School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 27/04/2018

Weekly News - Friday 27th April 2018

It was lovely to see so many of you at our Month End Music Recital this afternoon. Congratulations to all of the children who performed with such grace, confidence and musicality. Superb Music Results! We are delighted to announce some fantastic music results for the exams taken recently, as follows. Very well done to all of these pupils for their hard work and many hours of practice! Piano   5W Wenru G8 Distinction  4A Anaiya  G3 Distinction 5W Mya  G3 Merit 3T Samir G1 Pass Singing  6D Maddy G2 Distinction 4T Esha G1 Merit Guitar ​4A Jasmine G2 Merit 6D Jai G2 Pass 'Cello 3T Zayd  G2 Pass 3V Vandan  G1 Merit 4T Rhea Prep Pass 3T Anaiya Prep Pass ANZAC Day We were most proud that one of our Year 5 students, Luke, was asked to speak at the ANZAC (Australian, New Zealand Army Corps) remembrance service on Wednesday. Luke took part in the prayer service in Westminster Abbey and spoke in front of a full congregation including  Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan  Markle. The day is a national holiday in New Zealand and Australia to mark those soldiers who lost their lives in World War 1.  Luke gave a super presentation to Upper School children in today's assembly too. You can see photographs of Luke at Westminster Abbey on our Galleries page. A Marathon Effort! Huge congratulations to Mrs. Rooney, who ran the London Marathon last weekend for the first time. After months of training in the rain, wind and snow, there was an unexpected heatwave last weekend. It made the run very challenging, but Mrs. Rooney says that it was an incredible day that she will never forget. Thank you to all parents, staff and pupils for all the support and donations, which were so much appreciated.  Residential Trips 'Tis the season to be jolly with all our wonderful forthcoming residential trips. We wish all the Year 5 pupils and accompanying staff a great time next week as they depart on Monday to travel to the Isle of Wight for five days of adventurous and exciting activities!   Walk to School Week We have had a hugely successful week of walking/scooting/cycling to school this week. Thank you to all of the families who have supported this healthy venture. It is so wonderful to hear that many of you are intending to make this a more regular way of arriving at school each day.  Our JRSOs will of course be continuing to promote the initiative through our weekly 'Walk on Wednesday' sessions throughout the summer term. Lower School Building Project We are in the very last stages of finalising our plans for an incredibly exciting project which is due to be undertaken over the summer holidays - the refurbishment of our Nursery and Reception classrooms. We look forward to sharing further information with the community in due course. Upper School Parents' Evenings The next Parents' Evenings for children in Years 2 - 6 will take place at Upper School on Tuesday 15th May and Thursday 17th May. The online booking system is now open (link below) and operates on a first come, first served basis, so please book your appointments at your earliest convenience. Bookings will close the day before each parents' evening. https://sthelens.parentseveningsystem.co.uk/  Term Dates We have now published the term dates for 2019-2020. You can find them on the School Documents page of the website. Registration Reminder If you have a child who will be eligible for entry to the Nursery at 3+ in September 2019, or to Ducklings Kindergarten at 2+ in September 2019 (that is, a child born between 01.09.15 and 31.08.17), and you have not already registered him or her with us, then now is the time to do so! As the summer moves on, we will start the entry processes for September 2019 and siblings should be registered early to allow us to allocate priority sibling places. You may register online by completing the registration form at  https://www.sthelenscollege.com/257/registration-form. If you have any questions about admissions, please contact Mrs. Smith in the school office. Drop and Go - Upper School Please note that if cars are parked on Parkway across from the school, then we are unable to operate drop and go in the mornings.  Parents must park in the car park and escort their children to the gate.   School Bus Service From September, we will be trialling a morning school bus service. We are currently testing an initial route and will announce further details in due course.  Staff Vacancies We are now recruiting for various positions. Please do take a look at https://www.sthelenscollege.com/274/join-the-team and, if you know anyone who may be interested in working with us, do encourage them to apply!
Posted on: 20/04/2018

Weekly News - Friday 20th April 2018

Welcome back one and all to what will be a busy and fun-packed summer term! Please don't forget to check the school calendar to see what is in store. We would like to remind you that, during the summer months, children should continue to wear their full school uniform into school. Teachers will ask children to remove ties/blazers in school for the day when the weather is very hot. All children should have their St. Helen's College sun cap with them at all times too, as these must be worn at playtimes and for games sessions outdoors in hot weather. Staff News Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. McLaughlin! As you all know, two of our Upper School teachers had a wonderful wedding celebration over the Easter holidays and we wish Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin a very long, happy and prosperous future together.  Children in Middle School and Upper School had the privilege of hearing from the bride and groom in assembly this week as they shared their sentiments and reflections including photographs and a video from their special day. Thank you to them both for sharing this with the wider community. You can see some photographs of their special weekend on our Galleries page. Good Luck to Mrs. Rooney! Mrs. Rooney will be running the London Marathon this weekend to raise money for Phab Kids and we wish her well. She has shown huge commitment and determination in her training and will no doubt show the same spirit on the day itself. You can find out more about her chosen charity, and make a donation if you would like to, by clicking here. Music News We would like to remind parents that fees for individual instrumental/vocal tuition are due by the first lesson of term please. Payment should be made directly to the music teacher.  Singing Competition Our very exciting Singing Competition for Years 2 - 6 will take place on Friday 8th June this year. Children should decide which category they would like to enter and choose a song. Next, fill in a slip and put into the box - these can both be found at the front of the hall and entries must be submitted no later than Friday 4th May. There is no set theme this year as we would like to hear songs from all different genres and perhaps a range of songs throughout musical history. Singing in other languages is permitted. The only restrictions this year are that we would like you to avoid singing pop songs and we would like to see only simple gestures and appropriate movements relevant to the performance. No dance moves please. The categories are: Best solo singer from each year group. Best duet Middle School Upper School Best group - trios (3) or quartets (4) only. Middle School Upper School   There should be just one solo entry per child but they may also participate in either a duet or a group. No choir songs please! A backing track is required (without words) for performance on the day; CD or Ipod only. No piano accompaniments will be used this year, unless a child is playing the piano as part of their performance.  All winners will be invited to sing at the Singers’ Concert on 12th June. Should the number of entrants be high, preliminary rounds will take place before half term. Walk to School Week Next week is ‘Walk to School Week’ at school and we would like to encourage as many pupils as possible to take part.  The theme for this year is ‘City to Seaside’ and over the week as a whole school we will be trying to walk to distance from Hillingdon to Brighton beach. That’s 69 miles!  The children will earn badges and prizes for themselves and their class, just for walking to school! In assemblies today the benefits of walking to school and been highlighted to children. Walking to school is healthy for us, healthy for our environment and helps us to learn about road safety. Also, we can meet our friends and have a chat on the way! We understand that it may not be possible for all pupils to walk the whole way from home to school and so we recommend a 'Park and Stride' approach. This is where you park your car a 10 minute walk away from the school gates and walk the last bit. You could walk through Court Park to get to school! All pupils have been issued with a ‘Walk to School’ record card which can be coloured if they walk, even just some of the way, to and from school each day next week. Coming to school on a bike or scooter also counts!  Our team of Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSOs) will be out and about next week spotting those of you who are doing a great job! The week will launch a term of  'Walk on Wednesday' which will start from 25th April so you can keep walking to school each week this term. A walking route to school will be supervised by staff and our JRSOs every Wednesday. The route will start from Court Drive coming through Court Park and will be staffed from 8 – 8.30 a.m., so that pupils can safely participate in walking to school each week.   We suggest the following use of the safe walking route: Children in Years 3 – 6 may be dropped at the drop off point in Court Drive and the children can walk along the route in small groups.  Parents are welcome to walk too. Parents of pupils in Nursery – Year 2 must park carefully in Court Drive and walk with their children along the route.  Young children will not be permitted to use the route unaccompanied by an adult. Remember...keep walking! World Earth Day World Earth Day is on Sunday 22nd April with the focus to end plastic pollution. As a school we have been discussing in class/assembly the importance of looking after our planet and what we can do to help 'end plastic pollution'.  The link to the World Earth Day site can be found here. A link to an Earth song can be found here.   As a school we will be focusing on World Environmental Day on Tuesday 5th June.  PA Quiz Night - Saturday 12 May 2018 Don’t forget that the PA Quiz Night will be taking place at 7 p.m. on Saturday 12th May 2018 (adults only). So gather up some other parents in your child’s class, friends and family members, fill in the reply slip that was circulated before the Easter holidays and drop it off at the school office. Completed forms need to be submitted by Friday 27th April 2018 - if you need a new one, your PA Class Rep will be able to forward you an electronic copy.  Tickets cost £10 each and will include a chip shop supper and you can bring your own drinks. Places are limited so get in early to ensure that you don’t miss out. We look forward to seeing you there! Sports News Tennis team trials will be taking place next Wednesday, 25th April, after school from 3.50 - 5 p.m. for boys and girls who can play mini tennis and wish to play in the school Year 3 and 4 tennis team in the forthcoming Borough tournament on 16th May. The school has a great record in competitive tennis and are current Borough Champions! If you would like your child to come along, please ask your child to sign up on the sheet on the PE notice board. Please note that team practice for successful applicants will take place on Wednesdays after school each week in the lead up to the Borough tournament.  Tag rugby team trials for Year 5 children will be taking place on Wednesday afternoons until 4.30 p.m. Your child has already indicated whether he or she would like to attend. Tennis for Kids is a LTA initiative happening this summer offering TENNIS TASTER courses for children aged 4-11 who are new to tennis. The course includes six coaching sessions, a Babalot racket and ball set and a personalised t-shirt – all for £25.   Courses are starting soon at our club/school link venues but places are limited and are going fast. Please use the links below to find a course and book a place for your child. Venue: Tripletts Community Tennis Centre, Hayes click here Venue: Wayfarers Tennis Club, here Drop Off and Go and Pick-Up and Go at Lower School and Upper School The school's parking regulations are available here. Please can we remind parents of the importance of following our procedures each day to enable ease of flow of traffic and due consideration to other parents. This week many parents have been observed getting out of cars and unpacking the boot of the car etc. This only delays cars behind and causes frustration. We have also had parents tooting horns, which causes disturbance to the local neighbours.  Pupils should also not be allowed to use the pedestrian crossing on Long Lane unless accompanied by an adult.  At pick up time please can parents refrain from parking across from school outside of the medical centre as this also obstructs traffic and we cannot operate the pick-up and go system effectively. Fire Safety Today, pupils at the Upper School site had their first fire drill of the term. Although all pupils lined up correctly and were accounted for in a timely manner, I am sure they will share with you my disappointment at the noise level during evacuation and line up. It would be much appreciated if families would discuss at home the importance of following fire procedures to ensure that everyone is safe, and the reasons for remaining calm and quiet in these situations. It may be an opportunity for you to discuss what the fire evacuation procedures would be in your own home too.
Posted on: 19/04/2018

Nurturing The Love Of Writing - Head's Blog

There has been recent debate in the news on the detrimental effects of touch screen devices on the development of young children’s handwriting skills.  Over the past ten years there has been a rapid increase in the use of ipads and other touch screen devices and young babies and toddlers are amazing parents with their incredible use of swiping actions as they navigate the apps on their parents’ phones or tablets. Personally, I am saddened when I see youngsters in restaurants glued to tablets while the adults engage in social conversation. Don’t get me wrong – I am not against the use of technology! Indeed, some of the games and apps being developed for young children are super for encouraging the development of certain skills. However, recent research has seen a decline in children’s handwriting skills caused by the lack of dexterity and movement skills needed to hold a pencil. Traditional craft activities such as playdoh, drawing, painting, cutting and sticking, threading beads or doing jigsaws seem to be disappearing with the influx of technology. These activities can play a crucial part in developing the fine motor skills needed by children as they grow, including their handwriting skills. Handwriting skills are important and I am sure that many of you will fully support me in this. There are some people who feel that it does not matter if you are able to have good handwriting or not as the use of technology increases. However, I am pleased to say that here at St. Helen's College we pride ourselves on teaching the children handwriting skills and there is great excitement as they work towards gaining their ‘pen licence’ in Middle School.  I am sure many of you were impressed at the quality of the handwriting and writing on display at Exhibition Day recently. Over the Easter holidays I was touched as I received several postcards from children who had written to their classes from their holiday travels.  I urge you as parents to continue to encourage all of your children to take pride and joy in the art of handwriting. I hope that many of our children still write thank you letters to family and friends for gifts that they receive on special occasions.  You could also encourage your children to keep a diary and/or reflections book, to compile written fact files or to have a go at writing stories...writing should be enjoyable, relevant and fun! Our Year 3 pupils and Year 6 pupils have the opportunity to write penpal letters to children in Spain and France – and so practise not only their handwriting, but also writing in a foreign language! I have fond memories of writing activities as a child.  I kept a diary from about the age of 8 right through to my teenage years!  I recently found these in my mother’s attic and spent hours reminiscing, laughing and cringing about some of what I had written! There was a magazine called ‘Blue Jeans’ which had penpal pages and for over three years I wrote to a lovely girl in Zambia who lived in a convent school. Sadly I have lost touch with her but the joy of receiving her air mail letters I still remember. I was fortunate to keep in touch with my childhood French penpal and met up with her and her family on a holiday to France some 20 years later. My husband seems to have forgotten that we spent several months in different countries many moons ago when we were dating – but I still have all the lovely handwritten letters we wrote to each other! These are all examples of such special memories, all kept on paper for years to come, and of relationships built by the power of the pen.  And all this before the influx of technology. Last term we discussed how we need to model reading to children and to be seen by our children reading a book for pleasure, relaxing and enjoying texts. The same could also be said for writing. So this term, I challenge you all to share the love of writing and to show your children that you still value the skill of handwriting. Write a letter to someone who you have not seen for a while, start a reflective journal (these are really useful for the work place!), or write with your children on a shared writing activity: a poem, a shared family travel journal over the duration of a holiday, or a story/play that you create together.  Happy writing! https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2018/apr/05/putting-pen-to-paper-instilling-a-love-of-the-written-word Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 23/03/2018

Weekly News - Friday 23rd March 2018

It was super to be joined by so many parents for our Easter Service today. We wish you all a happy Easter and a relaxing holiday with your families. Speech Competition/Poetry Recital All pupils from Nursery to Year 6 performed with great confidence, articulation and pride at our annual Junior and Senior Speech Competitions and at the Nursery and Reception poetry recitals. It is a testament to the families' support and the superb teaching here that our children are able to take to the stage and demonstrate such highly developed public speaking skills. Congratulations to all of the children for learning their poems and speeches, but special congratulations to our winners. The overall winners were: Years 1-3: Zidane B Years 4-6: Daniel G-J.   Music and Sports Personalities of the Term Many congratulations to Shreya T, who was named the Music Personality of the Term for the Spring Term for her outstanding effort, commitment, dedication and achievement within the music department. Shreya has always worked conscientiously and demonstrated enormous enthusiasm over several years, in all aspects of music at St Helen’s College. She: has excellent musical skills and is very knowledgeable; applies and shares creative ideas successfully in class work; is always impeccably behaved and is an excellent role model; plays the recorder fluently; enjoys and sings in the Senior Choir; has recently sung at St John’s Smith Square and The Royal Festival Hall with the Chamber Choir; is a reliable music monitor; has worked extremely hard in singing lessons and has recently passed a Grade 5 singing exam with distinction. Our Sports Personality of the Term was also announced this week and the award went to a very deserving Chiara L in Y5. Chiara has shown commitment and determination to achieve her sporting goals this term, training incredibly hard to reach an excellent standard of skill in her sport. She remains very modest about her achievements but is really brave when competing, often somersaulting 5 meters in the air. The whole school was incredibly proud of her as she competed at the international competition in Portugal this term and won a gold medal. Many congratulations, Chiara! There are photographs of the winners on the Galleries page. Skyping Spain! Our Year 3 children are involved in a new project, exchanging letters with a Spanish school in Murcia, in the southeast of Spain. Last Thursday, to develop this further and as a surprise for our children, Year 3 actually had the opportunity to have Skype conversations with Spanish pupils, exchanging likes/dislikes and talking about their hobbies, favourite subjects and more. This was a wonderful opportunity to develop their Spanish by speaking with Spanish pupils and the children here are full of excitement for what comes next. Some new international friendships, maybe? We are looking forward to exploring the possibilities of this new project and we will keep you posted! Trips And Visits This Week Reception were so lucky to be visited by the Starlab Planetarium this week as a fantastic end to their topic on 'Space'.  Once inside the dome, they took an amazing journey through space - looking at the sun, the planets in our solar system, spiral galaxies and stunning nebulae. They were then treated to a breathtaking 360 degree view of the night sky, where they identified some of the most famous constellations and heard how their stories had been passed down through time. It was an incredible experience that they will never forget! On Wednesday, Year 4 went on a fantastic trip to the Synagogue, which served as a fitting conclusion to their studies of Judaism. The children were impeccably behaved throughout - as was commented on by all of the wonderful and welcoming hosts - during three workshops on the Shabbat, the Torah and Jewish song. All of Year 4 performing a Jewish dance, which provided an entertaining end to a truly outstanding trip. Chess Club Chess Club has been busy this term, with participants competing in matches as part of our chess tournament. In the end, Aditya S won the chess tournament in a nail-biting finish to beat Michael K by one point. There were three players who qualified for the Megafinal at Harrow High School on Thursday 12th April: Ayush A, Aditya S and Michael K. Well done to all those who have been developing their chess skills and to these three boys in particular! The Chess Team enjoyed a friendly match yesterday too, with the teams as follows: A team: 1 Ayush  2 Michael. 3 Catherine  4 Luke B team: 1 Aditya. 2 Nirmit  3 Keaton  4 Jai The result of the first round matches was: St. Helen's A team v. St. Bernadette's A team Draw                    Board 1       Draw Win                      Board 2       Lose Draw                    Board 3       Draw Draw                    Board 4       Draw St. Helen's B team v. St. Bernadette's B team Win                       Board 1        Lose Win                        Board 2       Lose Win                        Board 3       Lose Win                        Board 4       Lose This was a clean sweep by our B team so things were looking good at the halfway stage. Round 2 St. Helen's A team v. St. Bernadette's B team Lose                       Board 1         Win Win                         Board 2         Lose Win                         Board 3        Lose Lose                       Board 4         Win St. Helen's B team v. St. Bernadette's A team Lose                         Board 1           Win Lose                         Board 2           Win Win                           Board  3         Lose Lose                         Board 4           Win So at the end we won round 1 and St. Bernadette's won round 2 so the result was a draw. As this was a friendly, we agreed a draw and did not go into finer detail. However, had this been a tournament match we would have won with more individual wins! Well done to all of the pupils, who played well in the face of stiff opposition. Music News If your children (and you) might enjoy hearing some music from the movies, why not attend the Family Concert at Trinity Church, Harrow tomorrow evening (Saturday 24th March)? Full details, including ticket prices and timings, are available here. We have flute vacancies for children in Year 2 upwards. These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis so if you are interested in your son or daughter learning the flute, please contact Mrs. Allery as soon as possible at rallery@sthelenscollege.com. Co-Curricular Clubs We still have spaces available in the following Upper School clubs for the summer term.  Y4/5/6 Bushcraft (Bushcraft will include using a compass, map reading, the Countryside Code, recognising weather conditions, international signs of distress, ropes, knots & gadgets, building a shelter, finding water, building a fire and campfire cooking. Please note that this club is now available to Y4 too.) Y2/3 Spanish club Y4/5/6 Spanish club Y5/6 Tag rugby Y2/3 Taekwondo Y4/5/6 Ceramics Y5/6 Jewellery  Y4/5/6 Yoga Y3 tennis Please contact Miss Lang at mlang@sthelenscollege.com as soon as possible if you would like to book onto these clubs for next term Easter Girls' Basketball Camp There will be a basketball camp for girls taking place at Douay  Martyrs School over the Easter holidays between Tuesday 3rd - Friday 6th April. Daily sessions run from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. The camp will be a mix of drills, matches, mini competitions and shooting games with an emphasis on fun and enjoyment. All girls aged 7-17 are welcome, regardless of ability or whether they have played basketball before, and the camp will be run by female coaches. There’s also an early bird price of £75 (reduced from £90) for all places booked by 29th March - you can make your booking with a text, call or email and payment can be made later on the first day of camp. Full details are available here. PA Quiz Night - Saturday 12 May 2018 The PA Quiz Night will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday 12th May 2018 (adults only). The reply slips to book your team in (no more than 8 people per team) have now been circulated in book bags so, if you fancy an evening of fun and laughter and the opportunity to test your grey matter, get your forms filled in and back to us by 27th April please. Tickets cost £10 each and will include a chip shop supper but you will need to bring your own drinks. Places are limited so do get in early to ensure that you don’t miss out. We look forward to seeing you there! PA Easter Raffle This year, the PA donated a prize for a free Easter egg draw for each class. Congratulations to all of the lucky winners and Happy Easter to all from the PA!
Posted on: 16/03/2018

Saving Water - Children Are The Future by Mr. Lewis

    When it comes to saving water, the children are the future When scientists search for life on other worlds, they begin by looking for water. Water is vital for life and yet in the affluent West we take it for granted, wasting it,  polluting it and disrupting the water cycle. Next Thursday is the United Nations World Water Day and, to coincide with this, Waterwise will be running a UK Water Saving Week. Each day will have a theme with a downloadable pack full of ideas, information, challenges, posters, infographics and water saving tips.   I must declare an interest in water efficiency. I grew up in Cape Town -  the first modern city to declare a day on which it will run out of water. The date has been pushed back from mid-April but when Day Zero comes, homes will not be supplied with running water and residents will need to queue for water rations. Cape Town’s annual rainfall is greater than London’s and its population is less than half of ours but a recent drought and mismanagement have led to the crisis. Of course, in some places fresh, clean water is even more difficult to come by than just having to queue for it. Eight years ago, my 16 year old daughter and I volunteered in a rural village in Ghana. It was near a lake but due to poor infrastructure there was no fresh running water available so water was trucked from elsewhere and sold in plastic bags. We were unable to wash properly and my daughter became seriously ill. This experience was one of the motivators for her to study water science and governance, which has led her to co-ordinating Water Saving Week. We may have hopes and plans for our children’s careers but it is their life experiences that will lead them to their vocation. At St. Helen’s College, the children are better informed than most about water, its importance for life and the consequences of water scarcity and contamination. It is a significant part of the Year 5 geography curriculum. The children investigate the processes and infrastructures that get clean water to our homes in the UK and, in partnership with Affinity Water, they undertake a STEM water pipe engineering challenge. They look at water pollution case studies to understand how the environment can become damaged and they look for ways to save water in their daily lives. They learn about parts of the world where clean water is scarce and the impact that this has on the communities and particularly the children. Please discuss saving water with your children and visit the Water Saving Week website. If they would like to write a poem or create a poster about water we will submit it to Waterwise and we may even win a prize. You may also want to look at World Water Day and the main Waterwise website. Mr. Lewis
Posted on: 16/03/2018

Weekly News - Friday 16th March 2018

We are looking forward to seeing you all at our annual Exhibition Day tomorrow. The school will be open from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and we hope that you will visit Ducklings, Lower School and Upper School to see all that your children have been busy doing! The car parks are likely to be very busy, so please do come on foot if you can and be prepared to park away from the school and walk if you are coming by car. Please remember that, while all of the teachers and assistants will be here and eager to chat with you, Exhibition Day does not allow time for in-depth discussion of your child's progress. If you would like to speak to any teacher in detail about your child's work then please do make an individual appointment. Children should wear their full school uniform to Exhibition Day please. Chamber Choir We were so proud of our Chamber Choir this week as they competed in the Barnardo's National Schools Choral Competiton at the Royal Festival Hall. They qualified for the final with over 150 schools from all over the UK competing for a place in this prestigious event. On the day they went up against eighteen other primary schools and performed magnificently. Although we were unable to beat Lindley School, who have won the competition now for the third year in succession, our pupils were all winners in our eyes! You can see their competition piece on the link below, which one of our parents has kindly shared with us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5BrBitw2wM&index=1&list=PLZbxyT2GNwMYltWz6dD275r9eDysS7fjZ 3V Assembly 3V proved today that screen time can be advantageous for children when they engage in such wonderful programmes presented in today's outstanding assembly! Educational and entertaining - the 3V team brought to life the Anglo Saxon period and demonstrated one of our school values of 'Respect'.  The pupils' perfomances were a testament to how much respect they have for each other and their learning here at St Helen's College - well done everyone! Waste Week Our Eco Reps have had a very industrious week encouraging all pupils to be mindful of NOT wasting food and other resources. Each day in the dining rooms they have eagerly weighed our food waste and general waste and reported back in assemblies. We are delighted to report that the food waste has reduced over the week! This has been a superb week-long initiative which has highlighted to us all the important message of recycling appropriately and not to waste food.   School Council The student voice at St. Helen's College is loud and clear and it is so positive to have such an active student council. The reps have been liaising with their classes and taking the ideas and suggestions of the student body to Miss Vig in their weekly meeting. The Year 6 reps then meet with Mrs. Drummond on a regular basis to present the agreed areas for development. Some of the suggestions which have been actioned are board games for the playground, Park Club, Yorkshire puddings for all (not just meat eaters!), new cups in the dining room and soup at lunchtime.  Keep up the great work, council reps! Football League Champions! On Wednesday, after a long wait due to the adverse weather conditions over the last couple of months, we finally went into our last football league game, knowing that a win would secure St. Helen's College our second ever league championship. The team was very nervous all week but looked forward to kicking off against St. Mary's. On a heavy and wet pitch, we started uphill and the side seemed apprehensive and struggled to settle. However, after about twelve minutes, Ryeesa took a corner and Eli headed home! It stayed 1-0 until half time and the team re-grouped and then produced one of their best 15 minutes of football of the season. Eli scored a further two goals for his hat trick and the team and spectators knew we were champions! It has been a wonderful season with the team improving every game, producing some exciting football with skill and pace. Congratulations to all team members who made this possible.  Swimming Gala The Year 5 and 6 swimming team took part in the School Games district swimming gala on Thursday evening at Hillingdon Sport and Leisure Complex. The event attracted eleven local schools and initial heats for each event were held, followed by finals for the six fastest swimmers.  In the individual breaststroke heats, Timi and Wenru swam for St. Helen's, with Timi finishing in 3rd place in his boys' heat and Wenru in 4th place in her girls' heat. This was quickly followed by William and Zoe swimming in the individual backstroke heats. William finished in 4th place and Zoe in 3rd place in very fast heats. Finally Lincoln and Lily took to the pool to contest the individual freestyle heats, with both of our swimmers winning their heats. After the individual heats our team had to get ready for the relay heats. In teams of three our swimmers competed in the medley relay and freestyle relay heats. Adiyta, Wenru and William teamed up to swim the medley relay finishing in 3rd place in their heat and Lincoln, Timi and Lily teamed up to swim the freestyle relay winning their heat convincingly. When the places in the finals were announced, the team were excited to discover they had qualified for 7 out of 8 finals. In the boys' breaststroke final and girls' backstroke final, Timi and Zoe narrowly missed out on medals finishing in 4th place but medals came St. Helen's way with Lincoln winning a silver medal in the boys' freestyle final and Lily winning a gold medal in the girls' freestyle final. It was gold again in the freestyle relay final for Lily, Timi and Lincoln, who led from the front all the way through to the finish.  In the overall team competitions the team finished in 3rd place in the individual cup, relay team cup and overall team cup. Many congratulations to all our swimmers!  Hillingdon Primary Schools Table Tennis Festival On Monday, our team of four took part in the Borough Primary Schools Table Tennis Festival at Oakwood secondary school. Our team was seeded 1 - 4 to play against seeded players from the other schools, with each player playing five matches. St. Helen's College won 19 of their 20 matches, which is an outstanding achievement and led to us being crowned tournament winners. The Mayor of Hillingdon presented our team with gold medals and was pleased to pose for photo opportunities with them too! Well done to the team members: Ryeesa S, Daniel C, Ethan V-B and Jai S. Co-Curricular Clubs Co-Curricular clubs have now finished for this term, with the exception of the following clubs which will be running catch up sessions next week: Yr 3 & 4 Netball                  Monday 19th Yr 2 & 3 Art                         Wednesday 21st Yr 2 & Yr 4, 5 & 6 Tennis    Thursday 22nd Yr 5 & 6 Minecraft               Thursday 22nd Yr 5 & 6  French drama      Thursday 22nd Easter Service and End of Term Parents are warmly invited to attend the Easter service at All Saints Church at 11 a.m. on Friday 23rd. Please remember that Friday 23rd March is the last day of term and is a half day. Holiday Club will be running in the afternoon. Easter Tennis Camps If you have a keen young tennis player, or a child who would like to have a go at tennis, then you might be interested in the Easter tennis camps which are run by our very own Miss Walker. You can find details here. Easter Basketball Camps Children who would like to practise their basketball over Easter might be interested in the basketball camps being run by Thames Valley Cavaliers. You can find details here.
Posted on: 9/03/2018

Child Welfare by Mrs. Smith

The Oxford English Dictionary offers two definitions of the word ‘welfare’: ‘Statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need’. ‘The health, happiness and fortunes of a person or group’. Thankfully, we live in a country where much is made of the need to look after ‘child welfare’ by the government, by charities and by the press. There are, necessarily, guidelines issued to ensure that families, schools and other services make sure that the ‘basic physical and material well-being’ needs of children are met. There are objective measures which can be taken to check that this is happening and it is certainly happening here at St. Helen’s College. However, the second definition of welfare is equally interesting. How do we, as a school, know whether we are doing well at looking after the ‘happiness and fortunes of a person or group’?  Today I saw a very sweet interaction on the steps outside of my office window at morning break time. There were five girls altogether, and one girl did not have a snack with her today. Two of her friends immediately offered to share their snacks with her, and the other two quickly followed suit. However, one then pointed out that they perhaps should not do this, in case the first girl had any allergies or wasn’t allowed to eat what the others had brought. A brief discussion ensued, before the first girl and one of her friends decided that they would visit the school office to let staff know that she was snack-less, and rather hungry. Interested to see the outcome of this little vignette, I popped into the office in time to see the conversation between the girls and Miss Lang, our Welfare Officer. Miss Lang sympathised with the child who had forgotten her snack, and thanked her friend for accompanying her to the office. Having checked the child’s dietary requirements, Miss Lang then offered her a choice of the banana she had brought in for her own mid-morning snack, or a plain biscuit from the ‘staff stash’. The girl chose the banana, thanked Miss Lang and went away happy. This story typifies, for me, what ‘welfare’ is about at St. Helen’s College. It is not just about the meeting of basic needs. It is about kindness, empathy and working together to ensure that children feel included, valued and loved. In another school, the girl might just have got through the morning without a snack. No permanent damage would have been done and her ‘basic physical well-being’ would not have been compromised. But here at St. Helen’s College, her welfare was actively promoted by her friends and by the staff. They imagined how she might feel at being the only one without a snack (hungry, a bit left out, a bit forgotten) and they worked hard to make sure that she did not feel those things. I feel sure that, if she were to forget her snack again, the same thing would happen. I think that Miss Lang would probably also telephone her parents to remind them, kindly, to help her to remember her snack in future – after all, Miss Lang’s personal fruit supply can only stretch so far! This is at the heart of what makes St. Helen’s College a special place. Everyone in our ‘family’ looks out for each other; everyone is prepared to go that extra mile, sharing what they have and helping others to feel safe and cared for. We don’t just meet the ‘basic physical and material well-being needs’ of our children; by teaching and enacting the school’s values, we help every child to feel involved, looked after and glad to be with us. When a child feels involved, looked after and glad, they instinctively want to help others feel that way too. So they, and we, actively promote ‘the happiness and fortunes’ of our group. Mrs. Smith
Posted on: 9/03/2018

Weekly News - Friday 9th March 2018

It is just one week to go now until our annual Exhibition Day, at which we celebrate the hard work and achievements of your children throughout the year. Exhibition Day will take place on Saturday 17th March from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. We have sent invitations out to each family and we do urge you to attend! This special occasion, which is for current parents only, gives parents and other family members a chance to visit classrooms at all three sites and throughout the school to see the work produced by pupils. Your children will, no doubt, be eager to show you all that they have been doing. They will also enjoy reminiscing when visiting younger classes and looking forward to what is in store for them in the future when visiting older year groups.  Refreshments will be available in The Evans Hall throughout the morning and all of your children's teachers and teaching assistants will be on hand. However, please note that teaching staff will not be available on this day for in-depth discussion of children's progress or other matters. Should you need to speak individually with the teacher about your child, please do make an appointment at another mutually convenient time. Parents have traditionally been very generous with sending in flowers and lending vases for this day. We thank you in advance for your support. The day is for current families of the school only. If you know of any families with young children who might be interested in St. Helen's College as prospective parents, we will be running a 'School at Work' Open Morning at the start of the summer term, so please do encourage them to telephone us and get booked in.  NSPCC The children have been very busy throughout this week learning about the work of the NSPCC and how to keep themselves safe. As an added bonus, they have also been keeping themselves healthy in their fundraising venture scooting and cycling around the playground. Thank you to family and friends who have supported this very important charity. Assemblies This Week We have seen some beautifully performed class assemblies at school this week, on three very different but very interesting and important topics. Wrens Nursery presented their assembly all about Mother's Day with astonishing confidence and presence for children so young. They told us all about mums and all that they do, and some children explained why they love their mummy in particular. As you can imagine, there was barely a dry eye in the house! Congratulations, Wrens! On Thursday, 5W demonstrated their understanding of narrative poetry with an excellent performance of The Highwayman, one of the most famous narrative poems.Through song and spoken word, they recited the poem as they re-enacted the story in costume and to great effect. There was a rhythmic drum beat and coconut halves provided the sound of horse's hooves. No-one could fail to be moved as the poem reached its tragic and unforgettable conclusion. Well done, 5W. 4T taught us all about meta-learning through their performance today, which included drama, music, movement and some humour too. They reminded us that we all learn in different ways and that it is by understanding ourselves as learners that we can reach our full potential. They also reminded us of the importance of being ready to learn at all times, and of how we might suffer if we are not ready to learn. All those watching will no doubt now remember the St. Helen's College mantra, that everyone should be Ready, Respectful and Safe at all times. Good work, 4T! Sports News International Gymnastics Success! Congratulations are due to Chiara L and her gymnastics partner, who did incredibly well in Portugal at the Maia International Acro Cup last weekend after dedicating several months of practice, sheer hard work and commitment to Acro gymnastics. Chiara would practise for 4-5 hours after school, perfecting the routine in preparation for their first international competition. Last Friday, they beat 30 other pairs, representing over 12 countries, to qualify in first place for the final on Sunday. Then, in an exciting final, they held their nerve and performed beautifully to take gold! They are now the 2018 International Youth WP Acro Champions! This is a major achievement for Chiara; her family, friends and the whole school are tremendously proud of her.  You can see photographs of the event on our Galleries page. Netball Tournament This week our netball teams took part in the annual Reddiford School netball tournament. Our teams went as defending champions, having won the event for the past three years. Teams from Alpha Prep School, Quainton Hall, Reddiford School and St. Helen's College took part this year in a fun 'round robin' format. It was the first taste of 7-a-side netball for our teams, as they make the progress from Hi-five netball in preparation for secondary school netball. Both the A and B teams worked well on the court, adjusting to having WA/WD on court, and delivered some good patterns of play in their performances. The A team won 3 and narrowly lost 2 matches and the B team won 2 matches and lost 3 matches. The overall tournament winners this year were Alpha Prep but our teams are determined to go back next year to try to reclaim the trophy! Well done to all the girls who took part: Zara, Abigail, Ionie, Grace, Aaria, Amishi, Natalie, Maddy, Zoe, Eshar, Wenru, Rhea, Georgia and Shreya. Co-Curriculum - Summer Term The Co-Curriculum Programmes for the summer term have now been posted to the School Documents page of the website and are available by following these links: Upper School Programme - Summer 2018 Lower School Programme - Summer 2018 The closing date for returning booking forms is Wednesday 14th March. Waste Week We are now promoting Waste Week, which takes place between 12th and 16th March. The focus this year is 'food and packaging' waste, so as a school we will be looking at ways to reduce these. Our Eco Reps have been busy making posters to help remind us all of the best ways to do this and what unfortunately happens when we use too much packaging. We are also asking the children to think about how they can also reduce food waste at home. You can see more information here and here. Your child will be bringing home a paper copy of their own 'student food diary' so that they can complete it and return to their class teacher, who will pass it to either Miss Dear, Miss Vig or Mrs. Mann. We will also be having a fact finding mission around the school for children to learn more about food and packaging waste.  Thank you for your support with this campaign.  Staff News We will be bidding farewell to two members of staff at Easter time. Mrs. Sweeney will be leaving us after many years of service to enable her to spend more time with her family. Mrs. Copland, one of our Lower School lunchtime assistants, will also be leaving to take up another role. We wish them both well and thank them for their dedication and commitment to the school. Next term, 1S will be taught by Mrs. Hunt, assisted by Miss Davies and Ms Thomas. 1HC will be taught by Miss Cooper.  Easter Holiday Club Bookings Now Open The booking form for the Easter Holiday Club has now been posted to the School Documents page of the website and is available here. Please note that completed booking forms must be returned by next Friday, 16th March. PA Easter Raffle As has become traditional, the PA has donated prizes for an Easter raffle for the children. All of the children will be included in this free Easter egg draw (which will take place in the last week before the Easter break) and there will be one prize for each class. We hope that the lucky winners enjoy their prizes! Battle of Britain Bunker If your child has a keen interest in history (or you are hoping to spark one!), the Battle of Britain Bunker in Uxbridge will re-open on Friday 30 March (Good Friday), along with the new visitor centre. The visitor centre will be open seven days per week (closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day), from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., with last admission at 3.30 p.m.  You can find more details here. We do hope many of you will take your children to this very local and very interesting historical site. Parking Reminder We would like to remind parents again of the school parking regulations, which are published on the School Documents page of the website and are available here. It is crucial that parents follow these, both for the safety of children and adults and to maintain good relationships with our neighbours and the local community. We would like to remind parents in particular that staff car parks may not be used by parents and that parents must not park in Parkway on the opposite side of the road to the school, as this obstructs the flow of traffic along Parkway. Thank you for your support.

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