O (5A) will be running a stall to raise money for the RSPCA. The stall will be selling handmade knitted and felt Christmas tree decorations, knitted gloves, mittens and hats, festive red bows that can be slipped onto a dog's collar or onto a hairband and handmade cloth-covered trinket trays.  Grace would truly welcome your support for this worthwhile charity. Christmas Tree Decoration Competition Our Christmas trees will soon be arriving in school and, as usual, we are asking children to design and create their own Christmas decoration for display on the trees. Please ensure that your child's decoration is clearly labelled with their name and class, as there will be prizes for the winning decoration in each class. Decorations may be brought into school from Monday 28th November to be hung on the trees. Christmas Holiday Club Holiday Club bookings will open at 4 p.m. today. Please log in to your SchoolsBuddy account to make your bookings. Salvation Army Christmas Present Appeal Thank you to everyone who has already donated to the Christmas Present Appeal for the Hillingdon Salvation Army. If you have yet to do so there is still time! Please choose a brand new toy/game for ages 3-11 with a value of approximately £12. The Salvation Army has also suggested Amazon vouchers. The item should not be gift wrapped and should fit inside a plastic shopping bag. Each class teacher is collecting the gifts so please encourage your child to take donations to their classroom. All toys will be collected by the Salvation Army on the 2nd December.  Thank you once again for your generous support. Cookery Club Our Cookery Club members had a super time (and learnt a lot!) this week, making Singapore noodles and Cavolo Nero crispy seaweed. They even practised using chopsticks!         Mother/Baby Mindfulness Classes Our next set of Mother/Baby Mindfulness classes will begin in January after the Christmas break. These are FREE to parents and are open to any parent of a baby from birth to pre-crawling, whether the parent has any association with St. Helen's College or not. They take place on Wednesday mornings at 9.00 a.m. in the Evans Hall at our Upper School site on Long Lane, opposite Lower School. Each class lasts 45 minutes and is followed by optional tea/coffee/chat. The classes are led by Poonam McLaughlin, a St. Helen's College teacher, who is a qualified PAUSE Baby Mindfulness practitioner. They provide a safe space for mums and babies to bond and relax, taking part in Mindfulness exercises and some very gentle yoga. If you would like to join the set of six classes starting in January, please email Mrs. Smith at susmith@sthelenscollege.com with your baby's name and date of birth. Please feel free to share the information about the classes with any other friends or family who might have a baby (birth to crawling - no crawlers allowed!). They don't have to have children at St. Helen's College (or intend to send children here) to come along - the classes are free to anyone. Squash Stars A St. Helen's College parent will be running Squash Stars sessions in the new year, which may be of interest to some families. Aimed at 5-11 year olds, Squash Stars is a new six week junior beginner programme at Hillingdon Squash Club starting on Saturday 4th February at the Brunel University Sports Centre.  The cost is £42, for which each child can enjoy six sessions of squash and a kit bag which includes a racket, ball, Squash Stars t-shirt and a pair of goggles. Squash is suitable for children of all backgrounds, shapes and sizes and is an inclusive, indoor sport. By taking part in Squash Stars, your child will benefit in many ways: They'll have lots of fun whilst being active and learning something new. It’s an opportunity to make friends outside of school. They can put their new skills into practice and head to the court as a family, giving you an opportunity for extra quality time together. The sessions boost confidence and encourage them to reach for the stars. Parents can find out more and sign children up at squashstars.co.uk
Posted on: 18/11/2022

Weekly News - Friday 18th November 2022

Children In Need We have had a thoughtful and colourful day at school today as we have supported the charity Children In Need by wearing our own clothes to school and taking part in raffles and other activities. We have used the day to consider the important work being done by Children In Need to help children whose lives are challenging in so many ways. We have discussed with pupils how lucky we all are and how important it is always to think of those less fortunate than ourselves. The children have enhanced their understanding of the value of giving selflessly to help others through acts of kindness or by donating time, money or ideas. As well as the whole school fundraising effort, individual pupils have taken the initiative to raise money for those in need. Raiden B (5G) ran a Rubik's Cube competition at break times today to raise additional funds for Children in Need, and Leo A (3M) has raised money for Children in Need by selling his own artwork to family and friends.  3M presented a thoughtful and energetic assembly at Upper School this morning. They told us the history of the Children In Need appeal and reminded us of the phenomenal amount of money Children In Need has raised over the years. Some of the children and some of the parents who were watching also took part in live 30-second challenges in return for the Year 3 staff donating funds for the charity. The children then sang a beautiful, thoughtful hymn and led us in prayers to remind us to be thankful for all that we have. Well done, 3M, this was a most enjoyable and valuable assembly. You can see some photographs of Children In Need Day on our Galleries page here. EDI EDI stands for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Mrs. Briggs is our EDI lead and Leila A is our EDI prefect. These posts, new this year, reflect the commitment to inclusion here at St. Helen’s College. Much is already happening at school, including social responsibility lessons, Debating Club, curriculum changes and the Think Equal initiative, and we are always looking for ways to improve and learn. We are currently trialling an online newspaper called The Day, which contains articles that have been edited so that the language is appropriate for differently aged pupils. Year 6 read an article about the upcoming World Cup this week and some of the children, without being prompted, referred back to recent PSHCE work on the Universal Declaration of human rights. They then discussed human rights in various countries around the world.  Switch Off Fortnight Switch Off Fortnight is an opportunity for schools, homes and young people to make small changes in their lives that save energy and help to protect the planet.  We have had a very successful start to our Switch Off Fortnight. All of the children have been very active in ensuring the lights are being turned off in their classrooms and other empty rooms, powering down their chromebooks when not in use and making sure that the teachers are turning off the overhead projectors and computers at the end of lessons. We will continue our energy saving campaign next week, when we will also be announcing which class had the most amount of switch offs and will be awarded the title of Eco Class of the week. There is some information about how energy gets to our homes here. There is an activity poster to help families think about power and its uses here. National Online Safety  We would like to remind parents that you can register, for free, with the St. Helen's College National Online Safety platform by clicking on this link and proceeding as a parent/carer. You will then be able to access many useful resources and comprehensive courses to help keep your children safe online. Subscribers will also receive a weekly email updating them on topical online safety risks. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require additional guidance or if you have any concerns about your child's online safety. Upper School - Mr. McLaughlin amclaughlin@sthelenscollege.com Lower School - Mrs. Hunt lhunt@sthelenscollege.com Poppy Appeal We are delighted to report that the St. Helen's College community raised a total of £561.89 for this year's Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Many, many thanks to all those who contributed. Be Bright, Be Seen  With clocks going back and evenings getting darker through the winter months, many of the children may be travelling home in the dark. The 'Be Bright, Be Seen' campaign brings awareness to families about what they can do to help children be seen by road users when travelling to and from school.  We are holding our 'Brightest School' event during road safety week on Thursday 24th November to promote the Be Bright, Be Seen initiative. On that Thursday we are asking pupils throughout the school to wear their brightest clothes to school. Children may wear their own clothes or add something bright/fluorescent to their school uniform/bag.  Spring Term Co-Curricular Programme We would like to remind parents that the co-curricular programme for the spring term (for children in Reception to Year 6) is now available on SchoolsBuddy. The deadline for making your selections is midnight on Sunday 20th November.  Please remember to discuss the programme with your child and only select clubs in which your child has a genuine interest. Spring Term Calendar Dates The school calendar has been updated with dates for spring term events. Please do check it and make a note of relevant dates for your child(ren). PA Forum Thank you to the PA committee and class representatives who attended the PA Forum meeting with Ms Drummond, Mr. McLaughlin, Mrs. Hunt and Mrs. Smith on Tuesday evening. Minutes are being prepared and will be sent by email to all parents. Science Quiz Club St. Helen's College entered two teams into the Quiz Club Science competition this week. The children did really well with some tricky questions and there is a chance that one of the teams may make it into the next round. We are currently waiting to hear final news on this. Well done to those children who represented the school.   
Posted on: 18/11/2022

Do We Ever Stop Learning?

This week we have a guest blog from our Head of Art, Nadine Pruce, who reflects on the importance of being a lifelong learner. During lockdown I stumbled upon the amazing work of Darrell Wakelam and have followed him on both Instagram and Twitter ever since.  Darrell spent the first thirteen years of his career as the Art Tutor at Ingestre Hall Residential Arts Centre in Staffordshire before moving down to Dorset to set up his business ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ in 2005. Since then, he has provided art workshops and training sessions for hundreds of different organisations including many primary and secondary schools.  As part of my subject leader role for IAPS, I invite an artist to host a workshop for art teachers who are part of the IAPS organisation. This gave me the perfect opportunity to meet him! I sent him an invitation and he responded straight away with a resounding yes; he would love to come and show us how to do what he does.  So on Thursday this week, he came to St. Helen's College along with a dozen art teachers from around the country and we were set to work. The delighted squeals and laughter emitting form the art room would have had you thinking it was a class of children, not grown adults!  Continuous learning is essential to our existence. Just like food nourishes our bodies, ongoing discovery nourishes our minds. Lifelong learning is crucial for every career and organisation. From a simple, fun day with an expert in his field, a dozen art teachers skipped off into the sunset bursting with new ideas and plans of how to include our learning in our student’s lessons. Watch out…next term I will be mainly using cardboard! 'Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.' Benjamin Franklin
Posted on: 11/11/2022

Weekly News - Friday 11th November 2022

Remembrance Day We marked Remembrance Day at school today with a two minute silence, during which we remembered and gave thanks for the men and women who have given their lives during wars to secure the freedoms which we enjoy in Britain today. At Upper School, Year 6 pupils read us a poem and Mrs. Fawbert played The Last Post for us. At both sites, the children showed great respect in thinking with gratitude of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We would like to thank parents, pupils and staff for donations made to The Poppy Appeal. Year 1 Visit Roald Dahl Museum This week, our Year 1 classes visited the Roald Dahl Gallery in Amersham where they certainly fired up their imaginations! Ishani A said: “I loved going to the Roald Dahl Gallery, especially making dream bottles! It was really fun when we did some green screen recording, it looked like we had shrunk onto the television screen like Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also liked crawling through the tunnel like Fantastic Mr Fox.”  Sports News - Reddiford Challenge Cup At the Reddiford Challenge Cup football tournament yesterday, our players acquitted themselves very well indeed. There was some excellent play and the team finished fourth overall. We are also delighted to report that Malek C was awarded player of the tournament! Well done to all those who took part. After School Sports Clubs We would like to remind parents that, from next week, there will be no after school sports clubs due to lack of light. The exceptions are Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 netball clubs which will continue until the penultimate week of term. All other clubs will continue until the penultimate week. PA Forum This term's PA Forum meeting will take place on Tuesday 15th November. The PA committee and class reps meet with Ms Drummond, Mr. McLaughlin, Mrs. Hunt and Mrs. Smith to discuss issues of school-wide relevance. Thank you to those parents who have already sent points for discussion. Some queries may be fed back directly to specific year groups but whole school matters will be minuted and circulated. If you have any whole school points to raise, please forward them to your class rep so that they can be sent on to Mrs. Smith by Monday 14th November at the latest. Minutes will be circulated to all parents after the meeting. Flu Vaccinations - Reminder If you have a child in Reception to Year 6, please check that you have completed and submitted your flu vaccination forms. We still have a few forms that are showing as pending, which means they may not have been completed fully. Please ensure that you put your child's class on the form - do not leave it blank or put just the year. If you are unsure, please ask your child or contact the school and we can advise you which class they are in.  Children In Need Children In Need Day is next Friday, 18th November. On this day children should come to school wearing colourful, spotty clothes.This year we are asking the children to bring in a suggested £5 donation for Children in Need or this can be paid online on our Just Giving Page here. The donation will cover the tog day, 1 raffle ticket per child and the choice of one of two pin badges. Class reps will be asking parents which pin badge (Pudsey or Blush) your child would like, and there will be extra pin badges for sale if your child would like one of each. The £5 is a suggested donation, so if a child has not brought in all of the £5 they can still have a raffle ticket and pin badge. We will be raffling a large Pudsey bear and a large Blush bear and there will be extra raffle tickets available for the children to buy leading up to the day. Many thanks, as ever, for your support. Lost Property We would like to remind parents that EVERY item of your child's property should be named. Not only uniform but also snack boxes, water bottles and stationery should be clearly labelled. Even with frequent reminders, children do often forget items or leave them in unexpected places and it is impossible for the school to reunite owners with their property if it is not clearly named, especially as several children will often own identical or similar-looking items. Unnamed and unclaimed items are disposed of regularly. Term Dates Following the announcement of the extra bank holiday on May 8th, 2023 in honour of the King's coronation, we have updated our term dates document for 2022-2023. We have also now published term dates for 2023-2024. You can find the term dates on the School Documents page of this website. Salvation Army Christmas Appeal St. Helen’s College has run the Christmas Present Appeal for the Hillingdon Salvation Army for a number of years with great success. Originally inspired by current pupils at the school, this is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our school’s core values by helping those local families less fortunate than ourselves. Therefore we are inviting your child to choose a brand new toy/game for ages 3-11 with a value of approximately £12. The Salvation Army has also suggested Amazon vouchers. The item should not be gift wrapped and should fit inside a shopping plastic bag. This year the Salvation Army has also requested donations of wrapping paper. Please allow your child to bring in their donation by Friday 2nd December.  We will launch the appeal in our assemblies and really hope it is something you feel able to support. https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/christmas-present-appeal Thank you so much in advance for your kindness and generosity. St. Helen's College Trust The St. Helen's College Trust (Registered Charity Number: 1196657) is an independent charity which exists to promote educational opportunities and all-round development of children aged 0-11 in Hillingdon and the surrounding areas. The charity was established last year and we are delighted that St. Helen's College parents have been generous in their support of it so far. We reported in October that the charity's Trustees approved applications for grants from local charitable bodies for the following: Ickenham Youth FC: Funds to set up an U6/U7 girls' football team.  Home Start Hillingdon: Funds to train volunteers in their spring training programme.  Hillingdon Basketball Club: Funds to buy equipment and t-shirts for youth members. The charity is inviting grant applications on a rolling basis. The criteria for grant applications is wide: the only restrictions are that funds applied for must be used for the direct benefit of children aged 0-11 (whether individuals or groups) in Hillingdon and the surrounding areas and that the charity cannot approve grants to be spent on educational equipment or services that should be provided by the Local Authority. If you do know of any group or individual who might like to apply for funds, please direct them to the simple online application form here. There are also two easy ways in which you can support the St. Helen's College Trust at no cost to yourself. There is a textile bank outside 227 Long Lane into which you can donate unwanted old clothing, shoes, bags, towels and bed linen. Please note that the textile bank cannot accept branded clothing or cushions/pillows/duvets. Items donated to the textile bank are given to those in need of clothing, towels or linen. If there is anything that cannot be donated, it is recycled into industrial cleaning cloths so that nothing ends up as landfill. All donations are gratefully received; the charity receives a small payment per kilo collected. You can also sign up to support the Trust through EasyFundraising. The SHC Trust will receive a small donation from retailers whenever you shop online. Simply download the EasyFundraising app and search for St. Helen's College Trust, then remember to open the app whenever you shop online at most major retailers. Thank you very much indeed for your support. Catering News On Monday 21st November, we will have a special lunchtime menu to celebrate the football world cup. You can see the menu here. Please also find this month's recipe booklet for parents, Eat The Rainbow, here. We hope you will have fun trying these recipes with your children at home. Thames Valley Cavaliers - Free Tickets for SHC Pupils Once again, Thames Valley Cavaliers are offering free tickets to St. Helen's College pupils for their match this weekend. Tip-off is at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday; you can find details here. Christmas If you are beginning to think about Christmas presents for children, you might be interested in Elf UK's offerings which have been designed to enhance children's wellbeing. You can find details here. You can also find details of our very own Mr. Roche's children's book, Niji's Dream, here. 
Posted on: 11/11/2022

Partnerships

What is the true meaning of partnership? A partnership can be defined as a collaborative relationship between organisations. The purpose of this relationship is to work towards shared goals through a division of labour that all parties agree on. Partnerships are complex vehicles for delivering practical solutions to societal and community issues. Since taking on the Headship at St. Helen’s College in 2016, I have been astounded by the positive partnerships which we have with our parent body.  Of course we also work in partnership with your children but ultimately without you making the decision to invest in your children’s future and choose St. Helen’s College, we would not have the pleasure of working with them. As parents, you are partners in the whole business of educating your children and we all rally together to make the best decisions for the children and prepare them to be able to fulfil their potential.  What a challenging but exciting opportunity - to be part of the process of shaping a young person! I have now been in the teaching profession for 33 years and my passion for making a difference to children and working in partnership with the pupils, parents and other stakeholders has never waivered.  The staff at St. Helen’s College are really quite unique as I am sure you agree. Every one of them, regardless of their role within the school, is committed to supporting your child (or children) to enable them to fulfil their potential in so many different ways.  We recently asked our parents to complete the annual survey from the Independent Schools Council. We were delighted to read the results of this survey, which compared our school’s results with those of all the other independent schools who took part.  Those of you who know the work of Simon Sinek may be familiar with the phrase  ‘Start with Why’ and below I am proud to list some of the key reasons that parents gave as your answers to the question of why you chose Helen’s College: It prepares pupils to fulfil their potential  (double the number of St. Helen’s College parents in comparison with parents in other independent schools). The quality of the teachers (more than double the number of parents said this compared to parents in other independent schools). Good discipline. High academic quality. Personal conversations with the Head or other key staff at the school (double the number of our parents in comparison with parents in other independent schools). Good at developing soft skills and character. We are delighted with the feedback received from this survey and thank those parents who took the time to complete the survey.  Some of you may also be interested in reviewing the school for the Good Schools Guide which you can do by following this link  https://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/schools/st-helens-college-uxbridge. This week I took part in a symposium on ‘Partnerships’  with a group of other educators who are passionate about working together to improve the outcomes and opportunities for children across a range of schools and sectors. It was inspiring to hear about the work which is going on in other schools, to hear from charities who are supporting important causes and of course to continue networking with other professionals who have shared goals in education. I am aware that many of you may be unaware of some of the partnerships which we are already involved with either other schools or other organisations so I am listing just a few examples below and we look forward to further developing and extending our partnerships to have mutual benefit to the organisations, the pupils of St. Helen’s College and other schools. Hillingdon Borough Sports Leagues (both maintained and independent school pupils) IAPS sports fixtures (with other independent schools) Local care home visits  Sharing of expertise in modern foreign languages (local state schools and us) Working with the STARS team (School Travel and Road Safety Team - Hillingdon) Several local and national charities -  including the St. Helen’s College Trust Salvation Army Local churches (Methodist and All Saints) Chess clubs in several maintained schools Global ambassadors working with GEMS school in Dubai (a new partnership which we are developing) Partnerships with others are so important and we are proud of our whole school engagement and the relationships and trust which is built with successful partnerships. Thank you all for being in partnership with us on the inspiring journey of educating your children and preparing them for their future.  I will finish with a quote from one of Simon Sinek’s other books ‘Better Together’: Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion. -Simon Sinek Ms Drummond  
Posted on: 4/11/2022

Weekly News - Friday 4th November 2022

2R Class Assembly The children of 2R today presented a wonderful assembly all about Bonfire Night. They looked at the history and traditions of fireworks, shared lots of interesting facts and reminded us to 'remember, remember the 5th of November'. They also let us know how important it is to be careful on Bonfire Night itself around fireworks and sparklers. As a grand finale, they sang Katy Perry's Firework with lights and glitter pom poms. This was an informative, enjoyable and very well presented assembly. Well done 2R!   Nursery Trip to Playtrain Our Nursery children had so much fun on their first Nursery trip to the Playtrain soft play centre today! They were very well behaved and loved the experience of being on a coach with their friends.  Eco-School News Our pupil Eco-Team developed a St. Helen's College Eco-Code last year and we would like to ensure that families are aware of this, so that you can support pupils in following it. You can see the Eco-Code here. We are also very keen to find out whether any members of our community are involved in any eco work outside of school. If your child(ren) are involved in anything either as individuals or through other organisations (e.g. Scouts, Brownies etc.) then please let us know by emailing Mrs. Mann at nmann@sthelenscollege.com. Sports Results Our Year 5/6 girls' netball team played a match against Cowley St. Lawrence School this week and won 4-0. They demonstrated some great team play and individual skill and, most important, thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Well done, girls! The Y5/6 boys' football team also  played this week, against Ryefield School. It was a close match in which we saw some excellent play. The game ended 2-2.   Year 5 Cookery Club In the first Year 5 Cookery Club session this week, our budding young chefs really enjoyed making rice and peas, jerk chicken, sweet potato and fried plantain. Yum yum!         Junior Parkrun As many parents will already know, Parkruns are free and available for the children to take part in on the weekends. All of the information for the nearest Junior Parkrun (2K) can be found here https://www.parkrun.org.uk/northalafields-juniors. If children are feeling more ambitious they could always do the longer distance (5k). Information on the 5k events can be found here https://www.parkrun.org.uk/northalafields/ or here https://www.parkrun.org.uk/blackpark/.  We hope that many children will choose to take part regularly. Christmas Card Competition Children in Reception to Year 6 at St. Helen's College have been invited to take part in a competition to design our local MP's 2022 Christmas card, which will be sent to many dignitaries and even to His Majesty The King. Reception and Year 1 children will design their entries at school, while Upper School children should work on their designs at home this weekend if they would like to take part. Full details are on the letter here. Please ensure that your child follows the guidelines and hands their design in on time: all entries must be handed to class teachers by Monday 7th November.  Flu Vaccinations - Reminder If you have a child in Reception to Year 6, please check that you have completed and submitted your flu vaccination forms. We have a few forms that are showing as pending, which means they may not have been completed fully. Please ensure that you put your child's class on the form - do not leave it blank or put just the year. If you are unsure, please ask your child or contact the school and we can advise you which class they are in.  Remembrance Day We will be marking Remembrance Day at St. Helen's College, as always, by reflecting on the day's meaning and significance and by observing a two minute silence. Our Year 6 Charity Representatives will continue to sell merchandise at Upper School arrival next week. There are traditional poppies, reflector poppies and wristbands for the children to purchase. Please allow your children to bring some money into school if they would like to buy any of these. Oak Farm Library - Autumn News Oak Farm Library have several activities and sessions for primary aged children. You can find details of their latest programme here.
Posted on: 4/11/2022

Screen Time

This week we have a guest blog from Mrs. Hunt. November is upon us and the dark nights are here. Going to the park or playing in the garden becomes harder and you may find that your child is inclined to want to turn to various screens to keep them occupied. As one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads at St. Helen’s College, keeping children safe online is a high priority of mine. Despite the age of your children it is never too early to ensure that they are safe online. It is fair to say that we do not know what our children’s future will look like but there will definitely be technology in it. It is paramount to teach our children skills and understanding so that they are masters of technology and not slaves to it. As you may be aware, through St. Helen’s College, you are members of National Online Safety (NoS), so please do take a look at the NoS website as I am certain you will find it very informative. The link is below and gives you an opportunity to creates your NoS account if you have not already done so. This is a really valuable resource for all teachers and parents. In addition, I have included two age appropriate links from Internet Matters that you may find insightful. The links are directed to parents of 0-5 year olds and I would highly recommend that you take a few minutes to read the guides. They do give food for thought.  As with many aspects of parenting, creating the right balance around the use of technology is fundamental. Please think carefully about how frequently you use your own phone when your child is present and about the message it gives your child about how much you value the phone.  I am also reminded of a saying I heard throughout my childhood: there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! So why not get outside and embrace November! https://www.internetmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Internet-Matters-Guide-Balancing-Screen-Time-0-5.pdf https://www.internetmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Age-Guide-0-5s.pdf https://nationalonlinesafety.com/enrol/st-helen-s-college Mrs. Hunt Head of Lower School Designated Safeguarding Lead
Posted on: 14/10/2022

Weekly News - Friday 14th October 2022

Children's Trust Concert We were filled with pride last Sunday when our Chamber Choir performed at the beautiful St. John's Smith Square at the Children's Trust Concert. They sang their two pieces with great confidence and musicality and certainly touched the audience. The event organisers and the staff of many other schools commented on how smart and well-behaved the St. Helen's College pupils were, as well as how impressive it was that so many of our parents were in attendance. We are grateful to all of the families who came along to support the children and this very worthy charity.           Woodlands Care Home Visit On Monday, a group of Year 5 and 6 pupils visited Woodlands Residential Care Home on Long Lane to spend time with residents there. Woodlands cares for elderly people who are living with dementia and/or other health issues. While there, our pupils spoke with the residents and performed some songs for them. Both residents and pupils enjoyed the get-together.     PA Welcome Event For New Families It was lovely to see so many of the families who joined us in September at the PA Welcome Event on Saturday. The weather was kind and it was clear to see how much the children enjoyed having a play in the beautiful Evans Garden and how much the parents enjoyed getting to know other families. Many thanks to the PA Committee and helpers who put on this event. Year 6 Our Year 6 pupils have had a superb start to the academic year and have risen to their many leadership roles. They were excellent ambassadors this week as they toured prospective parents at our first Open Morning of the year and were rewarded with a surprise morning tea party on Thursday.       PA Christmas Card Project Children will have brought home a sheet this week with an order form on one side (with instructions on how to pay) and a space for artwork on the other side. If your child has started their artwork at school but hasn't finished and you want to place an order for Christmas cards, they will need to complete the art at home over half term. If they have completed their artwork and you want to order something, you just need to complete the adjoining order form and then return it to school and also make the associated bank transfer. The artwork MUST be on the same sheet as the order form. Please make sure you include the child's name and class (clearly written) on the order form, return the form to school and make the bank transfer payment, all by Friday 4 November 2022 at the very latest. Unfortunately the PA will not be able to process any orders which have not had payments made, have missing order forms, or are missing the artwork by the Friday deadline. If anyone has any questions, please contact your class rep. PA Christmas Parties The PA will, once again, be running Christmas parties for the children of St. Helen's College. This year, these will take place on 27th November. Please see this Save The Date flyer for more details. Further details and a link to the booking form will be sent out to parents after the half term break. Queen's Green Canopy We are delighted to report that our Queen's Green Canopy tree planting has been uploaded to the Queen's Green Canopy map. We planted our trees at Lower and Upper School during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, as part of the initiative https://queensgreencanopy.org/get-involved/schools/.   Year 5 Visit to Hampton Court Palace Year 5 enjoyed a fabulous day at Hampton Court Palace on Thursday, enriching their learning about The Tudors. The weather stayed dry, the children were full of enthusiasm and the staff were impressed with their behaviour. Our pupils explored the outside grounds including the gardens, real tennis court, chapel and impressive range of kitchens and had tours of the Tudor state apartments. The children thought about the impression Henry VIII was trying to make on his court and visitors, used their detective skills to find evidence of Henry’s wives and were wowed by the ceilings in particular. In a workshop with a leader from Hampton Court they used prior knowledge from school lessons along with their critical thinking skills to consider questions about Henry VIII and his reign.      2H Coffee Morning/Class Assembly It was a pleasure to welcome the parents of class 2H into school for a coffee morning and class assembly this morning. In their presentation, the children of 2H magically transported us back to life in The Stone Age. They taught us all about trading, cave painting, jewellery making and even staying away from poisonous mushrooms.  The children looked amazing in their costumes and the assembly was a great ending to their history topic on The Stone Age and thoroughly enjoyed by all! TfL STARS Gold Accreditation St. Helen's College has retained its gold accreditation through TfL STARS, which recognises the school's continuous work around Sustainable Travel And Road Safety over the last few years. The STARS team praised the commitment from the school, the children and the parents to continually improve sustainable travel and road safety in and around St. Helen's College.  Parents' Evenings Bookings open at 4 p.m. today for the Upper School (Year 2 - 6) parents' evenings which will take place after half term on Tuesday 1st November and Thursday 10th November. Parents should login and book appointments using this link. Ducklings Two Year Progress Check meetings will be taking place on Tuesday 1st and Thursday 3rd November. Parents have booked their meetings and we look forward to seeing you all then. Remembrance Day The school will, as usual, be marking Remembrance Day in November. From 1st November, when we return from the half term break, we will have some items available for children to purchase in return for a donation. There will be poppies, a zip pull, a clip on reflector poppy, silicon wristbands and snap bands which double up as rulers. We suggest a minimum donation of £1 per item. Winter Uniform All pupils should return to school wearing full winter uniform after half term. Please note that woolly hats are only to be used in very cold weather conditions and they should not replace the boys' wool caps or girls' felt hats.  Flu Vaccination - Action Required Parents of children in all years from Reception to Year 6 are reminded that you MUST complete your flu vaccination form. This must be done whether your child will be having the vaccination at St. Helen's College or not. The link was emailed to parents via SchoolsBuddy last week. Free Basketball This Weekend! The first Thames Valley Cavaliers home game is on at Uxbridge College this weekend and all St. Helen's College pupils are invited to watch the Cavaliers take on Manchester Magic. It is FREE for pupils to enjoy the fun. Just state that you are from St. Helen's College at the door to get in free. There is also a special £1 price for pizza slices! The flyer with all the information about the match is here.  Half Term Basketball Camp The Thames Valley Cavaliers are running a basketball camp at Uxbridge College during the second week of half term for children aged 7 and above. If your son or daughter might be interested in attending this, you can find the details here.  
Posted on: 14/10/2022

Enlightened Education

Last week I returned to my homeland in Scotland, to attend the annual Heads’ Conference in Edinburgh, which this year brought together 1000 Headteachers from IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) and HMC (Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference) Schools. Returning to Edinburgh, where I spent four years studying at University, always fills me with great pride and nostalgia for a city which ignited my love for education and teaching.   The theme of the conference was ‘Enlightened Education’ and there was no better city to host a conference with such a theme. Edinburgh was very much regarded as a centre of enlightenment during the 18th century, when the New Town sprung up to provide changes in law, philosophy, science, literature, the arts, engineering and architecture. Observatories were built, advancements in medicine and microbiology were shaped and Edinburgh became a pioneering beacon of excellence in education. Schools - grammar and independent - were founded by mechant companies to encourage liberal thinking and intellectual curiosity. Edinburgh’s New and Old Towns now sit alongside one another to remind us of fusion, heritage and modernity. The first keynote speaker of the conference, Marc Randolph, the founder of Netflix,  articulated the purpose of education in the spirit of enlightenment. He wants young people to be energised to deal with the uncertainties of the world. As we know from the last few years in particular, we cannot predict the future. So, with a willingness to make mistakes (and learn from them) and a desire to see all problems as having solutions, our pupils will need to be real world ready. Professor Gabriell Finn from the University of Manchester is leading a university-wide review of assessment and imparted the following key messages. Factual recall is no longer the focus, and shouldn’t be. There is no link between this and preparing pupils for the real world. There has been a 16000% increase in the number of students plagiarising their assignments. GCSEs and A-levels are very far removed from where universities are starting to focus assessment: students collaborating and submitting their own websites rather than tests. Technology, in particular AI, needs to be a dominant factor in any reform of assessment. As fellow Heads discussed some of the points raised by the speakers, I felt so proud of what we are doing here at St. Helen’s College. We have a very balanced curriculum, skills and knowledge based, but our pupils' learning skills are far more in line with what universities wish to move towards. This was noted recently by one of our ex-parents who is a university lecturer as she reflected on what her daughter was already achieving with our flipped classroom model of teaching. She was somewhat overwhelmed at how efficient her daughter was as a learner in Year 6 in comparison with some of the first year university pupils she had encountered!   Over the years we have heard the word ‘tolerance’ being used when we discuss diversity. This word should now be replaced with ‘celebration of’. I truly believe that it is one of our defining features at St. Helen’s College that we are such a diverse community - and this extends to neuro-diversity too (a point which was emphasised by Rory Bremner in his most humorous after dinner address). Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson further emphasised this ‘celebration’, which 30 years ago would have been labelled as tolerance, as she recalled her experience of growing up as a wheelchair user (it was only because her Headteacher refused to adhere to the local authority guidelines that she was able to attend a mainstream school). She made the point that discrimination is taught and not a learned behaviour, and we must all focus on this - not just for the sake of our individual pupils but for humanity as a whole. Sarah Brown, Founder and Chair of ‘TheirWorld’ and the Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education (also once inhabitant of 10 Downing Street) shocked delegates by reminding us that by 2030, half of the world’s young people will not have the privilege of attending school. This seems unbelievable, not least against the backdrop of the UN’s Sustaninable Development Goals, created in 2017 with the goal of achieving them all by 2030.  Sarah emphasised that for pupils to be real world ready, there is a moral imperative for them to learn how to look after their world and each other. Throughout the conference, keynote speakers emphasised that the fundamental aim of education should not be focused around end-point assessment, but the development of a child’s relationship with others, and, through this, the creation of powerful, ethical communities, focused around a force for good. Nicola Benedetti, world renowned violinist, Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Festival and founder of the Benedetti Foundation, used the impact of choirs and ensembles to illustrate this point. Within an orchestra or choir, there is no hierarchy and, in creating music together, people are sharing in one humanity.  Music played a role throughout the conference and reminded us of the transformational impact of music in everyone’s lives. There is a moral obligation for all young people to be exposed to this form of deep connection and communication.  I hope you can see how passionate I am feeling about many of the topics discussed at the conference. As I reflect on this first half term of St. Helen’s College life I am sure that you will agree that our pupils have demonstrated their own contribution to an enlightened education in so many ways, including: the wonderful Harvest assemblies and donations; the musical recital; the many sporting fixtures; the various school trips to interesting venues; ​The Children’s Trust Charity Concert where our Chamber Choir performed; the TCS Mini London Marathon; the visit to the Woodlands Care Home by a group of our musicians; STEAM Day and St. Helen’s Day. I could keep listing - there is more, much more! Thank you for all your support during this first half term. It has been a wonderful beginning to this academic year and I wish you all a restful and energising half term holiday! Ms Drummond 

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