School History & Old Helenians

9846132St. Helen’s College was founded in 1924 as a private school for girls aged 4 to 16.  The photo on the right was taken during that period, and kindly donated by a pupil of that 1928 class.

The original school building at 281 Long Lane was bombed during World War II, and Mrs. Hempstead, who by this time had succeeded the founding Heads, moved the school to 223 Long Lane where lessons continued during the war years. 

The school moved to its present site in Parkway in 1948, began to admit boys and restricted the age of pupils to 11. Following her retirement, Mrs. Hempstead followed the progress of the school with interest until her death, at the grand age of 103, in 2010.

Mrs. Evans took over as Headmistress in 1970, and was succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. Crehan, the current owners, in 1987. Mrs. Crehan is the daughter of Mrs. Evans, so the change of Head saw the school stay within the family. In 2016, Mr. and Mrs. Crehan moved into new roles as Principals/Governors and the current Head, Mrs. Drummond, was appointed. In 2019, the Governing Body was expanded to include Mr. Daniel Crehan and Mr. Joseph Crehan, two of Mr. and Mrs. Crehan's children, and Mrs. Linda Beckett.

The Lower School was established in Long Lane in 1999, and the Upper School facilities have been developed gradually over the last ten years. Ducklings Kindergarten, a setting for 2-3 year olds, was established in January 2017. There are now approximately 380 pupils at the school.


I feel that the school strives to improve all the time 

A parent


Old Helenians

Lasting friendships flourish at St. Helen’s College and ex-pupils and their families retain strong links with each other and with the school. 

Each year, many Old Helenians return to school to support events such as Sports Day, the Summer Fete and the Year 6 musical at the Compass Theatre. 

Many have enrolled their own children to St. Helen’s College and links with some families stretch back over decades. Once a member of the St. Helen’s College family, always a member!

If you are an ex-pupil or an ex-staff member and would like to register with the Old Helenians Association, we would be delighted to hear from you! Please contact us at oldhelenians@sthelenscollege.com or telephone us on 01895 234371. Old Helenians receive news from the school and are invited back to reunion events.

News

Posted on: 18/09/2020

Weekly News - Friday 18th September 2020

Chamber Choir Re-Starts! We are delighted that we will be able to re-start Chamber Choir rehearsals shortly, with an adapted timetable to allow children to practise in their year group bubbles. Remote Chamber Choir will start from next week, with lyrics and backing tracks put onto Google Classroom each week for the children to learn.  Mrs. Fawbert, our new Director of Music, will then begin to lead in-person rehearsals on Friday mornings from 8 - 8:30 a.m. in the Upper School Hall, as follows: Friday 2nd October  for Year 6 pupils  Friday 9th October for Year 5 pupils Friday 16th October for Year 4 pupils. Rehearsals will then continue after half term.  Harvest Festivals COVID restrictions do not allow us to put on Harvest Festival assemblies at Lower School or our Upper School Harvest Festival church service in the way that we usually would. We know that parents, pupils and staff will still wish to make donations of food items at Harvest time to support those in the local community who do not have enough to eat. Hillingdon has a website for Food Banks which highlights where to donate food and when, which you can see here: https://hillingdon.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/ Year 5 will be leading our Harvest assembly and we will be sharing further information about this in due course. Ducklings Kindergarten Our youngest children have been very busy this week building their relationships with each other and exploring their world through play and more focussed sessions, all carefully planned and linked to the seven areas of learning and development. You can see photographs of them enjoying themselves on our Galleries page here. Individual Pupil Photographs Individual pupil photographs will be taken by Tempest on:  Monday 21st September (Ducklings) Tuesday 22nd September (Nursery, Reception and Year 1) Friday 25th September (Years 2-6) Please ensure that your child attends school looking smart in their full school uniform, including blazers for Upper School children, on the day of their photograph.  We are sorry that, due to COVID restrictions, it will not be possible for sibling photographs to be taken at school this year. Welfare, Child Safety and Uniform Reminders Please note that, if you feel the need to give your child Calpol or any similar paracetamol based product in the morning, you should not send him/her into school. These products mask symptoms, including but not limited to high temperatures, which is why it is not appropriate to send a child to school after taking such medicines. If your child cycles or scoots to school, please ensure that they wear a suitable protective helmet. Girls who are currently wearing summer uniform should ensure that what they are wearing complies with the uniform list. Summer dresses should be worn with white socks only and never with tights. Modesty shorts may be worn under the summer dress for lunchtime physical activity (e.g. for girls who are likely to cartwheel!). These must not be visible when worn under the dress. Leggings and other long-leg coverings are not permitted. Drop and Go  Year 2 children may now use drop and go/pick up and go on Parkway, and morning drop and go on Long Lane. If you are dropping off at 227, you must not leave your child until there is a member of staff available to see them safely into school. Message from the Parents' Association On behalf of the PA Committee I would like to convey a huge warm welcome to the St. Helen's College new parents. We hope that you have all settled well into school life and that the children are enjoying their time at St. Helen’s College so far. This Saturday the PA team would have hosted the annual welcome event we hold for new parents, serving delicious fresh homemade cakes, sandwiches, tea and coffee. For the last few years we have had great weather so we are able to sit outside in the garden, mingle and chat. Unfortunately this year we have had to cancel this event due to the current situation we face. Many other events have also been cancelled this year but we hope next year we may be able once again to hold the PA Summer Fete, children’s Christmas parties and co-ordinate other activities for parents and students. The main purpose of such events is to bring the St. Helen’s College community together; however, some events that we host do generate funds and these funds are used to buy things that can enhance our children’s experience at school. This has included things like Camelot at Lower School and the tree house and games tables at Upper School. Those parents who are part of the PA Committee and wider PA Class Rep team really enjoy the role and are proud to make such an impact in our children’s experience here at St. Helen’s. However, time is a precious resource that we are sadly lacking, so we are always really grateful for any support that you can give. Please do look out for future updates on any events we plan to hold, what support is required and how you can get involved. If you have any suggestions then please do get in touch, we are always looking for fresh ideas to help our children get the best out of this fantastic school. If you would like to get involved please contact us at pa@sthelenscollege.com. Mrs. Jamani, PA Chair
Posted on: 18/09/2020

Caring

  CARING (Adjective. feeling or showing care and compassion) The value which we are focussing on around school at the moment is ‘Caring’ and I am so proud of the whole school community as I observe such incredible examples of ‘care’ from the children, staff and parents. Over the past two weeks with our return to school there really has been an abundance of ‘care’, from the carefully planned and staggered gradual settling in of our very youngest new Helenians to the care shown by children welcoming new pupils joining existing classes, and the care shown by teachers as they lovingly and thoughtfully establish relationships and routines with their new classes. As you know,  part of our school motto,  written by the children, is ‘Care for each other’ and I will repeat also the wise saying Mr. Crehan quoted in his blog last week: ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.  I have actually been quite overwhelmed since the start of term at how our ‘village’ is coming together to support each other with such kindness and loving care. We have 79 new children, from Ducklings through to Year 5,  who have just started at St. Helen’s College, and I trust that all of our new families feel that they have received a warm welcome and feel cared for by everyone: staff, pupils and ‘older’ parents alike. If you are one of our new families, we look forward to many happy and fruitful years as a community, working together to care for your precious children and develop them into caring, responsible and loving members of our school and the wider community. The fact that we all show care ourselves is so important. Children learn best by example and it is every parent and educator's responsibility to raise caring children. Research in human development shows that the seeds of empathy, caring and compassion are present from early childhood but our children need adults to help them throughout their childhood to nurture and develop these virtues. We can do so by leading, suggesting or ‘instructing’, but surely the most effective way is by modelling: showing our children that we care, and that caring is rewarding and generates happiness and security. We need to cultivate children’s concern for others, partly because fundamentally it is the right thing to do, but also because when children can empathise with and take responsibility for others, they are likely to be happier and more successful. They will have better relationships their entire lives, and strong relationships are a key ingredient of happiness. In today’s workplace, success often depends on collaborating effectively with others, and children who are empathic and socially aware are also better collaborators - and likely to make better friends! As your children move through St. Helen’s College and they develop these key virtues, our young learners apply them every day - in the playground, in the classroom and at home.  It is heartwarming for me to take a virtual ‘learning walk’ around Google Classroom and pop into the classes - collaboration and care is evident in abundance as the pupils and staff question, support and challenge each other in their learning with the utmost respect and care for each other. Feedback is given, additional challenges are set (pupils and teachers) and the sense of belonging and pride in these virtual classrooms is phenomenal.  As a Head, I never envisaged the day where I would be able to take a virtual tour of the school and I feel such a sense of pride in the progress and outcomes of our pupils.  I am, however, grateful for now that Google Classroom has returned to its usual place as our flipped learning platform for homework (or home learning as I like to call it - the adults go to ‘work’!). There is no doubt that it is wonderful that face to face teaching has returned for our pupils, and that it is easier and more natural to show in person the care that is such an important part of the teaching/learning relationship.   Our current Year 6 pupils are stepping up to their new positions of responsibility and showing real care for others as the oldest pupils in the school; they should feel very proud of themselves. They are also preparing to sit the 11+ examinations which were postponed from early in the term and I would like to thank all the parents and teachers for the care they are giving the children as they approach this milestone in their educational journey. Our Year 6 pupils are superb ambassadors for St. Helen’s College and it is the exceptional care that they have received over the years which has enabled them to blossom into such inspirational young people: they are budding lifelong learners who contribute greatly to our school community and beyond. Finally, a word about self-care. Through our focus on Mindfulness, philosophy and positive psychology, as well as our wider PSHCE programme, we teach children that caring for themselves is one of the most important things they can do. As a school, we believe that when a child feels loved and valued, they are best able to learn and achieve their full potential. This is why school staff and parents show our children such exceptional care, but it is important to recognise that a significant part of feeling loved and valued is loving and valuing ourselves, too. So I encourage you to take care not only of your children but of yourselves and, in doing so, to set another excellent example for them. In this busy, busy world of full time jobs, parenting and caring for others, we can lose sight of how important it is to look after ourselves. You might like to re-visit the Self-Care September calendar from Action for Happiness, which has some great tips for self-care this month.  Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 11/09/2020

Weekly News - Friday 11th September 2020

Our first full school week has been a resounding success! Well done to all our new Ducklings and Nursery children, parents and staff. All of the children seem so happy and settled, learning new routines and making new friends. Mrs. Drummond was welcomed into the Ducklings garden this afternoon (socially distanced of course!) and enjoyed meeting the newest, youngest members of the school community. It is a credit to the staff and parents that the children are already so comfortable in their new surroundings. Sadly, the PA will be unable to run their usual 'Welcome Event' for new joiners and their families this year. However, we hope that all new families have now made contact with their PA class rep and feel welcomed by the parent body. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at all. Art This week we have launched our official St. Helen's College Art Instagram account. Please follow us to see examples of the lovely artwork being produced around the school! Just go to Instagram and follow St. Helen's College Art.  Mrs. Pruce has also introduced 'Artist of the Week' at Upper School. The 'Artist of the Week' will be announced every Friday in assembly. If you do have a budding young artist, you might be interested to know that Mini Monets Art Club are soon re-opening their doors to run children's art classes once more. You can find full details here. Language Teaching We have reviewed some areas of our curriculum for this academic year and have made some adjustments to our languages teaching programme. Pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 will now focus on French as the main language, with Latin being introduced at Year 5 and continued into Year 6. We hope to be able to offer a Spanish Club to those pupils who would like to continue with Spanish beyond Year 3 and further details of co-curricular clubs will be shared in due course. Pupils lower down the school will continue to be taught Spanish up to the end of Year 3. Mr. Aguiar, our Spanish teacher, is absent from school but we are delighted that Mrs. Rance will be teaching Spanish to the children in his absence. Year 6 Senior Team We are delighted to announce our new Year 6 pupil leadership team for this academic year. Head Girl - Jena J Head Boy - Zail T Deputy Head Girl - Maya T Deputy Head Boy - Samir H Congratulations to all of the other Year 6 pupils who stood for the positions - it was an incredibly difficult decision as they all were strong candidates and superb ambassadors of the school. Hustings and voting will take place next week for the positions of House Captains and Sports Captains. Autumn Term Welfare Newsletter Please take the time to read the Autumn Term newsletter from Mrs. Wilcock, the school Welfare Officer. This contains important information about medication, asthma, flu vaccinations and more. Raising Emotionally Strong Children - Parental EQ App We would like to draw your attention to this new app which has been recently developed and launched by a group of experts, drawing from the fields of child development, behaviour psychology and clinical psychology. As parents, we all need as much help as possible and ultimately we all want to be the best parents possible to enable our children to flourish. This app has been designed to help parents be more self-aware, confident and connected with their children.  Do take a look at the app and if you decide to download it we would love to hear your feedback. Please follow this link for further information: https://parentaleq.com/ Upper School Arrivals and Pick Ups Thank you to all parents for adhering to the dedicated arrival time. We would like to remind all Upper School parents that children in Years 4-6 must not be dropped off prior to 8.15 a.m., unless they are with a younger sibling. Weather Next week we are due to have unusually hot weather. Please ensure that your child/ren come to school with sun cream applied prior to arrival and that they have their sun hats. School Photos Individual pupil photographs will be taken by Tempest on:  Monday 21st September (Ducklings) Tuesday 22nd September (Nursery, Reception and Year 1) Friday 25th September (Years 2-6) Please ensure that your child attends school looking smart in their full school uniform on the day of their photograph.  We are sorry that, due to COVID restrictions, it will not be possible for sibling photographs to be taken at school this year.  
Posted on: 11/09/2020

Back To School

It is so good to see all of the children and staff back at school! There is a real buzz of enthusiasm in the classrooms, and the sound of children’s laughter in the playground is a delight.Last term the children showed great resilience and determination with their learning and engaged fully with the online lessons and activities, but they are clearly thrilled to be back at school with all of their friends and teachers. I am not surprised. A good school is, if you will excuse a cliché, a ‘home from home’. And if I may employ another wise saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Children benefit enormously from the variety of interactions and mutual love that a small community can provide, whether it be an extended family, a close, local community or a school. Nowadays, with smaller families (my parents’ Irish country background was very different), and less cohesive neighbourhood communities, school, for most children, provides a daily multiplicity of human interaction which educates, enriches and enlivens. Not so long ago, ‘BC’, some forward thinking educational pundits argued that schools would gradually become obsolete. A brave new world of online classrooms and remote teaching would replace the existing arrangements, eliminating wasteful practices such as the school run and playtimes. A recent review of over 1500 studies carried out by academics at the University of Dundee concluded that online and blended learning are often more effective than traditional instruction. Certainly, last term’s lockdown experience showed us the enormous value of communication technology, and proved that pupil learning and well-being could be promoted very effectively remotely by skilled teachers using advanced online methods. But I am sure that every parent, pupil and teacher will agree with me that, while online use of IT can be used to support learning really well as part of a blended learning experience, actually being at school makes all the difference. We are social creatures, and learning is a social, interactive process which is built upon strong relationships. It is very difficult to build and sustain such relationships online, and with the best will in the world they can never match the quality of face to face interactions, which foster friendship, trust and love. A huge amount of learning takes place during playtimes, working together in sports teams, choirs and clubs, through taking on positions of responsibilities, and by observing respected role models such as staff and senior pupils.  Covid-19 continues to constrain us, but the most important step has been taken – everybody is back at school. I know that my colleagues on the staff are totally committed to promoting your children’s education in the broadest sense to the very best of their ability, and that your children will flourish under their loving guidance. Mr. Crehan
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