School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 1/07/2021

Weekly News - Friday 2nd July 2021

The Lion King! Wow, wow, wow! We have had wonderful performances from our Year 6 children this week as they have presented their grand musical, The Lion King, to children, staff and parents on our special stage in the Evans Garden. The quality of singing, acting and choreography was extraordinarily high and the costumes and set were amazing! It is always very emotional watching the children perform at school for the final time before they leave us, and we know that the Year 6 parents found tears in their eyes too. Very, very well done Year 6. You are an amazing set of performers and your confidence will stand you in very good stead for success at senior school and beyond. We have posted lots of photographs of The Lion King on the Galleries page for you to enjoy. Wellbeing Day On Monday, we celebrated Wellbeing Day, with a focus on activities to boost mental health and wellbeing throughout the school.  Here is a booklet for parents with helpful tips and advice on how to support your children's mental health. Here is a recipe booklet for healthy smoothies to make with your children. As the week moved on, the children were given the opportunity to showcase their talents and interests in special assemblies, and it was a real treat to hear them sing, play instruments, show off artwork and more. Very well done to all of the children who shared their talents and interests with us all. Year 2 Trip to Iver Environment Centre On Thursday, our Year 2 children enjoyed a super day trip to Iver Environment Centre, where they enjoyed some fantastic outdoor learning. They went pond dipping, caught bugs and went to the rainforest!          Sports Results We had a very special assembly on Tuesday morning at which our Windsor and Cambria Sports Captains, led by Miss Walker, announced the results of both the Year 3-6 Inter-House Sports Cup and the Year 3-6 Sports Day Trophy. There was much excitement as the results were gradually announced and the children waited to hear who the overall winners were! In the Inter-House competition, for which matches are played in Games sessions throughout the year, Cambria achieved 38 points and Windsor achieved 46 points, so Windsor were the overall winners. Vidhit N, the Sports Captain of Cambria, gave a motivational speech to the children of Cambria, encouraging them to continue striving in the future and thanking them for all of their hard work and sportsmanship. Reece G, the Windsor Sports Captain, congratulated the children of Cambria for being such worthy opponents and reminded us all that we are all winners if we compete with determination and grace, and are proud of ourselves and others. The Sports Day results were very exciting indeed and there was much anticipation in the assembled audience as Miss Walker told us all each year group's results: Year 3: Windsor 94 points, Cambria 160 points Year 4: Windsor 103 points, Cambria 150 points Year 5: Windsor 130 points, Cambria 99 points Year 6: Windsor 131 points, Cambria 88 points These results meant that Cambria were the overall Sports Day winners, with a total of 497 points. Amar C, as Windsor Sports Captain, was graceful in defeat, congratulating Cambria sincerely. She reminded the children of Windsor of how hard they had all tried and how proud they should feel of themselves. Cambria Sports Captain Fredericka T then praised Windsor for being such challenging rivals and for all of their individual performances in the track and field events, while congratulating the children of Cambria for their super achievement. All four Sports Captains gave rousing and heartfelt speeches, thanking staff and pupils alike for making the competitions so meaningful and close, and for all of the organisation that goes into all of the many sports events that take place at St. Helen's College. Well done everyone! General Knowledge Quiz Team Our Year 5 and 6 General Knowledge Quiz Teams took part in the national final of the Prep School General Knowledge Quiz last Thursday. The event took place online and was hotly contested, as schools from all over the country competed to answer tricky questions on all aspects of general knowledge. Our Year 5 team finished 10th overall and got a total of 20 questions right out of a possible 30. Very well done to the team members: Anjika G, Shruthi T, Zachariah F and Aaryan B. The Year 6 team came 9th in their competition and got a total of 22 questions right out of a possible 30. Congratulations to the team: Ben L, Zail T, Arjan D and Vandan V. Year 3 Flower Photography Competition Winners Well done to the six Year 3 children who were chosen as winners of the Year 3 photography competition. All of the children in Year 3 were challenged to take a photograph of a flower over the half term break. The photographs were all stunning and it was really hard to pick the winners! Very well done to Verity S, Arjun S, Samara P, Ali B, Sean R and Zakariya Mi.     Next Week - Charity Week Our final week of term will be our charity week, with a focus on supporting Cancer Research UK. Monday is a non-uniform day. Children may wear their own clothes and the theme is the CRUK colours of pink and/or blue. We ask that each child makes a donation in order to wear their own clothes (suggested minimum £2 and more gratefully received!). All children will also be participating in a theme within their classes to raise money for CRUK - details are being sent to you directly from your class teachers. All donations should be made via the St. Helen's College CRUK Relay for Life fundraising page here, please. We ask that parents make one donation to cover the non-uniform day and the class activity. https://relay.cancerresearchuk.org/site/Donation2?idb=1841235663&df_id=1700&1700.donation=form1&FR_ID=1966&mfc_pref=T&PROXY_ID=14612&PROXY_TYPE=22 Many thanks, in advance, for your generous support of this cause. End of Term - Friday 9th July Term will end on Friday 9th July, which is a half day. Children should be collected at the following times, or booked into Funtasia for the afternoon: 11.50 (Ducklings & Nursery) 12.00 (Reception) 12.10 (Years 1, 2) 12.20 (Years 3, 4) 12.30 (Years 5, 6)  The Upper School final assembly will be live streamed for parents of children in Years 2 - 6. This will begin at 10.30 a.m. on Friday 9th and we hope many of you will be able to join us online. Details of how to join the event will be sent to parents next week. Library Investment The library has been enjoying investing in a wealth of wonderful new titles for next year, with fiction refreshed at all reading levels and a fresh injection of non-fiction, from current affairs and biography to nature and sport. We look forward to sharing these with the children in September! In the meantime may we remind children - and parents - that all books should be returned on or before Monday please. Books which are lost on loan or damaged may need to be replaced and a charge may be made. Please address any queries to library@sthelenscollege.com. News From The PA The PA currently have vacancies for class reps for the next academic year in Ducklings, 1R, 5G and 6R. If you would like to become a class rep for one of these classes, please contact the PA at pa@sthelenscollege.com. There will be a pop up second hand uniform stall, run by the PA, in the school car park on Parkway from 12 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. on both Tuesday 17 August and Friday 20 August. Parents will have the opportunity buy bits ready for the return to school at the start of September whilst also having time to get any additional bits from Pullen's after this date if the PA don't have what you are looking for. Please add these dates to your diary and support the PA by popping along to buy some second hand uniform. 2021-2022 Academic Year As ever, we are pressing ahead with plans for a normal return to school in the hope that the world will have returned to normal by then! If there are Covid restrictions in place at the end of August, any changes to normal arrangements will be communicated to all parents before the start of term.  Uniform & Equipment If you have not already done so, please check the Uniform & Equipment list on the School Documents page of the website so that you can ensure that your child has all that they will need for their next year group. Funtasia/Breakfast Club Bookings Bookings for wraparound care for the Autumn term will open on the first day of term, 2nd September, very early in the morning. Breakfast Club and After School Club will be available as usual and, as ever, we ask that you book as far in advance as you can, wherever possible, as this is so helpful for us when planning staffing, catering and other logistics. Co-Curricular Arrangements and Bookings We are currently finalising the co-curricular programme for the Autumn term. Bookings will open soon after the start of the term and we will send a reminder at that time to ask you to make your choices. Clubs are being planned to start from the week beginning Monday 14th September. Autumn Term Menu The menu for the autumn term will be published to the school website over the summer holidays once it is finalised. Please do take a look at it with your child ahead of the new academic year to help them to make sensible choices. Snacks - A Reminder When sending in snacks for break times, please follow the school rules and send fruit, vegetables or plain biscuits in a named snack box. In exceptional circumstances, if your child is getting very hungry or needs a second snack for after school before a club, you may send a plain sandwich (cheese, ham or similar). No high fat, high sugar or high salt foods are permitted and please do not send anything messy! Walking Zone Maps As we continue to promote sustainable travel and road safety, we have now taken delivery of the display boards containing our school walking zone maps. These will be put up at school over the summer holidays and we hope that you will all continue to walk/scoot/cycle with your children for all or part of your journeys to school, as much as you are able.       Covid-19 Please see below the guidance from the NHS regarding Covid-19 symptoms and actions to be taken. As there are signs of an increase in positive cases in our local areas, it is very important that we follow this guidance strictly as a community.  The main symptoms of COVID-19 are: a high temperature a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal What to do if your child has symptoms If your child has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild: Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if they have COVID-19 as soon as possible. You, your child and anyone else you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get the test result – only leave your home to have the test. Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if your child has been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.  
Posted on: 25/06/2021

Staying Connected

At St. Helen’s College we strive to stay connected with our alumni and encourage ex-pupils to become part of our alumni database so that we can keep them connected with the school, invite them to events and celebrate their achievements.  It is also a great testament to the school that we currently have four ex-pupils on our staff: Mrs. McGee, the Ducklings Manager, Mrs. Rumney in the Upper School Office, Miss Cooper, one of our Year 1 teachers and Miss Stidder, one of our lunchtime supervisors. I love to hear them recount memories of their days as a pupil and share their photos from their past school days!  A few weeks ago I took time out to visit a local resident who lives on Sweetcroft Lane. She is 90 years old this summer and is one of our alumni - I was saddened that she has been so lonely throughout lockdown with no family around but reminded her that she is part of a very special big family - our St. Helen’s College community.  Mr. Smith and Mr. Rizzo have since visited her to assist with some minor chores and her connection with the school remains strong.  We have also benefited from our alumni giving back to us to inspire the children with their successes and experiences. This week, we welcomed Kai Plummer-Walrond back to school to run a very special day of acting masterclasses with our Year 6 pupils who are in rehearsal for their end of year production ‘The Lion King’. Kai is currently studying at Arts Ed Drama School in Chiswick and spent almost two years playing the part of Young Simba in the West End whilst he was a pupil at St. Helen’s College. Kai inspired the Year 6 pupils throughout the day, leading them in warm up exercises which were used by cast members in The Lion King and refining many scenes with our cast members under the watchful eye of Mr. McLaughlin.  I observed a 15 minute scene and was amazed at how Kai brought out more energy and dynamics in young Nala and Simba!  The Year 6 pupils had an opportunity to have a Q & A session with Kai and were tickled when they found out that yes, he had been paid to be in The Lion King and that, in a recent McDonald’s advert he had appeared in, part of his payment was a year's free supply of chicken nuggets!! We are in for a treat next week when we finally get to see our Year 6 performance and Kai will be attending one of the evenings to encourage his fellow students. Earlier this year yet another alumni, Miles Barrow, judged our remote Speech Competition. Miles is another successful actor who left St. Helen’s College to go on to perform in the West End in Aladdin and more recently in last year’s Christmas movie ‘Jingle Jangle’. It was wonderful to be able to have him give feedback to our Speech Competition finalists and encourage all of the children to continue performing in public and develop their poetry. We also have members of our Governing Body who are alumni of the school who give back to us in so many ways - giving not only their professional but also their personal expertise, having known the school for so long. They also happen to be part of the Crehan family, so the family bond remains strong.  We always say to our leaving families, once a Helenian, always a Helenian! So if you know of any alumni, our ‘Old Helenians’, please do encourage them to contact us on oldhelenians@sthelenscollege.com and if you are one of this year’s leavers make sure you also drop us an email to let us know how you are getting on. You will automatically be added to our alumni database and we will keep in touch with you all.  We are already starting to make plans for our grand centenary in 2024 - only a few years away and it would be wonderful to have many generations of Helenians present at some of our centennial events in what I am sure will be a momentous year for us all! Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 25/06/2021

Weekly News - Friday 25th June 2021

Sports Days We have enjoyed truly wonderful Sports Days this week for every year group from Nursery to Year 6. While many of these were forced into a different format from usual due to Covid restrictions, the enjoyment and determination on the children's faces was as evident as ever. There is no doubt that healthy competition builds character and that striving to improve one's own performance is a super skill to embed in our children. Very well done to all of the children who took part and thank you to all of the staff involved, too. You can see some photographs of the Pre-Prep Sports Days on our Galleries page here and photographs from today's Prep Sports Days will be uploaded soon. We thank all parents for respecting the request to stay away so that we were able to run these events so smoothly for the children. We are very much looking forward to the Ducklings Sports Day next Friday too! Musicians' Concert Once again, Covid restrictions unfortunately thwarted our plans for our annual Musicians' Concert which is usually such a wonderful event at All Saints Church. However, our musicians have performed in school and we have put together an online 'concert' for parents to enjoy. You can watch this here. Ark Farm Visit Ducklings! Our Ducklings children had a wonderful time yesterday when they were visited by Ark Farm. They spent time learning about and petting animals including a donkey, pig, goat, sheep, dog and duck. We were so impressed by how attentively they listened and how gently they handled the animals. You can see some photographs of their day on our Galleries page here. Prospective Head Boy/Girl Speeches Very well done to the Year 5 candidates who have put themselves forwards as potential Head Boys and Head Girls for the 2021-2022 academic year. On Monday and Tuesday, they gave speeches to the rest of the school about why they would be a good choice for these positions of responsibility. We were so impressed by how well they articulated their personalities and ideas. Pupil voting has been taking place at school this week; staff input will also be considered and the new Pupil Leadership Team will be announced at our final assembly on the last day of term, which will be live streamed for parents. Online Chamber Choir Auditions 2021-2022 We invite students from Year 2 to Year 5 to audition for Chamber Choir by submitting a video entry. The following YouTube video may be used to learn the audition song "Give Me Oil in my Lamp" which is from 7 minutes and 10 seconds until 8 minutes and 3 seconds on the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr0wAJHYCfU Lyrics are below: Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning Give me oil in my lamp, I pray Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning Keep me burning ‘til the break of day Sing hosanna, sing hosanna. sing hosanna to the king of kings Sing hosanna, sing hosanna. sing hosanna to the king. Children should sing looking directly at the camera at a distance of 1 metre away approximately. There is a piano accompaniment available which you can download here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/12NeTmWIQweMfp1deJT19YeM4Fw_-t49o/view?usp=sharing Please submit your child's video entry using the piano accompaniment and not the YouTube video by no later than Friday 2nd July 2021. We request that the subject of the email is clear, e.g "Chamber Choir Auditions: name of child and form group". Please submit to both of the following: cfawbert@sthelenscollege.com and mgarnes@sthelenscollege.com Members will be selected and announced before the end of term. Best of luck! PA Forum and PA Class Representatives We had an enjoyable and successful PA Forum meeting on Wednesday evening, at which Mrs. Drummond, Mrs. Hunt, Mr. McLaughlin and Mrs. Smith met with the PA class representatives to discuss/feedback on issues raised by parents throughout the school. Minutes have been sent to all parents. The PA will have vacancies for class representatives in the following classes for the 2021-2022 academic year: Ducklings Robins 6R If you would like to put yourself forward as a class rep for any of these classes, please contact pa@sthelenscollege.com. There will be collection bins outside both Upper School and Lower School for the last two weeks of term and the PA will be very grateful for any donations of uniform that you no longer need. They are hoping to run a second hand uniform shop outside of the school over the summer holidays, and more information will follow about this in due course. Summer Holiday Club Holiday Club bookings for the summer holiday open today for children in Nursery to Year 6. The Holiday Club will run at Upper School for all children and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. We urge parents to make bookings as early as you can, so that you secure the dates you would like and so that we are able to plan our staffing and logistics with certainty. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account to make your bookings. Royal Institution Events You might be interested in the events which are being planned by the Royal Institution for July. You can find out more details by following the link below. https://www.rigb.org/whats-on/events-2021/july/family-sounds-and-vibrations St. Helen's College Trust If any parents have not yet signed up with EasyFundraising and would like to do so, now is a good time as there is an extra promotion which means an extra £5 incentive for both you and the school. Don't forget, if you support our cause on EasyFundraising, you will raise money for the St. Helen's College Trust at no cost to yourself every time you use the app to shop online with over 5000 participating retailers. If you would like to sign up, please use the link below. If you need any support with signing up, please contact Mrs. Smith at susmith@sthelenscollege.com. We are very grateful for your support. Sign up to support St. Helen's College Trust on #easyfundraising, and they will give you a £5 shopping voucher once you have raised your first £5 - PLUS we will get a bonus £5 donation, it’s win, win! It's simple to join and you can raise FREE donations whenever you shop online with over 5,200 retailers. Sign up here:  https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/sthelencoltrust/?invite=NX24VZ&referral-campaign=c2s&utm_source=ew5sharebox Please don't forget, also, that you can donate your unwanted textiles (clothes, paired shoes, bags, belts, sheets/pillowcases, curtains etc) to our textile recycling bank which is located outside 227 Long Lane. You can pull your car into the car park area there while you drop your textiles off, whether during term time or holidays. The textiles are donated to poor communities and/or recycled to make industrial cleaning cloths, so nothing ends up as landfill, and the St. Helen's College Trust receives a small donation per kilo of collected clothing. We are happy to receive textile donations from the wider community, so do feel free to share this with any local family and friends too.
Posted on: 18/06/2021

Weekly News - Friday 18th June 2021

4L Class Assembly - Honesty Wow! Well done 4L for presenting a super class assembly today all about one of our school values, Honesty. They performed the story of Moses for us and taught us that Honesty is not always easy - it can take strength of character and courage to tell the truth sometimes, especially if we have done something wrong. They also reminded us of Nelson Mandela's words: that the most important thing is to be honest with oneself. Each child spoke confidently and with understanding and their performance was both educational and enjoyable. Well done, 4L! Upper School Assembly For the first time since lockdown began in March 2020, we were able to gather the entire Upper School together in the playground, socially distanced in bubble groups, for an assembly on Monday morning. We celebrated many of the children's recent achievements and even managed to sing a hymn together. It was really wonderful to gather again!     Year 4 Prep School Quiz General Knowledge - National Finals Well done to our Year 4 quiz team, who took part in the Prep School General Knowledge National Finals yesterday. Competing against other prep school teams from all over the country, and tackling some really challenging questions, they acquitted themselves very well indeed, getting twenty five questions right out of thirty! St. Helen's College ended up in 11th place overall. Very well done to the team: Advik S, Annie L, Arshvir S, Minaya W. TFL STARS Ambassador Congratulations to Miss Walker, who this week was sent a certificate awarding her the status of STARS Champion in recognition of the work that she does to promote sustainable travel and road safety. This award is bestowed by TfL and the Mayor of London and we are very proud that Miss Walker's tireless work in this area has been so deservedly rewarded. Reverend Sarah Smith We are also extremely proud of Mrs. Sarah Smith (Year 3 Teaching Assistant) who has been working incredibly hard over the past years and will be ordained as a Deacon in Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday 3rd July. Alongside her work at St. Helen's College, Mrs. Smith will be serving as Assistant Curate in Iver Parish after her ordination. You can hear about Mrs. Smith's journey here: ​https://soundcloud.com/user-487535189/bbc3c-sarah-smith-new-deacon Year 4 Arts Award Year 4 have been working really hard this term, making percussion instruments out of "junk", learning about musicians who perform using everyday objects and homemade instruments, and performing to complete their Arts Award Explore.  In assembly on Wednesday morning 4L performed Samba Reggae and 4T performed Jazz Junk using their body percussion compositions and their homemade junk percussion instruments. Musicians' Concert The Musicians' Concert will be recorded in school on Wednesday 23rd June, and a video will be made available for parents to watch. Students involved will need to remember their instrument and music on this day, and if a backing track or piano accompaniment is required please send this to Mrs. Fawbert before Monday 21st June.  Class Allocations 2021-2022 Class allocations for next year have been sent to all parents today by email. Summer Holiday Club  Funtasia will be operating on Friday 9th July, the last day of term, and bookings for this session are now open - please book via your SchoolsBuddy account. We will also be running our Nursery - Year 6 Summer Holiday Club, based at Upper School, from Monday 12th July. Bookings will open next week and we will send an email to parents when you are able to book your places. PA Forum Meeting The next PA Forum meeting will take place remotely at 7.00 p.m. on Wednesday 23rd June. Please send any points for discussion to your class rep by the end of Sunday 20th June. Class rep's should forward these to Mrs. Smith by the end of Monday 21st June please. Magazines for Children We would like to remind parents that reading is the foundation for success in primary education and beyond. You might be interested in taking out a subscription to one of these excellent children's magazines/newspapers to encourage your child to read and to enhance their general knowledge and interest in current affairs. First News The Week Junior Eco Kids Planet Climate Change Consultation Today is Clean Air Day and to mark the occasion, Hillingdon Council have announced the results of their recent Climate Change Competition. Many congratulations to Advik S (Y4), whose entry was commended and who will be receiving an Amazon voucher from Hillingdon Council to recognise his work! St. Helen's College continues to actively promote climate action and sustainability, which are closely linked with the active travel and air quality benefits that Hillingdon Borough aim to encourage within schools. Parents might be interested in Hillingdon's Climate Change Consultation, which closes this Sunday, 20th June. This gives you the opportunity to have your say by completing the survey, to help Hillingdon become the greenest London borough, protect and enhance the environment, and provide a brighter prospect for future generations. If you would like to complete the survey, please follow the link below.    Climate change consultation - Hillingdon Council   Big Bee Competition We would like to encourage children aged 6-12 to enter the Big Bee Challenge, which is Radio 2’s brand new competition for children, in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society. It’s a fun and creative way to learn more about bees and other insects that help provide much of the food we eat, and are essential for a healthy environment. Children are asked to design a bright, buzzy garden that will attract bees and other pollinating insects. The winner’s design will be built by the RHS at an NHS Trust site which is used by children and young people with mental health needs, and the lucky winner will be invited to open the garden at an outside broadcast of The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Friday 20 August 2021! They will meet lots of guests, receive a professional illustration of their garden design and go home with a box of goodies to help turn their own outside space into a wonderland for bees. Each shortlisted finalist will also receive an array of bee themed goodies. The closing date for entries is 5th July and full details can be found by following the link below. Good luck everyone! https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2qk4dDdJJdsVFmcLhZ7RwmW/how-to-enter#:~:text=The%20Big%20Bee%20Challenge%20is,essential%20for%20a%20healthy%20environment. St. Helen's College Art Nya P (5A) has been spotted by professional artist Lucy Tiffany on Instagram with her large scale piece which she created in Art Club this week. If you have not yet followed St. Helen's College Art on Instagram please do so - it is such a great showcase of your children's work.      
Posted on: 11/06/2021

Weekly News - Friday 11th June 2021

Singing Competition What a fantastic Singing Competition we enjoyed this afternoon! The children in Years 2 - 6 had obviously prepared and rehearsed their songs with dedication and the standard of performance was, as always, very high indeed. Gemma Cross was our guest judge and she was very impressed by the musicality and confidence of the children. Many congratulations to all those who took part and, in particular, to our winners, who were: Zinnia M - Y2 Winner Samara P - Y3 Winner (and Middle School Winner) Eshanvi A - Y4 Winner Shruthi T - Y5 Winner Maya T - Y6 Winner (and Upper School Winner) Winners' trophies and certificates will be awarded in Monday's assembly. 4T Assembly - Gratitude We were treated to a wonderful class assembly by 4T this morning, whose focus was on Gratitude. They explained what Gratitude is and gave us lots of examples of what we might choose to be thankful for. They performed a lovely story about an old woman who was never satisfied, showing us how contentment comes from the heart and not from external possessions or surroundings. Finally, they sang their Gratitude song with real gusto and accomplishment, and led us in prayer. Well done, 4T, for conveying such an important value so enjoyably. We all now know that by being grateful for our troubles, we can turn them into blessings - which is a wonderful skill to have. The Whale Company Assembly and Eco Work On Monday we virtually welcomed Carolyn Newton, co-founder of The Whale Company, to be a guest speaker at our assembly. The Whale Company is an environmental organisation that connects people to nature by inspiring action and innovation through stand up paddle boarding, upcycling workshops, expeditions and campaigns. Carolyn talked to us about the global problem of plastic waste on our planet and showed us some very impactful photos of the effects that this waste has on the world's oceans and rivers. Carolyn also played a video of a paddle board she and her husband had made reusing plastic drink bottles, which they used to travel down the River Thames, litter picking and educating people on plastic waste enroute. This paddle board really impressed us all and became a talking point for the rest of the day! We learnt several thought provoking facts from this assembly and one that really stood out was that there is more micro plastic in the world's oceans than stars in our galaxy! There was a clear message that we urgently need to rethink how we use plastic and what small things we can do to help. The assembly ties in with our current school eco mission in taking steps to become plastic free. Each day our Eco reps have been collecting plastic litter in the playground and spreading the message that rubbish belongs in the bin and not on the floor!  We hope this assembly, along with our eco mission, will encourage everyone to take actions, however big or small, to remove plastic pollution and help our environment. For more information about The Whale Company and what they do, please visit the following link.thewhalecompany.org End of Term Events The school is busy planning and adapting our programme for several end of term events, including Sports Days for all year groups, the Year 6 play, Prizegiving and transfer meetings for parents. With the Covid restrictions due to be reviewed next week, we are not yet able to confirm whether we will be able to welcome parents to these events in any 'normal' way. We are sorry for the uncertainty but we know you will appreciate that we have to follow the government guidance rigorously at every step. You can see all of the proposed events listed on the school calendar. For now, we encourage you to save the dates if you would like to attend these events and meetings - but with the caveat that we will send out further information when we can, and that all plans are subject to change. There is further information about this year's Sports Days via the links below. This has also been sent out by email to parents today. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Sports Day Year 3 - 6 Sports Day School Uniform It was wonderful to see all the children back in full summer uniform for our class photographs. Please can you continue to send Upper School children to school in full summer uniform, which includes blazers, and the panama summer hats should now also be worn. It was noted that many pupils had to borrow blazers for the photographs thus please do ensure that your child has one.  The PA are hoping to set up second hand uniform sales at the Sports Day events. Further details to follow pending government guidance. Primary Mathematics Challenge We are delighted that six of our Year 6 pupils have been recognised in this National Challenge, achieving Silver and Bronze awards. Congratulations to Ben L and Reece G for achieving Silver and Riya C, Aaron S, Arjan D and Pavitar D for achieving Bronze. The National Quiz Club Finals are approaching with the Year 4 final next Thursday 17th June and the Year 5 and Year 6 finals on the 24th June. We wish all our teams well. CRUK - Cancer Research UK For many years now the school has been part of the Relay for Life Harrow event to raise much needed funds for Cancer Research. Unfortunately the event will not go ahead this year but as a school we will continue to support this most worthwhile charity which helps so many of us as the statistics show that one in every two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. In our final week of term the children in each class will participate in a range of fun activities and we will be asking you to make donations to our 'Just Giving' page.  Further details will be shared nearer the time but he week will commence on Monday 5th July with a non-uniform day for all the children.   
Posted on: 11/06/2021

Gratitude

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting many of our new Nursery parents as they visited Lower School to have their individual meetings with either Miss Carmichael or Mrs. Mann.   Throughout the evening I had wonderful conversations discussing the events of the past 16 months and listened to how different families have experienced the journey of the pandemic so far. What really struck me was the joy that so many parents expressed in being able to spend time with their children - despite mums and dads working from home and juggling work commitments, there really has been genuine joy in what these turbulent times have brought about. We often get lost in the sadness and fear that has been reported, but for so many families there has been new found family time and experiences which will never be able to be replicated under ‘normal’ working patterns for parents.  There was so much gratitude expressed from our Ducklings parents for the love and care that their children have had since joining us in September 2020. Parents are genuinely in awe of the all round development of their children, and in particular their oracy skills and levels of independence and confidence. I listened with great pride and shared all the parents' excitement as we prepare to welcome so many new families to our school. We have our new Ducklings intake, new Nursery children and many other families joining us throughout the school in September. However, before the new academic school year I know that so many of you will be taking time this summer to reap the benefits of living on this incredible island!  Our British coastline will be the busiest it has ever been as overseas travel is so restricted. Many of us will be taking to the coast and I for one need my frequent intake of coastal sea air!  The West Coast of Scotland, Oban and the Isle of Mull are my go to places and I am looking forward to catching up with family and friends. The beauty of the area and coastal scenery brings me great peace and pleasure. Over half term I managed yet another visit to the Kent coastline, as my daughter is currently in university in Canterbury. This time I found a beautiful Airbnb apartment near to Deal. Since she moved there, we have discovered an area of the UK which we absolutely love with the most stunning beaches: Whitstable, Broadstairs, Deal, Herne Bay, Ramsgate, Margate...each area has their own identity and the area is becoming very popular with ‘those from London’. Who knew that Margate was home to the Turner Contemporary art gallery! The attraction of the seaside here in the UK, regardless of what part of the UK, is special. The traditional piers, rugged coastline, undeveloped beaches, natural defences, the sea life, flowers and fauna really are unique to the UK - let alone the fish and chips and Mr Whippy!!! The UK coast brings me great spiritual support too and I find being by the coast refreshing, reinvigorating and relaxing. Our seas are mysterious and powerful and we must all respect this and be grateful for our proximity here in the UK to such incredible coasts. Wherever you are planning to visit this summer within the UK - I hope that some time near the sea is on your agenda.   Deal beach last Saturday! Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 28/05/2021

Weekly News - Friday 28th May 2021

We hope that you all have a relaxing and enjoyable half term break - the children and staff have had a busy half term and it is always good to recharge batteries ahead of the very busy second half of the summer term! To those who will be attending Holiday Club here at school, we hope that your children have a great time. Year 4 and Year 5 Residential Days Our Year 4 children had a wonderful day on Tuesday, when they visited Iver Environmental Centre for a day of outdoor learning and exploration. During the day, they took part in several activities including pond dipping, mini-beast hunting, fire-lighting, den building and toasting marshmallows. They collaborated brilliantly to build animal homes and practised their advertising and persuasive skills as estate agents! It was a wonderful day all round and we were lucky enough not to be rained on!  On Thursday, the Year 5 classes went off-site to Paccar Scout Camp where they had an incredibly busy day participating in a range of activities, including zip wire, gladiator challenge, karting and archery. All of the children showed great camaraderie in supporting and encouraging each other and their perseverance was commendable - a real tribute to the St. Helen's College values being demonstrated by every student. Well done, Year 5!  You can see photographs of the residential days on our Galleries page. Staff News Mr. Leo Harrington will be joining us in September as our new Director of Co-Curriulum/Head of PE & Games and will continue the excellent work that Miss Walker has been doing in these areas of the school for the past 26 years. He will also be taking on the role of Head of Assessment, working in liaison with Mr. Lewis, our Director of Studies. He will be visiting the school in the next half term and will have the opportunity to meet the children. Mr. Harrington brings with him a wealth of prep school experience and has most recently been teaching at Haberdasher's Aske's School for Boys. I am sure you will all join us in welcoming him to the school. We are delighted to share the happy news that Mrs. Garnes is expecting a baby and will be beginning her maternity leave at the end of the summer term. We will let you know the name of her temporary replacement in due course but please rest assured that all of her individual lessons will continue. Mrs. Pruce has just been appointed as the IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) Art Subject Advisor. This is a prestigious role to hold and she will be working with the IAPS Education Committee, providing support and expertise to the art departments of preparatory schools throughout the UK and overseas.  Mrs. Califano returned from her maternity leave this week and is supporting Ms Matthews in Kingfishers class. We are delighted to have her back with us. We are looking forward to welcoming Mrs. McLaughlin back to school after half term, when she will return from her maternity leave. She will resume her teaching in 3M, three days per week, with Mrs. Briggs continuing for two days per week. Miss Carmichael will be stepping down from her role as Holiday Club Manager at the end of the summer term. We would like to thank her for her hard work and commitment to running the Holiday Club over the past four years. Miss Carmichael will continue to work in Holiday Club and we are delighted that she is handing the baton over to Miss Flemming, who is already known to the children and is one of our current Funtasia staff. Miss Flemming was previously one of our EYFS assistants before she went travelling and we were delighted to welcome her back last year. Further information about our summer Holiday Club will be distributed by Miss Flemming in due course. Climate Change Competition Just a reminder that, to encourage more people to think about Climate Change, Hillingdon Council is running a Climate Change Competition, which is open to all St. Helen's College children. The closing date is Saturday 5th June. Children are urged to get creative and take part in this borough wide competition to get everyone thinking about Climate Change, how it makes us feel and what can be done to do our part. Children are free to use any art form to express what Climate Change means to them, whether it be a musical composition, a drama scene, a poem, a piece of artwork or something else.  You can find out more information about the competition here, including how to enter and of course what prizes are on offer! We hope that many of your children will create entries for this competition and that, in doing so, they will think deeply about climate change and what it means for all of us. Royal Mail Stamp Design Competition Well done to all of the children who have been busy designing their stamps for the Royal Mail competition. We have seen several very high quality designs come through school, and we know that many more have been submitted directly to the Royal Mail. Fingers crossed that the children's hard work and creativity may be recognised in a winning design! Reminders - Second Half of Term We would like to remind parents that all children should return to school on Monday 7th June wearing full summer uniform. Girls should not wear tights with the summer dress. Woolly hats should now be put into hibernation please and at Upper School, blazers are expected to be worn as part of uniform. Class photographs for all classes from Ducklings to Year 6 will be taken by Tempest on Wednesday 9th June. Please ensure that your children arrive to school in good time on that day and in full, smart summer uniform with tidy hair. If girls' hair could be plaited for the occasion, that would be much appreciated. If any of the boys are having their hair cut over half term, please be mindful of the school guidelines, which are that boys’ hair must be cut above the collar and ears in a conventional manner. Crew cuts, shaved patterning, obvious layering and gelling are not allowed. The Year 2 - 6 Singing Competition finals will take place on Friday 11th June. Good luck to all those involved. Details about upcoming events such as Sports Days, concerts, Prizegiving and plays will be sent out in due course but you can see the dates on the school calendar. Textile Bank Just a reminder that, if you are planning a clear out over half term, you can bring any unwanted textiles (clothings, belts, bags, paired shoes, bed linen, curtains, towels etc) to our textile bank outside 227 Long Lane. Please note that, while bed sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases are fine, we cannot accept duvets, cushions or pillows themselves. The items donated via the textile bank are gifted to those living in poverty across the UK and the world, and anything that cannot be gifted in this way is recycled into industrial cleaning cloths, so that nothing ends up as landfill. The school receives a small donation per kilo of textiles collected too. Thank you once again for supporting this eco-friendly and charitable initiative.
Posted on: 21/05/2021

Weekly News - Friday 21st May 2021

World Meditation Day Today is World Meditation Day, and in Upper School assembly this morning, we considered this quote from the actor Dick Van Dyke: "When you’re a kid, you lay in the grass and watch the clouds going over, and you don’t have a thought in your mind. It’s purely meditation, and we lose that". We then participated in this beautiful three minute meditation together, enjoying the images and sensations. Why not take part in this with your children again over the weekend? There are events running throughout the day for World Meditation Day until 8 p.m. this evening - you can find more details here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/world-meditation-day-free-tickets-151332817531 Residential Days On Wednesday, our Year 3 classes enjoyed their outdoor-based residential day and on Thursday, the Year 6 children immersed themselves in France and all things French for their residential day. You can read more about these days and their value in Mrs. Drummond's Head's Blog today and you can see photographs of the days on our Galleries page. Thames Water Assembly Many thanks indeed to James from Thames Water, who delivered an informative and thought-provoking assembly to our Upper School classes on Monday. James told us all about the importance of being 'water-wise', which means being considerate about our water use. The children engaged enthusiastically with the quiz questions and clearly have a good understanding now of how to use less water and why it is so important to consider and limit our use of this precious resource. As discussed, if each person can make one change to their water use, we can together make a real difference. Hopefully, your children will want to spread the word, encouraging their family and friends to be more 'water-wise' too. There is a fantastic e-book available to download regarding water saving, with a related competition! Please do take a look and encourage your child to enter this competition too. https://www.waterwise.org.uk/drycompetition/ Well done to Charlee G and Pavan S (Year 3), who were so inspired by the assembly that they are creating their own presentation to share with their peers to further highlight the importance of saving water. Singing Competition Finalists Congratulations to these children, who have been selected as finalists for this year's Singing Competition! Year 2 Zinnia M Mia O Innaya S Diya B Year 3 Samara P Hana H Amaya L Year 4 Advik S Anaiya B Eshanvi A Minaya W Inaya S Year 5 Aanya B Rivan K Anjka G Shruthi T Year 6 Maya T Jessica L Riya C The final will take place next Friday and we are all looking forward to watching the children perform before our guest judge Gemma Cross picks her winners! Gemma is the vocal and choral lead for Slough Music Services. Royal Mail 'Design a Stamp' Competition We would like to encourage children (aged 4-14) to enter a very special competition being run by the Royal Mail. For more than 50 years Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated British history and achievement. Stamps have also been issued to honour the achievements of many British people. Often, the people who appear on stamps are already famous. They include scientists and explorers, writers, artists, musicians, athletes, and Prime Ministers. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, there have been many people who have done great things. Many of them are not famous, but they have done extraordinary work. These are the people who have helped us all through a really difficult time. Some are frontline workers in healthcare, others look after elderly or vulnerable people. Millions of key workers have kept the country going when most of us were told to stay home for our own safety. And there have been many people who volunteered to help people in their communities who needed help or support. Royal Mail wants to honour these heroes by producing a set of eight stamps. The stamps will feature designs created by eight school-aged children. Pupils should think about who their hero or heroes are, and then design a stamp in their honour. A special panel of judges will pick the winning designs. The final eight stamps will be sent to Her Majesty The Queen before they can be printed and issued. You can find out further information, including how to submit your entries, here: https://www.stampcompetition.ichild.co.uk/ The closing date for entries is 5 p.m. on Friday 28th May 2021. Please do let us know if your child enters and how they get on! Teddy Talks Thank you so very much to all of the parents who have sent such positive feedback and heartfelt thanks for the Teddy Talks which we shared last week. The talks are a part of our new Pre-School Parenting Programme, through which we aim to support parents of babies and toddlers in the local community and beyond. Please do continue to watch and share the talks, and to let us know if you have ideas for topics for our next set of talks, which will be filmed later this year. We plan to launch our first free in-person pre-school classes, our Mother and Baby Mindfulness Classes, in September. If you are interested in taking part in these, then please telephone the school office on 01895 234371 to register your interest. Virtual Open Morning We held our summer term Virtual Open Morning for prospective parents today and it was both enjoyable and successful! As well as talking to those who joined us about our school aims, values and provision, we were able to play them a Teddy Talk and answer their questions about joining us. Don't forget that we are now running a Virtual Open Morning once per term, as well as our in-person school tours, so if you have any friends or family who might be interested in attending these, please tell them to visit the school website for more information and to register their interest. Wraparound Care Bookings We would like to remind parents that, while it is usually possible to book wraparound care at the last minute via your SchoolsBuddy account, it is enormously helpful for the organisation of our staffing and catering if parents could book required sessions in advance as much as possible. Many thanks for your support with this. Library Books Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Emanuel, our school librarians, ask that pupils and parents check school bags and return any stray library books ahead of the half term break. Uniform4Kids Summer Plans Our uniform supplies, Uniform4Kids (Pullens) have asked us to share their plans for summer opening with parents, so that you can plan your uniform shopping for the new academic year. The headline news is that they will once again be opening the shop by appointment only from June to mid-August. There will also be extended opening hours in the final week of August just before the new term starts. You can find out more information on their plans here and you can book your appointments online at www.uniform4kids.com. Weekend and Half Term Classes Hotshots Football Academy Hotshots Football Academy are offering a free first class for boys and girls aged 4-12. Classes take place in Uxbridge from 9.00 to 10.15 a.m. on Saturdays. If you are interested in signing your child up, you can find out more information here.  Computer Xplorers Computer Xplorers have fun and exciting Half Term Holiday classes open to children age 6+ from Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June, as follows. Video Game Animation (Age 6-8) 9 a.m. - 10 a.m., Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June The perfect introduction to programming for primary school children. Children aged 6-8 will make progress as they learn how to program an animation in this class using Scratch - an easy-to-understand drag-and-drop programming method. Click on the link below to register: https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/videogameanimation-coding-tech-class Kodu Game Design (Age 8+) 10.15 a.m. - 11.15 a.m., Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June Children will use Kodu, a graphical programming environment, to design and build games. They will then create a range of terrains, worlds and characters, controlling the characters' movement, sound and vision using an intuitive, icon-based programming language. This is a great class for budding game designers and tech enthusiasts. Are your children up for a new challenge? Now is your child's chance to develop coding and programming skills in our online Game Design classes!  Click on the link below to register: https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/kodu-3d-game-design-class JavaScript Game Design (Age 11+) 11.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m., Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June Students will learn to design, code and build their very own arcade games to keep using JavaScript. This is a great class for budding game designers and tech enthusiasts. Are your children up for a new challenge? Now is your child's chance to develop coding and programming skills in these online Game Design classes!   Click on the link below to register : https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/javascript-game-design-class  
Posted on: 21/05/2021

Residential Trips

As many of you know, the annual residential trips which are part of our enrichment programme from Year 3 to Year 6 have not gone ahead during the pandemic as we would normally have desired. Usually, in the summer term, Year 3 would have visited Shortenills Environmental Centre for 2 days and 1 night, Year 4 would have travelled to Flatford Mill in Suffolk for 3 days (2 nights), Year 5 would have taken the ferry to the Isle of Wight for 5 days (4 nights) and Year 6 would have crossed the channel to Normandy to stay at the Chateaux de la Baudonniere for 6 days (5 nights). Despite us not travelling this year, I am delighted that the staff have been able to arrange alternative days for our pupils, some on site and some at off site venues closer to home, to replicate the activities in which the children would have participated on their residential trips. These days offer the children experiences that enhance the pupils’ classroom learning, adding opportunities pupils may not otherwise have. Research has proven that by participating in such a range of activities can lead to improved relationships, development of important skills, improved achievement and progress and a greater sense of belonging. Many schools only offer one residential trip to their children throughout their primary school years, but here at St. Helen’s College we recognise the enormous value of these trips, which is why, from Year 3, our children experience these on an annual basis. This week we have had the first two of our residential days for the Year 3 and Year 6 children. Year 3 packed their backpacks and ventured on foot to Court Park on what was a blessed day of good weather on Wednesday! I witnessed each activity and was so impressed by the teamwork and determination which some groups of children demonstrated as they pulled together to erect a tent with minimal adult assistance. For some children this task really challenged them but, crucially, they were able to reflect on what they found difficult and why. I would not be surprised if many of the Year 3 children are now badgering their parents to purchase them tents to put up in the garden - please note that they were only pop up tents! The ‘green’ group in session 2 worked speedily and with a sense of pride as they basked under their green canopy as the first group finished and discussed our green planet and climate change! The children had no idea that I could overhear their conversation through their tent canopy but it was a delight to hear!  Each Year 3 group also took part in orienteering, story stones and mud masks. The trees in the woodland area of Court Park are now a gallery of the most exquisite mud masks and I highly recommend taking the time after school to take a stroll through this beautiful part of the park which is right on our doorstep. Seemingly one child has made a portrait of me! I wonder if you can spot it. On arrival at school on Thursday I greeted the children at the gate at Upper School with my very best French (a tad rusty but hopefully grammatically correct!! The French flag was flying and the bunting was out! We became ‘L’Ecole de St. Helen’s College’ for the day!  Our Year 6 children were immersed in a cultural day of language, cuisine, outdoor games and drama!  A breakfast of croissants et chocolat chaud set them up for their morning bread-making activity, during which they raised the roof of the Evans Hall with their ‘chant de Francais’ as they kneaded their bread and tried to out-sing the other class. French boules was very competitive indeed and the traditional playground games challenged their listening skills! Lunch was a culinary delight as the children visited a crepe/galette van and enjoyed dining alfresco in a French cafe style, ordering and enjoying this traditional French treat. In the afternoon the pupils enjoyed a performance of ‘The Three Musketeers’ and again were immersed in the French culture and language!  Next week our Year 4 and Year 5 children will be off site at two other local venues.  Year 4 will be participating in a range of outdoor pursuits at Iver Environmental Centre, including pond dipping, shelter building, bushcraft skills, exploring animal homes and investigating minibeasts. Their day will conclude with a campfire activity. Year 5 will spend their day at Pacar Scout Camp where they will be enjoying the Gladiator challenge, pedal karts, zip wire and archery.   It is a huge testament to our staff that they are so committed to organising these days for the children to ensure that our pupils are able to benefit from participating together in such a vast range of activities away from their normal classroom setting. I am sure that those of you with children in Years 3-6 have heard so much already about their experiences - the memories created on such days are long lasting and the learning which happens outside of the normal school day is irreplaceable.   As the restrictions posed by Covid continue to lift, we look forward to being able to offer our full range of co-curricular activities from September and plans are already in place for next year’s residential trips!  Mrs. Drummond

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