Weekly News - Friday 26th January 2018

Posted on: 26/01/2018

Thank you to all of the parents who attended our reading meetings this week and showed such energy and enthusiasm. Reading is such a vital area of the children's development and we our delighted to have such strong parental support with home reading. Here are three links to the materials used for the meetings.

Lower School presentation (phonics and alphabetic code) 

Reading at Home presentation

Book Talk question slips

If you have any queries about reading at home or school, please contact your child's form teacher in the first instance. You may also contact Mr. McLaughlin, our Head of English, at amclaughlin@sthelenscollege.com

Assemblies This Week

1S reminded us all of the importance of looking after our world in their class assembly this week, with a delightful re-enactment of the the Old Testament story of 'Noah's Ark'. Each pupil played their part with such enthusiasm and passion.  Thank you to the children for a heartwarming performance.

Another superb assembly came today from 4A, who highlighted the character trait of 'self-control'. Mrs. Drummond was honoured to attend a preview performance on Thursday, when pupils also reflected on how they were aware that they are becoming more self aware and recognised how they have matured in Year 4 and developed more 'self-control'. Well done everyone!

Do visit the Galleries page to see photographs of the assemblies.

Heartstart Training

Our annual Heartstart training for pupils from Reception to Year 6 was completed last week in a series of workshops. Each year pupils are taught a progressive range of skills so that they know what to do in a medical emergency. Basic first aid skills are taught including how to call 999 and what to do if someone is unconscious, choking, has a serious bleed, stroke, heart attack or cardiac arrest. We hope your children have shared some of the skills they have learnt with you and we encourage parents to ask your children to demonstrate what they would do by acting it out. This is a good way for them to embed their skills and train others at home too. 

Burns Supper

Thank you to Soula and her staff for embracing 'Burns Night' with the Middle and Upper School pupils who were all able to sample some Scottish fayre. Well done to those children and adults who stepped out of their comfort zone to taste haggis for the very first time (both meat and vegetarian were on offer).  Many children asked if they could purchase this outside of school they enjoyed it so much! We shall not promote any individual supermarket but yes....most supermarkets will stock it in the sausage/bacon isle! Happy haggis hunting!

Staff news

We welcome Miss Davies back to Lower School on Monday after her maternity leave. Miss Davies will be in school for three days each week and we are delighted that Mrs. Meeran will remain with us for the other two days to job share with Miss Davies.  

Class Representatives

We would like to remind parents of the role of the class representatives. Their role is twofold: to disseminate information from the School or the PA committee to the class parents, and to pass on any collective feedback from parents to the School or to the PA committee. The School has an ‘open door’ policy and all parents are asked to direct queries, in the first instance, to their class teacher. This will usually be the fastest and most direct way for queries to be answered or concerns addressed. If the class teacher is unable to help, he or she will refer parents to the appropriate member of the SLT or to Mrs. Drummond. The Parents’ Forum convened only once each term, and so did not allow for immediate discussion of any issues; we are finding that the new system has been embraced by parents throughout the school and is working well. 

Uniform 2018-19

The uniform list for 2018-19 has now been finalised and published. You can access a copy here. Please note that all children should return to school in September wearing full winter uniform from now on.

There are two changes to items on the uniform list.

Firstly, the girls' winter skirt has been updated. The new green skirt is a one-piece skirt with a flat front and drop-pleated back; it should be easier to wash and dry for parents, as well as holding its shape better and providing a more comfortable fit for all girls. The green skirt will be extended to Nursery children so that parents may continue to use their Nursery skirt into Reception if appropriate. We are sure you will agree that the new style skirt represents an improvement on the old style, fully pleated skirt. The old style skirt is being discontinued and the tunic, which is harder for the girls to get on and off, is also being discontinued. This will streamline the girls’ uniform list and ensure that all girls will have a uniform appearance, as the boys do. Although we are sure that most parents will want to adopt the new skirt as soon as possible, there will be a year’s grace period so that parents may make use of uniform already purchased.

The 3-in-1 green coat (which was already part of the uniform list) is being introduced as a compulsory item, in response to many requests over the years from parents, both via the Parents’ Forum and in informal discussions, for a uniform coat for all. The School has consulted with Pullen’s over the last two years and has looked at many different samples of coats. We know that parents felt strongly that a unisex coat would be the best solution, so that parents could pass the coat down to siblings of either gender. We are mindful of the cost of uniform and the selected 3-in-1 coat is almost half the price of the most economical duffle coat we could source. Its introduction will also allow us to discontinue the PE fleece as a separate item, which will help to minimise costs for parents. We anticipate that parents will separate the fleece from the outer shell of the coat and use the outer shell as a day-to-day school coat, keeping the fleece with the PE/Games kit. Children should be warm enough in full winter uniform (long-sleeved shirt, jumper/cardigan, blazer, coat, hat, scarf and gloves), but of course they may also use the fleece lining as part of the winter coat if needed in extremely inclement weather.

As ever, we thank you for your support as these changes are introduced.

Nursery Hours

Following the launch of our full time Kindergarten, Ducklings, there is now hardly any demand for part time places in the Nursery at 3+, with parents opting to send children for the full school day. We will therefore be discontinuing the part time option for Nursery attendance and will be requiring all children in future intakes to accept places on a full time (Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.) basis. Please contact Mrs. Smith if you have any queries about admissions. 

Sports News: Platinum Award, Borough Gymnastics & Tickets to Women's FA Cup Final

At the Borough Gymnastics competition this week, Miss Walker was presented with the Platinum School Games Award.  The award was achieved after five consecutive years of achieving the School Games Gold Award. We had made a video submission from our Sports Captains showcasing how sport, competition and leadership skills are developed at St. Helen's College. Of the 24,000 schools in the UK only 104 schools have been award the Platinum Award, with 24 schools in London receiving the award and only two in Hillingdon!  We are delighted that is has been recognised that our curriculum and co-curriculum provision for sport is of the highest quality nationally. 

This highly prestigious award has only been achieved because of the whole school community support of sport: parents transporting pupils and cheering teams on, pupils committing to trying their best in sport and staff delivering high quality PE/Games lessons, running clubs and taking teams to competitions. Well done everyone! 

This week pupils from Years 3/4 and Years 5/6 took part in the School Games Borough Gymnastics Competition held at Botwell Green Leisure Centre. Over the past month the children have been working hard, learning floor and body management routines and vaults in order to compete. The children were judged by a panel of judges on each apparatus just like at the Olympics. In a very high standard competition it came down to a couple of marks here and there to decide the overall placing. Our teams gave a very good account of themselves, improving through rounds. Both our Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 teams finished in 7th place in the competition with a score of 96.2 and 103.8. Well done to team members Harry J, Daniel G-J, Catherine L, Lily A, Zara S-P, Ionie M, Lincoln B and Ethan V-B.  Examples of their efforts can be seen on the Galleries page.

The FA are offering discounted tickets for the Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday 5th May for school groups. Standard tickets are available at £15 for adults (with under-16s free) and if parents can organise a group of twelve or more then the adult tickets become just £7.50 each. If groups book before 31st January then you will also have the opportunity to win additional experiences such as free coach travel to the game, a visit from the Women's FA Cup trophy to the school and other experiences. Tickets can be booked at https://ticketing.thefa.com/.  We do hope many of you will choose to attend.

Holiday Club

The booking form for the February half term Holiday Club has been posted to the School Documents page of the website. Please note that the deadline for booking places is Friday 2nd February.

Traffic Delays

Most parents are no doubt already aware of the works being carried out along Harlington Road. Diversions are in place via Lees Road, Uxbridge Road and Harlington Road and the London Borough of Hillingdon have indicated that the road closure is likely to continue until at least 16th February. We know that this is affecting many of your journeys to school and will continue to do so.

When pupils arrive late at school, this can disrupt the registration session and the first lesson for all of their class. Please do allow extra time for your journey while the road closure is in place, and/or use alternative routes where possible. Of course we understand that lateness is occasionally unavoidable because of unforeseen heavy traffic, but we hope that, with forewarning and planning, lateness may be avoided during this inconvenient, although essential, road closure.

We thank you for your support.