School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 10/06/2022
Celebrating OpportunitiesAs we returned to school on Monday after a glorious weekend of Jubilee celebrations, I was somewhat apprehensive that perhaps our St. Helen’s College Platinum Jubilee celebration day might not quite have the impact we had hoped for due to it falling after the official weekend of events. However, I was not disappointed as our school community came together in true St. Helen’s College style to continue the pomp and ceremony of the events of the weekend. Everyone looked wonderful in red, white and blue, with crowns and flags bearing regalia. We had singing, dancing and fanfares as the Jubilee competition flags were raised and the most wonderful tea parties across the school. We revisited the values of the Commonwealth and it was warming to hear the children discuss how many of those values are also being embodied here at St. Helen’s College. Your children are such a joy to be around each day and they certainly appreciate every opportunity that comes their way.
We have now had four incredibly successful residential trips for our Year 3 through to Year 6 pupils and I thoroughly enjoyed my week in France with Year 6. I am somewhat saddened to hear that some schools have not yet reinstated their pre-covid offerings of residential trips to students or have resisted travelling overseas with them. We were delighted that our chateau in France, ‘Chateau de la Baudonniere’, was reopened and that we could enjoy all the opportunities offered by such a residential school trip. Over the years of attending numerous school residentials I have often been asked by friends outside of education why I enjoy taking children on such trips. Until you have experienced one it is hard to put into words what we gain from them as adults. However, I can say with my hand on my heart that it is a privilege and pleasure to spend time with the children of St. Helen’s College on residentials. It is undoubtedly incredibly hard work and a huge responsibility for staff to act ‘in loco parentis’ for so many children, but the cohort of Year 6 pupils this year were such great company in France and throughout the week. No matter where we were, either onsite or out and about visiting other places, we received so many positive comments from members of the general public. Our pupils really do stand out among the crowd with their manners and social etiquette and they show genuine enthusiasm for the opportunities they are given.
This week I joked with the staff at our staff meeting and the children in assembly and recommended that we all buckle ourselves in for a fast and furious roller coaster ride this half term, as the school calendar is jam packed with so many wonderful opportunities for our children and the community in general. This week has not disappointed us - and as we enter the weekend exhilarated from the past 5 days, do remember to allow your children to recharge over the weekend. Next week brings an abundance of new learning and opportunities!
Happy weekend everyone!
Posted on: 27/05/2022
Weekly News - Friday 27th May 2022Year 6 Residential Trip to France
Our Year 6 pupils have had a wonderful time this week at the beautiful Chateau de la Baudonniere in Normandy, France, where they have taken part in an immersive week of French language and culture.
They have enjoyed meeting their penpals, making bread, visiting a market and goat farm and taking part in some challenging and fun physical activities, amongst other things. They return today tired and happy, filled with experiences they will never forget.
Year 4 Residential Trip to Flatford Mill
The Year 4 classes have spent the last three days in Flatford Mill, Suffolk. On the way, they stopped off at the village of East Bergholt for a whistle stop tour.
While at the centre, they have taken part in many activities including pond dipping, mammal trapping, shelter building and a twilight walk and enjoyed time around the campfire.
There is no doubt that the children have enhanced their independence, enriched their learning and had the most fantastic time spending time together too.
Robins Class Assembly
What a super assembly we saw from our Robins Nursery class on Thursday! They told us all about their topic of 'Mini-Beasts' and all that they have learnt. Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet, or that worms breathe through their skin? It was hard to believe, watching them, that these children are just 3 and 4 years old. They spoke their individual lines with confidence and projection, sang beautifully and acted out their parts with clear enjoyment, slithering like worms, crawling like caterpillars, buzzing like bees and fluttering as ladybirds and butterflies. There was even a spider! Very well done, Robins, you brightened up our morning and taught us so many things.
Nursery Trip to Bekonskot Model Village
Today, Wrens and Robins had a wonderful day stepping back in time at Bekonscot Model Village.
They made the most of the beautiful sunshine, were captivated by the tiny village and loved exploring the adventure playground. The highlights of the day were a ride on the narrow gauge railway and taking part in the time machine workshop. All agreed it was a great day out!
Children in Years 2-5 undertook pedestrian training this week, led by the Hillingdon STARS Team (Safer Travel and Road Safety). The pupils were taught, and practised, how to stay aware when walking and how to cross driveways and roads safely by stopping, looking and listening.
We would be grateful if parents would reinforce the safety message at home with children, including the mantra: Remember - Stop, Look, Listen...THINK!
World Environment Day
World Environment Day on Sunday 5th June, hosted by Sweden, is the biggest international day for the environment. Led by UNEP and held annually since 1974, the event has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach, with millions of people from across the world engaging to protect the planet.
“Only One Earth" is the campaign slogan, with the focus on “Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature”.
Over 150 countries are participating, and the UN will engage governments, businesses, civil society, schools, celebrities, cities and communities to take action.
We encourage you all to follow the link below and watch the four short videos to learn more about the environmental crisis and how we can all help to overcome it.
St. Helen's College will be celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee with a special day at school on Monday 6th June. Everyone is invited to wear red, white and blue for the day. The children will enjoy an outdoor picnic lunch, for which you can see the amended menu here. There will be special extended assemblies and some lessons and activities will have a Jubilee theme. Clubs will be on as usual.
Class and Whole School Photographs
On Tuesday 7th June, we will be having our official class photographs taken at school by Tempest and on Wednesday 8th June there will be a whole school photograph taken in Court Park. On these days, all pupils must come to school in full, correct, summer uniform. For children currently at Lower School, there will be no need for PE kits on these days. At Upper School, pupils should bring PE kits to change into if your class usually has PE or Games on that day.
Our Pre-Prep Sports Day (for Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) will take place on Thursday 9th June, with timings as follows. Please note the slightly amended start time for Nursery/Reception:
Year 1 and Year 2: 8.45 a.m. – 11.45 a.m.
Nursery & Reception: 12.30 – 3.00 p.m.
Full details about this event were sent directly to parents and can be found here:
Pre-Prep Sports Day.
Parents of children in Years 3-6 are reminded that you must let us know whether you will be attending Sports Day and providing a picnic for your child, as well as your child's collection arrangements on that day. Full details for the day, including the link to give your lunch/collection arrangements, are available below:
Prep Sports Day (Years 3 - 6).
The Singers' Concert will take place on Monday 13th June at 7.00 p.m at All Saints Church, Long Lane. Members of the Junior Choir, Senior Choir and Chamber Choir will be performing in this concert. All soloists performing will be contacted directly by Mrs. Fawbert or Mrs. Garnes. Parents are warmly invited to attend the performance.
If you wish to request music lessons for your child or to add them to the waiting list for music lessons, please complete the following Google form to register.
PA Summer Fete
The PA Summer Fete will take place on Saturday 18th June from 1.00 to 4.00 p.m. at our Upper School site. There will be many, many stalls with entertainment, food, face painting and much more. We do hope that you will all come to join us on the day. Entry is free and the fete will be supporting Cancer Research UK. Details of class stalls, along with a chance to sign up for the rota for your class, have been sent out directly by SchoolsBuddy.
Parents are asked to bring donations for the Fete and Sports Day into school from Monday 6th June onwards. There will be donation bins outside entrances from this date onwards.
Parents are also encouraged to volunteer, via PA class reps, to help with setting up/clearing away/other jobs for the Summer Fete.
Many thanks to everyone, in advance, for helping out!
Posted on: 20/05/2022
Weekly News - Friday 20th May 2022Wellbeing Day
On Wednesday, we enjoyed our annual Wellbeing Day, during which children across the school took part in interesting, educational and fun activities to support their mental and physical wellbeing.
At Upper School, the day started off with an assembly in which staff showcased their 'talents'. The children were very entertained!
The day continued with parent helpers supporting sessions and Mrs. Patel leading activities in sign language to some year groups. If you would like to reinforce sign language learning with your children at home, the information used is here and here.
Activities throughout the day included a disco, mini-beast hunt, sports, meditation, mindful art and music, spiritual prayer activities, games for the brain, health and safety workshops and a PSHCE workshop led by Ms Lim, to name a few.
We are very grateful to all of the parent helpers and staff who contributed to make Wellbeing Day a memorable event for the children.
We have made a video showing some of the events and activities in which pupils take part regularly at school, and which support their wellbeing. The children enjoyed watching this in assemblies this week, and we are sure you will enjoy watching it too. The video is available here.
You can also see photographs from Wellbeing Day on our Galleries page here.
On Tuesday evening, parents, staff and pupils gathered at All Saints Church for our annual Musicians' Concert.
It was wonderful to be able to hold this event again for the first time since Covid struck and what a celebration it was! There were stunning solo, group and orchestral performances with all types of instrument represented.
Very well done to all of the musicians who entertained and moved the audience so beautifully. You can see more photographs of the concert on our Galleries page here.
The children of 4T presented a class assembly in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee this morning. They told us lots of interesting and important information about Queen Elizabeth II, from her birth right through to today, including acting out her coronation. There were some jubilee songs and a rousing rendition of the national anthem, as well as a quiz at the end to check on what the audience had learnt! Very well done, 4T, on your confident presentation of such an educational and entertaining assembly.
Our annual Singing Competition took place at Upper School this afternoon and, as ever, this was a thoroughly enjoyable event. Our guest judge Yvonne Fawbert, Director of Music at Sherborne Prep School, was very impressed by the standard of the entries and the children performed their solo and group performances with super musicality and feeling. The winners were:
Year 2 Solo: Gurdaya J
Year 3 Solo: Inaaya S
Year 2/3 Group: Aaryav K, Ayush A, Rohan F
Middle School Overall Winner: Gurdaya J
Year 4 Solo: Samara P
Year 5 Solo: Anaya S
Year 6 Solo: Shruthi T
Year 4/5/6 Group: Layla O, Siyana M, Anokhi B, Kylah O-A
Upper School Overall Winners: Layla O, Siyana M, Anikhi B, Kylah O-A
Very well done to our winners, and a special mention too to Alyssa P, Diyan C and Kylah O-A, who were all highly commended by our guest judge for their performances.
We now look forward to our Singers' Concert on Monday 13th June, to which parents are warmly invited.
Our Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs) took part in the Junior Roadwatch scheme this week, working in partnership with the Metropolitan Police on this road danger reduction education scheme which aims to reduce speeding near schools.
As part of the scheme, primary school children take part in speed awareness sessions with the Metropolitan Police Service's Roads and Transport Policing Command in order to educate drivers about the dangers of speeding near their school.
Drivers caught speeding are pulled over by police officers and given the option of receiving a fixed penalty fine and points on their licence or attending a speed awareness course or, if drivers are deemed suitable, speaking to the children. If they take this option, the driver will receive an educational message from the children and the council staff member.
The primary school pupils ask drivers questions such as "Why do you think the speed limit is 20mph on this road?" and "Are you aware of the consequences of speeding?" The aim is to encourage the driver to reconsider their speed.
Children at Upper School have been enjoying Bushcraft Club.
This week, the children were learning how to tie different knots and mastered a reef knot, clove hitch and bowline. This is in preparation for shelter building which they will soon be undertaking.
Cancer Research UK Marvellous Moneyboxes
Next half term, we will be fundraising for Cancer Research UK's Relay for Life. Please help your child to choose an empty container at home to turn into a Marvellous Moneybox. This can be an empty box or carton. Suitable examples include a small plastic bottle, take away tub, Innocent veg pot or small plastic Pringles tub. Children at Ducklings and Lower School should bring their containers into school where they will decorate them with their teachers, and Upper School children should decorate their containers at home. Your child can decorate them in any way that they like and then make a slot for coins or notes in the top of the container.
Please could you then encourage your child to fill their Marvellous Moneybox with coins or even notes.
On June 20th we will ask your child to bring their Marvellous Moneybox back to school. The moneyboxes will be displayed before they are emptied and all of the money collected will go to the St. Helen’s College RELAY FOR LIFE fundraising initiative.
We can’t wait to see what the children will make with their containers! Thank you very much for your support.
Scout Fun Day
Perseverance Scout Group are looking for new members and are holding a free fun day on Saturday 21st May in Sweetcroft Lane. If you would like to go along and try out some scouting activities, full details are here.
Chiswick Lacrosse will once again be running summer camps to give a taster of lacrosse, which might be of interest to those with children transferring to senior school this year or next. Details are here.
Posted on: 20/05/2022
WellbeingDuring our Wellbeing Day this week, we spoke with pupils about the five pillars of wellbeing, which are:
To take notice
To be active
To keep learning
The children here at St. Helen’s College are encouraged daily (not just on Wellbeing Day!) to live their lives according to these five pillars. I have been reflecting today on how, as a school, we do this.
There is great joy in giving. We teach the children about performing acts of selfless service, raising money for those less fortunate and the importance of giving time to friends or those who are struggling.
Connecting with others is one of the most important things in life. Through our values programme, we explore friendship, co-operation, determination, love, kindness and more. In class, on the playing field and in music and drama productions, children learn to work collaboratively with others. But it is in our Mindfulness, Philosophy for Children and Positive Psychology programmes that connectedness really comes alive. We help the children to develop positive, enriching listening skills and to connect not just with others, but with their own thoughts and feelings.
Taking notice can mean many things, from stopping to appreciate the beauty of the world around us, to thinking about how other people are feeling and the reasons for their behaviour, to concentrating on something new, to developing self-awareness by noticing our own emotions and thoughts. We encourage our pupils to take notice of themselves, their community and their world. So often, taking notice is the first step in taking responsibility.
We all know that being active is important for both physical and mental health. You only have to look at the playgrounds here at school to see the joy that simply running and climbing can bring. Through active playtimes and a well-planned and expertly-delivered PE and Games programme and co-curricular programme, we ensure that the children have plenty of physical activity during their time at school.
And so to the fifth pillar, learning. It is no surprise to hear from a Headteacher that this is one of the most important things in life. Every day here is a school day, and every day really should be a school day for all of us. Certainly the children at St. Helen’s College are learning daily, but so too are the adults. We are engaged in professional, creative and personal development through formal channels, of course, but we also take every opportunity to learn from your children who, so often, have something new to teach us.
I hope that parents, too, will embrace the five pillars of wellbeing to support your own physical and mental health and to model healthy living to your children. It can be hard to prioritise yourself, but your own wellbeing is the most important thing, so please do!
You might also like to take a look at the wellbeing homework that has been shared with your children - maybe you could have a go too. You can see it here.
Have a wonderful weekend of wellbeing!
Posted on: 13/05/2022
Weekly News - Friday 13th MayUKMT Maths Challenge Success
The Year 6 children and Zakariya M participated in the UK Mathematics Trust Junior Mathematical Challenge for students in Year 8 and below. We had some fantastic results.
With only one missing answer, Zakariya M won a gold certificate and automatic entry to the Junior Olympiad. Aryan B also won gold and entry to the Junior Kangaroo round. A further nine children won silver and ten won bronze.
Owls Class Assembly
The children of our Owls Reception class performed their class assembly to parents and staff at Lower School on Thursday morning. They re-told the story of Little Red Riding Hood, with a twist, and considered the value of Forgiveness: what this means and how we can demonstrate it in our lives. There was much confident individual and group speaking and some excellent singing, including an accomplished solo performance! Very well done to the children of Owls for this super presentation which was much enjoyed by all.
Trips & Visits
On Monday, the Year 1 classes enjoyed a visit to Windsor Castle to support and bring alive their understanding of their History topic of 'Kings and Queens'.
On Tuesday, our Year 6 children took part in an online 'visit' to the Houses of Parliament, during which they were able to put questions to parliamentary representatives and learn about the parliamentary system.
Summer School - Bookings Open Today
Our Summer School will run this year from Monday 15th to Friday 19th August at PACCAR Scout Camp for children in Years 3 - 6. Details are here and have been emailed directly to parents.
Bookings go live at 4.00 p.m. today and are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please book your place(s) through your SchoolsBuddy account.
Well done to everyone who entered this year's Singing Competition. We received so many high quality entries and it has been a very difficult task to select finalists this year. The following pupils have been selected to perform in the live final on Friday 20th May to our guest judge Sarah Hughes. Please can finalists also send an mp3 copy or a link to the backing track they will be using for the final to Mrs. Fawbert before Wednesday 18th May (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Year 2 Solo
Year 3 Solo
Middle School Groups
Alyssa, Shayla & Alana
Ashvika & Inaaya
Aaryav, Ayush & Rohan
Year 4 Solo
Year 5 Solo
Year 6 Solo
Upper School Groups
Charlotte & Shruthi
Layla, Siyana, Anokhi & Kylah
Anokhi & Siyana
We have had visitors this week to our ever developing Maxwell Garden and we know that the pupils will be delighted to welcome the addition of ducks to the Upper School grounds!
As part of our Wellbeing Day on Wednesday 18th May, we will have Lisa from 'Mrs. Melts' coming in to school to sell her handmade candles and wax melts to the parents and staff. She will be based at the Lower School from 8.00 - 9.00 a.m. and at the Upper School from 3.00 - 4.00 p.m.
We have a slightly altered lunch menu for Wellbeing Day, which you can access here.
Our Sports Days this year are scheduled for:
Ducklings - Friday 8th July
Pre-Prep (Nursery/Reception/Year 1/Year 2) - Thursday 9th June
Prep (Years 3 - 6) - Friday 17th June
Details for the Pre-Prep and Prep Sports Days have been sent to parents this week and are available at the links below. Parents are warmly invited to attend these events.
Pre-Prep Sports Day (Nursery/Reception/Year 1/Year 2)
Prep Sports Day (Years 3 - 6)
Middlesex Cricket are offering free youth membership to children aged 0-8, and low-cost memberships for those aged 9-17. If your child is interested in cricket (or if you are, and would like to introduce them to the sport), you can find details here.
News from the PA
There will be a PA meeting on the 18th May at 7.30 p.m. at the Vine Inn in Hillingdon. All parents are most welcome to attend.
Hillingdon Guided Family Bike Rides
Hillingdon Council offer free guided cycle rides to encourage families to get out and about on bikes. The idea is for you to enjoy an easy, family-orientated, guided cycle ride with Hillingdon cycle instructors, with a stop for refreshments and a chance to enjoy the sights of Hillingdon.
None of the rides are a race so you can take them at your own pace. All routes will be fun, safe and interesting with the distance, duration and terrain of the ride varying according to the type of ride.
Ride leaders are passionate and keen cyclists, who have been trained to guide groups of people and are employees of Hillingdon Council. They also have been trained in first aid.
Upcoming family rides:
Northala Fields ride - Sunday 22 May
Starting from Hillingdon Leisure Centre at 10 a.m. and returning at 2 p.m.
Summer Reading Challenge-themed ride - Tuesday 26 July
Starting from Uxbridge Library at 9.30 a.m., going to Oak Farm Library and returning at 12.30 p.m.
Summer Reading Challenge-themed ride - Wednesday 27 July
Starting from Botwell Green Library at 9.30 a.m., going to Yeading Library and returning at 12.30 p.m.
Summer Reading Challenge-themed ride - Thursday 28 July
Starting from Ickenham Library at 9.30 a.m., going to South Ruislip Library and returning at 12.30 p.m.
Queen's Jubilee Celebration and Art Exhibition
Hayes End Methodist Church will be holding a Jubilee Celebration on Friday 3rd June from 2.00 to 5.00 p.m. There will be activities and entertainment for the family, a jubilee tea and barbecue. As part of the celebration, children from the local area are encouraged to produce a piece of Jubilee-themed artwork, which will be exhibited at the event. This is not a competition; every child who takes part will receive a Jubilee gift/memento and will have the joy of seeing their work exhibited! Details of the celebration are available here and details of the art exhibition are available here.
SparksArts Free Workshop Vouchers and Summer Shoots
SparksArts are offering St. Helen's College children vouchers for two free filmmaking workshops. These take place at Bishop Ramsey School in Ruislip on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. You can download your voucher here.
SparksArts also run Summer Shoots, filmmaking summer camps where children aged 5-18 produce their own movie production in a five day workshop. The young filmmakers work in small, peer age film crews to produce their own movie masterpiece. They devise an original storyline, direct their scenes, shoot their shots, crew their set, star in their movie and edit it too. At the end of the week, they proudly share their work with family in a special presentation and later celebrate with a red carpet premiere event too (in peer age 'studio' groups). Further information and booking is available here: https://www.sparksarts.co.uk/product/summer-shoots-2020/.
Posted on: 6/05/2022
Weekly News - Friday 6th MayYear 3 Residential Trip
On Thursday our Year 3 children headed off on their first residential trip, to PACCAR scout camp. They have been blessed with gorgeous May weather and it is clear that Year 3 and their accompanying staff have delighted in the vast open air space that is PACCAR. They have shown admirable team spirit and resilience when tackling the exciting activities and fun and laughter has abounded. They return home today rejuvenated and exhausted in equal measure!
There are more photographs of the Year 3 children enjoying themselves on our Galleries page.
Kingfishers Class Assembly - May Day
Our Kingfishers Reception class presented a wonderful assembly all about May Day on Thursday to a very appreciative audience of family and staff at Lower School. They told us about - and even demonstrated - morris dancing, maypole dancing and the choosing of a May Queen. There was some really super singing and movement, and every child spoke lines with confidence, grace and real understanding of their words. Outside the hall, the sun was shining too! It was an uplifting and joyful start to our day and we are very proud of the children and their efforts. Well done, Kingfishers.
The Owls Reception class will be presenting their assembly to parents next Thursday, 12th May, at 8.45 a.m. There will be coffee served in the Lower School Hall from 8.15 a.m. and we look forward to seeing Owls parents then.
We are looking forward to the Musicians' Concert on 17th May at 7.00 p.m. All parents are warmly invited to attend and Mrs. Fawbert will be sending out further details to the parents of the pupils involved next week.
The Singing Competition entry deadline has been extended to 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 7th May, to allow more time for groups to rehearse and send their entries in. We would also like to encourage students to submit a solo performance as well as their group performance. Please note that entries submitted after 4.00 p.m. on Saturday 7th May will not be accepted.
Our chess team very much enjoyed their match against St. Bernadette's School this week. Each player received 1 point for a win, 0.5 point for a draw and 0 for a loss. At half time the score was tied at four points each, but in the end St. Bernadette's won by 9 points to 7. The score was close, reflecting how evenly matched the players were.
Well done to all of those who took part: Jacob N, Raiden B, Anna K, Eva J, Ruby L, Kamran-Cyrus A, Zakariya M, Verity S, Rian M and Jeena H.
Special congratulations to team captains Jacob and Kamran-Cyrus, who each won both their matches. They are in Year 5 and led by example for the other players, who are all in Year 4.
Our Upper School Cookery Club had a great time this week making brownies and smoothies! There are certainly some budding chefs among the group.
Parents' Evenings: Years 1 - 6
Thank you to all of the parents who attended the in-school parent consultations this week. The teachers very much enjoyed talking to you about your children's work, activities and wellbeing. The next parents' evening for Years 1-6 will take place on Thursday 12th May from 5.00 to 8.00 p.m. Appointments on that evening will be held remotely.
Residential Trip Meeting: Year 6
It was great to see so many parents and pupils at the Year 6 French Residential meeting on Wednesday evening this week. It is clear that the children are very much looking forward to this exciting trip and we were delighted by the high levels of trust from parents too.
Year 5 Transfer Meeting
We will be holding a Year 5 Transfer Meeting (to discuss senior school applications/processes) on Tuesday 10th May at 7.00 p.m. in the Evans Hall. We look forward to seeing Year 5 parents there.
We are busy planning our Sports Days for later this term and will shortly be sending out information to parents about these.
If your child has a Sports Day trophy at home from 2019, or if you know of any family who does, please could these be returned to school as soon as possible now, so that we have time to collate them and prepare them for this year's Sports Days.
The current warm weather is set to continue, so please send your children to school now in their summer uniforms.
Holiday Club - May Half Term
Bookings for our May half term Holiday Club will open on Friday 13th May at 4.00 p.m. Due to the Jubilee bank holidays, the Holiday Club will run for three days only: Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st May, and Wednesday 1st June. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis so please book your child(ren)'s place(s) early.
Posted on: 29/04/2022
Weekly News - Friday 29th April 2022Year 5 Residential Trip - Isle of Wight
Our Year 5 children return from the Isle of Wight today where they have spent five days on a residential trip. They have taken part in many exciting activities including climbing and high roping, taken a trip to learn all about the Mary Rose and undertaken coastal studies to enrich their geography learning. Five days and nights away from home has also enhanced their independence and cemented already very strong friendships. They return tired but happy!
Maths Quiz Club
The school entered two teams into the Quiz Clubs Inter School Maths competition this week, and our teams performed brilliantly, finishing 2nd and 5th. Both teams have qualified for the semi-finals which will take place on 14th June, and we wish them luck as they prepare for these!
The pupils of Year 2 have enjoyed their intensive swimming week this week at Hillingdon Sports & Leisure Centre.
The football team lost their quarter final 2-0 to Heathrow Primary School in a tough game on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Harrington was pleased with the team's resilience and determination to keep going against tough opposition!
On Thursday, the U11 netball team played in a tournament at Newnham Junior School, progressing through the first round, which gave them some great experience and was very enjoyable too.
School at Work Open Morning
We ran a very successful Open Morning this week, during which our confident Year 6 guides enjoyed showing prospective families around the school. The families who came to look around were, as always, very impressed with our articulate, confident and enthusiastic pupils throughout the school.
Our very exciting Singing Competition final will take place on Friday 20th May 2022 this year.
The semi-finals will take place like last year with video entries for solos, duets and groups, with finalists being selected to perform live on 20th May, to our guest judge Sarah Hughes.
Only one solo entry per child is permitted (one additional group or duet entry may be made) and submitted by only one email, please.
Please submit your video entry by no later than Friday 6th May 2022.
For Middle School entries please submit to all of the following:
For Upper School entries please submit to all of the following:
The subject of the email should be clear, e.g. "Singing Competition: name of child, form group, name of song and composer" and it may be easiest to submit using your school Google drive (don’t forget to share the file).
The categories this year are as follows:
Middle School Competition: Year 2 Solo, Year 3 Solo, MS duet, MS group and Best Overall Performance.
Upper School Competition: Year 4 Solo, Year 5 Solo, Year 6 Solo, US duet, US group and Best Overall Performance.
Finalists will be chosen and announced by Friday 13th May 2022 on the school newsletter.
The following rules apply:
There is no set theme this year and we would like to hear songs from all different genres and eras. Singing in other languages is permitted, however we request a translation to be submitted with your entry.
All songs must be age appropriate, melodic and have appropriate lyrics and themes. If you are unsure whether your choice is appropriate, please check with Mrs. Belvoir, Mrs. Fawbert, Mrs. Garnes or Mrs. Hawkes.
We would like to see only simple gestures and appropriate movements relevant to the performance - no dance moves please.
A backing track is required (without words) for the performance. A child may play the piano/guitar etc as part of their performance.
'Harmony at Home' Parent Practice Course
Some parents may remember Elaine Halligan from The Parent Practice, who ran a parent workshop here at St. Helen's College a few years back. Elaine is commencing her next 'Harmony at Home' course on Tuesday 3rd May and some of you may be interested in signing up for this. The course runs remotely from 8.00 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. for 6 weeks.
Free Parent Asthma Workshop
The Hilllingdon asthma nurses are offering another free parent workshop on May 13th from 4 to 5 p.m. We hope that many of you will take advantage of this opportunity to hear about asthma and its management. Full details are here.
Posted on: 22/04/2022
21st Century EducationAt the beginning of our summer term I felt that it was an ideal opportunity to remind us of the St. Helen’s College aims:
Love of Learning
We aim to inspire a lifelong thirst for creative, stimulating and rewarding learning, leading to the full development of every child’s academic potential.
We aim to instil core moral values, inspiring virtue, responsibility, resilience, independence, mindful self-awareness and a desire for continuing self-development.
Involvement and Challenge
We aim to inspire an ongoing desire to develop talents, nurture the widest possible range of interests, and contribute to society as confident, compassionate and responsible citizens and leaders of the future.
These aims also extend to our staff and many of you may be aware that as a staff we are also committed to be lifelong learners and it is by continuing on this path of professional learning that we can continue to inspire and challenge your children.
On Tuesday we welcomed a guest speaker to St. Helen’s College - Professor Guy Claxton. Guy is a world-renowned cognitive scientist and emeritus Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Winchester. He has influenced educational theory and practice across the world and I was delighted that he was able to attend our staff training day to share his views on education for the 21st Century. I do not intend to reiterate what Guy shared with us but I highly recommend that you read one of his blogs here.
Here is an extract from his blog:
“A few days ago I had a very thought-provoking and productive lunch with my friends Becky Carlzon and Adrian Bethune. Becky is the guiding spirit behind Learning Pioneers and co-author, with me, of Powering Up Children: The Learning Power Approach to Primary Teaching. Adrian is founder of Teachappy (“Happier Teachers, Happier Children”), and a great ambassador for mindfulness in education.
I came away fired up about how important it is to build education around a clear specification of the kinds of young people we are aiming to develop: what do they really need to know; be able to do; and be like in their attitudes and mindsets? And saddened, yet again, at the astonishing level of intellectual lethargy displayed by society at large. Where are the urgent debates about what an education fit for the 21st century should be like? Almost nowhere. (Even Radio 4 only dips a superficial toe into this shark-infested water every now and again.)
So on the train back to Sussex I bashed out the following. What do you think?
What we need is a shared vision of education as empowering young people with the knowledge, values, capabilities and character strengths to be a force for good in the world, and thus find the continuing fulfilment of a life well lived. This means:
Giving young people opportunities to explore many different potential avenues of excellence (both within 'school' and beyond),and discover the interests and occupations that may give their lives purpose, meaning and the kind of quiet happiness with themselves that is so different from complacency.
Giving them a diet of escalating challenges that will engage their energy and effort, the exercise of which will naturally lead them to develop a background 'mindset' of generalisable character strengths (aka 'positive learning dispositions' or 'qualities of mind') such as these "12 Pillars of Fulfilment":
presence - being alive to all the features and complexities of significant situations
discernment - having a reliable moral 'nose' for that which is fulfilling, nurturing and 'wholesome'
self-care - creating their own social and physical ecology - habits of rest and recreation, sources of nurturance, support and advice - so that they can bring their full energy and intelligence to the pursuit of their passions
critical thinking and ‘fake news’ detection - discerning and calling out that which is sham, shallow, specious or seductive (a la Greta Thunberg)
self-awareness - an honesty and vigilance about the habits, beliefs and insecurities that might be their Achilles Heels or lead them astray
craftmanship - being dissatisfied with anything but their best; willing to practise, draft, revise and respond to feedback
adaptability - having the awareness and resourcefulness to change tack and adjust as they go along
collegiality - having a friendly and open attitude that makes it easy for them to find and join teams and communities that support their core purposes
buoyance and resilience – being able to bounce back from frustration and setbacks and recommit to their goals
self-discipline - prioritising and devoting energy and perseverance to that which is truly important to them
curiosity - a judicious keenness to engage with and investigate novelties, challenges and uncertainties that bear on their values and projects
imagination - the ingenuity to create fresh possibilities of thought and action that further their purposes
I see these as constituting the trunk – the ‘common core’ of a viable character - out of which can grow all the varied branches – the interests, passions and idiosyncrasies that make everyone unique and special.
Seeing mindfulness-like practices as on-going practical supports for developing all these qualities of mind – as the evidence indeed suggests it is. Organisations like the Mindfulness in Schools Project need to present mindfulness as much more deeply valuable than just helping to reduce stress. It is an all-purpose fertiliser for the growth of a strong and supple mind.
Equipping youngsters with the starter kits of knowledge and skill that will enable them to make progress as both actors and learners. This is hard but vital. Why Trigonometry rather than Neuroscience? Why the Tudors rather than the critical analysis of Fake News?
Enabling teachers to embrace their role as coaches and guides, and to develop their own resources and sensibilities, in the service of their students' journeys. An army of teachers who were keen to grow and extend their skill and insight day-by-day would transform children’s experience of school.
Enabling teachers and school leaders to harness (and if necessary resist or subvert) external pressures and requirements on them and their students that threaten to derail this vision. Innovation will come from brave and ingenious school principals and their staff, not from Whitehall.”
Don’t you think that the pillars of fulfilment sound very similar to what we here at St. Helen’s College aspire to achieve with your children? Much of what Guy discussed with us enabled us to reflect on our pedagogical practices and as a teaching team we will be continuing to review our curricula and practices in order to prepare our children for their futures.
Last night we held a meeting for parents of our current Year 3 and Year 4 pupils as they begin to think about the next step in their child’s educational journey. The aim of the evening was to lay out what we do at school to prepare your children for senior school transition and assessments. Pupil wellbeing is crucial to their ability to learn and flourish and we hope that the information shared has been food for thought for all who attended.
It is so important that we do not compare children with each other but allow them to develop their interests and talents and recognise that they all make progress at different rates but also may need different input to enable them to unlock understanding and hone their skills.
I will leave you with a wonderful analogy I heard in the staffroom this morning:
For a plant to flourish to its magnificent best, it needs to be nurtured and grown in the right conditions. All need light, water and nutrients but some need shade and clay soil whilst others need sun and sandy soil. People, too, thrive in different conditions. We need to provide the conditions in which children will flourish. The type of school that best suits one child may be entirely wrong for another. The route to finding a place where a child will grow and excel is not to look for the most prestigious school and expect the child to adapt to that school but to find the school that best fits a child.
You may wish to watch this video here where Guy discusses the concept of ‘Learning being Learnable’. I have been inspired by how the St. Helen’s College staff embrace every opportunity to connect with your children and how committed they are to the continuous learning process for not only your children but for themselves too! What an amazing community we have!
Here’s to a wonderful summer term ahead!