School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 19/11/2021

Weekly News - Friday 19th November 2021

Children In Need We have had a lot of fun today at school fundraising for Children in Need and have thought seriously, too, about why we are raising money and about the issues that affect children less fortunate than our own. Children and staff throughout the school dressed in spots, yellow, Children in Need merchandise or just their own clothes. Many bought wristbands and entered the Design a Pudsey Bear competition. The raffles were, as usual, one of the highlights of the day! The raffle winners were: Ducklings: Gobind B (Blush), Noah G-W (Pudsey) Lower School: Eleanor G (Blush), Anika S (Pudsey) Middle School: Veer K (Blush), Daya R (Pudsey) Upper School: Jacob N (Blush), Antony F (Pudsey) The winner(s) of the Design a Pudsey Bear competition will be chosen by our Charity Reps next week. We would like to thank parents sincerely for your generous support of this very worthy charity and for helping your children to understand why it is so important to help those in need. It is not too late to donate via the St. Helen's College Children in Need JustGiving page here.  You can see more photographs of the children enjoying Children in Need Day on our Galleries page here. 2H Class Assembly - Buckets Wow! Well done to the children of 2H who presented a very charming and thought provoking assembly this morning about buckets! They explained that we each have a bucket that can be filled with good feelings and kindness and that, if we are kind and inclusive or do good deeds, we are filling other people's buckets but also filling our own.  They sang a beautiful song to remind us that we can all count on each other, explained how we can help others less fortunate through Children in Need, and led us in prayer. Every child spoke their lines with confidence and projection and we are very proud of them all. While 2H presented their assembly live to their parents this morning, the other children at Upper School watched a pre-recorded version. You might like to watch it too - it is available here. Chamber Choir - St. John's Smith Square We were very proud of our Chamber Choir who performed magnificently last Sunday at the Children's Trust London Schools Concert. Thank you to all of the parents who came along to support such a worthwhile charitable cause. We have received some lovely feedback from one of the concert organisers, who wrote:  "Your school was absolutely amazing – I really enjoyed your performances. Power in Me was particularly one of my favourites on the day. We cannot thank you enough for all your fantastic hard work and for kindly supporting us on the day. Your support allowed us to raise over £8,000 for children with brain injury." You can watch the videos of the performances here: Power In Me All Things Bright And Beautiful Gurupurab Today is a very special day as members of the Sikh community celebrate the birthday of Guru Nanak. Thank you to parents Mrs. Raikmo and Mrs. Daheley for their input into assemblies over the last couple of weeks. Mrs. Raikmo celebrated with Lower School children yesterday.       Inspection It has been a pleasure to welcome a team of ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) inspectors into St. Helen's College this week for both a compliance and an educational quality inspection. We have enjoyed showcasing our school, pupils and staff and demonstrating all that we do to ensure that the pupils have the best possible educational experience. The inspection report should be available within five weeks and we will of course share this with parents when we receive it.  Many thanks to all of the parents who responded to the inspection questionnaire so quickly and so positively. IAPS iArt Competition  After the success of iArt 2021, in which Arya A at St. Helen's College was a winner, IAPS will be running the competition again in 2022 and hopes to receive more submissions than ever. Shortlisted entrants will receive prizes of vouchers for local independent bookshops.   This year, the competition will have a theme and all submissions must in some way relate to this theme. The theme is my role model.   This theme has been chosen because IAPS is interested to see who inspires pupils, who motivates them, who they admire and who they would like to be like when they grow up. The role models can be anyone: someone personal e.g. a family member, friend, teacher, coach, librarian, a member of the local community; someone “in general” e.g. nurses, doctors, train drivers, farmers; someone public e.g. a famous person, such as a sportsperson, environmentalist, singer While IAPS encourages pupils to attempt a portrait of their role model, pupils – and particularly, younger pupils – should feel free to just paint / draw / create something which reminds them of their role model instead. For example, if a pupil’s role model is David Attenborough, they might choose to paint trees and animals, or if their role model is a parent, they might choose to draw a picture of their house.  Each pupil must write a maximum of 100 words in a sentence or two to accompany their piece of work, saying 'My role model is...because...'. Entries will be judged on a) interpretation of the theme; b) creativity around the theme; c) overall design; d) and that ‘certain something’ that just draws you to the artwork! There is no set format for entries and artwork can be submitted in any medium. Submissions can be paintings, drawings, or models, any size, and use any art supplies.     There are five categories for the iArt competition: Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4, Years 5 & 6, Years 7 & 8 and Years 9 & 10.  Each school may enter one piece of art for each category. For example, one piece of artwork representing the Years 5 & 6 category, not one artwork from Year 5 and one from Year 6.   The competition opens for entries on Thursday, 6 January. The deadline for submission is noon on Wednesday, 4 May and the shortlist will be announced later that month. Winners will be invited to attend an awards ceremony which will take place towards the end of June.   Pupils who would like to enter this competition should submit their pieces of art and accompanying sentences directly to Mrs. Pruce or via their class teacher. Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Pruce will judge which entries to put forward from St. Helen's College. This might be a lovely Christmas holiday activity for the children. Good luck everyone and happy creating! Alumni News Don't Unleash The Beast is being shown on CITV starting on Monday (November 22nd) at 5.30 p.m. It is also available on the ITV hub afterwards. Two Old Helenians will be appearing in the show. Samir H is in the Firecracker team and his show is on Tuesday November 23rd. Vidhit N's show is appearing later - possibly Tuesday November 30th. We hope that you will watch the shows and support our Old Helenians and their teams! Co-Curricular Activities - Spring Term Bookings for co-curricular activities for the Spring term will open at 4.00 p.m. today. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account to make your selections by the deadline of midnight on Monday 22nd November. Co-curricular club allocations will be confirmed to parents in due course and we ask that you make any payments due promptly at that point in order to confirm your child's place. Christmas Holiday Club Bookings open at 4.00 p.m. today for the Christmas Holiday Club, which will run from Monday 13th December to Tuesday 21st December. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account to book your child's place. Author Event On Saturday 11th December from 1.00 - 3.00 p.m., bestselling children's author Lauren Child will be signing copies of her latest books, Clarice Bean: Think Like An Elf and Pippi Longstocking, at Chorleywood Bookshop. We hope that many of you will take your children along to meet the author and perhaps buy a copy of one or both of these lovely books to support them in reading for pure enjoyment! You can find full details and book tickets for the event here. Next Week Next Friday 3MB will be performing their class assembly. 3MB parents are welcome to join us for coffee from 8.15 a.m. and the assembly will begin at 8.40 a.m. Also next Friday we have our November Month End Music Recital in the Evans Hall from 3.45 p.m. We hope that many parents will join us! Accent Catering Survey Yesterday we circulated a survey to parents of children in Nursery to Year 6, asking for your feedback about the catering service here at school. Many thanks to all of those parents who have already completed the short questionnaire. If you have not already done so, please do check your SchoolsBuddy account and complete the survey to give us your feedback. Your responses will be used to inform how we may improve the catering service even further. Pupils in Years 3 - 6 will also be asked to complete a short survey in school next week so that their views may be taken into account too. Parents are reminded that the school menu is always available in the School Documents section of the school website here.  PA Raffle Donations The PA will be running a raffle at the PA children's Christmas parties and would love donations from parents. If you have anything to donate, you can bring items to either Upper or Lower School where there will be collection points outside school each morning. Many thanks in advance for any prizes you are able to donate.
Posted on: 12/11/2021

Weekly News - Friday 12th November 2021

Year 1 Trip - Roald Dahl Gallery To enrich their literacy studies, Year 1 enjoyed an action packed day on Tuesday at the Roald Dahl Gallery in Aylesbury. They explored the museum and gardens looking for inspiration for their dream bottles and then became very engrossed illustrating their ideas and creating their very own dream bottle! They also had fun investigating all the hands on exhibits within the gallery. They went inside a giant peach and used a microscope to identify numerous mini-beasts. They also had fun in Fantastic Mr. Fox's tunnel and loved pretending to fly up the shoot in Willy Wonka's Factory! The children did, however, keep away from The Chokey as none of them wanted to be put in there by Mrs. Trunchbull!  It was an amazing day and the children all agreed that they would love to go back again! We would encourage parents to take children to this wonderful place whenever the opportunity arises.  You can see lots of photographs of the trip on our Galleries page. Year 3 Music This term in music lessons, Year 3 are learning about Music from Western Africa. This week they enjoyed playing Djembe drums to improvise their own rhythms over an ostinato pattern.        Year 3 Maths In Maths this week, Year 3 have been learning about perimeter. They enjoyed taking their learning outside where they measured the perimeter of different things in the playground.         Chamber Choir Performance at St. John's Smith Square We wish the Chamber Choir well for Sunday, when they will be joining with other prep schools from across London to perform in the Children's Trust Concert at the beautiful St. John's Smith Square. Thank you to everyone who will be attending to support the choir - you are in for a treat! This is the first of many opportunities for our Chamber Choir to perform this year. Sports News On Wednesday our U11 netball team played against St. Mary's School and continued their winning streak, with the match ending 8-0. Both teams showed great skill and determination in some pretty awful weather as the match progressed, as well as excellent sporting attitudes. Well done, girls!   Congratulations are also due to our U11 football team who won the Reddiford Challenge Cup tournament this week and brought their trophy back to school with pride! They won three matches and drew two during the competition, which secured them the top spot from amongst six local prep schools. We are very proud of their performance.         Switch Off Fortnight We have had a very successful start to our Switch Off Fortnight. All of the children have been very active in ensuring the lights are being turned off in their classrooms and other empty rooms, powering down their Chromebooks when not in use and making sure that teachers are turning off the overhead projectors and computers at the end of lessons. We will continue our energy saving campaign next week, when we will also be announcing which class had the most amount of switch offs and will be awarded the title of Eco Class of the week. We hope that you are all remembering to switch off at home wherever possible too. Road Safety Week - Next Week Next week is Road Safety Week and we ask that the children wear bright socks next Friday as part of the 'Be Bright, Be Seen' initiative. Our new Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs) presented an assembly on 'Road Safety Heroes' and Be Bright, Be Seen' today to inspire the children to take part in this important initiative. There is further information for parents here.  World Kindness Day Saturday 13th November is World Kindness Day. At school we have been looking at random acts of kindness, and parents might like to do something similar at home with your children over the weekend. You can find out more information here: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/world-kindness-day Mrs. Drummond's Head's Blog this week also addresses themes of kindness and happiness.  Charity Well done to Tiya T, one of our charity representatives, who showed great initiative in writing to Lord Dolar Popat, the Prime Minister's Trade Evnvoy to Rwanda, Uganda and DRC, to let him know about the work we are currently doing at school to support Children in Need and the Royal British Legion. Tiya shared with him a poster that she had made to promote our charity efforts. Lord Dolar Popat replied to Tiya's email to congratulate the school on its efforts and to pledge a donation to our fundraising. Remembrance Day Thank you to everyone who has donated to our Poppy Appeal this week. We thought that you might like to see this beautiful display, which is currently on show in the Upper School Hall. We marked Remembrance Day yesterday with a silence at school and spoke about why we remember this day and the many men and women who gave their lives in fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today.  It is not too late for parents to donate online to the Poppy Appeal via the St. Helen's College JustGiving website if you would like to do so. The fundraising page can be accessed here. Children in Need Next Friday, 19th November, is Children in Need and as usual we will be supporting this very worthy charity. Children may come into school wearing Children in Need items or their own clothes, which could use the Children in Need themes of yellow or spots. You can purchase Pudsey or Blush ears and other Children in Need items at the online Children in Need shop here. We ask that parents make a donation to Children in Need so that children may wear their own clothes on Friday 19th November. You can do this via our JustGiving page here. We will also have wristbands available for sale at school, priced at £1 each and there will also, as usual, be a raffle at all three sites with tickets on sale for £1 each. Prizes will be Blush and Pudsey bears. Please allow your child to bring some money into school next week if they would like to buy wristbands and/or raffle tickets. Our charity reps have also promoted a Pudsey competition for pupils in Years 2-6, challenging children to create a Pudsey bear using whatever medium they would like and being as creative as possible. These imagined Pudseys do not have to be yellow! Winners will be announced next week and the competition also costs £1 to enter, which will be donated to Children in Need. We hope you will support your children with their creative ideas for their Pudsey. We thank you, as always, for your generous support. PA Forum Meeting The next PA Forum meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday 16th November. Thank you to parents who have sent in suggestions for discussion points. Minutes will be circulated to all parents following the meeting.
Posted on: 12/11/2021

Being Happy and Kind

If you have already read this week’s newsletter you will know that this Saturday is World Kindness Day.  Much has been written about ‘happiness and kindness’ and it goes without saying that if we all showed each other more kindness we would have a much happier world. Every day here at St. Helen’s College we see kindness demonstrated in so many ways. Staff show genuine care and kindness towards the pupils, modelling how to treat others with compassion and goodwill. We see that kindness being replicated in the children’s behaviour to each other and in acts of kindness towards the local and global community too. Children are frequently observed or overheard asking each other how they are feeling, with real care, and taking action if a child is not feeling at their happiest. Our Friendship Benches are used at playtimes: if a child finds themself with no-one to play with, they sit on one of these benches and it is only moments before another child approaches them to ensure that they are included. Our Playground Pals take specific responsibility for showing kindness to their peers in the playground and for encouraging kind and inclusive play. Children also spot and acknowledge each other’s kindness and other values through our Value Spotters system, writing golden notes about each other’s helpfulness and other qualities. We then celebrate these acts of kindness and compassion in our assemblies to reinforce how important and meaningful they are. Staff, parents and children show great kindness, too, through support for charitable initiatives. Earlier in the term, parents and staff made many generous donations for Harvest, which were distributed amongst those in need of food in our local community. Kindness has again been demonstrated at school this week through our fundraising for the Royal Legion’s Poppy Appeal. We have ensured that the children understand the significance of Remembrance Day, discussing the bravery and - yes - kindness of those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We have looked, too, at the kindness of those who run and support the Royal British Legion, helping veterans and their families and keeping these important memories alive so that we may all continue to feel thankful for our current freedoms. Next week, we will be supporting Children in Need and will be discussing further the importance of showing kindness to those less fortunate than ourselves: not simply through raising money, but through our own selfless acts of kindness. We can all offer to help neighbours and friends or, in other ways, bring joy to those who may not experience it often enough. For example, over the years, St. Helen’s College children have made many visits to local care/nursing homes to bring joy to the elderly with their singing or by talking to them or sending them cards or letters. During the Covid pandemic, which pushed us all to think even more about kindness to others, St. Helen’s College children created artwork to decorate a ‘rainbow room’ at a local hospital to cheer up NHS staff as they battled through what were surely the hardest weeks and months of their careers. It is crucial that we show each other kindness as adults too, of course. As an avid supporter of the organisation ‘Action for Happiness’ I share their monthly calendars with staff. This month’s calendar is named ‘New Ways November’ and it encourages us to give thought to doing different things or doing the same things but in a different way. While I am well aware that St. Helen’s College parents are some of the kindest people around, I encourage you to take a look. Perhaps by embracing some of these tips you may find a new level of happiness and find yourself being kinder to yourselves and to others as a by-product! The relationship between kindness and happiness is indisputable. By being kind to others, we can produce happiness for them and ourselves. Some of the greatest figures in history have acknowledged this and used it as a basis for carrying out meaningful humanitarian work. I will leave you with this quote from Mother Theresa - a wonderful maxim which we may all strive to fulfil: ‘Spread love everywhere you go. Let no-one ever come to you without leaving happier.’ Have a kind, happy weekend! Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 5/11/2021

Weekly News - Friday 5th November 2021

Diwali There was great excitement around the school yesterday as the children shared their love of Diwali and how they would be celebrating with their families. It was wonderful to see the sky lit up around the Hillingdon area. Today, Mrs. Raikmo and Mrs. Daheley visited us to present to the Upper School children in assembly, along with Aanya P, Riya B and Diya B. They shared this short video with us, which you might like to watch at home. We all enjoyed listening to their presentations and learning more about Diwali. If you are visiting a fireworks display this weekend, please keep safety in mind and enjoy the celebrations for Diwali and Bonfire Night! Niji's Dream Children in Years 2-6 enjoyed hearing from Mr. Roche, our Head of English, in assembly on Monday about how he came to write his beautiful children's book, Niji's Dream, which has recently been published. This hardback book is filled with gorgeous illustrations and a special message about how we can bring colour to our world. Signed copies are available for children to buy - if you would like to order one, please send in £7.99 cash in an envelope clearly marked with your child's name and class, or make an online payment to the following account, using your child's name and class as your payment reference: Sort code: 110367 Account number: 11587268 Account name: Mr Steve Davis Thank you for your support and happy reading! Ed Sheeran Reads For CBeebies Tonight at 6.50 p.m., singer Ed Sheeran will be reading a story for CBeebies which will focus on stuttering and how he overcame this as a child. Full details are here and the programme will be available on BBC iplayer too. We do hope you will be able to watch this! PA Welcome Event The Parents' Association are hosting a Welcome Event for families who are new to the school this Saturday, 6th November, from 12 - 2 p.m. in the Evans Hall. If you are a family who joined the school in September, please do come along to meet the PA representatives and other new families. PA Forum Meeting - November 16th The next PA Forum meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday 16th November. If you would like to raise any points for discussion, please send these to your PA class rep by Tuesday 9th November. Class representatives should collate the issues they receive and send these by email to Mrs. Smith (susmith@sthelenscollege.com) by Friday 12th November. Minutes will be circulated to all parents following the meeting. Time To Talk With Mrs. Brooker We are very lucky at St. Helen's College to have Mrs. Brooker on our staff. Mrs. Brooker is a qualified counsellor and an accredited member of the British Association of Counsellors & Psychotherapists (BACP). Mrs. Brooker provides a service called 'Time to Talk' at Upper School, when children can spend time with her to play, talk and share their thoughts and feelings. Sessions are held at the Upper School in a safe and confidential space. These are available to all St. Helen's College children and can be accessed via the class teacher or requested by parents. Children may also self-refer by catching Mrs. Brooker at school or by putting a note into the Time to Talk red letterbox in the school hall. It might be a good idea for your child to consider some counselling support if one or more of the following applies: they need a private and confidential space to share thoughts and feelings with a professional counsellor who is trained to understand young people; they are overwhelmed with worries, anxieties or depressive thoughts and feelings; they find it difficult to manage anger or other big emotions, and it is affecting their capacity to think clearly and learn; they are struggling with any issues relating to school, friends or family; they are troubled by self-doubt; they have experienced loss; they are not being very kind to themself. If you would like to find out more about the counselling services offered at St. Helen's College, please speak with your child's class teacher or email Mrs. Brooker directly at jbrooker@sthelenscollege.com. Free Asthma Workshop The Hillingdon Asthma Team will soon be running another free workshop for parents to educate about Asthma and all we can be doing to support children who suffer. The workshop will take place via Zoom on December 6th from 4-5 p.m. You need to register in advance if you would like to attend. Full details are available here.  Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Next week, our pupil Charity Reps will be selling poppies in the gazebo at Upper School in the morning before school and at break times to support the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal. Parents may also purchase poppies when dropping off at the gate at either Upper or Lower School, or you can send money into school with your child so that they may purchase one here in school. You may also make cashless donations online to support the appeal at our JustGiving page here. Children in Need Children in Need is on Friday 19th November this year and as usual we will be supporting this very worthy charity. Children may come into school wearing Children in Need items or their own clothes, which could use the Children in Need themes of yellow or spots. You can purchase Pudsey or Blush ears and other Children in Need items at the online Children in Need shop here. We ask that parents make a donation to Children in Need so that children may wear their own clothes on Friday 19th November. You can do this via our JustGiving page here.  Diyan C, one of our Charity Reps, has written this to explain more about Children in Need: Children In Need is a charity that helps children all over the United Kingdom to make sure all children have a safe, happy and healthy childhood. The first official Children In Need was originally created as a 5 minute radio broadcast on Christmas day in 1927. The first televised broadcast of Children In Need was on the BBC in 1980. Since Children In Need was created, they have raised £600,000,000 to help children in the UK.  Fun Fact: Did you know that the well-known yellow Children in Need mascot, Pudsey, was originally brown! Switch Off Fortnight Next week will see St. Helen's College, led by the Eco Team, take part in Switch Off Fortnight. Switch Off Fortnight is a campaign that will encourage everyone at school to become interested in saving energy and cutting their carbon footprint. This year, our hugely popular energy-saving crusade will coincide with COP26 – the UN convention on climate change – which is taking place in the UK for the first time.  Not only will we make savings at school but we would like to encourage everyone to take the switch off challenge home, where we hope to inspire our families to take part in saving energy too. The more people involved, the greater the energy savings will be, which in turn will help our environment. The Eco Team will kick start Switch Off Fortnight during Monday's assembly and it will last from Monday 8th November until Friday 20th November. Throughout the fortnight the Eco Team will carry out several audits to see how many lights and appliances have been left on in their classrooms. The class who saves the most energy will be awarded Eco Class of the week. One small click can make a big difference, so happy energy saving everyone!  Recycle to Read The Eco Team would like to send a big thank you to everyone who donated old toys and electrical items for the 'Recycle to Read' campaign last half term. The items have been boxed and collected and we will shortly know how much we will receive in order to purchase books from Collins Publishers. We will keep you updated with our exciting new books.  Staff Ultra Marathon! At the beginning of half term, Miss Rackham and Mrs. Rooney took part in a 50km Ultra marathon.   It started at Moors Valley Country Park and finished at Hengistbury Head, Dorset. The route was amazing, following a disused railway line into Poole, then through the town and along the promenade. Miss Rackham and Mrs. Rooney were very lucky to have a super day of weather for the event and they both thoroughly enjoyed it! Congratulations to both runners.  Magic of Illustration at Heath Robinson Museum At the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner, there is currently an excellent exhibition of the original illustrations of Winnie and Wilbur and other much loved characters, which includes a unique insight into the inner workings of their illustrator Korky Paul, a very popular children's book illustrator. We encourage you to take your children along to see this super exhibition if you get a chance. PA Christmas Parties The PA Christmas parties will take place on Sunday 28th November at the Yiewsley and West Drayton Community Centre. Please save the date! Further details can be seen here.  The PA will be running a raffle at the Christmas parties and would love donations from parents. If you have anything to donate, you can bring items to either Upper or Lower School where there will be collection points outside school each morning. Many thanks in advance for any prizes you are able to donate. Christmas Gift Ideas If you are looking for ideas for a Christmas gift for your child, you might like to think of a magazine subscription for them to encourage reading and widen their general knowledge. Magazine.co.uk have a wide range of fun and educational magazines to keep children entertained and engaged, including Eco Kids Planet, Science and Nature, National Geographic Kids, The Week Jr and First News. Regular reading will help to improve your child's literacy, reduce their screen time, develop a love of reading for pleasure and help them to discover the wider world. This Christmas, Magazine.co.uk are offering an extra £2.50 off magazine subscriptions: simply use the code XMASBZT at checkout.
Posted on: 5/11/2021

Eco Awareness

As an accredited Eco-School, we have been watching the COP26 summit with interest this week. We are delighted that world leaders have once again come together in a high profile forum to discuss the issues that are of greatest concern in our world today, most notably climate change. Some years ago Mr. Lewis, our Director of Studies, undertook a United Nations climate change teaching course and he is now leading an initiative to ensure that all St. Helen’s College teaching staff - and many other, non-teaching staff - undertake up to date climate change training so that this continues to be given the highest priority in the classrooms and daily life of St. Helen’s College. This morning, our Year 6 children took part in a session from ‘The Great Big Lesson’, endorsed by the Eden Project and Cambridge Zero, and broadcast live from COP26. They celebrated nature and discussed the most pressing issues threatening our environment today. It is frightening to think of the damage being done to our world, but enormously heartening to hear our pupils - the leaders of the future - speak so passionately on the subject. As parents will know, at St. Helen’s College we have been talking about and teaching about climate change for many years. More than that, we take daily action to reduce our own impact on the environment and to encourage our children to take responsibility for their actions and how they affect the world around them. Through our Eco Reps system, we appoint children to positions of eco-responsibility. They drive eco-awareness amongst their peers and staff throughout the school, promoting initiatives to reduce waste and electricity usage and to recycle. Over the last few years, they have monitored and reduced food waste in the school, driven litter-picking schemes and more. Two current examples are our participation in the excellent Recycle to Read scheme and our promotion of Switch-Off Fortnight. Last half term, pupils, parents and staff throughout the school donated unwanted toys and electrical items which will be collected and recycled so that they do not become landfill. The school will then receive a donation from Collins Publishers to buy new books. We are very grateful to everyone who took part in this initiative.  Next week pupils and staff at school, led by the Eco Team, will take part in Switch Off Fortnight. Switch Off Fortnight is a campaign that encourages everyone to become interested in saving energy and cutting their carbon footprint. Not only will we make additional energy savings at school, but we would like to encourage everyone to take the switch off challenge home, where families can take part in saving energy too. The more people involved, the greater the energy savings will be, which in turn will help our environment. The Eco Team will kick start Switch Off Fortnight during Monday's assembly and it will last from Monday 8th November until Friday 20th November. Throughout the fortnight the Eco Team will carry out several audits to see how many lights and appliances have been left on in their classrooms. The class who saves the most energy will be awarded Eco Class of the week. One small click can make a big difference! The school also has a textile recycling bank outside our entrance at 227 Long Lane. Parents, pupils, staff and members of the local community can pop any unwanted textiles into the bank and nothing placed in there will end up as landfill. Suitable items are recycled and donated to those in need, and anything that cannot be used in this way is recycled and made into industrial cleaning cloths. In addition, we have recently signed up for the Plastic Free Schools Campaign, and will now be working to stop any single use plastics at school and to become an accredited plastic free school. We know that many parents are as passionate about the crusade against climate change as we are. If any of you have ideas of other schemes in which the school can take part, or other ways to educate our pupils and ourselves about these big issues, please do contact us. Our Eco Team is led at school by Mrs. Mann and Mrs. Reid, and they would always be pleased to hear from you. You can contact them on the email addresses below. nmann@sthelenscollege.com creid@sthelenscollege.com One of the greatest strengths of St. Helen’s College has always been the mutually supportive, respectful partnership between home and school. Working together, we really can help to protect our environment. Please do take part in Switch Off Fortnight and create lasting energy-saving habits, and please do remain aware of your impact on the world around you at all times. Each one of us can make a real difference, both in our daily lives and in how we educate and model behaviour to our children. Who knows, some of them may attend COP36 or COP46 one day!   Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 15/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 15th October 2021

Nursery Harvest Assemblies Wow! We were so impressed with our two Nursery classes, who performed harvest assemblies at the Methodist Church for their parents at the beginning of this week. It is always incredible to see such young children performing with real confidence and enjoyment. They had clearly learned their songs and actions well and should be very proud of themselves!                   3B Coffee Morning/Class Assembly On Friday, class 3B performed an assembly all about life in Year 3. They told us how it is different to life in Year 2, demonstrating how quickly they have learned to get changed for swimming and sharing examples of their work, including a report on their recent trip to St. Albans. They performed with great confidence and real enjoyment, with children sharing their particular interests and skills. Thank you, 3B, for such an interesting, informative and enjoyable assembly. Year 2 Trip to Chiltern Open Air Museum Year 2 had a fantastic visit to the Chiltern Open Air Museum on Thursday. The children learnt about life in the time of The Stone Age, which they have been studying this term in history.  They met a woman from the Mesolithic era and learnt how to make fire, shelters, shoot a special bow and arrow called an atlatl. The children enjoyed making  paste with charcoal to paint on material and their faces. They even made their own spears using stone and wood.               Year 5 Trip to Hampton Court Palace To extend and enrich their History topic of The Tudors, our two Year 5 classes visited Hampton Court Palace on Thursday and had a truly successful day in their first school trip in eighteen months. From the minute they entered the royal gates, they were excited and eager. The children learned from Mistress Alice (the head of the king’s laundrette) about how being a servant was a really good job in the 1500s! Our pupils impressed everyone with their good behaviour, relevant questions and by embracing the day with real enthusiasm. They were equally impressed with the grandeur of Henry’s apartments, the spookiness of the haunted gallery and the magnificent formal gardens. All in all it was a superb trip!   Sports News This week our girls' football team took part in an U11 Girls' Football Tournament at Radlett Prep School. They played six matches and finished 4th in the tournament overall. The boys' football team also took part in a tournament, travelling to Manor Lodge Prep School. Again, they played six matches and finished 3rd overall. Well done to all of the players involved in the tournaments - they were very enjoyable occasions and will have helped to develop skills and matchplay further. School at Work Open Morning The school was abuzz on Wednesday morning as we held our first in-school Open Morning since October 2019! At Upper School, our Year 6 pupils were super guides for prospective parents and the families who visited were enormously impressed with their knowledge of the school and confident communication skills. At Lower School, our Early Years and Year 1 classes acquitted themselves beautifully and it is amazing to think that so many of these children joined us for the first time in September. They have really adopted the St. Helen's College values and are living them out in their daily behaviour. We were very proud of them. Our prospective families were impressed by the behaviour and communication of the children throughout the school, as well as the impressive work on display. Many thanks to everyone involved in the morning. Maxwell Garden It is wonderful to watch our Maxwell Garden come to life as the pupils and St. Helen's College team continue to develop this outdoor learning area at Upper School.           Nursery/Reception/Year 1 Parents' Evening Thank you to all of the parents who attended the online parents' evening for Nursery, Reception and Year 1 children this week. We hope that you enjoyed talking with the teachers. Upper School Parents' Evenings If you have a child in Year 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and have not yet booked your appointment(s) for our forthcoming Upper School parents' evenings, please login to your Schoolcloud account to do so. The face-to-face parents' evening will take place on Tuesday 2nd November, and the online parents' evening will take place on Thursday 11th November. Individual Music Lessons We currently have availability for the following lessons for Upper School pupils (in Years 2-6): Trumpet Flute  Singing  Please note that these spaces are during the school day, so are only available to students not currently having lessons on another instrument already during the school day. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis so please contact Mrs. Fawbert if you would like your child to have lessons in one of these: cfawbert@sthelenscollege.com. Free Half Term Workshops Rosie, the Education and Community Officer for Dogs Trust covering West London, will be delivering FREE school holiday activity workshops for families about How to Behave Safely Around Dogs and Being a Responsible Dog Owner. These workshops will take place at Oak Farm, Northwood, Ruislip Manor and Charville Library. They are designed for children aged 7-11, with one accompanying adult, and there will be a realistic toy dog and lots of props that can be used to help make activities really fun! There is no charge to families to book these workshops and all relevant contact information is on the attached poster here. Autumn Half Term Camps - Computer Xplorers Computer Xplorers (who run our Minecraft Club here at school) will be running Autumn half term tech camps. Their programmes are as follows: VR Robotics - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumn-vr-robotics   KODU 3D Game Design - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/aut-kodu-3d-game-design-class   Intro to Roblox Game Design - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumn-roblox-game-design   MinecraftEdu Fantasy Island - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumnhalfterm-minecraftedu Uniform Reminder After half term, girls should return to school in full, correct winter uniform. The winter skirt should be worn wtih green tights please - no white tights allowed! The winter hats should now also be worn, with the St. Helen's College beanie/ski hats only to be worn inside the school gates for playtime/outdoor sports when it is extremely cold. Textile Bank If you are having a clear out over half term, please remember that you can donate any unwanted textiles (clothes, shoes, accessories, bed linen) via the textile bank located outside the school entrance at 227 Long Lane. We cannot accept school uniform items or duvets/pillows/cushions, but anything else is fine! The textiles donated are given to those in need, or recycled into industrial cleaning cloths, so that nothing ends up as landfill, and the St. Helen's College Charitable Trust receives a small donation per kilo collected. Many thanks in advance for any donations.  
Posted on: 8/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 8th October 2021

Lower School Harvest Festivals Thank you to all of the parents who joined us this week for the Lower School class assemblies to celebrate Harvest Festival. Our Reception and Year 1 children gave wonderful performances to remind us of the importance of our farmers and all that they do to provide food for us all, as well as how important it is to think of others less fortunate than ourselves at this time of year. The children all spoke their lines and sang their songs with great confidence - it is just wonderful to see such young children developing the public speaking skills they will need in the future! Many thanks to all families for the generous contributions of Harvest food, which will be distributed via the Salvation Army to those in need in our local community.  The Nursery (Robins and Wrens) Harvest Festival assemblies will take place next week. Please check the calendar here for details. Sports News Well done to our netball team, who won 6-1 on Wednesday in their first  game of the season against St. Bernadette's. The girls played with great skill and determination, as well as super attitudes. We are all very proud of them!           Also playing their first game of the season on Wednesday, our football team took on a physical St. Mary's team in a closely contested game which ended in a 1-1 draw. Very well done to all of the players involved.       On Thursday, our girls' football team enjoyed their experience of their first football festival at Abbotts Hill Football Club. They took part in a carousel of activities to help develop their skills and enjoyed playing a match against Oak Farm, despite it ending in a 0-0 draw.       On Friday, the boys' football team took part in the U11 tournament at Aldenham School.             St. Helen's College Kitchen Achieves Five Star Hygiene Rating Again Following an unannounced visit from the Food Standards Agency today, we are delighted to confirm that our kitchen has once again been awarded a five star hygiene rating. Well done to Soula and her team! Lower School Parents' Evenings Thank you to the Nursery, Reception and Year 1 parents who attended parent consultations on Tuesday this week. We hope that you found these useful. The next set of consultations will take place on Thursday 14th October. Co-Curricular Activities - Lower School Gardening Club We are thrilled that our Lower School Gardening Club was recently recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) who were impressed with our harvest of runner beans, tomatoes and cucumbers! It is great that we are able to teach the children about where their food comes from and the effort that must go into successfully planting, nurturing and harvesting crops. Year 6 Trip to Denham Country Park On Thursday, our Year 6 children enjoyed a day of outdoor learning at Denham Country Park, investigating the environment including the river.          Year 3 Trip to St. Albans Earlier in the week, the Year 3 classes had a super trip to St Albans, where they enriched their learning in lots of ways. They looked around the cathedral and found out about St Alban. They did some really exciting drama and dressed up as characters from the story of St Alban. They also made some Roman mosaics and found out about different aspects of Roman life. Everyone was very well behaved and one of the volunteers from the cathedral commented that we should all be very proud of our children and our school because they were so engaged and enthusiastic throughout the day. The children have written some lovely recounts of the day and one of them said, "I would recommend this trip to people who like History, learning and finding out about the Romans."   Reception Trip to Odds Farm Kingfishers and Owls thoroughly enjoyed  a fantastic visit to Odds Farm Park today as part of their shared topic of  ‘Down on the Farm!’  The children delighted in the chance to get close to a range of farm animals, they excitedly took part in a ‘meet the bunnies’ workshop and they even learned how to milk a cow!  The day was finished off in style, with a bumpy-but-fun tractor ride around the farm. The trip certainly proved a wonderful way for the children to learn about the importance of agriculture, how to care for living things and the significance of the autumn harvest. Recycle to Read Next week we will be holding the Eco initiative 'Recycle to Read'. You can find out information about this initiative here: https://jointhepod.org/campaigns/recycle-to-read-2021 Upper School Eco Reps discussed this in assembly today and Lower School Eco Reps have been busy making posters to promote the scheme. Eshan N has written this piece to explain the scheme: From Monday 11th October, St. Helen's College will be taking part in Recycle to Read! This is a new campaign where we throw away lots of plastic toys and technology in exchange for new books. This is the very first time this has been done and St. Helen's College is very proud to support this environmentally friendly campaign. We are doing this for the health and safety of our planet because over 318 million toys over the world are being sold each year! This is very damaging to the environment because when these toys are disposed of incorrectly some of the plastic could go into the sea or into the forests which could have a big impact on the environment. The school would like both teachers and students to help the environment. At school we will have two bins. One bin will be for plastic toys and one for technology. Happy recycling! There will be collection bins at Upper School, Lower School and Ducklings for donations and we thank you in advance for your involvement in this excellent scheme. Flu Vaccination Reception to Year 6 If you have not already returned your child's flu vaccination form, please note that we must have this back by the end of next week in order for your child to receive the vaccine. Your completed form should be sent into school and handed to your child's form teacher or to the school office.
Posted on: 8/10/2021

Emerging With Ambition

  A couple of weeks ago I attended the IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) Heads' Conference in Bournemouth.  It was the first time in two years that 400 Head Teachers had been able to come together for this annual conference and the theme of the three days was very poignant indeed - ‘Emerging with Ambition’. As the conference was launched, the CEO of IAPS, Christopher King,  addressed us and shared some of the highlights of good practice which make IAPS schools beacons of excellence. As I sat in the auditorium I was filled with pride watching a promotional video where our Lower School pupils and beautiful facilities were showcased. Chris King then went on to specifically mention St. Helen’s College and how we have been incredibly innovative in our preschool parenting Teddy Talk videos and baby mindfulness classes.  During the tea break, several Heads approached me to discuss how we had managed to do so much during a pandemic. It is evident that St. Helen’s College is not just ‘emerging with ambition’ from a pandemic but that throughout the pandemic we actively were ‘driven with ambition’ or in the words of our aims, written by our pupils, we strive for excellence, help everyone achieve and care for each other.    Our staff work so well together and it is the shared ambition from our whole community that makes us so unique. The three days of conference were inspiring and I listened to several keynote speakers and participated in several seminars. There was so much to reflect upon but what was particularly gratifying was that much of what was discussed as best practice in some keynotes we are already doing here at St. Helen’s College.  For example, in his session on the future of learning and the future of assessment, Professor Bill Lucas outlined some key findings and recommendations from recent research on rethinking assessment from educational researchers and practice from across the world.  Alternatives to the predominantly summative methods of assessment (test results) are now no longer fit for purpose (an ongoing debate for secondary schools). However, here at St. Helen’s College we are already frontrunners in our approaches; for example -  extended investigations and pupil profiling (where the pupils take ownership of work they are most proud of which they curate over time), our use of learning logs, flipped learning and our reporting of ‘habits of learning’ not ‘achievement’ grades. We are an ambitious school and always have been, so we do not feel that we are ‘recovering’ from the pandemic and lockdown but merely transitioning and adapting.  Many of the speakers referred to ‘recovery’ and it did annoy me slightly the extent to which doom and gloom were associated with the pandemic. I believe that we need to celebrate all the amazing things which your children achieved during the last 19 months and look forward with continued ambition.   I would love to give you a synopsis of many of the other speakers I heard over the conference but I will leave you with one speaker’s Ted Talk, whose work is truly inspiring and which I am sure will resonate with you as it did me. James Shone’s work is aligned with one of the St. Helen's College school aims, which is centred on personal growth: We aim to instil core moral values, inspiring virtue, responsibility, resilience, independence, mindful self-awareness and a desire for continuing self-development. Please indulge yourself for the 16 minutes of this Ted Talk - I heard him speak for an hour but this is a snippet of what he spoke about to empower the group of Headteachers in front of him at our conference.  Let’s keep inflating the balloons of self belief! Have a wonderful weekend. Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 1/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 1st October 2021

STEAM Day The whole school enjoyed a fabulous STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) Day on Wednesday. The children took part in a diverse range of activities and the school was buzzing with excitement and those 'lightbulb' moments that so often come in the hands-on doing of work. Many thanks to Mr. Shahabuddin and Mr. Usher (Mrs. Pruce's Dad) who gave up their time to come into school for the day to run or assist in the running of workshop sessions. We took lots of photographs of the children engaged in their activities and you can see them here. Dara McAnulty Author Talk We joined with 11,000 other children from schools across the country to hear from author Dara McAnulty on Thursday this week.  Dara shared his love of the natural world, and how his fascination with birds of prey was inspired by an RSPB school talk. He shared a recording of red kites, and invited us all to consider the beauty of nature in our local area. Dara then discussed his writing process with the children: he encouraged them to write in a carefree manner and write about any topic they find interesting. The pupils were also shown a short video of his book's incredible illustrator at work. He then spoke of his love of fantasy stories and how they enabled him to escape bullying at school. His talk concluded with him challenging the children to explore nature and enjoy the natural world.  Harvest Celebrations Year 5 and our Senior and Chamber Choirs presented a beautiful harvest service at All Saints Church today. Thank you to the parents who joined us for this special occasion. All of the other Upper School children celebrated Harvest with a musical assembly at school. Thank you to all of the staff involved in organising these events. Lower School Harvest assemblies (one per class) will take place soon too. Do check the school calendar for your child's date. We would like to extend gratitude to children, parents and staff for the generous donations of Harvest food. These will be distributed, via the Salvation Army, to those in need in the local community. We are pleased to be able to make such generous contributions to help those less fortunate at this time of year. Year 4 Ancient Greek Day On Tuesday, our Year 4 pupils were immersed in an Ancient Greek Day to extend their learning. In the morning they watched a show, in which an Athenian woman helped a time traveller to answer questions about Greek discoveries, Sparta, Homer, the Greek Gods, clothing, myths and battles. The children then took part in two workshops: in one, they acted out Ancient Greek daily life and a wedding, and in the second they learnt all about the Olympics. It was a hugely enjoyable and educational day! Month End Music Recital This afternoon we enjoyed our first Month End Music Recital of the academic year in the Evans Hall. We were treated to a variety of vocal, violin, trumpet and piano pieces, performed by Upper School children, and it was lovely to celebrate the musicality of the pupils informally in this way once again. Performance opportunities are an important way in which pupils can develop their confidence and resilience and we are very proud of the children who took part. Pantosaurus This week the children at Upper School were spoken to about the 'underpants rules' in assembly. This is part of the NSPCC's Talk Pants campaign which is designed to help keep children safe from sexual abuse. They were introduced to Pantosaurus and the PANTS rules (Privates are private, Always remember your body belongs to you, No means no, Talk about secrets that upset you, Speak up - someone can help).  More information, including a link to the Pantosaurus book designed to prompt conversations between parents and children, can be found here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/support-for-parents/pants-underwear-rule/ Charity Fundraising Aleyna (4T) recently raised funds for UNICEF in support of children impacted by the situation in Afghanistan. She decided to do this in lieu of birthday presents from friends and wider family and raised £540. Well done, Aleyna, for thinking of others who are in a less fortunate position and taking action to support them. Autumn Half Term Camps and Activities Computer Xplorers (who run our Minecraft Club here at school) will be running Autumn half term tech camps. Their programmes are as follows: VR Robotics - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumn-vr-robotics   KODU 3D Game Design - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/aut-kodu-3d-game-design-class   Intro to Roblox Game Design - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumn-roblox-game-design   MinecraftEdu Fantasy Island - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumnhalfterm-minecraftedu

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