School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 21/06/2019

Weekly News - Friday 21st June 2019

Arrangements for Year 1 and Year 2 Summer Plays On Wednesday 26th June, Year 1 and Year 2 children will be performing their summer plays to Nursery and Reception children. On this day, children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 should be dropped by parents directly to the Winston Churchill Hall in Ruislip between 8.00 and 8.30 a.m. They will be brought back to school and will have lunch at school as normal. On Thursday 27th June, Year 1 and Year 2 will perform plays to parents, family and friends. Year 1 will perform at 1.30 p.m. and Year 2 at 2.30 p.m. On this day, all children should be dropped off at school as normal; they will eat school lunch and Year 1 and 2 children will then be taken by coach to the Winston Churchill Hall for their performances. Children will be dismissed directly to parents from the Winston Churchill Hall following their performance. Tickets are now available to purchase for these Year 1 and Year 2 productions.  Please use this link to book your tickets, and you will then be sent a charge to your SchoolsBuddy account to make a payment. Parents will be permitted to take older siblings out of school on the Thursday afternoon to watch the performance if they would like to; please notify your class teacher in writing if you would like to do this. We look forward to seeing many of you at the plays, which are always very special events. Super Pre-Prep Sports Days Well done to all of our Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children who took part in their wonderful Sports Days at Court Park on Thursday. Without exception, the children joined in enthusiastically and competed with determination and pride. We are sure that parents were as proud of them as we all were! You can see lots of photographs of the children taking part on our Galleries page. St. Helen's College Are Chess Champions! Very well done to the St. Helen's College chess teams who performed extremely well in their tournament against St. Bernadette's School this week. There were some very strong individual performances which contributed to the St. Helen's College A team winning the tournament and the trophy! Our B team struggled a little on the day, but gained valuable experience and were delighted to see their friends lift the trophy too. It is worth noting that, while the St. Bernadette's players were mainly from Year 6, our A team were all from Year 5 and our B team was made up of one Year 5 player and three players from Year 4! They should feel very proud of themselves to have taken on the challenge of competing against older children and performing so well. A badge was awarded to Ibraheem for sportsmanship and another badge to Marcus for best checkmate, and all of the children deserve a special mention for their efforts. St. Helen's College A team: Michael K, Jai D, Alex S, Marcus S St. Helen's College B team: Ibraheem F, Sulaiman M, Aaron S, Vidhit N Aarna Plays at Cadogan Hall! Congratulations to Aarna A, who will be playing two pieces with the Hillingdon Orchestra at the Cadogan Hall in Chelsea. Aarna plays the flute and it is an honour to be chosen to play in this wonderful venue. You can see details of the performance here: Encore : A Celebration of Music https://cadoganhall.com/whats-on/encore-a-celebration-2019/ If your child plays an instrument and would like to get involved with the Hillingdon Music Hub, you can find out more information by following the link below. https://archive.hillingdon.gov.uk/music   3M Assembly - Fair Trade Well done to the children of 3M who presented a truly inspirational assembly this morning all about the benefits of Fair Trade. They took us all on a journey to St. Lucia to see how bananas are grown and who profits the most from the banana trade, before explaining why buying Fair Trade will help to make sure that workers are paid fairly and able to feed and educate themselves and their families. Fair trade coffees, teas, bananas and banana milkshakes were served to parents before the assembly too!     PA Summer Fete The Summer Fete is only a week away and preparations are almost complete. To help make this the best event possible, we are looking for donations of: Cakes Drinks Soft toys - for the toy tombola Nearly new toys (no books please) Old school uniform – for the uniform stall Brand new toys - for the raffle and toy tombola stalls New items or unwanted gifts - for the raffle, nearly new stall or hoopla If you are able to donate any of the above or can volunteer your time for all or part of the day, please do get in touch with us at pa@sthelenscollege.com.  We’d love to hear from you! Dads raise over £5000 for the British Heart Foundation! Some of our St. Helen's College fathers had a very special Father's Day this year, spending the day taking part in the London 2 Brighton bike race to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. The Dads have, so far, raised £5,433.98 for the British Heart Foundation, which really got them noticed by the event organisers on the day. They did 1:1 interviews and put out special congratulatory wishes when they reached the finishing line. Even the sun made an appearance! The families of these men were so proud of the Dads' achievement. Well done to all involved!   Young Geographer of the Year Information about the Royal Geographical Society's Young Geographer of the Year competition can be found here. We would like to give the current Year 4 and Year 5 children the opportunity to take part in this poster competition. Year 4 and Year 5 children could start to think about ideas over the holiday and do research on holidays such as taking photos or collecting items. If your child would like to take part, please register your interest by emailing Miss Walker at swalker@sthelenscollege.com.  Miss Walker will run some workshops (after school) in September for those who wish to enter the competition to work on their posters, ready to submit entries by 18th October.  Music Tuition There are still a few spaces available for instrumental tuition at Upper School from September: we have one space for trumpet, one space for flute and two spaces for clarinet. If your son or daughter would like lessons, please email Mrs. Allery directly at rallery@sthelenscollege.com. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. All places for other instruments have now been allocated. Passport Forms We would like to remind parents that teachers are happy to sign passport forms, but these forms must be brought to school unsigned and signed by parents in front of teachers in order to comply with regulations. Summer Hair Cuts Please can parents be very mindful to follow the guidance given in the Parents' Handbook regarding short haircuts for boys. The relevant text is copied below. Boys’ hair must be cut above the collar and ears in a conventional manner. Crew cuts, shaved patterning, obvious layering and gelling are not allowed.
Posted on: 21/06/2019

Head's Blog - The Pupil Voice: Roadwatch

Following the recent success of our Junior Roadwatch scheme, I am delighted to share a guest blog from one of our Year 5 Junior Road Safety Officers, Catherine. In this article I would like to share the new idea of Junior Roadwatch that St. Helen’s College is taking part in. In April, the Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSOs) went to Guildhall to present to the London Road Safety Council about St. Helen’s College’s phenomenal Road Safety Journey.  At the meeting, an ambassador from Transport For London (TFL) introduced a new incentive which was Junior Roadwatch. The JRSOs were enthusiastic about the idea and keen on getting involved. Shortly after this, Miss Walker contacted the TFL ambassador to ask if he would be interested in letting us try this four week scheme out. I would like to tell you all about it now. What is Junior Roadwatch? Junior Roadwatch is aimed at children (around my age) to encourage them to venture more into the road safety aspect of speeding. The scheme wants to promote the importance of being aware of speeding and how to prevent it. The JRSOs will work in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and the Hillingdon STARS Team. A police officer will be holding a speed gun to check that drivers are not going over the limit. If a driver does get pulled over for speeding at a speed of 35-40 mph they will have the opportunity to speak to us or receive three points off their driving licence and a £100 fine. Drivers going wildly over the limit will not have the choice to talk to us and will receive serious consequences. If the driver chose to talk to us we would ask them questions to help them understand that speeding can be dangerous and make them aware of the risk of crashes/accidents that could happen to them or our community. Alongside the speed activity there would be Sound Pollution tests and Traffic Surveys to give us an insight into how we can make our community a greener place. What happened on the day? The scheme is carried over a four week period, which started from the 4th June. On the first week we met with the staff from the Hillingdon STARS team. Mr. Rogers from the STARS team explained the difference between a limit and a target as this normally confused drivers. A target is a goal you strive for and occasionally go over the top of but a limit is a barrier you should not be going over. We want to make sure that people should know that speed signs are a limit not a target. Then, all six JRSOs brainstormed questions for the drivers who go over the limit. Here are some of them: Why do you think there are zebra crossings on this road? Can you tell me what speed you were driving at? Can you tell me why you were speeding? Do you know how many schools there are on this road? Can you name some of the schools? What does this sign mean?   On Tuesday, it was the actual Junior Roadwatch! Coming along with us were Mr. Rogers and Cat from the STARS team, Miss Walker, two Met Police officers, Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Stark. First up on the speed limit activity were Esha and I. One of the police officers pointed his speed gun at the road and believe me, it actually looked petrifying! As the police officer pointed the speed gun he detected a car going over the limit. The police directed him to the kerb where the man decided to talk to us. We asked questions so we could gather a picture of why he was speeding. In the end it was because he was running late for a dentist appointment. We found that talking to the driver helped us to understand the story from another point of view. As our time came to an end towards the end of Junior Roadwatch we were happy we made an impact as we were the first school in Hillingdon to try this new scheme out! It turned out to be a great success and in two weeks we will explain our findings in assembly and we have invited the local councillors along to hear about our work with the STARS team. I hope that our contribution will help to get other schools involved too and that we will be rewarded with a STARS Gold Award! By Catherine L
Posted on: 14/06/2019

Head's Blog - Are Outdoor Lessons Just A Distraction?

    A recent article in the Times Educational Supplement, which I highly recommend that parents read,  reaffirms the belief which we have here at St. Helen’s College about the benefits of learning in the great outdoors. A couple of years ago, Miss Walker as part of her professional studies further engaged our staff with ‘outdoor learning’ across the curriculum and it has been so wonderful to hear the feedback both from children and staff of the benefits of taking their subjects outside.  On a daily basis we have pupils across the school using our outdoor spaces for learning and I am always delighted when the pupils are able to articulate what they have learnt with not a textbook or school desk in site!  Traditionally many schools felt that the best learning was conducted in a classroom environment with a very structured curriculum directed by the teacher.  Thankfully, due to all the valuable evidence research which has been carried out, educationalists are now so aware of the benefits, not only academic but social and emotional, which outdoor lessons provide. Our EYFS pupils in Ducklings through to Reception spend a great deal of time in the outdoors and the best practice can often be found amongst Early Years practitioners.  Last week I spent 3 days as a member of the Independent Schools Inspectorate inspecting the educational quality of a school. The inspection team had to gather evidence on the pupil outcomes in relation to academic achievement and progress as well as their personal development. Much of the evidence was sourced by the team in the great outdoors! Below I have extracted an example from the independent schools regulatory standards of some of the areas which schools must be seen to be fulfilling.  As you read the list below I hope that you will be able to visualise your son or daughter (from Ducklings to Year 6) actively learning in the outdoors - as this is where much of this wonderful rich learning is taking place! Pupils’ academic and other achievements Knowledge, skills and understanding (KSU); the development of their knowledge, understanding and skills across the areas of learning (linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological, human and social, physical and aesthetic and creative education. Communication; the development of their competence in communication (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and its application to other areas of learning. Numeracy; the development of their competence in numeracy and the application of their knowledge and skills in mathematics to other areas of learning. Study skills; the development of their study skills, including the ability to draw upon a suitably wide range of sources and to develop higher-order skills, including the ability to analyse, hypothesise and synthesise. Attitudes; their attitudes towards learning, including their ability to demonstrate initiative and independence, their willingness to work collaboratively and the extent to which they take leadership in their learning. Pupils’ personal development Self-understanding; develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-discipline and resilience, including an understanding of how to improve their own learning and performance, so that they are well prepared for the next stage of their lives. Decision-making; understand that the decisions they make are important determinants of their own success and well-being. Spiritual understanding; develop spiritual understanding and an appreciation of non-material aspects of life, whether religious, philosophical or other. Moral understanding and responsibility for own behaviour; distinguish right from wrong, understand and respect systems of rules and laws, and accept responsibility for their own behaviour, including towards others. Social development and collaboration; are socially aware and so are able to work effectively with others, including to solve problems and achieve common goals. Staying safe and keeping healthy; know how to stay safe and understand how to be physically and mentally healthy, particularly in terms of diet, exercise and a balanced lifestyle. Our day trips and residential trips, which are such an important part of our educational provision, allow your children to achieve so much academically and personally and it has been wonderful to receive such positive feedback form the parent body recently as our Year 3 to Year 6 pupils have all returned from this year’s trips. The recognition of the pupils' personal development is quite remarkable with comments such as: ‘he really seems to have grown up in such a short time!’ ‘She is so much more independent and took risks we never imagined she would take’ ‘I cannot believe my daughter was rolling about in mud and loved it so much!’ ‘He genuinely seems more organised and considerate since he came back’ ‘ He hasn’t stopped talking about the trip - every day we seem to hear something else!’ As a school when we receive such positive feedback from parents after the residential trips it is so rewarding and makes our jobs even more enjoyable, knowing the difference that we make to a child’s development. Education should be rich in experiences and prepare young people for the future. All the experiences that your children are having in the outdoors  are contributed to by the lessons the teachers are planning, the trips and activities they have the opportunity to take part in and of course the superb outdoor space we have at school. Experiences bring us happiness not just when we’re having the experience, but also when we simply think about them. I am sure that you have seen your child’s face light up when they talk about some of the things they have done outside of the normal classroom environment. Many of you are possibly starting to plan some of the things that you may be able to do with your children over the summer holidays.  So please do continue the ‘outdoor’ learning for the children, giving them the opportunity to explore the great outdoors - it is called the ‘great’ outdoors for a reason! “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” — Mark Twain https://www.tes.com/news/outdoor-lessons-distraction-schools-learning Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 14/06/2019

Weekly News - Friday 14th June 2019

Singers' Concert Our annual Singers' Concert on Tuesday evening yet again left the audience with a sense of pride and awe at the calibre of our pupils' musicality as they entertained us with a range of songs and choral numbers. Congratulations to all of the children who took part, whether they were Singing Competition winners or sang as part of one of the school choirs. Maths Challenge Six of our Year 3 pupils attended a maths challenge day at Edge Grove Prep School this week. They participated in a variety of problem solving challenges and earned shells for correct answers. They collaborated really well and worked with both speed and precision, finishing second overall. The team consisted of Zach F, Luka K, Anjika G, Shruthi T, Aryan B and Devan S.     4T Read to Reception On Wednesday, 4T visited Reception. As a class, they first performed the basic version of the tale 'The Blind Man and the Hunter', using actions, before sharing their superb versions of the story, which they had worked hard to write, reflect upon and improve. The Reception children behaved impeccably and were engaged throughout the session. Mindfulness Course for Parents Please see below the link for the next Mindfulness course for parents which is being offered by the Mindfulness in Schools Project. This online course begins in September and runs online for 8 weeks. https://mindfulnessinschools.org/course/begin-for-parents-and-carers-17th-sept-19/   Kingfishers Assembly Kingfishers class took us on a journey to the continent of Africa to retell the story of Handa's Surprise with their colourful costumes, animals, African instruments and tremendous singing in Swahili. Well done to all of the children! 4KT Assembly The children of 4KT used their class assembly to share their experiences on their recent residential trip to the beautiful Flatford Mill in the heart of Constable Country. JRSOs - Roadwatch Our JRSOs had a wonderful opportunity this week to work with the Hillingdon STARS Team and the Metropolitan Police piloting the Junior Roadwatch scheme. The girls worked alongside the Met Police on Long Lane and drivers who were pulled in for speeding were offered the opportunity to have a conversation with our JRSOs as an alternative to receiving a fine and penalty points. We are very fortunate to have been involved with the Junior Roadwatch pilot and hope that in the future this will be rolled out across the London Borough of Hillingdon to increase safety on our roads and to raise public awareness of the dangers of speeding. It has also been a great opportunity for our children to raise awareness to their own parents who drive the children to school each day!  May we take this opportunity to ask parents who drive along Parkway to be very aware of their speed as they approach school. Parent Parking Pledge Thank you to those of you who have now signed up to the Parent Parking Pledge - please can we ask that you display your badges with pride! Bikespiration 2019 The London Borough of Hillingdon are running a few 'Bikespiration' events soon to help to encourage local residents to use bicycles. Further information can be found here. Harefield Colts Cricket If you have a budding cricketer you might be interested in Colts Cricket at Harefield Cricket Club. The club offers professional, safe, fun coaching with ECB qualified coaches, a superb club house and cricket facilities for all ages from U9 to U17. Training for U9 to U15 age children is on Friday evenings from 6.00 - 7.30 p.m. If you would like further information, pop into the club or email harefieldcoltscricket@aol.com. Sports Days The PA provides a refreshments stall for parents to enjoy at the Sports Days and we really need your help please with donations of cakes, biscuits, snacks, soft drinks and bottled water. Please contact us at pa@sthelenscollege.com to let us know if you will be able to make a donation - any contribution would be very gratefully received.  You can drop your donations to the Upper or Lower School office.  Thank you. Music News We will have some vacancies for September for individual tuition in trumpet, clarinet and flute at Upper School. If you are interested in lessons for your son or daughter on one of these instruments, please email Mrs. Allery directly at rallery@sthelenscollege.com. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. All places for the other instruments have now been allocated.
Posted on: 7/06/2019

Weekly News - Friday 7th June 2019

PA Summer Fete The date for the PA Summer Fete is approaching quickly and PA class reps will be busy over the next couple of weeks arranging rotas for stalls and collecting in donations. We urge all parents to give your support to this special event - please sign up for a slot on your class stall or one of the general stalls and please do be generous with your donations so that this year's Fete may be the biggest and best yet! Most importantly, please do come along on Saturday 29th June and enjoy the day with your family and friends. All are welcome and there will be a wide variety of stalls, entertainment and food and drink to enjoy. World Environmental Day Wednesday this week was World Environmental Day, which this year had a focus on air pollution. Classes were spoken to about air pollution, its effects and how we can help to limit this particular type of environmental hazard. Eco Reps were also involved in making posters to highlight this important issue. If you would like to follow up on this with your children at home, you might find the following links useful. https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/   https://www.unenvironment.org/interactive/how-to-beat-pollution/  https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/t3-dd-68-air-pollution-is-it-really-a-big-deal-discuss-lesson-pack https://www.sparklebox.co.uk/previews/11876-11900/sb11889-pollution-solution-posters.html Singing Competition Today saw children in Middle and Upper School compete in our ever-popular annual Singing Competition. Very well done to all those who took part! It was clear that the pupils had been practising very hard and the standard was, as always, very high. Many congratulations to the winners, who will perform at our Singers' Concert at All Saints Church next Tuesday evening. All parents are warmly invited to attend the Singers' Concert. There was not enough time to complete the Upper School competition this afternoon so this will be completed, and the winners will be announced, early next week. Sports News Tennis Borough Champions! Many congratulations to our Y5 and 6 tennis players who took part in the Borough tennis tournament this week held at Tripletts Community Tennis Centre.  Our three teams displayed some great play during the course of the competition, resulting in both our A and B team reaching the final to play each other! The matches in the final were highly competitive but it was the A team that came through to take the title and retain the cup for St. Helen's College this year. Our team will now progress to the London School Games Finals to represent Hillingdon against schools from across London.  Well done to everyone who took part: Rishi, Daniel, Aaria, Catherine, Eli, Alex, Hebe, Tamara, Patrick, Ciaran, Mia and Kyra.    Opening Training Sessions - London Girls Development Academy of Football Watford FC Girls are rebranding as LGDA (London Girls Development Academy) and will be holding open training sessions on the following dates/times. If your daughter is interested in football why not encourage her to go along. Saturday 8th/Sunday 15th June U8/9/10 10.00 a.m. - 11.00 a.m. U11/12   11.30 a.m. - 1.00 p.m. Walking Loyalty Scheme Our Year 5 Junior Road Safety Officers will be launching their walking loyalty scheme for Upper School pupils from next week. The scheme, which has been designed by the pupils and has been supported with funding from the London Borough of Hillingdon's School Travel and Road Safety team, is an exciting way to reward our pupils for walking to school this term. Pupils will be able to collect a loyalty card from our JRSOs and, for each day they include a significant element of walking to school as part of their journey, they will be able to collect a stamp for their card.  For pupils who are unable to walk all or part of the way to school, a walking circuit will be available in the playground and they may complete ten laps before school starts to gain a stamp. As pupils collect enough stamps they will be rewarded with bronze, silver and gold certificates and at the end of the term medals will be awarded to pupils who have impressed our JRSOs with their commitment to walking to school. We do hope that lots of our Upper School pupils will get involved and, if successful, the scheme may be extended to Lower School next term. Year 6 Summer Production - Romeo and Juliet - Tickets Now Available Tickets may now be purchased for our grand Year 6 musical production at The Compass Theatre, Ickenham. This year, our Year 6 pupils will be presenting Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Performances will take place on: Thursday 4th July at 7.30 p.m. Friday 5th July at 2.00 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. Parents will be permitted to take pupils out from school on the Friday in order to watch the matinee performance. You may book tickets by following this link: https://mpv.tickets.com/schedule/?agency=HIMS_MPV&orgid=54332#event=romeo&view=list Sports Days - Message from the PA The PA is organising a refreshments stall in Court Park for the Lower School Sports Day on 20th June and another at Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex for the Upper School Sports Day on 28th June and we really need your help.   We would be really grateful for any donations of cakes, crisps, drinks and other snacks which we will then be able to sell to parents in order to raise money for the school. If you are able to donate anything, please let us know by emailing pa@sthelenscollege.com so that we can gauge quantities. If your donation is not perishable, you can drop it off at the Upper or Lower School office at any time before the day and we will pick it up from there. If your donation is perishable, please bring it to the relevant venue on either 20th or 28th June 2019. Any support that you can offer would be very welcome. Thank you!
Posted on: 24/05/2019

Weekly News - Friday 24th May 2019

Vive La France! Our Year 6 pupils have enjoyed a wonderful week at the Chateau de la Baudonniere in Normandy, and the children all had plenty of joie de vivre every day! This has been a tremendous week of culture, language immersion and lots of fun. As always the children were such a credit to the school. You can see some photographs of their trip on our Galleries page. Constable Country On Wednesday our Year 4 pupils set off for their three day residential trip at Flatford Mill in the heart of Constable Country, where they have been undertaking art and geography-linked studies as well as enjoying the wonderful weather and the beautiful nature all around them. They return today tired, happy and with an increased level of maturity and independence. We are sure you will enjoy hearing all about their experiences from the pupils themselves. There are some photographs of their trip on our Galleries page. Nursery Get A Surprise At Bekonscot! Our Nursery children and staff had a real surprise during their day trip to Bekonscot Model Village and Railway this week, when they bumped into Mrs. Crehan, who was also enjoying a day out in the sunshine with her daughter-in-law and grandson, Teddy!  Bekonscot is celebrating its 90th year this year and, during their visit, the Nursery children had the opportunity to be involved in a workshop about what life at home was like 90 years ago, which was very interesting. They also enjoyed exploring the models, and got very excited when the little trains ran past and under the bridges! This was a super day, packed with outdoor learning in Understanding the World, Maths, PSE and many other areas.  The teachers were very proud to hear members of the public comment on how well behaved the children were.          Year 5 Pupils Qualify for Giga Finals of National Chess Challenge Three children in Year 5 have qualified for the Giga Finals in the National Delancey Chess Challenge 2019 https://www.delanceyukschoolschesschallenge.com/ The Giga Finals are the last round before the prestigious Tera Finals which are shown online and have Grand Master commentary! There are thousands of pounds in prize money available in this national competition. Jai D, Alex S and Michael K all managed to get through the Mega Final stage (regional) and will now move on to the Giga Finals (national level). This is no mean feat as you need to qualify in the first place to take part in the Mega Finals, so the standard is high. Mega Finals take place over one day and consist of six rounds (50 minute matches). A score of 3.5 or higher out of 6 is required to qualify. Jai qualified at the Maidenhead Mega Final, while Alex and Michael qualified at the Caterham Mega Final. Michael came 3rd overall, out of 35 boys in his category (U10), with a score of 5 out of 6. Well done indeed, boys, and we wish you the very best of luck at the Giga Finals!             3B Class Assembly - Shortenills Well done to the children of 3B, who presented a confident, interesting and entertaining assembly today, recounting their experiences on their recent residential trip to Shortenills. It was fascinating to hear about how they had developed their learning at this wonderful environmental centre, by using their senses in a woodland setting, taking part in orienteering and 'journey stick' activities and gathering around the campfire to sing traditional songs and share jokes and riddles. In addition to experiencing the great outdoors, the children told us how they had learnt many essential indoor skills, such as preparing and tidying away at meal times, keeping their dormitories tidy (for inspection!) and making their own beds. One highlight of this assembly was definitely the Countdown clock ticking as two children demonstrated how quickly they are now able to put on their own duvet cover and pillowcase - essential life skills indeed. This was the first school residential trip for this group of children and it is clear that even just one night away has helped them to develop much greater independence. As they said at the end, they are now looking forward to a longer residential trip next year - roll on Flatford Mill! You can see some photographs of the Shortenills trip on our Galleries page and you can see the photo montage from this morning's assembly here. Rocketman Miss Collier, one of our peripatetic music teachers, is part of the Crouch End Festival Chorus, the choir which was chosen to provide backing singing for the new Elton John 'Rocketman' film, which is out this week. Miss Collier's choir were featured on the ITV news earlier this week - eagle eyed pupils might enjoy spotting her by watching the choir rehearse on the news clip! https://www.itv.com/news/london/2019-05-20/crouch-end-festival-chorus-helps-fuel-soundtrack-to-elton-johns-rocketman/ Sports News Quad Kids Athletics On Wednesday ten of our Year 5 children took part in the annual Hillingdon Quad Kids athletics competition. This involves a 60m sprint, vortex throw, standing long jump and a 600m run. All of our team showed some tremendous character and effort, competing against mainly Year 6 pupils from other schools. We came a creditable 13th overall out of 20 and all of our children showed that they had a great time. Team members were: Jack H, Grace B, Chloe W, Catherine L, Harry J, Eli V-B, Rhea A-V, Shaina A, Alex S and Daniel G-J.     Battle of Britain Bunker - 75th Anniversary The 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings will be commemorated through events and activities at the Battle of Britain Bunker in Uxbridge from Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June. Each day will feature special D-Day 75 tours, which explain how the Bunker was used during Operation Overlord. The tours can be booked on the day and are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Tour times will be at 10.15, 11.30, 12.45, 14.00, and 15.15. There will also be an additional 16.30 tour for Saturday 8 June and Sunday 9 June. Full details are available by following this link: https://battleofbritainbunker.co.uk/whats-on/ We hope that many of you will choose to take your children to visit this special place. In particular, our Year 6 pupils visited the bunker with school recently and it would be very valuable for them to go again with their families to focus on this particular part of history. Other year groups are also encouraged to attend. Important Reminders Snacks We would like to remind you that children must not bring nuts, or any items containing nuts, to school. Suitable snacks for break time are fruit, raw vegetables or plain biscuits. Upper School Library As the summer term is now underway, may we remind all Upper School parents - and in particular Year 6 - of our school library lending arrangements. Each student may borrow up to three books on their library account for up to two weeks, after which period they may be renewed. Pupils are expected to respect and care for their books and to be organised about returning them to the library in good time. Please support your children in caring for library books as part of their day to day school equipment. Discuss what books they have borrowed, how they are enjoying them - and perhaps, suggest books they might like to try!  Individual Music Tuition Parents are reminded that a full half term's notice is required if you would like your child to stop having individual instrumental or vocal tuition. Notice should be sent to Mrs. Allery at rallery@sthelenscollege.com. Photographs - Wednesday 5th June Class photographs for all classes from Ducklings to Year 5 will be taken on Wednesday 5th June, and the Year 6 leavers' photograph will be taken on Monday 10th June. Please ensure that your children are at their smartest and in full uniform on these days (and every day!). If your child would normally wear PE kit on the day of their photograph, they should instead wear their uniform and bring their PE kit to school to change into later in the day. Please don't forget to check the School Calendar to see all that is in store for your children in the next half term. In the meantime, we wish you all a pleasant and relaxing half term break!
Posted on: 17/05/2019

Weekly News - Friday 17th May 2019

Outstanding Musicians' Concert Last night the audience at All Saints Church was treated to a fantastic array of performances given by our extremely talented children, ranging from the impressionistic piano music of Debussy to the more traditional tunes of Amazing Grace. The concert opened with the orchestra playing and this was followed by our many soloists and instrumental groups, all ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 8. There was also an opportunity to hear staff perform as Mrs. Stubbs (flute), Mrs. Nash (violin) and Mrs. Maclean (cello), accompanied by Mr. Stubbs (piano), performed 'Allegro from Trio Sonata in G Minor by JC Pepusch. This really was a spectacular event and all the instrumentalists played with admirable confidence and panache! Well done to all involved.   National Numeracy Day National Numeracy Day on Tuesday provided an exciting impetus for teachers to enrich and extend the pupils' learning and it was wonderful to see so many children engaged in activities in and outside of the classroom. Robins Class Assembly Wow! Our Robins Nursery children showed how far they have come during their Nursery year as they performed a fantastic assembly all about the seasons of the year on Thursday. It is clear that their programme of rehearsals and performances during the Nursery year (including Harvest Festival, their Nativity Play and class assemblies, as well as the Speech Competition last term) has helped them to find their feet when standing up and speaking in front of an audience. Their confidence, their memories, their relaxed and engaging style and their superb voice projection really were astonishing. We all learnt much about the seasons too. Well done, Robins!   Noah's Ark Hospice Charity Walk Well done to all of the pupils, parents and staff who came together last Sunday to take part in a charity walk to raise funds for the Noah's Ark Children's Hospice. The walk alone raised £725 for the hospice, which is a wonderful achievement. The sense of community on the day was inspiring and we would like to pass on sincere thanks to all who gave up their time and energy to raise funds for this very worthwhile cause.     Borough Sports Success Our Year 3 and Year 4 teams were in the spotlight this week and showed their competitive spirit, taking part in Borough Tri Golf and Mini Tennis competitions.  Tri Golf Success Well done to our Year 3/4 Tri Golf team, who on Tuesday afternoon took part in the annual Hillingdon Tri Golf Festival at Hewens Academy. The team had a wonderful time competing against a time limit, improving their chipping and putting to score points. With ten teams in the festival, St. Helen's College Year 3/4 team came an impressive 3rd place. Congratulations to all of the team on such a great perfomance! Team members were: Anjika G, Maisie H, Maya T, Jena J, Krishav P, Joban K, Sahib N, Reece G.     Mini Tennis Excitement On Wednesday, three St. Helen's College teams took part in the annual schools tournament held at Tripletts Community Tennis Centre. The competition attracted 20 teams from across the Borough and each team consisted of two boys and two girls, who played singles matches against players from other schools. The event was played in a very supportive atmosphere, with parents spectating applauding the great play. Our pupils in particular showed a high degree of technical skill and tactical awareness when playing their matches - so much so that all three of our teams made it through to the quarter finals, where our C team faced Glebe and our B team faced our A team! The matches could not have been closer and semi finalists had to be decided on points countback as matches were drawn, but in the end it was only our A team that progressed. Incredibly, the semi final against Whiteheath had to be decided on countback too and unfortunately the St. Helen's College A team missed out by just a few points to Whiteheath, who went on to be the tournament's eventual winners. Well done to all of our team members who were a credit to their school with their sportsmanship and resilience.   A Team: Amar C, Anaiya L, Samir H, Hamdan U B Team: Fredericka T, Jena J, Zail T, Luka K C Team: Anaya K, Amber P, Reece G, Eshan N Co-Curricular Club Reminders We would like to remind parents that the following clubs will not be taking place next week, since Miss Walker will be in France with the Year 6 residential trip: Tuesday Y2/3 Athletics - lunchtime Thursday Y5/6 Rounders - after school May Half Term Tennis Camp Miss Walker will be running a May half term tennis camp at Tripletts Community Centre in Hayes. If your child would like to attend, you can find full details including booking details here. Residential Trips We wish our Year 4 and Year 6 children enjoyable and enriching times as they embark on their exciting residential trips to Flatford Mill (Year 4) and France (Year 6) in the coming week.
Posted on: 17/05/2019

Head's Blog - Would You Like To Tidy Up Now? by Ms Matthews

  This week we have a guest blog from Ms Matthews, our Head of Early Years Foundation Stage. “Would you like to tidy up now?” Regardless of their age, I would wager that if you asked your child that particular question, the answer would be a resounding “No”. However, perhaps if you instead asked “Shall we race each other to see who can get the most toys in their box?”, the answer might be slightly more favourable! The effect of questioning style when engaging young children cannot, and should not, be overstated.  Adults’ questions can encourage children to engage in extended conversations, can facilitate comprehension and research also shows us that effective questioning style is proven to stimulate higher-order thinking. There is great potential to increase children's capacity to learn from an activity through careful adult-child talk and questioning is one of many strategies that can either support and encourage children's learning - or stop it in its tracks. But how often do we really stop to think about our questioning style and how it affects children's ability to learn, think and reflect? As teachers and as parents, we all want to be sure that we are facilitating our children’s learning rather than interfering with it - but how can we achieve this? At one end, too little adult support can limit learning. While play without adults can be rich and purposeful, at times it can become a chaotic or repetitive activity which is decidedly ‘hands-on, brains-off’. At the other end of the scale, too much tightly directed activity deprives children of the opportunity to engage actively with learning. Questioning is one of the most common methods of prompting interactions with children and, if done well, it can have a staggering impact upon learning. Over the past 14 months, I have been undertaking a range of studies as part of the Chartered College of Teaching’s ‘Chartered Teacher Status’ programme. This opportunity has allowed me to further explore the pedagogy of teaching, but it has also afforded me the valuable opportunity to research, analyse and evaluate the teaching and learning currently going on in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) here at St. Helen’s College. The EYFS curriculum tells us that we “...must respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction” and it is precisely this style of interaction for which St. Helen’s College is renowned. Knowing that we are blessed with a wealth of adult expertise in our Kindergarten, Nursery and Reception, I was particularly interested to ascertain exactly how your child benefits from that in our early years classrooms. Thus, my studies culminated in a research project focusing on the direct effect of adult questioning on children’s attainment and progress, with the aim of proving that the teaching and learning at St. Helen’s College is some of the best there is! As part of the research intervention itself, I carried out specific mathematics activities (number and shape, space and measure) whilst utilising a set of pre-determined questioning techniques – closed questioning for a control group of 24 Reception pupils, versus open-ended questioning for an intervention group of 24 Reception pupils across a 3-week period. The pre-set closed questions used were questions such as “What colour is that square? Is it blue or green?” “Is the answer 3 or 4?” whereas the open-ended questions were designed based on questions I had previously observed being widely used across the St. Helen’s College EYFS classrooms, questions such as: “How could you find out?”; “What do you think?”; “Do you think everyone else would think the same?”; “What do you think is happening?”; “I don't know, what do you think?”; ”Can you tell me more about that?” Control group results The control group were presented with only closed questioning that required a recall of fact, experience or expected behaviour, decision between a limited selection of choices or no response at all. When they were then exposed to mathematical activities outside of the control group intervention project, almost all remained very dependent on a nearby adult to start and complete a task, there was very little independent problem-solving (only 4 out of 24 children displayed this) and independence in both number and shape, space and measure activities was low – 6 out of 24 children and 5 out of 24 children. Interestingly, though, independent use of appropriate mathematical vocabulary was significantly higher (13 out of 24 children), but this could perhaps be attributed to additional factors such as continued whole-class teaching time away from the intervention itself, peer-interactions and learned facts taught before the intervention took place. Intervention group results The intervention group were presented with a broad range of open-ended questions which provided for increased encouragement, to foster speculation and trial and error and talk that fostered the potential for sustained, shared thinking, exploration and talking. When the intervention group were then exposed to mathematical activities outside of the intervention project, very few (only 3 out of 24 children) looked for support from an adult to start and complete a task, there was a huge rise in independent problem-solving (19 out of 24 children displayed this) and much-increased independence in both number and shape, space and measure activities – 19 out of 24 children and 20 out of 24 children respectively. Again, use of mathematical language remained high (22 out of 24 children) but the difference when observed this time was more sophisticated use of said language to explain and guide peers during their activities – the children in the intervention group were observed to be directly applying their knowledge of mathematical language to other tasks and in more creative and critical ways.   Rest assured then, that your children are in very safe and capable hands in our St. Helen’s College classrooms. Continuing our open-ended style of questioning actively encourages them to be successfully motivated by the pursuit of learning and discovery for their own sake; their resulting excitement has been captured through my purposeful observations and research of their language and independence. Each day, they are supported in finding out answers for themselves and ringing out in each classroom are the “ers” and “ums” of not knowing,  followed by the wonderful “oohs” and “ahs” of learning - the sounds of awe and wonder in action, of learning itself, of meaning being made. The skill, knowledge and understanding of our wonderful staff team has been research-proven to allow your children to reflect en route to becoming lifelong learners, ensuring that they are offered a less fixed view of the world - one where curiosity and investigation, rather than correct solutions and consensus-building, fuel their investigations. So, what will you ask your child to elicit thinking, learning and wondering about the world this weekend?  Now that’s a good question. Ms Matthews

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