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Posted on: 15/01/2021

Weekly News - Friday 15th January 2021

Remote Learning Many thanks to all of the parents who are supporting children at home with their remote learning. It is wonderful to hear about how independent the children are becoming as we embark upon our next phase of school closure. We understand the pressures that many of you are under, trying to juggle working from home, and we are incredibly grateful for all that you are doing to support the children's learning.  In assembly I shared some good tips for the children which you may wish to reiterate them: - make sure you have an organised workstation  - know your timetable: have it printed out next to you - have what you need for the day to hand e.g. pencil case, water bottle and any other resources your teacher has told you that you will require - communicate: ask for help if you are not sure what is being asked from you but remember the 4B's: brain, book, buddy, boss. In other words, read the instructions again, look at your books to help you (or Google classroom), talk to your friends to clarify and remember that you can also ask your teachers for help. We published these top tips for parents and top tips for children during our last lockdown and you may wish to look at these again.  To assist our teachers' wellbeing, we ask parents to follow our school email protocol and avoid sending emails to the teachers between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. We are encouraging all staff to switch off phone notifications and this may be good advice for all parents too. I am sure that many of your companies have similar protocols - it is crucial that we all step away from our devices and give ourselves some time.  Guess the Place Today we launched a new weekly 'Guess the Place' challenge in assembly. Each week, a different photo will be placed on the Learning Portal for the children to try and identify. For pupils in Years 1 and Y2 the challenge will be to identify different places in London and for pupils in Years 3 - 6 the challenge will be to identify different places from around the UK. The children will be able to submit their answers on the Learning Portal. Each week in our Friday assemblies the correct answer will be revealed and the next week's photos will be shared. We hope this will be fun for the whole family as we try to 'Guess the Place'! Writing Challenge January heralds once again the launch of the Chorleywood Bookshop Children’s Writing Competition and our children will be excited to know that Cressida Cowell, the Children’s Laureate and author of the How to Train Your Dragon and Wizards Of Once series, will be judging the entries in each of the competition’s three categories! Last year, this competition attracted over 500 entries from primary and secondary schools. The standard is extraordinary across each age category and previous well-known authors who have judged the event are invariably impressed by the standard as well as the variety.  This year’s theme is Friendship, a theme which should enable all those who take part to focus on positive messages. With challenges targeted to everyone from the youngest children in Reception to the oldest in Key Stage 4, we hope many of our pupils (and perhaps older ex-pupils) will take part. Full details of the competition and the relevant paperwork are now available on the bookshop's website at https://chilternbookshops.co.uk/schools-2/childrens-creative-writing-comp-2021/ Good luck, everyone. Do let us know how you get on. Fun Friday Next Friday, for a bit of fun, we are asking pupils at Upper School to wear a hat or fun headwear creation when they come online for our morning assembly. The children at Lower School might like to wear their hats when they have a Google Meet or perhaps to upload a photograph of themselves in their hats to Tapestry or Google Classroom. We look forward to seeing everyone's fun headwear! Fitness Challenges National survey evidence from the last lockdown found that around 36% of children were doing less physical activity than usual, with only 22% getting their recommended daily activity of 60 active minutes and a worrying 9% getting no physical activity.  Regular weekly PE activities continue to be provided in class Google classrooms and on Tapestry for all of our pupils, and we encourage our parents to ensure children continue to develop their skills and remain physically active. However, we are keen to ensure our pupils are keeping as active as possible, so we are also launching some additional easily accessible fitness activities, as follows. Parents can help our pupils get involved with from Monday.  Activity Calendar The first one is an 'Activity Calendar' with daily links to physical challenges all our pupils can have a go at whilst at home. It also includes a link to the Youth Sport Trusts Tuesday and Thursday after school club activities. Here is the January calendar. London Youth Games Virtual Fitness Challenge The second is an opportunity for our Year 2 - 6 pupils to take part in the London Youth Games Virtual Fitness Challenge. The challenges this term will be based around fitness and personal bests and may be done at home or at school (for those attending) in class or at breaks, to keep all of our young people active with minimal equipment required.  The challenges are all about participation and will be an opportunity for our pupils to represent the school and Hillingdon Borough and earn valuable points for the Hillingdon team in the London Youth Games competition! The first Fitness Challenge will go live on the LYG website on Monday 18th January and will be posted in the Year 2 - Year 6 PE Google classrooms. The children will have until Thursday evening each week to complete the challenge and add their results to the shared spreadsheet in their PE Google Classroom. These results will then be submitted to London Youth Games and the weekly leader board will be announced in our Monday assemblies.  We hope lots of our pupils will have a go at the virtual fitness challenge and try to get St. Helen's College and Hillingdon to the top of the leader board each week! We Like to Move it Finally, our Year 6 Sports Captains and PE staff put together a fun workout video at the end of last term for us all to get up and move to in January. Have lots of fun joining in with them - see if you can get the whole family up moving and share your videos with us!  Click here for the video. Blue Peter On YouTube CBBC have launched Blue Peter on YouTube and we are sure that pupils and parents will be interested in this, for entertainment outside of home-schooling hours now we’re in lockdown. Blue Peter is the longest running children's TV show in the world and the videos are suitable for 5-11 year olds. There are world record breaking challenges, arts and crafts, environmental videos, cooking and baking how tos, inspirational films, gaming, celebrity appearances, dance routines and music performances. The channel also features ways of getting a Blue Peter badge, behind the scenes footage and extra content about the presenters Adam, Lindsey, Mwaksy, Richie and Henry the Blue Peter dog. If you are interested, please subscribe to https://www.youtube.com/bluepeter (it’s completely free to subscribe!) and also don’t forget to watch the live programme on CBBC at 5.00 p.m. every week, or on BBC iPlayer. E-Scooters We have recently received an email from Hillingdon Council's School Travel and Road Safety team, regarding the increased use of E-Scooters across the borough. The council have received numerous reports of E-Scooters being ridden across the borough on public roads, in parks and even through town centres.  Please read the E-Scooter guidance document which has been created to inform parents and residents about the use of E-Scooters. We encourage parents to have a look at this document as there are road safety and legal implications associated with the unlawful use of E-Scooters within the borough. ABRSM Results Many of our children took ABRSM examinations on their instruments last term, although some were inevitably delayed due to Covid. This list of results is therefore not yet complete, but we did not want to delay any further in sharing with you the results that we have received so far, in order to celebrate these achievements. Very, very well done to all of the children who have been practising so hard to work towards exams, and to those who have already sat their exams and achieved such great results! To those who have exams coming up next week, we wish you the best of luck. 3B       Emily S Violin Grade 1 Pass Raiden B Guitar Grade 1 Merit Viren C Piano Grade 1 Pass         3M       Grace O'H Cello Grade 1 Awaiting result Verity S Violin Grade 1 Awaiting result Kal-el M Piano Grade 1 Awaiting result Avantika G Piano Grade 2 Awaiting result Aaran B Piano Grade 1 Awaiting result         4L       Arshia S Piano Grade 1 Merit Arshvir S Piano Grade 1 Awaiting result Minaya W Piano Grade 1 Merit Minaya W Singing Grade 1 Distinction         4T       Advik S Singing Grade 2 Merit Advik S Guitar Grade 1 Pass Xavier B Guitar Grade 1 Pass 5A       Nirvaan D Piano Grade 1 Distinction Amber P Violin Grade 2 Pass Siyana M Piano Grade 1 Distinction Siyana M Singing Grade 3 Merit Sahib N Piano Grade 1 Pass Luka K Guitar Grade 1 Pass Nya P Flute Grade 2 Distinction Anokhi B Piano Grade 1 Distinction Zach F Oboe Grade 2 Distinction Layla O Piano Grade 2 Awaiting result Leo J Piano Grade 1 Merit Aryan  Piano Grade 1 Awaiting result         5G       Kiran A Singing Grade 2 Pass   Piano Grade 1 Pass Adam O Piano Grade 1 Merit Shruthi T Sining Grade 4 Merit Diyan C Cello Grade 1 Awaiting result Devan S Piano Grade 1 Merit         6R       Arjan D  Piano Grade 2 Pass Frederika T Piano Grade 1 Distinction Esha C Singing Grade 4 Awaiting result         6M       Riya C Singing Grade 2 Pass Manisher L Piano Grade 2 Pass Vidhit N Piano Grade 2 Pass
Posted on: 15/01/2021

Supporting Ourselves

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly difficult for us all and this week I would like to share with you a ‘Coronavirus Anxiety Booklet’ which was shared with me by Mrs. Brooker, our school counsellor who works with some of our pupils in our ‘Time to Talk’ sessions. As a school we are so fortunate to have Mrs. Brooker on the staff as not many schools have their own in-house counsellor who is highly trained and experienced in supporting the children during difficult times. Children might not always recognise that they are feeling anxious, so it is important that we all listen to the children and appreciate how they might be feeling during this surreal time. However, as well as supporting the children, we also need to support ourselves and some of us may be feeling the effects of our current situation more than others. Therefore, I encourage to you to take a look at this wonderful resource which has been published by The Wellness Society. I regard myself as being very in touch with my mental and emotional wellbeing and my daily mindfulness practice has been such a support to me during this period. However, the indigestion which I had put down to too much good food and wine over the festive period could actually be my body telling me something different!  Regardless of how we all ‘think’ we are coping in this pandemic, I highly recommend you give yourself time to read through the workbook as the toolkit has something for everyone and does make you reflect on how we can make this time in our lives and that of our families that little bit better. Happy reading and I truly hope that you will find it interesting and useful. Stay safe everyone. Thank you for all that you are doing at home with the children and do look after yourselves.  Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 8/01/2021

Weekly News - Friday 8th January 2021

Cressida Cowell Art Competition Runner Up! Huge congratulations to Alexander A (2H) who was named a runner up in Cressida Cowell’s #CreateWithCress winter holiday card competition. Alexander created a superbly creative card and received a hand written note from Cressida Cowell commending him on his imagination and skill! Well done, Alexander.             Year 2 Seahorses Year 2 produced some really excellent art work this week. Inspired by Eric Carle's 'Mister Seahorse' book, they got creative with colour and design. Their finished pieces are really beautiful. You can see them on our Galleries page here. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse Competition In Upper School assemblies this week, Mrs. Drummond has been reading The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse to the children. This beautiful book is filled with original illustrations and inspiring quotes and the four characters strike up friendships and begin to make sense of their world together. If you do not already own it, we recommend purchasing a copy as it is wonderful for adults and children alike to return to again and again. We would like the children, and any interested parents, to create an illustration with an accompanying quote, inspired by the illustrations and quotes in The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. Quotes should be centred on at least one of the St. Helen's College values: Caring Helpfulness Co-operation Courage Kindness Perseverance Fairness Friendliness Patience Respect Courtesy Forgiveness Determination Self Discipline Gratitude Honesty Love Harmony Growth We hope that you will have lots of fun getting creative over the next two weeks and there will be prizes for winning entries in Year 2/3 and Year 4/5/6. There may even be a prize for a winning parent entry! Words From The Library Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Emanuel, our Upper School Librarians, are very sorry not to be having their usual interaction with the children while the library remains closed in lockdown. They would like us to remind the children that 'reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay put'. And they would also like parents to remind children of these words from the ever positive and very wise Dr. Seuss: The more that you read The more things you will know The more that you learn The more places you'll go!   Do please keep encouraging your children to look at books often and, if old enough, to read to you every day as well as to themselves. Do carve out time to read to them too, no matter how old they are. Reading for pleasure is one of life's great joys! Uniform - Summer Boater Hats The girls' boater hat is currently being temporarily discontinued as the manufacturer has decided to close their business due to the pandemic. Pullen's do have limited numbers of the boater hats in stock for the summer term, but (depending on parental demand) may run short for 2021, particularly as parents may not have bought a boater in 2020 due to the lockdown. Pullen's are working on re-sourcing, but they do not believe that they will be able to obtain stock for 2021 as the source is in Sri Lanka and the raw materials from China. Therefore, girls will not be required to wear a boater hat this summer term if they do not have one. We expect that Pullen's will be able to organise an alternative supplier for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Posted on: 8/01/2021

Kindness and Compassion

As we embrace 2021, it is more important than ever before that we bring our attention to the core values on which St. Helen’s College prides itself, and reflect on how we as a community live our lives. We know that the next few months may bring challenges and worries for many reasons but together we need to put the children at the centre of all of this to give them hope, joy, laughter and some form of routine each day. In doing so, we can enable them to continue flourishing as creative and inquisitive young learners. This week in Upper School assemblies the children have been introduced to one of my new favourite books, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, by Charlie Mackesy. The book charts the journey of four wonderful characters as they share philosophical questions on friendship, hope and love. The book can be enjoyed by anyone from a 3 year old to adults and I know that many of the staff in school and some children are already familiar with it. I regularly dip into the book and find myself pondering over the words.  I am often inspired by them; they can raise emotions I was not aware of but the book has also given me great strength over the period of this pandemic.   I highly recommend that every family has a copy of this book to share, love and discuss together.  There is also a lovely audible version of the book available here which you may enjoy too.  We have launched a challenge for the children (and parents) in today’s newsletter to create their own philosophical quotes and illustrations, in the style of Charlie Mackesy, based on our school values. I hope that many of you will have a go, and I very much look forward to sharing them with you in due course.  If you would like to meet Charlie, as the children have this week, then do watch this short video here and visit his website here. I leave you with some of the words from Charlie in his introduction to the book: “I hope this book encourages you, perhaps, to live courageously with more kindness for yourself and for others”. Over the following weeks we need to be kind to each other and to ourselves as we navigate our way through yet another period of uncertainty but with hope for the future. We need to celebrate all the good things present with us now - your wonderful children - who this week have given so much joy to their teachers and friends, albeit remotely for most.  Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 11/12/2020

Weekly News - Friday 11th December 2020

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! We had so much fun at school yesterday, all dressed in our Christmas jumpers and enjoying a party day at Ducklings/Lower School and a panto day at Upper School! As ever, the Christmas lunch was delicious and lots of fun too.         Elf On The Shelf The naughty Christmas elves have made their appearance at St. Helen's College once again this year, keeping the children throughout the school entertained, curious and very observant! Thank you to Mr. Smith and Mr. Rizzo for keeping a close eye on them to make sure that they were not too mischievous! You can see photos on our Galleries page here. Christmas Tree Decoration Competition Well done to every child who designed and made a tree decoration. The trees have looked so fabulous with the home made decorations so proudly displayed. The winners were: Ducklings - Hadi Q Wrens - Raya R Robins - Ajit J Kingfishers - Emily K Owls - Libby Y 1R - Shayla R 1C - Zayd A 2B - Aaryan K 2H - Veer K 3B - Sarab D 3M - Hana H 4L - Annabelle S 4T - Milo M 5A - Leo J and Aanya B 5G - Kiran A 6M - Pavitar D 6R - Jena J Christmas Present Appeal Many thanks indeed to all of the parents and children who gave so generously and donated a toy or game for the Hillingdon Salvation Army's Christmas Present Appeal. We were delighted to be able to send so many toys and games across to the Salvation Army and we know that they will bring joy to many families this Christmas.     Community Christmas Message Our Year 3 children recorded a Christmas message to share with the residents of three local care homes: Sweetcroft, Ryefield and Woodlands. We have also sent it to the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church and All Saints Church to spread St. Helen's College Christmas wishes throughout the local community. We thought that you would enjoy seeing this too and we are sure that it has brought lots of joy to the residents of the care homes and members of our local community. You can watch the video here. Staff Christmas Fun Video The staff at St. Helen's College would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas. You can see us getting into the Christmas mood and sending wishes to you all in these fun videos:  Lower School Upper School ABRSM Music Examination Results We have received the first of this term's (remote) ABRSM examination results and we are delighted for the children who have all achieved so highly as usual! We are awaiting the final sets of results and will publish the complete list at the start of next term. Congratulations to all those who have worked so hard to prepare for their exams and who have been well rewarded. General Knowledge Next term the children in Years 3 - 6 will be competing in their class groups and will be tested on general knowledge questions which will then lead to the top performers being selected to represent the school in the annual Prep School Quiz Club competition. Over the Christmas holidays it might be a fun activity for the family to engage in games such as Junior Trivial Pursuit and other general knowledge games to increase your children's knowledge of the world around them. You might like also to encourage them to watch age-appropriate news programmes such as CBBC Newsround and to read an age-appropriate newspaper such as First News or The Week Junior. Sports Personality Of The Term Many congratulations to Ollie T, who has been named the Sports Personality of the Term. Reading out the citation for the award, our Sports Captains noted that Ollie is a real all-rounder, who thoroughly enjoys playing a variety of sports and always demonstrates good technical skill and tactical awareness, regardless of the activity. They said that Ollie enjoys working with his peers in PE and games lessons and positively influences, motivates and encourages others to perform to the best of their ability, particularly in inter house matches. Well done, Ollie! Musician Of The Term We are delighted to announce that Manisher L has been named the Musician of the Term. Manisher has shown outstanding effort, commitment, dedication and achievement within the music department. She has always worked conscientiously and demonstrated enormous enthusiasm over several years in all aspects of music at St. Helen’s College. Manisher has excellent music skills and applies and shares creative ideas successfully in class work. She is a member of the Chamber Choir and, as a music prefect, is an excellent role model within the music department. Manisher regularly performs at assemblies and recitals both inside and outside of school. As well as playing the ukulele, she plays the piano and the harmonica. She has exceptional musical talent and has recently taken Grade 6 keyboard, Grade 2 piano and Grade 3 harmonica. Well done, Manisher! Inter House Sports Competition Children in Year 3 - 6 took part in the Inter House Sports Competition again this week in their games lessons. At the end of the first half term, Windsor led the year long competition so there was friendly rivalry between the houses for the honours this half term. Games and competitions were set up in netball, football, hockey and tag rugby sessions for the children and they all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play for their houses.  Results were as follows. 3M Hockey - Winners were Windsor 3B Netball -  Winners were Windsor  4L Football - It was a draw 4T Tag Rugby - Winners were Cambria 5A Hockey - Winners were Cambria 5G Tag Rugby - Winners were Windsor 6M Football - Winners were Windsor 6R Netball - Winners were Windsor These results, combined with the first half term's results, mean that Windsor have won the Autumn Term Inter House Competition. Many congratulations to everyone in Windsor!  PA Christmas Gifts The PA have generously bought a gift for every child in the school for Christmas: a traditional game of Mikado (pick up sticks). These have been sent home with children today. Parents of our youngest children might wish to hold onto the gift for them until they are a little older. The PA have also sent this written message and a video message too. PA Christmas Message: This year we haven’t been able to hold a Christmas party for the children but instead have given them a gift each that we hope they will enjoy and will be a keepsake to remember their time at St. Helen's College. We would like to wish you and your families and very happy and safe Christmas. PA Video Message Staff Farewell Today we bid farewell to Miss Eaver, who has been at Lower School for the past 5 years. We wish Miss Eaver well as she finally joins her family who have relocated to Dorset and we know that she will be a super addition to her new school. Thank you, Miss Eaver, for all that you have done for the children - the staff will also miss your Disney and Star Wars dress up days!     Looking Ahead - Spring Term The spring term lunch menu has now been published to the School Documents page of the website and is available here.  Thank you to all parents in Year 3 to Year 6 who have made your spring term co-curricular club selections. The club allocations have now been published to parents and we ask you to make your payments promptly to confirm your child's place at their club. Bookings are also now open for the spring term Breakfast Club and After School Club. As ever, we encourage you to book in advance if you do know that you will need these clubs on particular days, as forward bookings always help us with planning staffing and catering. Breakfast Club bookings for Lower School must be made by the Friday before the week you need, since we will need to arrange staffing for this in advance. Lower School Funtasia bookings close at 2 p.m. each day, and Upper School Funtasia bookings close at 3 p.m. each day. You may book the sessions you require by logging in to your SchoolsBuddy account. Drop off/collection arrangements and class bubble group arrangements will remain the same for the spring term as they have been this term. We will, of course, keep a close eye on government guidance related to COVID-19 and will review arrangements if it proves necessary to do so. We would like the children in Reception to Year 6 to begin wearing their felt caps and boaters again whenever they are wearing full school uniform from the start of the spring term. St. Helen's College woollen hats may be brought to school to be worn in the playground during play times and may be worn with PE/Games kits. Please do also take the opportunity over the Christmas break to double check that uniform is in a good state of repair and that your child has all the necessary equipment as outlined on the Uniform & Equipment List, which is available here.
Posted on: 11/12/2020

Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

As we have approached the end of this exceptional school term, I personally have drawn much strength from the four key themes of Advent, which we have been sharing in Upper School assemblies this week. Advent is a significant time in the Christian calendar, when Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth, of the Lord, Jesus Christ.    However, regardless of religion I feel that as a community we can all take some time over this holiday to reflect on these four key themes, to look back on the impact and outcomes of 2020 but also to look forward with optimism to the opportunities which lie ahead in 2021. HOPE We have all hoped that, as a school community, we would remain safe and healthy and it is due to the diligence and support of everyone that we have been remarkably successful in the children continuing with their education.  For those year groups who have been affected by Covid-19, the commitment of the staff enabled the children at home to stay connected with school life and the teamwork at Lower School enabled us to remain open some weeks ago, even with 10 staff members down! We now have renewed hope with the Covid vaccination programme that hopefully we may have less restrictions at school and we can resume school life as we once knew it! PEACE Life for everyone has been more intense than ever before and it has been somewhat difficult for adults to find ‘peace’ with the daily updates from the government, the news, media coverage and, in school, the constant updates from the Department for Education!  Finding time each day for some ‘peace’ is crucial for us all, whether that comes in the form of a mindfulness practice, a hot bath or a cup of tea.  The children may also have found  it difficult to find that ‘peace’ which is so important for our mental wellbeing - our school assemblies have hopefully given the children time to find calm and peace. Do allow yourselves and your family to enjoy some peaceful time over the holidays - that time where you can be free from disturbance and benefit from the effects of tranquillity.  JOY I thank the Lord that I work in such an amazing place - your children give us all JOY each and every day.  We have the privilege of working with your loved ones who bring such cheer and joy in their daily interactions. As I write this Blog I can hear the jovial interactions from the Upper School pupils as they react to the Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime traditions of ‘He’s behind you!’ and ‘Oh no it’s not!’  I have already played musical statues in 1C today and been thoroughly entertained by the pure voices of our youngest pupils in Ducklings singing ‘When Santa got stuck up the chimney’. Thank you, parents, for the JOY your children bring! LOVE There certainly is a lot of ‘love’ within our St. Helen’s College community - through this turbulent time we have supported each other in so many different ways. This morning I commented to a parent about the love that their child has of school;   every morning she skips up the path to greet the staff and her peers. Children demonstrate their love in such simple ways -  by the time we become adults we demonstrate our love in perhaps more subtle ways! Many of you are already familiar with the ‘Action for Happiness’ calendars which we use at school and I encourage you to share your love on a daily basis and attempt to follow the acts of kindness prompts in this month's calendar here.  I wish you all a wonderful festive holiday which I pray will bring you Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.  Merry Christmas and Best Wishes  Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 4/12/2020

Weekly News - Friday 4th December

11+ Results We are delighted to announce that our Year 6 pupils have excelled themselves, with a very high number having passed the Buckinghamshire and/or the Berkshire 11+ examinations. Many of the Year 6 children are now working towards Independent School entrance examinations and interviews. We are very proud of all their achievements so far.  Eco Schools Green Flag Award We were thrilled to hear today that St. Helen's College has been awarded the Green Flag Award by Eco Schools. This award recognises the school's eco-friendly nature and systematic, sustained commitment to working in an eco-friendly way and to educating children about how and why we must care for our environment. The Eco-Schools Team were particularly keen to thank St. Helen's College for continuing to work on the Eco-Schools Green Flag during such a demanding year, noting that this is a true reflection of our school's determination to make a real difference. A big thank you to all of the staff and children, particularly the Eco Reps. 2B Assembly The children of 2B presented an extremely creative and resourceful nativity 'premiere'  this morning which was much enjoyed by pupils, parents and staff alike! The 2020 retelling of the traditional story, based in and around St. Helen's College Upper School, included some wonderful acting and singing too. We are sure that the children will never forget their 2020 Christmas class assembly! Very well done to all of the children and staff involved. Year 1 'Zoom' Into Antarctica! Today Year 1 ‘Zoomed’ into Antarctica! Caitlin’s Uncle Pat is currently working at Scott Base in Antarctica and Year 1 were able to talk to him via video link and see where he works. It was incredible! Uncle Pat explained that at the moment the sun never goes down in Antarctica, so there are 24 hours of daylight each day. He showed Year 1 some incredible animals and explained that he gets to see them every day. The children saw what he has to wear to keep warm and were very interested in what he has to eat - who knew that there were chefs in Antarctica! They were also very interested to know what Uncle Pat studied at school and how he got the opportunity to work in such an incredible place. He said that he worked very hard at school and that he particularly enjoyed maths and science. This was a perfect end to Year 1's science topic all about animals, including humans. The children have certainly deepened their knowledge about Antarctica and they feel inspired to do something to help the environment. They are now planning to raise some money for the World Wildlife Fund and adopt their very own Year 1 penguin. Please remember that you can do your bit too by turning off lights and keeping doors closed whenever possible. Many thanks indeed, Uncle Pat! Carols Around The Tree Our Upper School children enjoyed singing carols in their class bubble groups around the tree in the playground today. Mr. and Mrs. Crehan joined us for the event which, although different to usual, was no less festive and enjoyable! The school is looking so festive with decorations and lights everywhere. A big thank you to Mr. Smith, Mr. Rizzo and Mr. Neil for all their hard work. We are all looking forward to a very Christmassy final week of term. Year 3 Roman Day Our Year 3 children enjoyed a super Roman-themed day on Thursday, to bring their History topic to life. They dressed as Romans, investigated Roman life, made mosaics and Roman numeral clocks and even tasted Roman food! They also took part in road building activities. You can see photographs of the day on our Galleries page here.  Year 5 Study Water Pollution The children in Year 5 have been investigating water pollution and its impact on the environment through the use of case studies. Miss Walker has been delighted with the work produced by all of the children as they researched the BP Deepwater Horizon. Using a variety of sources, they created timelines and event mindmaps, which they then used to write some fantastic newspaper reports. A selection of the children's reports can be found on our Galleries page here.  Art Throughout The School Mrs. Pruce, our new Head of Art, reports that she has had an amazing first art filled term at St. Helen's College. The talent is high and as families are unable to come in to see all the lovely work, she has made a short video to share with you, showcasing wonderful artistic creations across the school. A truly busy, fun filled term! We hope you will enjoy exploring the children's work here. Christmas Reminders Monday 7th December - Christmas Present Appeal St. Helen's College children develop core values and an appreciation of how fortunate they are in their own lives and of how important it is to support those of others who are less fortunate. This year, following a suggestion from a parent, we are encouraging our pupils to support the Hillingdon Salvation Army's Christmas Present Appeal. We are inviting parents and children to choose a brand new toy/game, up to a maximum value of £12 and which will fit into a plastic shopping bag. These gifts should be delivered, unwrapped, to school on Monday 7th December. We will quarantine the gifts and then pass them onto the Salvation Army, who will arrange for their safe distribution to families in need over the festive period. Thank you so much in advance for your kindness and generosity. Christmas Tree Decoration Competition Don't forget to encourage your child to enter the Christmas Tree Decoration Competition. Children are invited to design their own decoration to be hung on our Christmas trees at Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School. Decorations should be of a sensible size but may take whatever format the pupils choose! There will be a small gift for every child who enters and a winner will be chosen from each class to receive a prize too. The last day for bringing in a completed decoration is Wednesday 9th December. Decorations should be clearly named and handed to form teachers on arrival at school. Judging will take place on Thursday 10th December and prizes will be awarded on the final day of term. We look forward very much to seeing the children's entries this year! Thursday 10th December - Panto Day/Christmas Lunch On Thursday 10th December, children from Nursery to Year 6 will be treated to a traditional pantomime, which will be streamed live into their classrooms! They will also enjoy our traditional school Christmas dinner, which is always a very popular and joyous occasion! The adapted menu for the day is available here. Please note that there will be a dairy-free alternative for the dessert option. Children at Upper School are invited to wear a Christmas jumper over their school uniform on this day and children at Lower School may wear their own Christmas party clothes. Friday 11th December - End of Term Term will end on Friday 11th December, which is a half day. Please collect your children at the times shown below: Ducklings and Nursery: 11.40 a.m. Reception: 11.50 a.m. Year 1: 12.00 p.m. Year 2: 12.00 p.m. Year 3: 12.10 p.m. Year 4: 12.20 p.m. Year 5: 12.30 p.m. Year 6: 12.40 p.m. Nativity Trail Some of the churches in Long Lane are organising a nativity trail for children. Many of the usual Christmas activities have had to be changed or even cancelled, and the churches wanted to offer something fun over Christmas.  The idea is that 6-inch knitted nativity figures will be placed in the windows of some of the shops/businesses at Hillingdon Circus, Ryefield Avenue and Sutton Court Road by the middles of next week.  Using a leaflet with the names of the figures, children (with a parent or responsible adult) need to find them and write down where they found them. Once they have found all the figures then they can return the leaflet to North Hillingdon Methodist Church where they will be entered into a prize draw. We have sent home the leaflets with children today and we hope that you will enjoy this activity with your children over the weekend or over the holidays in the run up to Christmas. Spring Term Co-Curricular Activities We will be re-introducing some more co-curricular activities next term, with a limited programme of clubs for Years 3-6, using only internal St. Helen's College staff. Unfortunately we continue to be very limited on the number of staff and locations available for clubs, whilst maintaining our COVID-secure protocols. We thank parents of the younger children for your patience during this gradual re-introduction of clubs. We will continue to monitor the situation and will endeavour to make more clubs available during the summer term, if we are able to do so. For now, parents of children in Years 3-6 should log on to SchoolsBuddy from 3 p.m. today to make their club selections for next term.  
Posted on: 4/12/2020

Motherhood by Mrs. McLaughlin

I have been privileged to have frequent updates and photos from Mr. McLaughlin on the joys of fatherhood and I commend him on how he has coped with stepping up to Deputy Headship, moving home, working through a pandemic and being able to enjoy those wonderful first few months that a new baby brings to a family.   I invited Mrs. McLaughlin to reflect on motherhood and am delighted that she has shared her journey with Remi so far with us. I am sure that her blog will resonate with us and serve as a reminder of what a privilege it is to be parents. Thank you Mrs. McLaughlin for sharing this with the community. Mrs. Drummond When I was asked by Mrs. Drummond to write a blog about being a new mum, I was in two minds. I have never written a blog before and I had no idea where to start. As I love new challenges and trying new things (something I have always tried to instil in the children in my class) - I’m going to give it a go.  Remi was born in June, in the midst of a pandemic. I think that the hypnobirthing course I took some months prior and a slice of good fortune combined to make the labour quite straightforward (thank goodness!). No one ever knows what to expect when you have your first child, or subsequent children for that matter, as they are all so different and unique. So Mr. McLaughlin and I were delighted to come home six hours after delivery with a healthy and happy baby boy.  We knew that having a baby would change our lives forever, but we didn’t quite know what effect having a baby during the pandemic would have. It wasn’t easy! Not being able to see family and friends is difficult at the best of times. After paternity leave, Mr. McLaughlin returned to work. Being a new mum with a newborn baby to look after, whilst looking after your own health and not being able to freely see family and friends, is tough. Luckily, my sister, brother in law and 3-year-old nephew are our next door neighbours and our parents live close by, so help was at hand if needed.  There are so many stories you hear about babies: some good, some not so much, and so Mr. McLaughlin and I just had to wait and see what joys Remi would bring.  After a few tough weeks of finding my feet as a new mum, understanding Remi and his little ways of communicating, I wholeheartedly embraced motherhood and I haven’t looked back since.  I was talking to my mum a few weeks ago, and she asked me what my one stand out moment as a mother was so far. I don’t have one moment in particular as Remi has passed so many little milestones, but the smile on his face when he wakes up and sees me in the morning, along with morning hugs and snuggles, is just priceless.  My ethos as a teacher of 15 years has always been: ‘Treat the children you teach with the same love and care as if they are your own.’ Having now had Remi, I can see more than ever, the importance of this ethos.  Being a mother has helped me to learn more about myself. Remi has taught me so much about unconditional love. He has taught me about strengths I didn’t know I had and fears I didn’t know existed.  Being a teacher gives me the bonus of being very organised. I always have my Christmas gifts bought and wrapped months in advance. I always love to see the look of surprise on my husband's face on Christmas day when he sees what we got everyone! Being ahead of the game gave me a bit of time during my maternity leave to think about the prospect of Remi going to nursery, and eventually to school.  The first day I stepped foot into St. Helen’s College, there was no doubt in my mind that if we had children they would attend the school and be part of the St. Helen’s College family. All parents look for different things in a school, but for Mr. McLaughlin and I, it was always for our child to be part of a school that showed love in abundance, let them feel like they were part of the family and nurtured their talents (whatever they may be). I feel that St. Helen’s College has all of these traits.  Keeping my organised hat on, we have already enrolled Remi into Ducklings and cannot wait for him to come along with us in his little green uniform.  As I think about Remi’s future and the aspirations I have for him, I try to remind myself of a quote a friend of mine once told me: “We often worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that they are someone today.” The small day to day things that Remi does that make him the baby he is are etched in my mind and where possible, I try to capture them on camera to look back on in the future.  Have I been able to write my heart in words and tell you how much I love being a mum? Perhaps not, but if there is one thought I can leave you with, it is this: I used to think being a teacher was the best job in the world, but I was wrong. It’s the second best. The best job in the world is being a mum.  Mrs. McLaughlin
Posted on: 27/11/2020

Weekly News - Friday 27th November 2020

3M Class Assembly Well done to 3M, whose class assembly was presented to parents and the Upper School this morning. We were treated to individual musical performances from Samara and Arjun and the class performed a group song all about Roman numerals as they shared with us all that they have been working on in their various subjects. They have been studying the Romans in history, learning about different types of settlements in Geography, exploring inverse operations in maths and investigating forces in science. In the art studio, they have worked so hard on their skills that the whole class were awarded 'artist of the week'! In English, they have been developing their imaginative and creative writing skills following our online visit from author Cressida Cowell and in RE they have been thinking about choices, including what feels right and what feels wrong. They also shared with us a video excerpt of a music lesson in which they were learning about and practising African drumming. What busy lives they lead here at school!  Very well done to them for their confident and enjoyable presentation of all that they have been engaged in during this half term so far. Chamber Choir We are delighted to share a recording made in a socially distanced 'bubble group' format by the Chamber Choir during this half term. We hope that you enjoy hearing the children sing once more. You can see the video here.  Kindness Last week was national 'Anti-Bullying Week' and in Monday's Upper School assembly Mrs. Drummond shared a video message to the children at St. Helen's College from West End actress Wendi Peters (who has also been our Senior School Speech judge). The children were introduced to a little boy, 'Charlie', who was badly bullied at school by other children who did not accept him for who he was and mocked his love of the theatre, acting, dancing and singing. Wendi and a multitude of West End stars have come together to produce a charity single in support of the anti-bullying campaign from the Diana Award. Do take a look at the single here. Please also see the link here for more information for parents. We are very fortunate at St. Helen's College that our pupils work hard to uphold the school values and the children have been encouraged to share acts of kindness this week and to be good friends to each other. Of course they might not always get it right but that is the journey of childhood: learning about social relationships which, as adults, we can support the children to cultivate.  This festive season might feel a little bit different than normal for many young people. That’s why we’re encouraging you to join The Week Junior’s 12 Days of Kindness challenge – a fun way for children to help spread joy to their family, friends, community – and more importantly themselves – this December. Taking part is easy: simply visit theweekjunior.co.uk/12daysofkindness and download their special, free poster that features 12 ways to show kindness as well as some handy ideas from The Week Junior team to help you complete each day. There is something for every family to enjoy – from making thank you cards and baking Christmas treats, to donating toys and helping wildlife, all in support of Action for Children and their Secret Santa campaign, it’s the perfect feel-good way to end the year. Christmas Carols Around The Tree Our Christmas trees are now up at all three sites. We would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Lall, who have recently opened a florist in Hillingdon, for their kind donation of a tree for the Lower School Hall. We are looking forward to enjoying our usual Carols Around The Tree with pupils, albeit in a slightly different format to usual! We are very sorry that we cannot invite parents into school to join us this year, but the classes will each spend some time in school singing around the tree and this will no doubt help to get the pupils into a festive mood. Don't forget to encourage your child to enter the Christmas Tree Decoration Competition. Children are invited to design their own decoration to be hung on our Christmas trees at Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School. Decorations should be of a sensible size but may take whatever format the pupils choose! There will be a small gift for every child who enters and a winner will be chosen from each class to receive a prize too. Children may bring their decorations to school from Monday 30th November and the last day for bringing in a completed decoration is Wednesday 9th December. Decorations should be clearly named and handed to form teachers on arrival at school. Judging will take place on Thursday 10th December and prizes will be awarded on the final day of term. We look forward very much to seeing the children's entries this year! Monday 7th December - Christmas Present Appeal St. Helen's College children develop core values and an appreciation of how fortunate they are in their own lives and of how important it is to support those of others who are less fortunate. This year, following a suggestion from a parent, we are encouraging our pupils to support the Hillingdon Salvation Army's Christmas Present Appeal. We are inviting parents and children to choose a brand new toy/game, up to a maximum value of £12 and which will fit into a plastic shopping bag. These gifts should be delivered, unwrapped, to school on Monday 7th December. We will quarantine this gifts and then pass them onto the Salvation Army, who will arrange for their safe distribution to families in need over the festive period. The appeal is being launched in assemblies at school and we do hope that it is something you will feel able to support. Thank you so much in advance for your kindness and generosity. Thursday 10th December - Panto Day/Christmas Lunch On Thursday 10th December, children from Nursery to Year 6 will be treated to a traditional pantomime, which will be streamed live into their classrooms! They will also enjoy our traditional school Christmas dinner, which is always a very popular and joyous occasion! The adapted menu for the day is available here. Please note that there will be a dairy-free alternative for the dessert option. Children are invited to wear a Christmas jumper over their school uniform on this day. Friday 11th December - End of Term Term will end on Friday 11th December, which is a half day. Please collect your children at the times shown below: Ducklings and Nursery: 11.40 a.m. Reception: 11.50 a.m. Year 1: 12.00 p.m. Year 2: 12.00 p.m. Year 3: 12.10 p.m. Year 4: 12.20 p.m. Year 5: 12.30 p.m. Year 6: 12.40 p.m.   Online Safety - An Important Reminder There is no doubt that we have needed the digital world recently and it will continue to be a major part of our children’s lives. However, as parents and teachers we have a duty to be aware of what our children are able to access and how it influences them.  It is never too early to teach your child how to be safe online, so we would like to remind parents to follow these steps to promote online safety with your child: limit and monitor screen time install parental controls only allow age appropriate apps & games set privacy settings listen to what your child knows, or what they think they know, and then review, reflect and respond For more information please log on to National Online Safety where there is a wealth of information to support you.  https://nationalonlinesafety.com/enrol/st-helen-s-college Please do contact our Designated Safeguarding Leads, Mrs. Hunt (Lower School) or Mr. McLaughlin (Upper School) if you have any questions. lhunt@sthelenscollege.com amclaughlin@sthelenscollege.com

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