School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 25/03/2022

Anastasia

We are hoping and praying that Anastasia will arrive with our family in the next week or so, over the Easter holidays. She is from Lviv, Ukraine and, aged 18, she is travelling by herself to seek refuge from the war. Her family (grandmother, father and 12 year old brother) are trapped in Kherson, the city where Anastasia grew up and was educated. Kherson has been under Russian occupation since 3rd March, one week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, and its citizens are unable to leave. The humanitarian crisis is deepening daily there; citizens are running out of basic supplies and this week, it was reported that Russian soldiers opened fire on peaceful protests in the city. Anastasia had left Kherson and was living and working in Lviv when the Russian invasion began. She was a lead generation manager for a marketing company and was renting a flat with friends. She hoped to work, save money and then travel, having left Ukraine only once during her childhood. But she did not plan to travel as she is now: alone, with no home to go back to and with constant fear over her family’s safety.  Exactly two weeks after the war began, Anastasia decided to leave her flat and job in Lviv. Lviv is in the west of Ukraine and, although it was not under attack when she left, it was already flooded with citizens from other parts of Ukraine who were taking refuge there or travelling through towards other European countries. As an 18 year old with no family in Lviv and no way to reconnect with her besieged family in Kherson, Anastasia would have been very vulnerable if/when the Russians reached Lviv. The friends with whom she was living met the requirements for the Ukraine army and so could not leave. She says, anyway, that they wanted to stay. But I am so glad that she was able to leave when she did. She travelled first to Poland. A kind Polish family helped her to find a place to stay in Barcelona. She made a bus journey alone all the way from Poland to Madrid and then got a train to Barcelona. That is where she was when we made contact with her. My husband and I knew, as soon as the UK government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched, that we had to register as hosts. Our two sons (aged 20 and 19) live away at university, coming back to us now in the holidays and for the odd weekend. We talked to them about the scheme and they wholeheartedly support our family taking part. They both offered their bedrooms for Ukrainians fleeing the war but, as parents, we felt determined that their safe havens should still exist at home for them. Luckily we had a spare room that we could offer.  We registered with the scheme on Monday 14th March, the day it was launched. Registering was quick and easy - it just involved completing an online form with a few details. We had an acknowledgement email from the government immediately but then came the trickier part. It was up to us to name the Ukrainian(s) we would like to sponsor and then make a visa application with/for them. We did not know any Ukrainians. But as it turned out, it didn’t take long to get to know some. I registered with a charity group who aim to match UK sponsors with Ukrainian refugees and I joined a Facebook group on which UK sponsors were offering accommodation. For the first day or two, there were hundreds of offers of UK accommodation on the group but hardly any Ukrainians seeking refuge; this changed on perhaps Wednesday 16th March, and suddenly I was seeing a series of frankly heartbreaking posts from Ukrainians looking for UK sponsorship.  The Ukrainians looking for refuge through the Homes for Ukraine scheme are either still in Ukraine, hoping to get away from imminent danger, or already displaced. Men aged 18-60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine if they were there when the war began, so the vast majority looking for asylum are women, children and the elderly. I made contact with a Ukrainian family in Prague and it looked like we might be able to sponsor them, but then they told me that they were determined to travel and live with another Ukrainian family and we simply did not have room for them all. We agreed that we were not a match, wishing each other luck, and we are still in touch. On Thursday 17th, I had contact with a 59 year old Ukrainian lady who was then in Warsaw. She had been a lecturer at the university in Kiev and her husband had stayed behind in Ukraine. We talked online for an hour or two, sharing information about ourselves and photographs, but in the end she let me know that she had been contacted by a former colleague in the UK with an offer of sponsorship, and she was going to go to live there. It turns out that she will be living fairly close to us, so we hope to meet up once she is settled in the UK. On Saturday morning, 19th March, I saw a post from Anastasia. I contacted her, told her about us and our family and sent her photographs of our home, our family and our dog. She replied immediately with lots of details about herself; her English is pretty good which is helpful. We became friends on Facebook so that we could look back through profiles/timelines to learn a little more about each other. I asked her to send me proof of her identity and she sent me her passport photo page; we then had a video call in which we chatted for 20 minutes or more about her situation and how we could help. I told her that I thought she was very brave for travelling alone and she became tearful when we spoke about her family still in Kherson. She told me about her love for music and singing and that she was very proud of the Beatles vinyl that she had had to leave behind in Ukraine. I let her know that our house is filled with Beatles and other vinyl and that we have The Beatles’ Abbey Road artwork framed in our kitchen. She told me that she loved the musical Hamilton and had watched it three times already that week. My family and I love it too. We both said that we would like to watch it together if things worked out. I asked Anastasia what she had with her. She said she had a backpack and a bag with a few clothes, some cosmetics, a phone and a laptop. She did not have enough money left for a plane ticket to the UK but hoped that the kind people who were hosting her in Barcelona would be able to lend her the money for it or that she would be able to take advantage of the free flights being offered by WizzAir to displaced Ukrainians. She loved it in Barcelona but felt it would be difficult to find work there as she cannot speak Spanish. She told me that she wanted to come to the UK so that she could find a job and send money to support her family in Kherson. We agreed that we would apply together for her UK visa with me as her sponsor. I was nervous about sharing all of our family’s personal details, but swallowed the nerves and went for it. We did the visa application together, with Anastasia inputting the details and sharing screenshots of each screen with me over Facebook Messenger so that I could double check that she was doing it right. I was so proud of her - to be 18, in a foreign country, completing a government visa application in your second language in the hopes of going to live with strangers because it’s your only hope of safety and opportunity - she had such courage, such resilience and determination.  We do not know how long it will be before we will have a decision on the visa application: there is, of course, a backlog. But we have heard just today that others who applied just before us have begun receiving visas and permits to travel, so we are hopeful. We are using the days of waiting to continue our conversations, exchanging messages about our daily lives, our values, our friends and family, our hobbies and interests. Every day, I reassure Anastasia that we are here, that we remain committed to her, that we are preparing her room. I asked her at one point what foods she liked. She said, apologetically, that she loves junk food and doesn’t know how to make herself like healthy food. I told her how much I love to cook. I couldn’t help it: I began planning the dinners I would make for her when she arrives with us. It is hard, waiting. I hope that Anastasia will soon get her visa decision, that her journey to the UK will be safe and that she will settle well with us. I hope that we can support her with the emotional and practical aspects of adjusting to life in the UK and of coping with the awful realities of the ongoing war in her home country. I hope so much that her family will remain safe; the humanitarian crisis in Kherson is bleak with no medicines and very little food now available for the citizens there. We will be hosting Anastasia at our house for a minimum of six months and as long as necessary. Our hope is that during this time she will find a job, make friends, become a part of our family. I think there will be plenty of time to help her expand her food repertoire, but I’m also planning to take her out for junk food just as soon as she is ready!  I would not have felt able to sponsor while my children were living full time at home so I know that there may not be many sponsors in the SHC community, for good reason. But if you, or anyone you know, is hoping to take part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme please contact me if you would like more information about how it has worked for us so far: susmith@sthelenscollege.com. You can find out more and register for the scheme here: https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/ Over the coming weeks, the UK government hopes to match UK sponsors with Ukrainians so that you will no longer need to find guests to sponsor yourself. In the meantime, we registered with this charity to find a match: https://www.eu4ua.org/ but in the end we matched with Anastasia through a Facebook group called: Accommodation, Help & Shelter for Ukraine.  If you do take part in the scheme, please be mindful. The UK press are reporting that, sadly and unbelievably, there are ‘scammers’ out there posing as Ukrainian refugees. If you make contact with a possible match, please do what we did: see their photo ID first, check their social media profiles/content, and have a video call with them before sharing any of your personal information. Mrs. Smith
Posted on: 18/03/2022

Weekly News - Friday 18th March 2022

Sparks Film Making Workshop The Year 5 and Year 6 children took part in a film making workshop this week, in which they made films linked to Earth Day. Sparks run movie-making classes for children aged 5-18 in Uxbridge on Saturdays, and they run some holiday camps too. If your child might be interested in these classes, you can find details here. UKMT Mathematics Challenge This week, two Year 6 children (Zach F and Shruthi T) took part in the UKMT Grey Kangaroos mathematical challenge for children up to Year 9. Zakariya M (Year 4) took part in the Cayley Mathematical Olympiad, a two hour paper covering six extremely challenging questions. For those who are interested, past papers can be seen here:  https://www.ukmt.org.uk/competitions/solo/cayley-olympiad/archive  https://www.ukmt.org.uk/competitions/solo/grey-kangaroo/archive Mathematics at Merchant Taylors School On Friday, twenty four Year 6 children went to Merchant Taylors School for a mathematical afternoon. This involved a Maths Trail around the school, problem solving and an inter-school quiz. Red Nose Day The school was a riot of colour and laughter today as the community joined together to celebrate Red Nose Day and support Comic Relief. You can see some of our Red Nose Day photographs on the Galleries page here. At Ducklings, our youngest children enjoyed a danceathon and had a go at sticking the red nose on the face, as well as taking part in a raffle.  At Lower School, children also took part in a raffle and danceathon and enjoyed trying an obstacle course to different landmarks.  At Upper School, the pupils took part in a sporting quiz and sporting event and the raffle.  Many children also received individual sponsorship for their challenge of walking, running, cycling or scooting to different landmarks and have sent us photographs of them doing so. You can see some of these photographs here and you are welcome to upload your photographs to this link over the weekend too. Many, many thanks to families who have made donations to our Comic Relief fundraising effort. If you would still like to donate, you can do so at our JustGiving fundraising page here, where you can also see the total raised by our community so far. 6H Talent Assembly 6H really enjoyed performing all of their amazing talents during assemblies this week. They included magic, comedy, drama, music, singing, art, skateboarding, skipping, Lego and even a puppet show. What a talented class they are!  Well done to our musicians and the Year 2 Irish dancers who also entertained the 6H parents this morning. Music News Year 4 Graphic Scores This term, Year 4 have been looking at a variety of ways to respond creatively to music. This week they worked in groups to produce large scale graphic scores in response to a piece of music named “Night Ferry” by the British composer Anna Clyne.  When Clyne settled on the idea of creating a piece about crossing a stormy ocean, she picked up a paint brush instead of writing music notes on paper. She stuck seven large sheets of paper on the wall of her studio and created a graphic score, laying out how she wanted her piece to sound by using swirls and sweeps of colours. After this she drew inspiration from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which was written during the Romantic era and tells the tale of one sailor's supernatural experiences at sea. Before she had even written a note, she had created a visual and literary score. Clyne has said it was very liberating to explore composition in this way; she's not an artist, or a poet but she used these tools to help her write the music. See the mural that accompanies Night Ferry, and listen to the Orchestral Performance.  You can see some images of the Year 4 children with their own graphic scores here. Easter Service and Barnardo's Recording On Monday 21st March, we will be recording for the Easter Service and Barnardo's Choral Competition. Please ensure that, if your child is involved in the Chamber Choir, Senior Choir or Orchestra, they come to school on Monday in full school uniform (including blazers), and bring their PE kit into school to change into afterwards if required. Children in the Orchestra will also need to ensure they remember to bring in their instrument and music on this day also.  Climate Change Recognition We are delighted to have been awarded a certificate by Leeds DEC recognising the work that St. Helen's College is doing towards our strategic imperative of Climate Change. Staff from across the school have recently completed a detailed training programme to assist us with how to incorporate Climate Change/Action across the whole curriculum. The award recognises the enthusiasm, passion and commitment of the whole staff in learning about the climate crisis and including it in teaching across the school.   Co-Curricular Bookings Open The co-curricular programme for the summer term will be visible on your SchoolsBuddy account from today at 4 p.m. Please select your child's preferences by Monday 21st March at 11.59 p.m. It will not be possible to accept preferences after this deadline has passed. FREE Mother/Baby Mindfulness Classes Our next set of Mother/Baby Mindfulness classes will begin on Wednesday 27th April. These take place at 9.00 a.m. on Wednesday mornings in the Evans Hall and are suitable for mothers and babies aged from birth to crawling. The classes are run by Mrs. McLaughlin, who is a qualified PAUSE Baby Mindfulness practitioner and they include a mix of mindfulness and gentle yoga to give mothers and babies breathing space and an opportunity to bond and enjoy meaningful time together. Each class is followed by optional tea/coffee/chat and at the end of each six week session, there is an opportunity for dads to join for a session too.  The classes are open to anyone in the community - the family does not need to have children at St. Helen's College. If you, or anyone you know, would like to book in for our next set of classes, or would like some more information, please email Mrs. Smith at susmith@sthelenscollege.com.  The Head's Blog this week is a guest blog from a mother who has attended these classes so you might like to read this for an insider view too. Perseverance Scout Group The Perseverance Scout Group, based at 118 Sweetcroft Lane, Uxbridge, are recruiting new members. They would like to invite friends and families, boys and girls, to join in with a session one evening. Sessions take place on Mondays from 6.30 to 8.00 p.m. and involve lots of fun as well as learning life and adventure skills. The age groups are: Age 6-8: Beavers Age 8-10: Cubs If you have any questions you can contact their Scout Leader, Sarah, on 07595 955 939.  
Posted on: 18/03/2022

Baby Mindfulness

This week we have a guest blog from a St. Helen's College parent. "A class for babies where mums get to practise mindfulness and yoga, baby yoga, they meet other mums and then get biscuits baked by the school chef at the end of class? Don’t tell me the biscuits are vegan!”   “Actually, they are!” This is a snippet of a conversation that I had with a mum in the community about the baby mindfulness classes that Mrs. McLaughlin began at St. Helen's College in September 2021. I had my baby, Kaira, at the end of April 2021. We were emerging into a post-lockdown society where Children’s Centres still remained closed. The baby yoga class that I knew and loved had decided not to reopen after coronavirus and there were long waiting lists for music and sensory classes. My son, Karter, was in Mrs. Hussein’s Year 2 class when Kaira was born, and she told me about the plan for the new baby mindfulness classes from September.  I went along not knowing what to expect, but I am so glad that I did. In class, we were always warmly greeted by Mrs. McLaughlin and then asked to pick two cards that we were drawn to and talk about them to the group. Some of the mums had children or nieces and nephews in the school, but others were from the community and not connected with the school. It was a nice mix. We were given essential oil to help with our mindful focus, and then moved to practise a sequence that helped not only to stretch our tired muscles, but also to boost our confidence as new or new-again mummies. The babies seemed to love the baby yoga section of class. There were always giggles and gurgles all around the room as we practised. I learnt a move that calms a distressed baby which I have regularly used since! The divine drop. It’s magic! We were reminded of nursery rhymes that we had forgotten the words to and towards the end of each class, were given an opportunity to listen to a song that Mrs. McLaughlin had chosen to help with our mindful focus on our little babies. We were asked to notice things about them - how their little feet had changed, or their hair, the journey that we had been on with them so far - and to take a glimpse into our futures with them. It was so lovely to stop each week, pause, and take in the precious moments. The class always ended with discussions about anything that was on our minds, and the conversations were guided sensitively by Mrs. McLaughlin. We discussed weaning, nurseries and going back to work, amongst many, many other things.  And then of course the sweet (vegan) treats baked by Soula. Always so delicious! I have now ‘graduated’ from class as Kaira is now a crawler and so doesn’t sit still for more than 5 seconds.  But I am in touch with the other mums and the growing baby mindfulness alumni. I have made some lovely new mummy friends who I keep in touch with and see regularly outside of the class. It has been truly wonderful to have this network to share the things that only mummies of new babies are going through and thinking about. We all agree that the baby mindfulness class is a great class because it is the only one that focusses on both baby and mum.  Thanks to Mrs. McLaughlin and St. Helen's College, I will look back at my early months with Kaira with wonderfully positive memories. And I won’t be the only mummy that feels grateful for the support and mindful time with baby. It is so lovely that St. Helen's College offers this class to new mums both in the community and those already connected to the school.  If you see a group of mums with buggies near the school on a Wednesday morning, you will know where they have been. I hope you will feel happy knowing that they have spent precious mindful time with their small babies, especially as you know so well how quickly the newborn baby time passes by. Pervinder P Mum to Karter (Y3) and Kaira-Lily, 10 month old future St. Helen's College student
Posted on: 11/03/2022

Weekly News - Friday 11th March 2022

Year 3 Production On Thursday evening, our Year 3 classes presented their spring production to an enthusiastic audience at The Compass Theatre in Ickenham. Their show was 'Robin Hood and the Sherwood Hoodies' and it was jam-packed with humour as well as some stunning solo and ensemble singing and acting! Every child spoke their lines beautifully, sang with gusto and acted at a very accomplished level. It was such a wonderful opportunity for the children to perform in a theatre and they really rose to the challenge.  Earlier in the day, they had performed their dress rehearsal to an audience of Year 1 and 2 children and staff. The Year 3 children should be very, very proud of themselves - all of the hard work and rehearsal time really did pay off. This was a first class production! General Knowledge Quiz Team On Tuesday, our Quiz Teams took part in the Prep School General Knowledge Quiz Team Challenge. There were, as always, some very challenging questions and this was a super experience for the children who took part. There were 81 teams competing in total. Team 1 came joint 49th. Team members were: Ashvika A (3B) Raiden B (4T) Minaya W (5A) Ryan D (6H) Team 2 came 11th. Team members were: Rohaym U (3MB) Jeena H (4L) Jacob N (5G) Aryan B (6H) Team 2 have qualified for the next round of the competition and we wish them well as they continue their preparations for that. Please do keep encouraging your children's general knowledge by supporting them to read non-fiction as well as fiction books, and to access some of the excellent resources for children's news, such as BBC Newsround and First News. Speech Competition Semi-Finals Many classes from Years 1 to 6 have now completed the semi finals of the Speech Competition, with a few classes to complete their semi finals next week. Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Smith have been hugely impressed with the standard of performances so far and would like to congratulate all of the children who have been taking part in the competition. The finals of the Year 1-3 and Year 4-6 competitions will take place on Thursday 24th March and parents of finalists will be invited to attend on that day. We are also very much looking forward to the Nursery and Reception speech recitals. The Reception recitals will take place on Monday 21st March and the Nursery recitals on Tuesday 22nd March. Parents will also be invited to attend these events - information will be sent out via class teachers nearer the time. Robins Class Assembly On Thursday, the children of Robins Nursery class delighted their audience with their spring assembly reminding us all of the beauty of our four seasons. There was wonderful singing and the children wore vibrant costumes. Every child remembered their words and their confidence was a joy to behold. Well done, Robins.       5G Class Assembly On Friday, 5G used their class assembly to tell us all about inspirational people. They shared some beautiful artwork they had done of the people who inspire them and told us why these people are their role models. They also told us stories of people who have made a difference in the world, shared some inspirational quotes and read us some 'soon-to-be-famous' quotes of their own! We enjoyed their confident singing performances too. Well done, 5G! You have given us a lot to think about. Music News School Orchestra If your child (Year 4, 5, or 6) is learning an orchestral instrument outside of school and is interested in joining the school orchestra please email Mrs. Fawbert at cfawbert@sthelenscollege.com.  Woodwind Lessons We are delighted that Mrs. Garnes will be returning to school from her maternity leave after the Easter break, and will be offering lessons on clarinet and saxophone to children in Years 4, 5, and 6. If your child is interested in learning these instruments, please complete the following Google Form to register. Lessons will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and additional students will be added to the waiting list.   Commitment Please can we remind parents that when children join one of our choirs or musical groups, they are committing to represent the school and we expect them to follow through on this commitment for the full academic year(s). Singing and music are good for the soul! Sports News On Thursday our girls' netball team took part in the Reddiford netball tournament and the girls did themselves proud. They played 5 games, winning 4 convincingly and finishing as runners up in the tournament. Well done to all of the players! Plastic Free School St. Helen's College is currently working towards the 'Plastic Free Schools' initiative. Our Eco Team/Eco Warriors have been selected and we have achieved the first objective. https://plasticfreeschools.org.uk/school/st-helens-college/?obj=1 Our next objective is the 'stop litter initiative' which is now in full swing. International Women's Day On Monday in assembly at Upper School, we considered International Women's Day, which always falls on 8th March. We talked about the continuing need to work for equality between men and women, boys and girls in the world. We are proud to be a co-educational school and to offer equality of opportunity for boys and girls here at St. Helen's College, and we hope that you will underline this important message with your children at home. Red Nose Day We would like to remind you that next Friday is Comic Relief/Red Nose Day. We have a slightly altered lunch menu for the day, which you can view here. The children should come to school on this day dressed in red and/or comic relief t-shirts. They are also welcome to wear a red nose on this day if they have purchased one from one of the many retailers. We will be doing several different events on the day including: Upper School - a raffle, sporting quiz and a sporting event. Lower School - a raffle, danceathon and an obstacle course to different landmarks. Ducklings - a raffle, danceathon and stick the 'red nose' on the face. To participate in these events and the tog day we would like to suggest a donation of £5 which your child can either bring with them on the day or you can donate via our JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/st-helen-s-college3 In addition we will be selling Comic Relief wristbands for £1 from Monday 14th March on all three sites. Please note the wristbands will be sold on a first come first serve basis until we have sold out. We are sure that you are aware of Tom Daley's 'Hell of Homecoming' Comic Relief challenge that he did recently. With this in mind we would like to set the children a fun sporting challenge which they could get sponsorship for. We would like the children to run, walk, scoot or cycle to a variety of different landmarks and be sponsored to reach them. Please take photos of the different landmarks you visit and upload them for us here before Friday 18th March. Simply click on your child's year group to upload their photographs. You can download a sponsorship form here for the children to print at home and use for this challenge. News from the PA PA Pub Quiz Thank you to all of the parents, staff and friends who attended the PA Quiz on Tuesday night at The White Bear in Ruislip, with nine teams taking part. It was a fun packed event and, after much head scratching and brain wracking, the evening culminated in a tie break situation for first place. After a rather challenging tie break question, Universally Challenged (pictured) emerged as the winning team and each team member was presented with a box of Lindt chocolates. As is traditional, wooden spoons were presented to the team in last place: No Eye Dears. Thank you to everyone who came along to make this a thoroughly enjoyable evening! Second Hand Uniform Sale There will be donation bins for unwanted SHC school uniform outside the three school entrances every day from Monday 14th March to Friday 25th March and the PA will be opening a uniform stall from 12 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. on Friday 1st April and Tuesday 12th April in the school car park on Parkway. Easter Draw The PA will once again be donating Easter eggs which will be given out via a draw into which every child's name will be entered. The draw will take place in the final week of term. IAPS iArt Competition  After the success of iArt 2021, in which Arya A at St. Helen's College was a winner, IAPS are running the competition again in 2022 and hope to receive more submissions than ever. Shortlisted entrants will receive prizes of vouchers for local independent bookshops.   This year, the competition will have a theme and all submissions must in some way relate to this theme. The theme is my role model.   This theme has been chosen because IAPS is interested to see who inspires pupils, who motivates them, who they admire and who they would like to be like when they grow up. The role models can be anyone: someone personal e.g. a family member, friend, teacher, coach, librarian, a member of the local community; someone “in general” e.g. nurses, doctors, train drivers, farmers; someone public e.g. a famous person, such as a sportsperson, environmentalist, singer While IAPS encourages pupils to attempt a portrait of their role model, pupils – and particularly, younger pupils – should feel free to just paint / draw / create something which reminds them of their role model instead. For example, if a pupil’s role model is David Attenborough, they might choose to paint trees and animals, or if their role model is a parent, they might choose to draw a picture of their house.  Each pupil must write a maximum of 100 words in a sentence or two to accompany their piece of work, saying 'My role model is...because...'. Entries will be judged on a) interpretation of the theme; b) creativity around the theme; c) overall design; d) and that ‘certain something’ that just draws you to the artwork! There is no set format for entries and artwork can be submitted in any medium. Submissions can be paintings, drawings, or models, any size, and use any art supplies.     There are five categories for the iArt competition: Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4, Years 5 & 6, Years 7 & 8 and Years 9 & 10.  Each school may enter one piece of art for each category. For example, one piece of artwork representing the Years 5 & 6 category, not one artwork from Year 5 and one from Year 6.   Pupils who would like to enter this competition should submit their pieces of art and accompanying sentences directly to Mrs. Pruce or via their class teacher by 20th April. Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Pruce will judge which entries to put forward from St. Helen's College. Good luck everyone and happy creating! School at Work Open Morning Our next 'School at Work' Open Morning for prospective parents will take place on Thursday 28th April. If you have any friends or family with babies or pre-school chidlren who may be interested in visiting St. Helen's College please do share the date with them. Visits on this day are by appointments, which can be booked by telephoning the school office or by emailing Mrs. Smith at susmith@sthelenscollege.com. Easter Holiday Club Bookings will open at 4 p.m. today for our Easter Holiday Club. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account to book your child(ren)'s place(s). Lost Property There is a significant amount of lost property at Upper School. To assist in getting this back to its rightful owners, we will be putting lost property on a table outside the Parkway entrance at morning drop off times next week so that parents may help children identify unnamed items. Please could we also remind parents to name everything that you send into school. Blaze Netball Club If you have a son or daughter in Years 2 - 5 and they would like to develop their netball skills, you might be interested in Blaze Netball Club which runs at Douay Martyrs School on Saturday mornings. Full details are available here. Several St. Helen's College children already attend the club.
Posted on: 11/03/2022

Weekly News - Friday 11th February 2022

National Taekwondo Champion! We are delighted to share the news that Aarya D won the gold medal at the UK Taekwondo National Championship last weekend in Bristol. He is now the UK champion in the Heavyweight 140cm – 150cm Category. Well done, Aarya! Wrens Class Assembly On Thursday, Wrens Nursery class delighted us all with a super assembly about winter. Adorned in lovely outfits, they enthusiastically sang each song, showing particular enjoyment for their obvious favourite, 'Put your socks on your ears', a catchy little number that stayed in our heads for the rest of the day! They were also able to demonstrate their confidence and knowledge when speaking in front of their parents. In short, it was a wonderful way to start our day. Great work, Wrens! 4L Class Assembly Today, the children of 4L presented their class assembly, which focussed on the importance of love as the cornerstone of some of the most valuable things in life: caring for others and feeling like you belong. They demonstrated the power of true love using the parable of the prodigal son and a song by The Beatles (can you guess which one?!). Well done, 4L, on a very meaningful and enjoyable assembly. Upcoming Author Visit - Konnie Huq On Thursday 24th February, we are delighted to be welcoming ex Blue Peter presenter and children’s author Konnie Huq to the school.  She will be talking to pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5 about her popular book series ‘Cookie’, including a 15 minute Question and Answer session. To pre-order copies of Konnie’s books, ready to be signed and dedicated at school on the day, please click the link below and place your order through Chiltern Bookshops by 5 p.m. on Wednesday 23rd February at the latest:                                                    £6.99 EACH  https://chilternbookshops.co.uk/product-category/konnie-huq-schools-event/ HOW TO ORDER Click the link above Click the book or bundle required Select the name of your child’s school from the drop-down menu Add to Basket View Basket Click collect free from the Chorleywood Bookshop OR Gerrards Cross Bookshop (this will ensure FREE delivery to the school) Proceed to Checkout PLEASE SPECIFY YOUR CHILD’S NAME AND CLASS/FORM IN THE BOX MARKED ‘DETAILS REQUIRED FOR SCHOOL EVENTS’ TO ENSURE THE BOOK CAN BE SIGNED AND DEDICATED BY KONNIE HUQ ON THE DAY  All orders will be delivered free to the school in time for Konnie's visit on February 24th. We are sure that the children will enjoy hearing from Konnie and hope that many of you will choose to buy them some of her books to read. U11 Girls' Football Tournament On Thursday, St. Helen's College entered the Premier League Primary Stars U11 Girls Football Tournament. A mixture of girls from Years 5 and 6 attended and were fantastic throughout the day. Their enthusiasm, teamwork and effort shone brightly and they produced some excellent football. Unfortunately, they lost their first three matches by small margins but they definitely saved their best game for last, winning 5-0. Well done, girls! Thames Valley Cavaliers The Thames Valley Cavaliers offer Saturday morning basketball sessions for children aged 7 - 12 and the first session is free as a taster session. Details can be found here. The club are also running a half term camp next week for children aged 7 - 12. Details can be found here. On Saturday, the Cavaliers are taking on the Essex Rebels in a game that begins at 3 p.m. Once again, they are offering free tickets and free pizza to children from St. Helen's College (Years 3- 6). You can find details of the game here and pizza vouchers here. We hope that many of you will go along to support the team. PA Quiz Night - 7 p.m. Tuesday 8th March Do you fancy a fun packed evening where you can test your grey matter? The St. Helen's College Parents' Association has arranged a quiz night on Tuesday 8th March at The White Bear in Ruislip. Doors will open at 7 p.m. with the quizzing starting at 7.45 p.m. Teams should comprise 4-6 adults and places are limited so get your booking and payment made as soon as you can to avoid disappointment (one team member will need to make a single booking and one payment for their whole team). There will be a prize for each person in the winning team (who will also win the associated bragging rights). Raffle tickets will also be available to buy on the night so, if you don't win the quiz, you might still be able to win a prize. Parents, school staff, friends and relatives are all welcome to put a team together (as long as they're over 18). Watch out for the link to the booking form which will be circulated via your class rep and don't miss out! Royal Academy Young Artists' Show There is still time for budding young artists to enter artwork for the Royal Academy's Young Artists' Show. For a chance to feature in the on-site and online exhibition, pupils aged 4-19 should submit an artwork of any kind by 30 March 2022. Artwork should be submitted directly to the Royal Academy via the link above.  Staff Raise Money For World Cancer Day The St. Helen's College staff have supported World Cancer Day for many years and this year was no exception. We have collectively raised £320 in donations which were made in return for staff room treats on the day. 
Posted on: 4/03/2022

Weekly News - Friday 4th March 2022

World Book Day Fun! We had so much fun at all three sites yesterday celebrating World Book Day. At Ducklings the children came dressed in a variety of outfits from Peter Rabbit to The Hungry Caterpillar, while the staff dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland. The children created their own bookmark to take home and enjoyed group discussions about their characters and lots of story telling throughout the day.  At Lower School, Year 1's theme of Roald Dahl was thoroughly embraced and even included Miss Trunchbull and the Chokey! The Reception and Nursery theme was Julia Donaldson and everyone looked amazing in their costumes. Kingfishers delighted us with a superb assembly reminding us all of the wonder of books - you can read more about this below. At Upper School, we had a Roald Dahl theme and the children and staff all dressed as Roald Dahl characters. The pupils took part in exciting Roald Dahl themed workshops including potion making, designing a new sweet treat in The Inventing Room, guessing Who Is Coming To Dinner, re-writing Revolting Rhymes, making honeycomb and re-enacting scenes from Roald Dahl's books. You can read some of the Year 5 children's imaginative alternative endings to Roald Dahl's version of The Three Little Pigs here and you can see lots of photographs of children across the school enjoying World Book Day on our Galleries page. Reading is, of course, one of the most important building blocks of an excellent education. Thank you all for supporting our World Book Day celebrations and please do keep encouraging your children to read - and keep reading yourselves! Mathematics Success For the first time at the school, a number of children took part in the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (UKMT) Intermediate Mathematical Challenge. This challenge is open to children up to Year 11 (GCSE). Our expectation was that the children would simply enjoy participating. However, two of the children achieved a gold certificate, one a silver and four bronze. Those who achieved gold or silver have been invited to participate in the next round on 17th March.  Well done to everyone who participated and particularly to: Zachariah F Gold Zakariya M Gold Shruthi T Silver Luka K Bronze Eshan N Bronze David W Bronze Aryan B Bronze 5A Class Assembly Today the children of 5A presented their class assembly in which they told us the story of Pandora's Box. Their performance was confident, extremely well delivered and very poignant. In a time of difficulty, the message that there is hope in the world was a welcome one and the children's understanding of this concept was heartwarming. The class sang beautifully and shared some of their work from their Positive Psychology sessions with us too. Congratulations, 5A, you have sent us into the weekend with pride in our hearts and an important message to consider. Owls Class Assembly Our Owls class performed a super assembly on the theme of 'Hot and Cold' this week. The children sang, danced and recited rhymes with enthusiasm and confidence.  They also managed to inspire us all to remember the 3Rs - reuse, reduce, recycle. Well done Owls, you did a great job!     Kingfishers Class Assembly The children of Kingfishers presented their assembly themed around World Book Day on Thursday. They explained the importance - and joy - of reading together, and exhorted us all to turn off our television sets and install bookcases instead! They sang some uplifting songs and recited a lovely poem as a class, which you can read below. Very well done, Kingfishers, on a confident and very enjoyable performance. Open a book and you will find People and places of every kind Open a book and you can be Anything you want to be Open a book and you can share Wondrous words you find in there Open a book and I will too You read to me and I’ll read to you! British Science Week Tomorrow marks the beginning of a ten day celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  Parents may wish to look at the British Science Week website or even take a visit to the Science Museum or the local Heath Robinson Museum based in Pinner. Sports News Last Saturday, our A and B teams played at the Ryefield netball tournament.  The girls all played very well. Unfortunately the B team did not progress past the group stages. However, the A team got to the finals where they were beaten by Hermitage who won 4-3.  Natalia C was our A team captain and she collected the trophy for St. Helen's College winning the league.      The U11 girls' football team took part in the Borough Girls' Football Tournament on Wednesday in the pouring rain. The girls really enjoyed competing although unfortunately they did not progress to the next round. Thank you to all of the parents who came and supported the team in such awful conditions. Music News We were delighted to hear from our cello teacher, Mrs. MacLean, that there were some St. Helen's College families amongst the audience at the concert she played last weekend with the Elgar Symphonia of London. This event took place in the beautiful St. Andrew's Church in Holborn, which was designed by Christopher Wren. Grace O'H (Year 4) was even offered the opportunity to conduct the orchestra (which had almost 80 members!) in front of the large audience. National Online Safety Whatsapp Guide National Online Safety have this week shared an excellent guide for parents/carers about Whatsapp. It includes useful advice about how to ensure that your child's Whatsapp use is safe. You can access this here. PA Forum Meeting Thank you to the parents who attended the PA Forum meeting on Wednesday evening with Mrs. Drummond, Mrs. Hunt, Mr. McLaughlin and Mrs. Smith. As always, it was an enjoyable and productive meeting in which parents and staff shared ideas for ways in which to enhance the children's education, personal development and daily life. Minutes have been circulated by email to all parents and staff. Ukraine Appeal Thank you so much to all of the families who have made donations of colouring pencils, books, toys and games for refugee families fleeing from the Ukraine war. We have today shipped four large boxes of items to Mr. Harrington's brother who is currently assisting at a hotel in Poland to support refugee families, so these will go straight to the point of need and will really make a difference to children whose lives have been turned upside down.  Thames Cavaliers - Free Tickets & Pizza for Last Home Games Once again, Thames Cavaliers Basketball Club are offering FREE tickets and pizza to St. Helen's College children in Years 3-6 for this weekend's matches on Saturday and Sunday. These will be their last regular season home matches and it is also 'selfie weekend' so pupils will have the chance to take photos with their favourite players after the match as well! Further details about both the Saturday and Sunday games are here and free tickets/pizza vouchers are here. Free Sound Therapy Sessions for Parents Karen Miles, who facilitates NCT classes at St. Helen's College, is training to become a Sound Therapist through the British Academy of Sound Therapy and will be offering free sound therapy classes in The Evans Hall at St. Helen's College as part of her training. She will be using Himalayan singing bowls, crystal bowls and therapeutic percussion. There are many benefits to Sound Therapy: it can provide deep relaxation and relief from stress and anxiety, and relieve muscle tension and pain. You can find full details here. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis so please contact Karen promptly if you are interested in taking part in these free sessions while she is training. Bikeability (Year 6) If you have a child in Year 6 and they would like to take part in the Bikeability training sessions, please remember that Monday (7th March) is the deadline for signing up for these. An email was sent directly to Year 6 parents earlier this week - please check this for instructions of how to sign up. Perform Drama School Easter Holiday Camp Perform Drama School, who often run excellent workshops at school for St. Helen's College children, will be running an Easter holiday camp in Eastcote themed around The Secret Garden. If you are interested in signing your son or daughter up for this, you can find full details here.
Posted on: 25/02/2022

Weekly News - Friday 25th February 2022

1R Assembly Class 1R presented their class assembly on Thursday morning to staff and parents at the Lower School. They focussed on the St. Helen's College values, particularly friendship, patience, perseverance and kindness. They spoke with clarity and projection, sang with great gusto and even treated us to some wonderful dance moves! Their message was clear: if we are kind to one another, if we are good friends, if we work hard and keep going when things are difficult, then we will find joy in being our best selves. Well done, 1R, this was a thoroughly enjoyable performance. Friday Music Recital We enjoyed another super Friday Music Recital today in the Evans Hall at Upper School, with several children playing instruments in a friendly and informal setting. Thank you to all of the families who attended to support the children, and well done to all of our performers! Konnie Huq Author Visit On Thursday afternoon, children in Years 3 to 5 were treated to a visit from ex-Blue Peter presenter, and popular children's author, Konnie Huq.  Konnie gave an excellent interactive presentation, bringing to life her funny and informative book series 'Cookie'. The books have been inspired by her childhood, her family and her Bangladeshi heritage. The activities included: illustrating characters, a secret code, a live science experiment, learning about the environment and looking at some big words (troglodyte, defenestration and tautology to name a few!). We finished with a Q&A session, with the children asking a range of excellent questions about Konnie's writing process and other avenues of her career in TV and radio, including her time as a presenter on Blue Peter, and a book signing in the Upper School library. It was fantastic to have an author visit in person after more than two years of online visits, and the children were certainly left inspired to read more and maybe even write their own stories. It is not too late to order signed copies (while stocks last) of the following books, as Konnie kindly signed a few extra while she was here. Just click on the link below and follow the instructions under 'How to Order'. The deadline for ordering these is 5 p.m. on Sunday, 27th February.                                                    £6.99 EACH  https://chilternbookshops.co.uk/product-category/konnie-huq-schools-event/ HOW TO ORDER: Click the link above Click the book or bundle required Select the name of your child’s school from the drop-down menu Add to basket View basket Click collect free from the Chorleywood Bookshop OR Gerrards Cross Bookshop (this will ensure FREE delivery to the school) Proceed to Checkout PLEASE SPECIFY YOUR CHILD’S NAME AND CLASS/FORM IN THE BOX MARKED ‘DETAILS REQUIRED FOR SCHOOL EVENTS’  Orders will be delivered free to St. Helen's College next week and given out to the children. Year 2 Trip to Heath Robinson Museum Also on Thursday, our Year 2 classes went on an outing to the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner, where they took part in  an art activity called  ‘wet felting’. Year 2 have been studying the topic  materials in science. They looked at the colour wheel   and used coloured wool to make felt. They produced some beautiful and imaginative pieces of work.     Thames Cavaliers v Reading Rockets - Free Entry and Pizza for St. Helen's College children On Sunday at 3 p.m., the Thames Cavaliers will be taking on the Reading Rockets and, once again, they are offering free tickets and a slice of pizza to children in Years 3-6 at St. Helen's College. Details are here and free entry/pizza vouchers can be downloaded here. World Book Day Reminder Next Thursday, 3rd March, is World Book Day. Throughout the school, children should come to school dressed as a favourite book character and they will be taking part in a range of fun activities centred around reading. This year's themes are: Ducklings - free choice of book character or author. Nursery and Reception - A Julia Donaldson character. Years 1 to 6 - A Roald Dahl character. PA Forum Meeting - Wednesday 2nd March The next PA Forum meeting will take place on Wednesday 2nd March. If any parents would like to put forward points for discussion, please send these to your PA class rep over the weekend. Class representatives should collate points and send them to Mrs. Smith by Tuesday 1st March at the latest please. Catering Next Week We will be celebrating Pancake Day at school on Tuesday 1st March and there will be a slight change to the menu so that the children can have pancakes for dessert that day. The new menu is here. We also have a special Roald-Dahl themed menu for World Book Day on Thursday 3rd March. The World Book Day menu is here. Comic Relief St. Helen's College will be supporting the charity Comic Relief on Friday 18th March. The children should come to school on that day dressed in red and/or comic relief t-shirts. They are also welcome to wear a red nose on this day if they have purchased one from one of the many retailers. We will be doing several different events on the day including: Upper School - a raffle, sporting quiz and a sporting event. Lower School - a raffle, danceathon and an obstacle course to different landmarks. Ducklings - a raffle, danceathon and stick the 'red nose' on the face. To participate in these events and the tog day we would like to suggest a donation of £5 which your child can either bring with them on the day or you can donate via our JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/st-helen-s-college3 In addition we will be selling Comic Relief wristbands for £1 from Monday 14th March on all three sites. Please note the wristbands will be sold on a first come first serve basis until we have sold out. We are sure that you are aware of Tom Daley's 'Hell of Homecoming' Comic Relief challenge that he did recently. With this in mind we would like to set the children a fun sporting challenge which they could get sponsorship for. We would like the children to run, walk, scoot or cycle to a variety of different landmarks and be sponsored to reach them. Please take photos of the different landmarks you visit and upload them for us here before Friday 18th March. Simply click on your child's year group to upload their photographs. You can download a sponsorship form here for the children to print at home and use for this challenge. Ukraine Some of the children may be asking you questions at home about the situation in Ukraine, as many of them may have been hearing snippets of the news. If you are looking for a child-friendly video to share with your children then please do take a look at the BBC Newsround video below which gives a factual account including some history which you may find useful. It is key that the children are able to share any worries that they may have with adults and that we listen to and support them as appropriate. https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/news/watch_newsround The British Red Cross, a humanitarian charity, have launched an emergency appeal to support those affected by the action in the Ukraine. If you would like to make a donation to support the Red Cross in providing food, medicines, shelter and water for refugees and casualties of the war, you can do so via the Red Cross website link here. Our thoughts go out to all families who may know of people who are being affected by what is going on in the Ukraine. 
Posted on: 25/02/2022

Ukraine - Perspective

I am sure that all of us have been affected by the outbreak of the war against Ukraine in some way. The images which we have seen in the media over the past couple of days are distressing and shocking as we see the lives of the Ukrainian people being turned upside down. Their lives bear no resemblance to how they were just a few days ago. I have been heartened but also moved and inspired to read an Edu colleague’s Twitter feed over the past couple of days. I have met Dr. Emma Kell on many occasions at various educational conferences and events. Emma’s Twitter name is @thosethatcan and she describes herself on Twitter with these words:  ‘My mission is to help people be as brilliant as I know they can be, in teaching and beyond. Coach, wellbeing trainer, governor, writer, teacher’.   Emma is a wife and a mum to two wonderful daughters. Her husband is currently working alongside a team of journalists in Kiev. This is from Emma's Twitter feed yesterday, 24th February (I have her permission to share this with you all). Ukraine, my husband and perspective: a thread. Firstly, thank you to all who have reached out. *** is in Kiev and it's a big worry, but they're safe at the moment (see previous tweet). I'm trying to be philosophical and gracious about it (it's his job, it's important, and 1/ he wants to be there). I'm not always successful! The worry and the domestic load are making me grumpy, not helped because I've been hooked to the news for most of the night. BUT... 2/ it probably won't be more than a few days before they're home, in safe warm houses, worrying about petrol prices with the rest of us. Families in Ukraine are not so fortunate. 3/ Before we are in danger of letting compassion fatigue set in, let's save our emotional energies to think of those who live there, with no escape, who are worried for their lives and their futures and take a moment or three 4/ To count all of the things we have to be so very, very grateful for. Let's take a moment to think of those who are likely to be literally putting their own lives on the line and do what we can to challenge misinformation and enact our values. 5/ Today, the kids are very upset because Daddy won't be home tomorrow, as they'd hoped, and airspace is closed so we don't know when he will, but he and the other brave journalists doing essential work will be home and safe soon. Let's focus our energies on those who 6/ aren't so lucky. I will rant and rail at times, and I've had to be flaky and cancel some meetings today, but there's so much to be optimistic about and grateful for. As @AdrianBethune and I often say, perspective is SO important. 7/7 Emma also posted this poem: Chatting to Emma online this morning she wanted to emphasise to me that her daughter’s school has been UTTERLY brilliant. She had a response from her children’s form tutors within 12 minutes of emailing them and they have been sensitive and proactive in supporting her children. This moved Emma. It is so important that any family dealing with difficulty is supported by their school and I hope and trust that here at St. Helen’s College, we are there for families in times of need.  In today’s news blog we share a BBC Newsround link which might help if you would like to talk to your children about the events in Ukraine. We also share a link to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal which will enable them to assist in providing food, medicines, shelter and water for refugees and casualties of the war. Please follow the link if you would like to make a personal donation.  Writing this today and watching the news feeds has certainly put many things into perspective for me.   I wish you all a peaceful weekend and special thoughts go to those who are dealing with difficult times, particularly those affected by the events in Ukraine.  Mrs. Drummond P.S. Since writing this blog this morning I have heard that the team of journalists and Emma's husband are leaving Kiev, heading south to start their journey back to the UK. They have been there for several weeks but have decided that it is now too unstable for them to remain. Wishing them a safe return.
Posted on: 11/02/2022

Behaviour

This week we have a guest blog from our Deputy Head, Mr. McLaughlin. Back in January 2017, we did a whole-school review of our behaviour policies, rewards and sanctions. It is always healthy for schools to review and tweak their practice to get the very best out of their pupils, so we set out with an open mind to any suggestions or feedback from the school community. The general consensus was that behaviour across the school was excellent, but we also wanted a really clear set of simple guidelines for all of our children to follow and an even stronger set of reward systems in place so that we always give our first attention to positive behaviour.  We were visited by Pivotal Education, a company specialising in school behaviour systems and founded by Paul Dix, author of ‘When the Adults Change, Everything Changes.’  We chose Pivotal as we shared the same philosophy that consistent, calm adult behaviour is a pillar on which we can build a nurturing environment for children to flourish. This was already very well established within our school, so we cherry-picked the best parts of their approach and made some small changes to our procedures:  ‘Ready, Respectful, Safe’ became a memorable and all-encompassing behaviour motto in our school. All examples of disruptive or negative behaviour seemed to fall into one of the three categories. Are you ready to learn? Are you being respectful to others? Is what you are doing safe? At the Upper School, we switched from yellow and red cards to the reflective breaks system. In this system, children attend a reflective break with an adult when their behaviour has not met our expectations to have a restorative conversation and reflective time. It is an opportunity for the child to reconnect with the adult, discuss why the behaviour was unacceptable, think about who it has affected and consider how it can be avoided or improved in future. At Lower School, we continued with Jenny Mosely's sun and cloud behaviour model. This gives the children instant feedback and opens up discussions about the impact of their behaviour on their learning. We initiated value spotters cards to run alongside our already existing reward systems such as house points, stickers and certificates. The value spotter cards and yellow notes from the golden pillar box are there to bring attention to all the fantastic examples of when the children are living out our school values such as friendliness, self-discipline, forgiveness and gratitude to name just a few. We take many opportunities to celebrate the achievements of the children through regular assemblies, being ‘on star’, class or table of the week and discussing special achievements in assemblies. One of the most powerful messages we can give the children is simply by noticing and reinforcing positive behaviour first and foremost in the classroom and around the school. It takes the whole staff, working together, to achieve the consistency necessary for effective systems. We are so lucky to have such a caring and committed team here, dedicated to this positive approach to behaviour management. Thinking back to my school days, the idea of detention seems rather odd now. Sitting in silence for a set amount of time might be viewed as a serious deterrent, an inconvenience, or a welcome break, depending on the individual, but there is essentially no teaching taking place. The same goes for a current trend in some British secondary schools of having isolation rooms for those exhibiting poor behaviour. The idea is that children may fear the consequences, their parents, their teachers (or all of the above) sufficiently that this will mould them into upstanding members of society… eventually! This stance is of course outdated and we understand so much more now about behaviour, motivation and the key role of relationships in supporting happy, positive young people. We have learned so much in the last twenty or thirty years about how childrens’ brains work. We know how the amygdala operates, how much it regulates our emotions and influences our reactions. We know about the effects of cortisol and adrenaline on emotional responses and we know how adverse childhood experiences can damage childrens’ limbic systems. We know how neural pathways are hardwired in the early stages of childhood, and how we have to work hard to overwrite the harm done by particular types of experiences at that age. ‘Don’t smile until Christmas,’ was an old adage in the world of teaching. The idea was that the class does not have to like you, they just need to do what you say! I have never found this saying to be anything other than complete nonsense. A smile can be so powerful, and anyone who has worked in schools or who has children can see that they absolutely thrive off connection. Pupil-centred approaches are not about being popular or ‘soft.’ We can be strict without being cruel; we can insist on high standards without being aggressive; we can set boundaries without being punitive. It demands professionalism and perseverance, but it is very achievable and our school is a testament to that. We need to remember as educators and parents that all behaviour is a form of communication. If a child’s negative behaviour makes you feel frustrated or upset, it is likely just a mirror of how they are feeling. Restorative conversations, coupled with our general pastoral care, help us to try to get to the bottom of any root causes of poor behaviour and find long-term solutions. These may be emotional or developmental but they will require some intervention and attention. As teachers, we would not allow a child who is struggling with a mathematical concept to flounder in silence or force them to sit staring at the textbook by themselves until they suddenly grasp it. We would sit with them, tackle the problem together and use all of our professional knowledge to find the best way forward. It doesn’t always stick, but the message is clear: we are here to help and to listen and we value your success. The same principle applies to behaviour. By having these conversations, we are telling the child that we care and that we are committed to making things better.  Five years on and the children at St. Helen’s College continue to excel. Feedback from the pupils is that their peers are very friendly, the adults in the school are fair and supportive and that behaviour in the school is still excellent. Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate and review our processes on a regular basis to ensure that all children at St. Helen’s College get the environment and opportunities that they deserve.  I have recently welcomed feedback from our staff and pupils on our school behaviour systems and we have a constant dialogue with our parents. Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them with me: amclaughlin@sthelenscollege.com. We must be reflective of what we do to achieve and maintain the highest standards.  Finally, it is important to remember that we are caring for and working with young children who, by and large, have not perfected the ways of behaviour and social etiquette just yet! We all make mistakes from time to time and that is how we learn - be kind to yourself and be kind to them!  Mr. McLaughlin  

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