School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 4/10/2019

Bringing Out The Best In Your Child - A Parent's Perspective by Mrs Dillon

 Reflections on "Bringing out the best in your child" On a wet Tuesday 24th September parents of students from nursery through to year 2 were invited to attend a talk led by Elaine Halligan of the Parent Practice, and author of “My Child’s Different”.   As a mother of two boys (Arjan in year 5 and Sarab in year 2) I was intrigued by the title of this talk – “Bringing out the best in your child”. My expectations were that this talk was going to share how to encourage your child to be the best “academic” and I was also secretly hoping to learn how I could get them to want to do their homework!    Instead what we were gifted with was something far more relevant and thought provoking. Elaine is a very engaging presenter who started by discussing her neuro-diverse son who had struggled at school as a young child but is now a very successful adult. She attributes this success down to changes she made in interacting with him, specifically by encouraging a greater self-belief and confidence in himself.   Elaine reinforces the importance of how we talk to our children and the respect that we give them. She conveyed this message very well by role playing a provocative scene whereby we (as the audience) were the child and she was the parent. The way that she talked to us, as the child was patronising and demeaning and I’m sure many of us as parents could relate. She went on to explain that by conversing with our children in this manner we are actually having a detrimental impact on their self-esteem and confidence. These crucial interactions over time are then likely to lead our children to experience an awkwardness in their own skin, which is something none of us wants to do!    Elaine touched on the fact that by only focussing on the “negative” (ie. 1 spelling mistake out of 14 etc.) we minimise the positive. I have to say that she demonstrated this particularly well. She showed us a “Reticular Activating System” which illustrated that if we only focus and notice negative behaviour then that is all we will see and we will miss all the good and positive behaviours that our children are demonstrating (see this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=101&v=IGQmdoK_ZfY). She goes on to explain that for every negative feedback a child is given, they need at least 5 positives to balance this out.    Arguably, what most of us as parents are good at is evaluative praise which is along the lines of “I am so proud of you”, “good girl/boy” etc. This is too nondescript and over time will become meaningless to your children. As such she emphasised the impact that descriptive praise can have (ie. “you should be proud of yourself” etc). This praise needs to focus on effort, attitude and strategies that the child is using and by doing this we can get our children to focus on the journey and not overly focus on end results or achievements. This will help them develop a positive growth mindset and promote good mental health.   Elaine shared several practical ways to encourage this and a few of the ones that resonated with me are highlighted below-  “Book of Gold” or “Golden Book” – this is an A5 book per child that has been decorated by the child. The parent has to write 3 descriptive phrases every day about each child. These phrases can take the form of acknowledging their effort, praising an absence of a particular negative behaviour or simply pointing out a quality that they demonstrated that day.  Elaine suggested reading these to them every night but having put this into practise now, I have found that I need time to write these in the evening and they actually enjoy reading them after breakfast (and I’ve noticed that it really puts a pep in their step in the morning). My experience (having done it for 5 days now!) is that it is tough to get started but it has made me refocus my attention to recognise more positive behaviours that I realise I hadn’t been acknowledging as much before. I did ask the boys how they feel about their “books of gold” and they absolutely adore them and it makes them so happy. What more could I ask for! Choose a quality (or use the value from school) and put this up on the wall and discuss it regularly. This discussion could be in the form of the children giving examples of how they lived that quality that day. “Pasta Jar” – Using a small pasta jar, for each positive action fill up the jar with large pasta pieces (Note – pasta can’t be too small and the jar can’t be too big as the aim should be to fill the jar within 3 or 4 days). When the jar is full the child is rewarded with something extra special. This reward should be non-material and non-time consuming. (eg. playing a game or lego, lighting a candle etc – basically anything that they love to do). There are two important rules here: do not take pasta out of the jar for misbehaviour and only one pasta jar per household (otherwise it becomes very competitive!).   The key take home message for me was to be respectful to your child, engage with them and catch them doing “good” things. It sounds simple but we all need a reminder of this and ways to implement this in our schedule with our children.  Ultimately our children do their best and we want them to feel good about themselves. I would truly recommend attending any of Elaine’s future talks as it’s all extremely relatable and encourages you to be the best parent you can be for your child.  
Posted on: 4/10/2019

Weekly News - Friday 4 October 2019

Harvest  Upper School celebrated Harvest on Tuesday with a lovely service in All Saints Church.  Thank you to all families for the most generous donations, which the local Salvation Army will be sharing with members of our local community who may not be as fortunate as we are.     We look forward to the Lower School Harvest Assemblies at 8.45am next week.  Please do join us for coffee from 8.15am in the Lower School Hall prior to the assemblies: Monday - Year 1 followed by Infant Choir performance Tuesday - Reception  followed by Infant Choir performance Wednesday - Nursery Author Visit The children from Nursery to Year 2 were delighted to welcome the author Simon Phillip and illustrator Kate Hindley. They were enthralled as Simon read his stories whilst Kate drew some characters from each book. With Kate's guidance, the children then became illustrators themselves! Both Philip and Kate explained how they had become so successful and what inspired them. Notably, they recommended that the children read as much as possible and gather their ideas by truly observing their surroundings. The sessions were a great success, and who knows, we may have inspired some authors and illustrators for the future!   Current Affairs - First News Newspaper Many families are already subscribed to the children’s current affairs newspaper ‘First News’ but they have just launched a fundraising venture to promote even more children to get reading. For every family that sign up for a subscription to the paper St Helen’s College will receive a £2 donation.  For us as a school, it is not about the donation but raising the children’s awareness of current affairs and reading for pleasure a different genre of materials in the form of a child friendly newspaper (suitable for age pupil in Y2 - Y6)). To try six free issues please do sign up at https://subscribe.firstnews.co.uk/six-free/. On the second step of the payment you will be asked to input the name of the school you are nominating ‘St Helen’s College’. Any donations we receive will go towards the library reading materials for the children.  Student Council The Student Council representatives at Upper School school have been representing the pupil voice in their meetings. On their request, we will very shortly (when all our water containers arrive!) be providing flavoured water for the children from Y2 - Y6 at break time as an alternative to milk.  The pupils have also voted on the types of fruit they would like and Soula will be happy to provide these flavours. (Milk will still be available to pupils).   Other requests from the pupils that have been actioned are; the request for baked beans when jacket potatoes are available as a lunch choice (we currently have baked beans twice a week but Soula will note this request), a stationery box for the children to continue their creativity with writing and drawing at lunchtimes (our SMSA’s already have a box but it is being replenished with some exciting new resources).   Acts of Kindness It is always wonderful to hear of our children being involved in charity events and for their deeds of kindness. We were very proud this week to hear of the efforts of 2H children; Aleyna N requested that children did not purchase any gifts for her birthday but instead donated money to a charity of her choosing. Aleyna now has £560 to donate to charity - a wonderful venture of kindness and superb support from her peers.    Year 6 visit to Denham Country Park  The children in Y6 experienced some ‘hands on’ geography fieldwork this week when they visited Denham Country Park to investigate rivers. The children became river detectives for the day; wading into the river to collect data about the River Misbourne’s depth, width and flow and analysing minibeasts present in the river. They were also able to track the path of the River Misbourne to its confluence with the River Colne and River Frays and compare these rivers. Finally, a walk along the Grand Union Canal and seeing Denham Deep Lock in action gave the children a terrific insight into the engineering accomplishments of the Victorians.     Reception trip to Odds Farm Kingfishers and Owls enjoyed an exciting visit to Odds Farm this week to support their learning about  harvest time and to bring their shared topic of ‘The Farm’ to life. The children were able to meet and touch some furry friends and they thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get close to lots of sheep, goats and pigs during their visit to the indoor barn.  The children were also enthralled by a live ‘Piggies Lunch’ demonstration and they had a super (but very bumpy) tractor ride! Football On Wednesday, the football team had their second game of the season at home to St Catherine’s and pulled off a very good 1-0 win. St Catherine’s are a very good team who dominated the 1st half and could have been well ahead but for some good defending, bad finishing and a great save by Zail. We grew into the game and scored through Eli with a very good left foot finish to give us the lead. St Helen’s managed to hold on to secure an impressive win. The team should be extremely proud of themselves with this performance, especially Adam K in Yr4 who made a huge impression on his debut. Team Zail, Patrick, Reece, Joban, Jack, Harry, Daniel G-J, Eli, Adam.   Cross Country This week, our pupils took part in the District cross country competition held at the Vyners playing fields. They had been training for the past few weeks to complete the 2km course and completed the boys and girls races confidently, supporting each other as they ran. Our top finishers were Michael K and Rhea A-V in their respective races, and solid performances from everyone in the team resulted in very credible 6th place for the girls team and 7th place for the boys team. Well done to the teams; Marcus S, Alex S, Daniel G-J, Reece G, Jack H, Adi S, Ciaran R, Michael K, Rhea A-V, Chloe W, Grace B, Amar C, Maisie H and Siyana M.    Times Tables Rockstars We have relaunched Times Tables Rockstars at Upper School this year and the children all seem really enthused. They have created their rockstar avatars and are busy earning points by practising their tables. Each week, the fastest player in Middle and Upper Schools (last week Poppy H and Mohib F) and the players who have made the biggest improvement through lots of practice (last week Roha K and Ciaran R) will be recognised.  This week our top players are Jacob N for Middle School and Anokhi B for Upper School!  The children will progress through different rock star levels and will be awarded certificates and prizes whenever they reach a new status. Congratulations to Mohib F, the Year 6 maths prefect, who is the first and only player in the school to earn the elusive ‘rock hero’ status. Parent Practice Following the success of last week’s talk by Elaine Halligan from the Parent Practice, I would like to thank Mrs Dhillon whose reflections of the evening are the guest blog this week. (Do read!) We have had wonderful feedback from the workshop and many parents have asked if further training could be sought.  We are delighted that our parents at St Helen’s have been offered a 50 % discount for their Online Parenting Course from the Parent Practice, which is a 10 module e-learning course.  Please see the line below for further details: .https://www.theparentpractice.com/programmes/positive-parenting-course-on-line The code is STHELENS2019 but please note that it is only valid for 7 days. To order go to this page https://theparentpractice.simplero.com/purchase/16521-Membership-of-The-Positive-Parenting and use the coupon code where it says ‘Have a Coupon Code’. This will reduce the price to £175.   Parents’ Evenings Nursery to Year 1 parents’ evening is on Tuesday 8th October from 4pm - 7pm at Lower School.  Please do check the time of your appointment. Please note that Funtasia will be in Wrens classroom on the parent evenings. Pick up arrangements  If your pick up arrangements from school vary from the normal person who collects your child, please can you email this information to the form teacher or email the school office at admin@sthelenscollege.com if the arrangement is a last minute change.  I am sure you understand our need to ensure that your children are being handed over to the correct person at the end of the day.   Jewellery in PE It is the school’s policy that no jewellery should be worn in P.E lessons for health and safety reasons. Children should, where possible, not wear jewellery to school on P.E days. If earrings cannot be removed because they are new, parents are respectfully requested to provide a small reel of micropore tape for their children in their school bag so they can tape over the earrings for P.E. If religious bangles (metal and string with beads on) cannot be removed then parents are respectfully asked to provide their child with a sweatband in school colours (green, white or black) to wear over the top. Necklaces should not be worn as these present particular risks around the neck. 
Posted on: 27/09/2019

STEAM Day by Mr Tovell

It has been a week since our 4th Annual St. Helen’s College STEAM day last Friday and the last week has afforded me time to reflect upon a day to be truly proud of. In her first assembly of the year, Mrs. Drummond challenged the children to ‘be their very best selves’ and this could not have been more evident during the activities that staff, many parent helpers and  Susan O’Connor - author of the wonderful book Creative Genius Journal, which I highly recommend to parents of children of all ages - put on. Indeed, it is only due to the hard work, creativity and highly supportive and collaborative nature of the St Helen’s community that the children are given opportunities to excel and be their very best selves in days such as these. Activities in both the Lower and Upper school were engaging as well as challenging and included a Year 2 and 3 Nile crossing challenge and a Systems Thinking Workshop in Upper School; Kaleidoscopes and the spectacular Rocket Mice in Lower School.  Furthermore, it is the creative nature of our day to day curriculum that provides your children with the tools to excel when such challenges are posed to them.  The children’s behaviour was exemplary, demonstrating wonderful collaboration skills, creativity, resilience and resourcefulness to overcome learning challenges. They were able to reflect upon their successes and targets to help them to tackle similar learning challenges in the future - and most importantly, they had FUN. I cannot stress enough how brilliant they were; they really are a credit to you all. As Josh Valman, author of last week’s blog, stated ‘it is people working together who solve problems’ and based on what the staff witnessed, we may have some future changers of the world amongst us. With outstanding learning taking place all over the school and the sun shining, it was wonderful to welcome our Prime Minister to our school as he got to see the very best of St. Helen’s College. He is a man of great importance and the children were thrilled that he took a genuine interest in their learning that day. In the morning, I began my speech to the Upper School children with ‘I love this school’, and after a day of such spectacular success in both Lower and Upper School where the children really were their very best selves, those words ring all the more true today.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Genius-Journal-resilient-differently/dp/1916497918  
Posted on: 27/09/2019

Weekly News - Friday 27th September 2019

On Tuesday we welcomed Elaine Halligan from the Parent Practice to school to talk to staff in our staff meeting time and then in the evening for parents from Nursery to Y2 about raising children's self esteem. The evening event for parents was a sell out and we have had wonderful feedback from all participants.  For parents of older children who may have more access to screens/devices at home the Parent Practice is holding a London premiere of a very thought-provoking film, 'Screenagers: The Next Chapter' on October 8th, followed by a panel discussion.  You can watch the trailer of the film here: https://www.screenagersmovie.com/nc-trailer You can find out more information and book tickets here: https://www.theparentpractice.com/courses-and-workshops?course_type=workshop#screenagers---the-next-chapter.-movie-premier-and-discussion   Sports Captains and House Captains Congratulations to the following Year 6 pupils who have been elected this week. Windsor Sports Captains Daniel G-J and Rhea A-V. Windsor House Captains Jack H and Esha T Cambria Sports Captains Harrison J and Krisha S Cambria House Captains Patrick E, Grace B and Laura B Sports News The netball and football teams had a positive start to the season this week with both our teams giving determined performances in their inaugural matches of the year. Our Year 5 netballers demonstrated great game sense to work effectively as a team in both attack and defence against St Mary's School, Gerrards Cross winning the match 2 - 1. Our Years 5and 6 footballers showed great resilience against a competitive team from St Mary's RC School, Uxbridge drawing their match 2 - 2.  Well done!    Coffee Mornings It has been lovely to see so many parents attending our coffee mornings over the past couple of weeks and to have your feedback on how the children are settling in their new classes. I am sorry to have missed the Kingfishers morning this week but I am attending the annual Head's Conference. Harvest Festival The Upper School Harvest Festival is on Tuesday 1st October at 9 a.m. in All Saints Church. All parents are welcome to attend. Please send in non-perishable hamper/ baskets/contributions with your child on Tuesday morning - they will then bring them to church and they will be donated to the local Salvation Army.   Parking Please can we all work together as a community to adhere to the school parking regulations which can be found here.
Posted on: 20/09/2019

The Future By Josh Valman

Last week I had the pleasure of returning to St. Helen’s College, to speak at the annual Prizegiving, 13 years after I left my class of Year 6. I’ve returned to the school several times during the new Year 7s’ time at St. Helen’s, introducing conversation around robotics, engineering and entrepreneurship. I felt it was timely to talk about the potential they all have to shape lives and careers that have true impact on the world. When I left St. Helen’s College, not that long ago, technology was still new. Touch typing was an exclusive skill, and a mobile phone was yet to become the constant interface for life. In the last 10-15 years we have seen technology dominate our lives, as it makes everything easier and quicker. However, this incredible development has had vast impact to both us and our planet. Our decisions are driven by ease, and the impact of those decisions are largely overlooked. We have created a society and a way of life that has enormous consequence on the world’s resources, our environment and even our own health. We are at a point where change is necessary, but we are limited by the fact that humans are creatures of habit. We are unlikely to see massive change in developed generations – purely from new awareness of our impact. Previously our behaviours were influenced by those around us, our parents, schools, peers and government. But in this new world of technology, it’s the machines that define us. Our phones (even as a Year 7!) are the things we wake up to, and go to sleep next to. Our behaviours are shaped by the products that enable our lives. It’s for this reason that the future of the world is very much in the hands of the engineer: the problem solver, the creative thinker. It is our responsibility, as the younger generation, to create the future of our world, and how we all behave around it. It will be the engineers who create the products and experiences that change human behaviour to become more sustainable. I began my engineering career aged 10, whilst at St. Helen’s College. Fascinated by the BBC TV show, Robot Wars, I set out to design and build something competitive, beginning with Lego and Sellotape, until I learnt the Maths and the CAD design skills to create something more advanced. It’s essential that parents and schools support young people with the ability to match education with reality. The intensity of exam schedules and the sheer volume of curriculum that needs to be consumed can make additional work feel oppressive and unnecessary. However, bringing practical application of subjects into the classroom has a huge impact on engagement and the ability to understand and visualise theory. We can provide examples of how the current curriculum applies to the real world through embracing extra-curricular clubs and competitions. In the time I have spent working in industry, it’s perhaps surprising to note that a technical problem is incredibly rare. The majority of work problems and restrictions in the real world have been focussed on people, process and communication. Promoting stronger presentation, negotiation and communication skills through practical teaching at schools has a massive impact on students’ ability to succeed in the real world – with or without that A* in maths or extensive knowledge of the Battle of Hastings! It’s been important also to note the importance of enjoying the work you do. Nobody really knows what they’re doing, but those who are most successful are those who are passionate about their life and have made it a career. The pressure to select a career and pursue it is intense, but helping children to explore interesting subjects with a link to potential careers is possible and exciting! The standout trends of our most successful young team members and graduates is always their exposure to varied work experience, cultures, challenges – and not the nth percentile academic results. In 2012 we founded RPD International, with the purpose of making the development and manufacturing of new products accessible. We now power R&D departments around the world for many new, big brand products in the market. We craft everything from sustainability developments in shampoo and deodorant packaging, to medical devices that improve the accessibility and power of modern medicine, and every strange new invention between these. It’s our role in the world to empower people to create the next generation of products which will change the way we work, behave and live our lives. I need the help of you as parents and influencers to encourage play and practical learning as part of schooling, creating exposure to the real world and making it known that we’re all still working it out! It was my mission, in the conversation with the graduating pupils of 2019, to urge them to consider this the first step on an engineering career. To see through the maths lessons, and see that we all need their help to invent, develop and produce a positive future for our world. Josh Valman is CEO of RPD International. He attended St. Helen’s College from 1999 to 2006.
Posted on: 20/09/2019

Weekly News - Friday 20th September 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Reads To Year 1 We were thrilled today to receive a visit from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is working with the BookTrust children's charity to promote children's reading - a cause dear to St. Helen's College! This month the BookTrust charity have launched their 'Time To Read' campaign, which encourages families to share books and stories each day and to use books as a way to explore issues that impact on wellbeing, such as anxiety or friendship issues.  St. Helen's College parents know already that, as a school, we promote reading daily with your child and believe that this underpins all learning. We were therefore delighted to be approached by the Prime Minister's office to arrange a visit for Mr. Johnson to read to our Year 1 children. The children were enthralled today as he read them The Cave by Rob Hodgson, which showed that things aren't always what they seem, and that life can be full of surprises! Mr. Johnson also visited Upper School and was hugely impressed by the STEAM Day activities going on all around (see below for more details!). It is a testament to the ethos and success of St. Helen's College and its pupils that, having visited last year, Mr. Johnson chose to come back and see our children again!       STEAM Day It has been a busy, purposeful and exciting day of learning across the entire school from Ducklings to Year 6 today as children have taken part in a wide range of STEAM Day activities. At Upper School, pupils took part in practical and academic indoor and outdoor activities run by staff and parents, including building cardboard kayaks, cracking a code using maths, making marble mazes and investigating endothermic and exothermic reactions. One of the sessions was run by Susan O'Connor, the author of 'Creative Genius Journal'. The children worked in groups to design, create and make playground equipment, challenging their collaboration and communication skills. We would highly recommend that parents take a look at her journal for 7-12 year olds: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Genius-Journal-resilient-differently/dp/1916497918/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=creative+genius+journal&qid=1568964942&sr=8-2 At Lower School, the children became engrossed in Lego mazes, making kaleidoscopes and investigating how colours mix. They used their technological skills to take part in some digital animation and became apprentice engineers when building spaghetti towers. They used our outside space to make bookmarks from the natural resources around us and blasted rocket mice into the beautiful blue sky!  Our youngest Helenians, the Ducklings, also took part in some age-appropriate STEAM activities. The children helped to measure water into three different water pits and then got into small groups. Using lots of colourful bath bombs, the children got to explore how putting them into water can make them change and how our senses reacted! The children spoke about the sounds that the bath bombs made in water such as "POP! "Fuzzzzzzz" and "Whoosh", adding that they smelt "fruity", "sweet" and some even thought they smelt "yummy". The children also explored how, when the differently coloured waters were mixed together, the colour of the water changed and some even got brighter! Ducklings finished off celebrating their STEAM Day with dropping some mints into a bottle of pop and watch it go up, just like a volcano! This really was, across the school, an inspirational day that children and staff will never forget! You can see photographs on our Galleries page. Loving their Learning The dining room and playground have been a cacophony of educational chatter this week - it has been super to hear the children discussing the number of syllables within the lines of their nature Haiku poems (Y3), how the Romans came to seize England and why (Y3),  Verbal Reasoning was the best lesson for one child this week because he loves playing with words (Y4), Year 5 pupils enjoyed their water challenge as they worked collaboratively to design and make their water pipe systems discussing the many elements which had to work together for the most efficient delivery of water;  Year 6 discussing how to spot 'Fake News'.  How rewarding for the teachers to know that our pupils' learning does not just stop in the classroom - the love of learning which is being embedded exudes from them  through their day and I am sure is then shared with you all at home too! Community and London Ambassadors We are delighted that St. Helen's College is being recognised in the local community as one of the leading schools in addressing the environmental issue of traffic and pollution surrounding schools. You can read a little about this here. We were also delighted to hear this week that we have been nominated for a London wide award as one of the top London Schools for our hard work around school travel and road safety. We have been nominated for two categories: School of excellence in walking - for our brilliant walking loyalty scheme School of excellence in road safety/pupil led project - for our hard work with the Junior Roadwatch project We have also been nominated for the category of 'Long Serving Travel Champion' for all our hard work over the 9 years that St. Helen's College has been championing this. Student Council The Student Council in Upper School have had a great start to the term. In their first meeting they discussed general council etiquette and electing the secretary and spokesperson. The first item for discussion for all the classes was whether they would like to see the introduction of flavoured water available at break times.  There was a resounding majority vote for this and this will be rolled out to the children at Upper School early October.  The pupils will now need to vote on the flavours they would favour: strawberry, cucumber, lemon, orange...? We look forward to hearing their suggestions and I am sure that Soula will be able to source a variety of healthy options. For pupils who prefer milk there will still be some available. The Zen Garden was also an area which was discussed and the pupils are very strong in their passion for only using this area for quiet and peaceful moments which they will ensure will continue to happen. The pupils were then reminded of some of the suggestions they have made over the past couple of years which have been acted upon: new cutlery and cups for the dining room, no onion in the macaroni, the addition of the The Retreat and the Castle (partly funded by the school and the PA) and table top games for the playground...to name but a few. We look forward to a superb year of pupil voice. Meet the Teacher Evenings Thank you to all of the parents who have recently attended our Meet the Teacher evenings.  It has been encouraging to have such a great attendance at these evenings, demonstrating the parental support which will no doubt help your children to achieve their very best this year. Please contact your form teachers if you have any further queries or questions. New Parents' Lunch The PA committee and new families to St. Helen's College had a wonderful afternoon socialising in the Windsor Garden last Saturday, getting to know each other and finding out more about the work of the PA.  Thank you to all who attended and the PA for providing the lovely food and refreshments. If you are interested in supporting the work of the PA or becoming the class form representative please contact Mrs. Clements at info@sthelenscollege.com.     Individual Pupil Photographs Monday 23rd - Ducklings will have their individual photos from 8.30 a.m.  Wednesday 25th Lower School - siblings can be photographed together from 8 a.m. Friday 27th Upper School - siblings can be photographed together from 7.40 a.m. Personal Belongings Pupils should not be bringing in football/Disney or similar collector cards to school. Unfortunately they have caused upset in the playground and in classes! Fitbits should also not be worn to school; however, a watch is acceptable.
Posted on: 13/09/2019

An Education of Value - Head's Blog

I have been observing our children over the last 8 days since the beginning of term - I am overwhelmed with how they have embraced the new changes and experiences. The virtues  which children develop over time are underpinned by the values which are held by the families, the community  and school. This week in assembly the Upper School pupils discussed Aristotle, one of the great teachers and philosophers of Ancient Greece,  who was interested in thinking about how humans can live a good life. It is by thinking about this question, discussing the question and by the adults surrounding the children modelling virtuous behaviours that our pupils will grow into confident, articulate, creative, caring and resilient young adults. Last night we welcomed one of our alumni, Josh Valman, to our annual Prizegiving as our Guest of Honour.  Josh attended St. Helen’s from 1999 to 2006 and continued his education at Vyners School. Josh is now a world leader in rapid innovation and manufacturing. He is the founder and CEO of RPD International, a business powering corporate Research and Development  departments around the world.  Josh’s passion for engineering has driven his success  but he is very aware that it is often very difficult to find the right staff to develop his products - saying that often the most technically brilliant engineers are not the ideal employee for his creative business. Instead Josh looks for attributes such as resilience, good interpersonal skills, empathy, collaboration, co-operation - people who really care about what they are doing, want to make a difference, enjoy their work and feel fulfilled by what they are doing. As Josh spoke to the children last night I could see the Year 7 pupils who have just started at their new secondary school  sit up and take notice, nodding in agreement with him, who knows...perhaps in a few years time another one of our Old Helenians may be a member of RPD international!  (I hope to have Josh blog as a guest next week!) Our old Year 6 pupils have certainly made a good impact at their new senior schools - it was heartwarming to speak with several parents last night who were so grateful for the amazing foundations that have been put in place for their children’s future through the ethos, the staff, the curriculum and the community of St. Helen’s College. We will continue to promote our school values hand in hand with you as parents to enable your children to lead a good life.  CARING HELPFULNESS COOPERATION KINDNESS PERSEVERANCE COURAGE FAIRNESS FRIENDLINESS PATIENCE RESPECT COURTESY FORGIVENESS DETERMINATION SELF-DISCIPLINE GRATITUDE HONESTY Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 13/09/2019

Weekly News - Friday 13th September 2019

PA Welcome Event For New Families The PA and staff look forward to welcoming all of our new families (including children!) to their Welcome Event which will take place in the Evans Hall and Windsor Garden from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow.  Meet The Teacher Evening - Year 4 and Year 5 We are looking forward to seeing our Year 4 and Year 5 parents on Tuesday evening for the Meet The Teacher evening. Drinks will be served from 6.45 p.m. in the Windsor Garden and then the classes will split into the Evans Hall and the Upper School Hall. Year 4 Pupils Discover Ancient Greece! The Year 4 children have begun their history topic on the Ancient Greeks in style on Tuesday. They were treated to a full day of fun, immersing themselves in the Ancient Greek way of life through an interactive show in the morning and two follow up workshops in the afternoon. The show saw the children become assistants to a trainee time traveller who went back in time for her 53rd attempt at passing her final trainee mission. The trainee found herself at the house of Jocasta, an Athenian housewife. As part of the mission the children learnt about many aspects of Ancient Greece from Jocasta, including the gods, the Olympics, Greek architecture, democracy and the role of women.  The workshops further developed the children's historical knowledge. In the first, the children had to think about the legacy of the Greeks in order to help the time travellers set up a new history TV programme. In the second workshop, Jocasta set up a scene in her courtyard depicting life in the household, with the children taking on the various roles. Then the children re-enacted her wedding.  It was a busy day, and thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part. You can see photographs on our Galleries page. uTalk Language Challenge This year, Upper School children will be participating in the uTalk Language Challenge as usual. In a change to past year's routines, the competition final will be within this academic year, which means that Year 6 children may enter, so the competition is open to all children in Years 2-6. Registration costs only £5 per child and gives each participant access to 12 topics on the uTalk app for the rest of the school year (2019/20). Every child will be provided with a unique username and password which they can use to login to the uTalk app as well as view their scores, progress and achievements in their very own online dashboard. Teachers will also get access to the same 12 topics as the children. This year there will not be a national final. Instead, children will take part in regional finals. Round One, Spanish, will start in September and run until 10 a.m. on Friday December 20th 2019. Children can start scoring points as soon as they have downloaded the app and logged in using the username and password with which they will be supplied. Pupils who score 500 points (out of a possible 3,960) will go through to Round Two, which will run from 10 a.m. on Monday 6th January 2020 until 10 a.m. on Friday 27th March 2020. Children will be learning the same 12 topics in French with the 30 highest scorers in each region going through to their regional final where they will compete against the clock and each other to be named uTalk JLC Champion for that region. In the event of more than 30 children in each region achieving full marks, extra French topics will be unlocked for them to learn to help select the top 30. If you are interested in registering your child, please email Mrs. Stark at tstark@sthelenscollege.com as soon as possible. Engineering The Future Many of our pupils and parents were inspired by the speech given by our Guest of Honour, Josh Valman, at last night's Prizegiving. Josh is an Old Helenian, now in his early twenties, who has built a multi-million dollar engineering business. His company, RPD International, helps major multi-national companies as well as smaller entrepreneurs bring products to market more quickly. We were extremely lucky to hear from him last night about why engineers are crucial to our planet's future. For any budding young engineers or families interested in following this up with further exploration and education, we would recommend looking at the forthcoming events, talks and family workshops at the Royal Institute: http://view.email.rigb.org.uk/?qs=b5897f9c648de160f4fe37200bb85a7d9ebf5a6b2391c30a70657ed2f8485bd0d99d862c930366524733171f50a74314a98b104cf72e3663eef9a47d1ba6b4df7d3bfa3adc716c815f66db5a7597a57e  STEAM Day We are very much looking forward to our exciting STEAM Day which will take place on Friday 20th September. Thank you in advance to all those parents and staff who have already volunteered to run workshops or assist on the day. It will be a wonderful day of community collaboration and creativity. Co-Curricular Clubs Thank you to parents for selecting your child's co-curricular preferences via SchoolsBuddy. Allocations have now been made and you will need to follow the instructions in your allocation email and make payment promptly to secure your club places. Clubs begin from Monday (16th September). We still have a few places on the following clubs, which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis now. Please email Miss Walker at swalker@sthelenscollege.com if your child would like to join one of these clubs: Art Y1 Yoga Y1 Taekwondo Y2/3  Taekwondo Y4/5/6 â€‹ Hockey Y4/5/6 Printing Y4/5/6 Football Y5 Coding Y5/6 We look forward to another enriching and exciting term of co-curricular activities.  
Posted on: 6/09/2019

Welcome Back! - Head's Blog

    Welcome back to all of our returning families and to our new families who have joined our wonderful community: welcome! I am sure that you have all had a super summer. I have had an incredible summer, relaxing, resting and socialising with family and friends but there is only so much of this ‘non-routine’ that I can take! I admit, I was so ready to come back to school to be energised by the buzz of enquiring minds and the energy of our pupils, staff and parents. I am sure that you will agree that the children have embraced the new school year across the school. From our fledgling Ducklings to our new Year 6 pupils, there is an almost tangible sense of joie de vivre.   As the children settle into their new routines, I have observed and overheard them discussing the ‘Golden Rules’ of working together as a community, writing and signing classroom pledges and agreeing how they can be their best selves.  Our informal school motto: ‘Strive for excellence Help others achieve Care for each other’ resonates around the school, along with our ‘Ready, Respectful, Safe’ behaviour mantra. Your children are amazing and I feel truly blessed to witness their awe and wonder each and every day. As your children embark upon their new academic year, I would like to share with you all extracts from an article I recently read in Attain magazine to help you all settle into the school year. I have slightly altered the order but strongly recommend that you read the full article to give greater context! 10 Golden Rules for Parents Do read a bedtime story to your child every night (or hear them read every night as they move up through the school). Do teach your child to be independent. Do play games with your child (as often as possible) and teach them how to lose gracefully; this will also spark their creativity and help their concentration. Do read everything the school sends to you. Do be proud of everything your child brings home and wow at it no matter how huge, hideous, or unrecognisable it may be.  Do not compete with other parents about who has the most accomplished child. Do not take your child out of school early at the end of term or return late at the beginning of term. Do respect and believe what the teachers say about your child, and communicate with your form teacher if you have any concerns (it is teamwork that will bring out the best in your children). Do set a good example in phone etiquette. Don't feel the need to invite everyone to your child's birthday party (this may be difficult in Lower School but gets increasingly easier as the children get older!) The full article may be read here https://digital.attain.education/.   We look forward to yet another successful and joyful academic year with your children at the centre of our focus!   Mrs. Drummond

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