School News and Head's Blog

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Posted on: 5/11/2021

Eco Awareness

As an accredited Eco-School, we have been watching the COP26 summit with interest this week. We are delighted that world leaders have once again come together in a high profile forum to discuss the issues that are of greatest concern in our world today, most notably climate change. Some years ago Mr. Lewis, our Director of Studies, undertook a United Nations climate change teaching course and he is now leading an initiative to ensure that all St. Helen’s College teaching staff - and many other, non-teaching staff - undertake up to date climate change training so that this continues to be given the highest priority in the classrooms and daily life of St. Helen’s College. This morning, our Year 6 children took part in a session from ‘The Great Big Lesson’, endorsed by the Eden Project and Cambridge Zero, and broadcast live from COP26. They celebrated nature and discussed the most pressing issues threatening our environment today. It is frightening to think of the damage being done to our world, but enormously heartening to hear our pupils - the leaders of the future - speak so passionately on the subject. As parents will know, at St. Helen’s College we have been talking about and teaching about climate change for many years. More than that, we take daily action to reduce our own impact on the environment and to encourage our children to take responsibility for their actions and how they affect the world around them. Through our Eco Reps system, we appoint children to positions of eco-responsibility. They drive eco-awareness amongst their peers and staff throughout the school, promoting initiatives to reduce waste and electricity usage and to recycle. Over the last few years, they have monitored and reduced food waste in the school, driven litter-picking schemes and more. Two current examples are our participation in the excellent Recycle to Read scheme and our promotion of Switch-Off Fortnight. Last half term, pupils, parents and staff throughout the school donated unwanted toys and electrical items which will be collected and recycled so that they do not become landfill. The school will then receive a donation from Collins Publishers to buy new books. We are very grateful to everyone who took part in this initiative.  Next week pupils and staff at school, led by the Eco Team, will take part in Switch Off Fortnight. Switch Off Fortnight is a campaign that encourages everyone to become interested in saving energy and cutting their carbon footprint. Not only will we make additional energy savings at school, but we would like to encourage everyone to take the switch off challenge home, where families can take part in saving energy too. The more people involved, the greater the energy savings will be, which in turn will help our environment. The Eco Team will kick start Switch Off Fortnight during Monday's assembly and it will last from Monday 8th November until Friday 20th November. Throughout the fortnight the Eco Team will carry out several audits to see how many lights and appliances have been left on in their classrooms. The class who saves the most energy will be awarded Eco Class of the week. One small click can make a big difference! The school also has a textile recycling bank outside our entrance at 227 Long Lane. Parents, pupils, staff and members of the local community can pop any unwanted textiles into the bank and nothing placed in there will end up as landfill. Suitable items are recycled and donated to those in need, and anything that cannot be used in this way is recycled and made into industrial cleaning cloths. In addition, we have recently signed up for the Plastic Free Schools Campaign, and will now be working to stop any single use plastics at school and to become an accredited plastic free school. We know that many parents are as passionate about the crusade against climate change as we are. If any of you have ideas of other schemes in which the school can take part, or other ways to educate our pupils and ourselves about these big issues, please do contact us. Our Eco Team is led at school by Mrs. Mann and Mrs. Reid, and they would always be pleased to hear from you. You can contact them on the email addresses below. nmann@sthelenscollege.com creid@sthelenscollege.com One of the greatest strengths of St. Helen’s College has always been the mutually supportive, respectful partnership between home and school. Working together, we really can help to protect our environment. Please do take part in Switch Off Fortnight and create lasting energy-saving habits, and please do remain aware of your impact on the world around you at all times. Each one of us can make a real difference, both in our daily lives and in how we educate and model behaviour to our children. Who knows, some of them may attend COP36 or COP46 one day!   Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 15/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 15th October 2021

Nursery Harvest Assemblies Wow! We were so impressed with our two Nursery classes, who performed harvest assemblies at the Methodist Church for their parents at the beginning of this week. It is always incredible to see such young children performing with real confidence and enjoyment. They had clearly learned their songs and actions well and should be very proud of themselves!                   3B Coffee Morning/Class Assembly On Friday, class 3B performed an assembly all about life in Year 3. They told us how it is different to life in Year 2, demonstrating how quickly they have learned to get changed for swimming and sharing examples of their work, including a report on their recent trip to St. Albans. They performed with great confidence and real enjoyment, with children sharing their particular interests and skills. Thank you, 3B, for such an interesting, informative and enjoyable assembly. Year 2 Trip to Chiltern Open Air Museum Year 2 had a fantastic visit to the Chiltern Open Air Museum on Thursday. The children learnt about life in the time of The Stone Age, which they have been studying this term in history.  They met a woman from the Mesolithic era and learnt how to make fire, shelters, shoot a special bow and arrow called an atlatl. The children enjoyed making  paste with charcoal to paint on material and their faces. They even made their own spears using stone and wood.               Year 5 Trip to Hampton Court Palace To extend and enrich their History topic of The Tudors, our two Year 5 classes visited Hampton Court Palace on Thursday and had a truly successful day in their first school trip in eighteen months. From the minute they entered the royal gates, they were excited and eager. The children learned from Mistress Alice (the head of the king’s laundrette) about how being a servant was a really good job in the 1500s! Our pupils impressed everyone with their good behaviour, relevant questions and by embracing the day with real enthusiasm. They were equally impressed with the grandeur of Henry’s apartments, the spookiness of the haunted gallery and the magnificent formal gardens. All in all it was a superb trip!   Sports News This week our girls' football team took part in an U11 Girls' Football Tournament at Radlett Prep School. They played six matches and finished 4th in the tournament overall. The boys' football team also took part in a tournament, travelling to Manor Lodge Prep School. Again, they played six matches and finished 3rd overall. Well done to all of the players involved in the tournaments - they were very enjoyable occasions and will have helped to develop skills and matchplay further. School at Work Open Morning The school was abuzz on Wednesday morning as we held our first in-school Open Morning since October 2019! At Upper School, our Year 6 pupils were super guides for prospective parents and the families who visited were enormously impressed with their knowledge of the school and confident communication skills. At Lower School, our Early Years and Year 1 classes acquitted themselves beautifully and it is amazing to think that so many of these children joined us for the first time in September. They have really adopted the St. Helen's College values and are living them out in their daily behaviour. We were very proud of them. Our prospective families were impressed by the behaviour and communication of the children throughout the school, as well as the impressive work on display. Many thanks to everyone involved in the morning. Maxwell Garden It is wonderful to watch our Maxwell Garden come to life as the pupils and St. Helen's College team continue to develop this outdoor learning area at Upper School.           Nursery/Reception/Year 1 Parents' Evening Thank you to all of the parents who attended the online parents' evening for Nursery, Reception and Year 1 children this week. We hope that you enjoyed talking with the teachers. Upper School Parents' Evenings If you have a child in Year 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and have not yet booked your appointment(s) for our forthcoming Upper School parents' evenings, please login to your Schoolcloud account to do so. The face-to-face parents' evening will take place on Tuesday 2nd November, and the online parents' evening will take place on Thursday 11th November. Individual Music Lessons We currently have availability for the following lessons for Upper School pupils (in Years 2-6): Trumpet Flute  Singing  Please note that these spaces are during the school day, so are only available to students not currently having lessons on another instrument already during the school day. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis so please contact Mrs. Fawbert if you would like your child to have lessons in one of these: cfawbert@sthelenscollege.com. Free Half Term Workshops Rosie, the Education and Community Officer for Dogs Trust covering West London, will be delivering FREE school holiday activity workshops for families about How to Behave Safely Around Dogs and Being a Responsible Dog Owner. These workshops will take place at Oak Farm, Northwood, Ruislip Manor and Charville Library. They are designed for children aged 7-11, with one accompanying adult, and there will be a realistic toy dog and lots of props that can be used to help make activities really fun! There is no charge to families to book these workshops and all relevant contact information is on the attached poster here. Autumn Half Term Camps - Computer Xplorers Computer Xplorers (who run our Minecraft Club here at school) will be running Autumn half term tech camps. Their programmes are as follows: VR Robotics - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumn-vr-robotics   KODU 3D Game Design - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/aut-kodu-3d-game-design-class   Intro to Roblox Game Design - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumn-roblox-game-design   MinecraftEdu Fantasy Island - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumnhalfterm-minecraftedu Uniform Reminder After half term, girls should return to school in full, correct winter uniform. The winter skirt should be worn wtih green tights please - no white tights allowed! The winter hats should now also be worn, with the St. Helen's College beanie/ski hats only to be worn inside the school gates for playtime/outdoor sports when it is extremely cold. Textile Bank If you are having a clear out over half term, please remember that you can donate any unwanted textiles (clothes, shoes, accessories, bed linen) via the textile bank located outside the school entrance at 227 Long Lane. We cannot accept school uniform items or duvets/pillows/cushions, but anything else is fine! The textiles donated are given to those in need, or recycled into industrial cleaning cloths, so that nothing ends up as landfill, and the St. Helen's College Charitable Trust receives a small donation per kilo collected. Many thanks in advance for any donations.  
Posted on: 8/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 8th October 2021

Lower School Harvest Festivals Thank you to all of the parents who joined us this week for the Lower School class assemblies to celebrate Harvest Festival. Our Reception and Year 1 children gave wonderful performances to remind us of the importance of our farmers and all that they do to provide food for us all, as well as how important it is to think of others less fortunate than ourselves at this time of year. The children all spoke their lines and sang their songs with great confidence - it is just wonderful to see such young children developing the public speaking skills they will need in the future! Many thanks to all families for the generous contributions of Harvest food, which will be distributed via the Salvation Army to those in need in our local community.  The Nursery (Robins and Wrens) Harvest Festival assemblies will take place next week. Please check the calendar here for details. Sports News Well done to our netball team, who won 6-1 on Wednesday in their first  game of the season against St. Bernadette's. The girls played with great skill and determination, as well as super attitudes. We are all very proud of them!           Also playing their first game of the season on Wednesday, our football team took on a physical St. Mary's team in a closely contested game which ended in a 1-1 draw. Very well done to all of the players involved.       On Thursday, our girls' football team enjoyed their experience of their first football festival at Abbotts Hill Football Club. They took part in a carousel of activities to help develop their skills and enjoyed playing a match against Oak Farm, despite it ending in a 0-0 draw.       On Friday, the boys' football team took part in the U11 tournament at Aldenham School.             St. Helen's College Kitchen Achieves Five Star Hygiene Rating Again Following an unannounced visit from the Food Standards Agency today, we are delighted to confirm that our kitchen has once again been awarded a five star hygiene rating. Well done to Soula and her team! Lower School Parents' Evenings Thank you to the Nursery, Reception and Year 1 parents who attended parent consultations on Tuesday this week. We hope that you found these useful. The next set of consultations will take place on Thursday 14th October. Co-Curricular Activities - Lower School Gardening Club We are thrilled that our Lower School Gardening Club was recently recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) who were impressed with our harvest of runner beans, tomatoes and cucumbers! It is great that we are able to teach the children about where their food comes from and the effort that must go into successfully planting, nurturing and harvesting crops. Year 6 Trip to Denham Country Park On Thursday, our Year 6 children enjoyed a day of outdoor learning at Denham Country Park, investigating the environment including the river.          Year 3 Trip to St. Albans Earlier in the week, the Year 3 classes had a super trip to St Albans, where they enriched their learning in lots of ways. They looked around the cathedral and found out about St Alban. They did some really exciting drama and dressed up as characters from the story of St Alban. They also made some Roman mosaics and found out about different aspects of Roman life. Everyone was very well behaved and one of the volunteers from the cathedral commented that we should all be very proud of our children and our school because they were so engaged and enthusiastic throughout the day. The children have written some lovely recounts of the day and one of them said, "I would recommend this trip to people who like History, learning and finding out about the Romans."   Reception Trip to Odds Farm Kingfishers and Owls thoroughly enjoyed  a fantastic visit to Odds Farm Park today as part of their shared topic of  ‘Down on the Farm!’  The children delighted in the chance to get close to a range of farm animals, they excitedly took part in a ‘meet the bunnies’ workshop and they even learned how to milk a cow!  The day was finished off in style, with a bumpy-but-fun tractor ride around the farm. The trip certainly proved a wonderful way for the children to learn about the importance of agriculture, how to care for living things and the significance of the autumn harvest. Recycle to Read Next week we will be holding the Eco initiative 'Recycle to Read'. You can find out information about this initiative here: https://jointhepod.org/campaigns/recycle-to-read-2021 Upper School Eco Reps discussed this in assembly today and Lower School Eco Reps have been busy making posters to promote the scheme. Eshan N has written this piece to explain the scheme: From Monday 11th October, St. Helen's College will be taking part in Recycle to Read! This is a new campaign where we throw away lots of plastic toys and technology in exchange for new books. This is the very first time this has been done and St. Helen's College is very proud to support this environmentally friendly campaign. We are doing this for the health and safety of our planet because over 318 million toys over the world are being sold each year! This is very damaging to the environment because when these toys are disposed of incorrectly some of the plastic could go into the sea or into the forests which could have a big impact on the environment. The school would like both teachers and students to help the environment. At school we will have two bins. One bin will be for plastic toys and one for technology. Happy recycling! There will be collection bins at Upper School, Lower School and Ducklings for donations and we thank you in advance for your involvement in this excellent scheme. Flu Vaccination Reception to Year 6 If you have not already returned your child's flu vaccination form, please note that we must have this back by the end of next week in order for your child to receive the vaccine. Your completed form should be sent into school and handed to your child's form teacher or to the school office.
Posted on: 8/10/2021

Emerging With Ambition

  A couple of weeks ago I attended the IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) Heads' Conference in Bournemouth.  It was the first time in two years that 400 Head Teachers had been able to come together for this annual conference and the theme of the three days was very poignant indeed - ‘Emerging with Ambition’. As the conference was launched, the CEO of IAPS, Christopher King,  addressed us and shared some of the highlights of good practice which make IAPS schools beacons of excellence. As I sat in the auditorium I was filled with pride watching a promotional video where our Lower School pupils and beautiful facilities were showcased. Chris King then went on to specifically mention St. Helen’s College and how we have been incredibly innovative in our preschool parenting Teddy Talk videos and baby mindfulness classes.  During the tea break, several Heads approached me to discuss how we had managed to do so much during a pandemic. It is evident that St. Helen’s College is not just ‘emerging with ambition’ from a pandemic but that throughout the pandemic we actively were ‘driven with ambition’ or in the words of our aims, written by our pupils, we strive for excellence, help everyone achieve and care for each other.    Our staff work so well together and it is the shared ambition from our whole community that makes us so unique. The three days of conference were inspiring and I listened to several keynote speakers and participated in several seminars. There was so much to reflect upon but what was particularly gratifying was that much of what was discussed as best practice in some keynotes we are already doing here at St. Helen’s College.  For example, in his session on the future of learning and the future of assessment, Professor Bill Lucas outlined some key findings and recommendations from recent research on rethinking assessment from educational researchers and practice from across the world.  Alternatives to the predominantly summative methods of assessment (test results) are now no longer fit for purpose (an ongoing debate for secondary schools). However, here at St. Helen’s College we are already frontrunners in our approaches; for example -  extended investigations and pupil profiling (where the pupils take ownership of work they are most proud of which they curate over time), our use of learning logs, flipped learning and our reporting of ‘habits of learning’ not ‘achievement’ grades. We are an ambitious school and always have been, so we do not feel that we are ‘recovering’ from the pandemic and lockdown but merely transitioning and adapting.  Many of the speakers referred to ‘recovery’ and it did annoy me slightly the extent to which doom and gloom were associated with the pandemic. I believe that we need to celebrate all the amazing things which your children achieved during the last 19 months and look forward with continued ambition.   I would love to give you a synopsis of many of the other speakers I heard over the conference but I will leave you with one speaker’s Ted Talk, whose work is truly inspiring and which I am sure will resonate with you as it did me. James Shone’s work is aligned with one of the St. Helen's College school aims, which is centred on personal growth: We aim to instil core moral values, inspiring virtue, responsibility, resilience, independence, mindful self-awareness and a desire for continuing self-development. Please indulge yourself for the 16 minutes of this Ted Talk - I heard him speak for an hour but this is a snippet of what he spoke about to empower the group of Headteachers in front of him at our conference.  Let’s keep inflating the balloons of self belief! Have a wonderful weekend. Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 1/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 1st October 2021

STEAM Day The whole school enjoyed a fabulous STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) Day on Wednesday. The children took part in a diverse range of activities and the school was buzzing with excitement and those 'lightbulb' moments that so often come in the hands-on doing of work. Many thanks to Mr. Shahabuddin and Mr. Usher (Mrs. Pruce's Dad) who gave up their time to come into school for the day to run or assist in the running of workshop sessions. We took lots of photographs of the children engaged in their activities and you can see them here. Dara McAnulty Author Talk We joined with 11,000 other children from schools across the country to hear from author Dara McAnulty on Thursday this week.  Dara shared his love of the natural world, and how his fascination with birds of prey was inspired by an RSPB school talk. He shared a recording of red kites, and invited us all to consider the beauty of nature in our local area. Dara then discussed his writing process with the children: he encouraged them to write in a carefree manner and write about any topic they find interesting. The pupils were also shown a short video of his book's incredible illustrator at work. He then spoke of his love of fantasy stories and how they enabled him to escape bullying at school. His talk concluded with him challenging the children to explore nature and enjoy the natural world.  Harvest Celebrations Year 5 and our Senior and Chamber Choirs presented a beautiful harvest service at All Saints Church today. Thank you to the parents who joined us for this special occasion. All of the other Upper School children celebrated Harvest with a musical assembly at school. Thank you to all of the staff involved in organising these events. Lower School Harvest assemblies (one per class) will take place soon too. Do check the school calendar for your child's date. We would like to extend gratitude to children, parents and staff for the generous donations of Harvest food. These will be distributed, via the Salvation Army, to those in need in the local community. We are pleased to be able to make such generous contributions to help those less fortunate at this time of year. Year 4 Ancient Greek Day On Tuesday, our Year 4 pupils were immersed in an Ancient Greek Day to extend their learning. In the morning they watched a show, in which an Athenian woman helped a time traveller to answer questions about Greek discoveries, Sparta, Homer, the Greek Gods, clothing, myths and battles. The children then took part in two workshops: in one, they acted out Ancient Greek daily life and a wedding, and in the second they learnt all about the Olympics. It was a hugely enjoyable and educational day! Month End Music Recital This afternoon we enjoyed our first Month End Music Recital of the academic year in the Evans Hall. We were treated to a variety of vocal, violin, trumpet and piano pieces, performed by Upper School children, and it was lovely to celebrate the musicality of the pupils informally in this way once again. Performance opportunities are an important way in which pupils can develop their confidence and resilience and we are very proud of the children who took part. Pantosaurus This week the children at Upper School were spoken to about the 'underpants rules' in assembly. This is part of the NSPCC's Talk Pants campaign which is designed to help keep children safe from sexual abuse. They were introduced to Pantosaurus and the PANTS rules (Privates are private, Always remember your body belongs to you, No means no, Talk about secrets that upset you, Speak up - someone can help).  More information, including a link to the Pantosaurus book designed to prompt conversations between parents and children, can be found here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/support-for-parents/pants-underwear-rule/ Charity Fundraising Aleyna (4T) recently raised funds for UNICEF in support of children impacted by the situation in Afghanistan. She decided to do this in lieu of birthday presents from friends and wider family and raised £540. Well done, Aleyna, for thinking of others who are in a less fortunate position and taking action to support them. Autumn Half Term Camps and Activities Computer Xplorers (who run our Minecraft Club here at school) will be running Autumn half term tech camps. Their programmes are as follows: VR Robotics - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumn-vr-robotics   KODU 3D Game Design - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/aut-kodu-3d-game-design-class   Intro to Roblox Game Design - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumn-roblox-game-design   MinecraftEdu Fantasy Island - https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/autumnhalfterm-minecraftedu
Posted on: 1/10/2021

All Steamed Up by Mr. & Mrs. Crehan

Today we have a two part guest blog from Mr. & Mrs. Crehan, our Principals, who were inspired by all that they saw going on at school during STEAM Day this week.   STEAM Day is a highlight of the year, eagerly anticipated by pupils and staff alike. A day when the creativity which is at the heart of engineering is brought to life. And what a palette of activities the children enjoyed on Wednesday this week. Following an early morning rocket launch, the younger children programmed Beebot robots, made self opening flowers, created bubble pictures and herb brushes, and built (really quite scary) mini catapults. Meanwhile, over at the Upper School, the children grappled with logic, a Smarties maths challenge, health and safety and railway engineering problems, and created a variety of structures using balloons, newspaper, pasta and marshmallows. From the intricacy of creating flowers and butterflies using chromatography to the raising of a 200kg beam of wood using Neolithic technology, the children thoroughly enjoyed exploring and developing their engineering skills. The day was intended to be exciting and enjoyable for the children, but it was also designed to encourage skills which will be of value in their adult lives. We want our pupils to relish challenges, to work effectively in teams, to hypothesise and test out their ideas, to take risks, and to see failure as a step towards success. A day such as this helps children to 'think outside the box' and to dare to be different. It shows them that real life problems require a wide range of skills, collaboration and perseverance. To stimulate such thinking, the older children met online with a panel of four engineers (the fact that all four were women was significant) then considered how their own interests and attitudes might suit them to careers as diverse as Data Scientist, Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, Sustainability Engineer, Project Manager, Ergonomist and Design Engineer. Children are by nature curious and creative, and they respond fantastically to activities such as those which were provided on Wednesday. Their enthusiasm was palpable. But so was that of the staff and parents who were leading the activities. The adults involved clearly enjoyed unleashing their own creative energies and sharing their passion for learning with the pupils. The pupils relished the challenges set, responded eagerly and impressed us all with their ideas, teamwork and determination. We are so fortunate at St. Helen's College to have such committed, enthusiastic and expert staff, and such supportive parents. On behalf of the pupils, I would like to say a big thank you to the staff and parents whose creative genius made our STEAM Day such a success. Mr. Crehan   The word 'Enthusiasm' is derived from the Greek, meaning 'God within' and used to be applied to those in a divine frenzy i.e. passionate and inspired. The children on STEAM Day were eager to explain their activities with their eyes shining! Ideally when the children choose their direction in life they will do something that inspires them and that they are passionate about.The beauty of STEAM Day is that, being a combination of arts and science, it gives them the opportunity to use their skills in inventing and creating, which gives them a taste of what may lie ahead in the world of work. Just as Plato suggests that we lay out various tools of the different professions to very young children to watch where they naturally lean, our children at St. Helen's College are getting an early feel for many different ways to be creative with a sense of purpose; skills which may lead them to be passionate about a particular career when their time comes. They may also  be more aware of the many career possibilities out there, and perhaps create their own path (as one notable ex-pupil did by being passionate about robots while at school, and then going on to supply parts from Chinese factories to British companies from the comfort of his bedroom aged 14. He is now the CEO of a multimillion pound company. Or our daughter Lucy, who decided to teach in the best performing countries around the world, wrote a book, and is now advising countries on their education policies.) This is so important; the world when our current pupils finish their education will look very different from today. So just as the good fairies in Sleeping Beauty made wishes for the future of their princess, our wish is that the children of St. Helen's College will boldly create and innovate a career which they are passionate about, as that will make them fulfilled and purposeful for their whole lives. Mrs. Crehan
Posted on: 24/09/2021

Weekly News - Friday 24th September 2021

Satips Art Exhibition Well done to the eight St. Helen's College children whose artwork was chosen to become part of the Satips Art Exhibition this year. Their pieces were diverse and interesting and really do showcase the wonderful work going on in the art studio here at school. You can see their work, and the work of children from other schools, here. Phonics Evenings Thank you to those Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents who attended our Phonics training evenings for parents last week and this week. We hope that you found them useful in showing you how to support your children's learning.  Upcoming Events We are all very much looking forward to some exciting events next week. On Tuesday, Year 4 will enjoy an Ancient Greek Day. Wednesday is our annual STEAM Day for all children throughout the school. Years 2 to 6 will enjoy an online event with author Dara McAnulty on Thursday and our Upper School Harvest Festival will take place on Friday morning. Separate details about the author event, including details of how to pre-order Dara McAnulty's excellent book at a reduced price, have been emailed directly to parents of children in Years 2 to 6. The link to purchase the book is here. We also have a virtual Early Years Open Morning on Friday 1st October at 10.00 a.m. If you know anyone with a child under the age of 4 who might be interested in attending, please do direct them to register via the school website here. We are also looking forward to hearing the children play their instruments and/or sing for us next Friday afternoon (1st October) at the first Month End Music Recital of the academic year. We hope many parents will be able to join us for this. Parents' Association Committee Meeting There will be a PA Committee meeting in the Evans Hall at 6.30 p.m. on Thursday 30th September. All parents are welcome to attend. Flu Vaccination Forms If you have a child in a year group between Reception and Year 6 and you have not yet done so, please return your flu vaccination form as soon as possible.  Many thanks to the parents who have already returned the forms.
Posted on: 17/09/2021

Weekly News - Friday 17th September 2021

House/Sports Captains We are delighted to announce our new Year 6 House Captains and Sports Captains. They are: Windsor Girls' House Captain - Amber P Windsor Boys' House Captain - Antony F Cambria Girls' House Captain - Avaani M Cambria Boys' House Captain - Diyan C Cambria Boys' Sports Captain - Luka K Cambria Girls' Sports Captain - Kylah O Windsor Boys' Sports Captain - Adam K Windsor Girls' Sports Captain - Charlotte M Other positions of responsibility will be allocated next week. Harvest Festival Celebrations Due to our Covid protocols, we have adapted our Harvest Festival programme. Please read the following information carefully. As usual, we invite all children to bring in a harvest donation to help those in need in our local community. Please send in non-perishable hampers/baskets/contributions with your child on the dates shown below. These will be donated to the local Salvation Army.   The School Harvest Festivals will take place on the following dates/times: Upper School: 1st October (All Saints Church) 9 a.m.  Year 5 parents are invited to attend the Upper School Harvest Festival service, which will be led by Year 5 pupils.  Children at the Upper School who are not attending the service at All Saints Church will attend a Harvest assembly at school. Lower School Harvest Festivals Kingfishers: 5th October 8.45 a.m. (North Hillingdon Methodist Church) Owls: 6th October 8.45 a.m. (North Hillingdon Methodist Church) 1R: 7th October 8.45 a.m. (North Hillingdon Methodist Church) 1C: 8th October 8.45 a.m. (North Hillingdon Methodist Church) Wrens: 11th October 8.45 a.m. (North Hillingdon Methodist Church) Robins: 12th October 8.45 a.m. (North Hillingdon Methodist Church)  Parents are invited to attend their class performance and morning coffee will be served on each day in the Lower School Hall from 8.15 a.m for those attending the performance. Performances will take place in the Methodist Church. Chamber Choir Event We are pleased to announce that our Chamber Choir has their first external event in the school diary and will be attending the London Schools Concert 2021 on 14th November. This is a wonderful opportunity for our pupils to sing in the beautiful St. John's Smith Square and for parents to support the Children's Trust Charity and enjoy an incredible afternoon of musicality from top London Prep School choirs. In previous years, this has been a most enjoyable and rewarding event. We hope that many families will buy tickets to attend and support both the Children's Trust and our Chamber Choir. Please click here to book your tickets. Love of Learning We were delighted to see this beautiful piece of artwork, which Aanya B (Year 6) produced over the summer. Aanya has been inspired by her work in the art studio with Mrs. Pruce, and extended her learning further independently over the summer to produce this lovely wall mural.  One of the St. Helen's College aims is to inspire a lifelong love of learning and it is heartwarming to see this in action every day. Well done, Aanya, on both a super piece of work and on taking your learning forwards independently.     Alumni News We are thrilled to share some more exciting alumni news! Old Helenian Kareena Sharma has been accepted into Cambridge University to study Medicine at Christ's College.  Kareena attended St. Helen's College throughout her primary school career, leaving in 2014 to attend Beaconsfield High School for Girls. Her parents, who contacted us to share their wonderful news, sent this message:  "We would like to thank St. Helen's College for instilling the much needed core ethics and discipline required to make this achievement possible. Thank you all and please continue your amazing work to make this possible for more young children." We certainly will do so, and we are sure that we will be hearing from many current parents in the future about your children's successes too! Co-Curricular Clubs There are still some spaces available in our Year 5/Year 6 Karate Club which is held on Tuesday afternoons from 3.50 - 4.50 p.m. If your child would like to join this club, please contact Mr. Harrington at lharrington@sthelenscollege.com. The remaining places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Music Lessons We have a few spaces available for one-to-one music lessons in school for Years 2-6 on the following instruments:  Flute Singing  Violin  Piano Students who are already learning an instrument in school may have piano lessons on a Saturday morning but not at other times. Please note that spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Any additional applications will be added to the waiting list and you will be contacted once a space becomes available. If you wish to sign up for music lessons please email Mrs. Fawbert at cfawbert@sthelenscollege.com  Individual and Sibling Photographs Pupil photographs will be taken next week as follows: Monday 20th September - Individual Ducklings photographs (taken during the school day) Tuesday 21st September - Individual Nursery/Reception/Year 1 photographs (taken during the school day) Thursday 23rd September - Individual Year 2-6 photographs (taken during the school day) If you have two or more siblings at the school, and would like a sibling photograph taken, you should bring your children to either of the optional sibling sessions: Lower School (Methodist Church Hall) on Tuesday 21st September from 7.30 a.m. Upper School (Upper School Hall) on Thursday 21st September from 7.30 a.m. Please ensure that your children arrive at school on the day of their photograph in full, smart school uniform, with long hair neatly tied back. Teddy Talks Our next Teddy Talks are now ready for viewing! While these are aimed at parents of babies and pre-schoolers, we are sure that parents of older children will also enjoy and benefit from the advice offered by our school staff offer. Please do watch them and share them with any interested friends, neighbours and family. SHC Teddy Talks - Early Years Music (Claire Fawbert) SHC Teddy Talks - Emotional Regulation in Babies and Pre-Schoolers (Julia Brooker) SHC Teddy Talks - Supporting Healthy Eating (Soula Kokkinoplitis) SHC Teddy Talks - Making Time for Yourself (Steve Roche) SHC Teddy Talks - Managing the Arrival of a Sibling (Leo Harrington) SHC Teddy Talks - Digital Awareness (Shirley Drummond) SHC Teddy Talks - Non-Digital Games (Shirley Drummond) Sleep School is a very busy place and children can, understandably, get very tired. One of the best ways that parents can support children is to ensure that they get the right amount of good quality sleep for their age. The recommended daily sleep times for children are: Babies to 12 months - 12 to 16 hours (including naps) 1 to 2 years old - 11 to 14 hours (including naps) 3 to 5 years old - 10 to 13 hours (including naps) 6 to 12 years old - 9 to 12 hours 13 to 18 years old - 8 to 10 hours It is crucial that children have a calm, screen-free bedtime routine with a regular bedtime. Parents can find further information here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/how-much-sleep-do-kids-need/. Please do support your child to settle for bed calmly and at the same time each evening, and to get the correct amount of sleep for their age. It can be difficult to establish new routines, but the benefits to children (and adults) of doing so are huge.  PA Welcome Event for New Families - Change of Date The PA Welcome Event for new families has been postponed and will now take place on Saturday 6th November at the Evans Hall at Upper School.  Funtasia (After School Club) Bookings We have made some minor changes to our wraparound care procedures to ensure that they are as efficient as possible. Breakfast Club is running from 7.30 a.m. each morning as usual - please make your bookings through SchoolsBuddy as early as you can to secure your place. To avoid last minute surges in bookings and to ensure that we always maintain high staff-to-pupil ratios, we are asking that parents book their places for After School Club as early as possible, but at the latest by midday on the day that an after school Funtasia session is required. SchoolsBuddy bookings will close each day at 12.00 p.m. Mrs. Rooney administers the Funtasia booking system, so for any emergency requests past the cut-off point for bookings, please call the school office to speak with her about availability. Mrs. Lawrence will continue to manage Funtasia. We remind parents that, for pick up at the end of the day, there is a ten minute grace period before the children are put into a chargeable Funtasia session.  We thank you for your cooperation. Lunch Menu Next week, we are back to Week 1 of the lunch menu. Please note that there have been two minor changes to the menu (which do not affect allergens). Tuesday and Wednesday's menus have been swapped due to delivery dates. The chicken meatballs will now be turkey meatballs due to supplier availability. The updated menu (which will remain in place for the rest of the Autumn term) has been published to the website here. Natasha’s Law From 1st October, there is a substantial change to the law in terms of the food labelling requirements for pre-packaged goods for direct sale. This change requires all pre-packaged goods to be fully labelled with both allergen information and the individual ingredients of each item offered for sale. The law is also known as Natasha’s Law. Our catering partner, Accent Catering, make all their pre-packaged goods fresh everyday on site. During the last few weeks of the summer term, they were busy training their teams and introducing new recipes, packaging and labelling systems to ensure that they are fully prepared to comply with these new regulations. This affects all sandwiches, bread products, pre-wrapped bakery goods, salad boxes and in fact, any food item that is offered in a sealed package or container. This term, pupils will see new products in new packaging and new labelling. The recipes have been developed to meet the needs of most of our pupils but if your son or daughter cannot find what they are looking for, they only need to ask one of the catering team who will be delighted to assist them. The extensive allergen controls remain in place but the team remain committed to providing special diets and requirements on request, if they are not covered by the core menu.
Posted on: 17/09/2021

Community Matters by Mrs. Smith

  I have been a part of the St. Helen’s College community for almost 12 years now. Throughout that time, I have found it to be a vibrant, happy, kind community of pupils, parents and staff and I feel very lucky to work in such an inspiring and friendly place.   It is interesting that the characteristics of our community remain constant, even though its members change annually, as new parents and children join the school and families who have been with the school many years move on. I am sure that the reason for this is that our community has such strong and enduring shared values: love, harmony, spirituality, self-awareness and growth. Over the last year and a half, as we have negotiated our way through the pandemic, the word ‘community’ has taken on even greater, and perhaps wider, meaning. We have all become more aware that humanity is one global community, facing the same problems all over the world. We have, too, become more aware of our local communities: of the pressures and challenges on our healthcare system and its staff, on our education system and on parents and young people. It is this increased awareness, perhaps, that has led us here at St. Helen’s College to reflect on how we can, as a school, contribute more to our local and global community. Our values are not only inward-looking, focussed on our own community; they are also outward-looking, and should enable us to make a difference to the lives of others outside of our school gates.  We have, for some time, been concerned at the lack of support networks available for new parents in the first few years of their children’s lives and we are taking steps to make a positive contribution in this area. Through our pre-school parenting programme, we are making advice and support available, free of charge, to parents in our local community and further afield, whether their child is to join St. Helen’s College or not. We are doing this through our programme of Teddy Talks and through offering free baby/toddler classes here at St. Helen’s College. The willingness of our staff to be involved in this project is a testament to their core values. We all feel the same desire to help and support those at the coalface of parenting, so that their babies and young children may have the very best experience possible. Seven new Teddy Talks have recently been filmed and added to the website. You can watch them by following these links: SHC Teddy Talks - Early Years Music (Claire Fawbert) SHC Teddy Talks - Emotional Regulation in Babies and Pre-Schoolers (Julia Brooker) SHC Teddy Talks - Supporting Healthy Eating (Soula Kokkinoplitis) SHC Teddy Talks - Making Time for Yourself (Steve Roche) SHC Teddy Talks - Managing the Arrival of a Sibling (Leo Harrington) SHC Teddy Talks - Digital Awareness (Shirley Drummond) SHC Teddy Talks - Non-Digital Games (Shirley Drummond) In addition, Mrs. McLaughlin’s Mother/Baby Mindfulness classes are now running at school on Wednesday mornings, with the aim of supporting mums to support their babies. These classes are suitable for babies from about six weeks old to crawling, so if you know anyone with a child of the right age, do encourage them to sign up for a set of six classes by contacting me at susmith@sthelenscollege.com. We are currently working on adding other classes to the programme. The new St. Helen’s College Trust will be able to provide financial support to local organisations and/or families in order to enhance parents’ and children’s experiences, too. Mrs. Drummond, Mr. Sellu (an ex-St. Helen’s College parent) and I are the three founding Trustees of this Charitable Trust, which is a separate legal entity from the school itself. We have been working over the summer to establish and agree the Trust’s aims and principles, write our Governing Document, and establish our Charity bank account, as well as to identify potential income sources for the Trust. Our next steps will be to begin promoting the Trust to potential beneficiaries in the local area, as well as driving fundraising to add to its funds, so that we are able to make meaningful donations to support children and their parents/carers in our community. We are delighted that our school community will be able to contribute, through the Trust, to our wider local community, providing support for local families when they need it most. We hope to arrange a fundraising event during the current academic year and are currently considering hosting an Auction of Promises to which current St. Helen’s College families would be invited. We very much hope that you will consider attending such an event to help to raise funds for this cause. The Trust exists to promote the advancement of children’s education and all-round development in the Hillingdon/Uxbridge local community. Its stated aims are to: provide, enrich and extend educational and other opportunities for children from birth and throughout their primary education, and  provide support, advice and guidance for their parents and/or carers. We are slowly building up funds for the Trust and we hope to invite applications from potential beneficiaries from January onwards. At first, the grants we will be able to make will be fairly small; in time, we hope that these will increase in size. Everything has to start somewhere! We are planning to recruit more Trustees for the SHC Trust as time moves on, and are currently interested in hearing from anyone who has Charity or Fundraising experience and expertise. Please do get in touch if you have expertise in this area and are interested in becoming involved, either as a Trustee or adviser: susmith@sthelenscollege.com. We believe that the pre-school parenting programme and the SHC Trust will enable the school community to make an increasingly meaningful contribution to the local community. We are open to any other ideas of ways in which we can support parents and children in the local community; please do let us know if you think of any! Mrs. Smith

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