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. In 2016, Mr. and Mrs. Crehan moved into new roles as Principals and the current Head, Mrs. Drummond, was appointed.

The Lower School was established in Long Lane in 1999, and the Upper School facilities have been developed gradually over the last ten years. There are now approximately 350 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 complete the form below or telephone us on 01895 234371. Old Helenians receive news from the school and are invited back to reunion events.


Posted on: 14/09/2018

Weekly News - Friday 14th September 2018

It has been an incredible first week back for the pupils at all three sites. It is wonderful to see how quickly our Ducklings children have settled in to their new 'nest'! There was much excitement as our Lower School children entered their new-look school on Monday morning. They have now all explored their new classrooms and are making the most of the amazing new facilities. The grand opening will be after half term and we will finalise dates as soon as possible. Upper School children have had a very busy week meeting their new teachers and settling into new routines. I have admired how they are responding to the changes and rising to new challenges. Our Year 6 pupils have had an intense start to the new academic year with their 11+ examinations and we look forward to seeing them all next week for a 'normal' school week. PA Welcome Event For New Parents The PA Welcome Event for parents who are new to the school will now take place next Saturday, 22nd September, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in The Evans Hall. We hope to see all our new families there. STEAM Day - Friday 21st September Preparations are well underway for our exciting STEAM Day next Friday. Thank you to all parents who have offered to run or assist with the workshops. If there are any Upper School parents who would still like to assist, please email Mr. Tovell at Tog Day The school was a riot of colour today as we had our first Tog Day of the year, in support of Cancer Research UK's Relay for Life. Many thanks to you all for your generosity in supporting this charity. We will announce the total raised in due course. It has been heartwarming this week to hear from families whose children have requested donations towards the charity instead of birthday presents. What incredibly aware and kind-hearted children we have here! Co-Curricular Activities - Autumn Term (Reception to Year 6) We are pleased to announce that our new online booking system goes live for parents today. The school has partnered with SchoolsBuddy to provide this system, which will allow parents to make bookings for school events and activities online. Today, parents of children in Reception to Year 6 will receive an activation email. Please follow the link in the email to activate your account, and then follow the instructions on the SchoolsBuddy screen to book your Co-Curricular Activities for this term. The booking system allows you to choose up to three activities per session using a preference system. Once parents have added their preferences and the closing date for bookings has passed, the system will automatically allocate as many first choice clubs as it can. Next week, parents will receive an email confirming which clubs your child has been allocated and you will then need to pay online, through SchoolsBuddy, in order to confirm your child's place. Please do also download the SchoolsBuddy app when you are prompted to do so. Parents with children in Ducklings and Nursery will receive their SchoolsBuddy activation email early next week when bookings will also open for our upcoming Internet Safety evening. We know that the new system will take a little getting used to, but we are confident that it will be user-friendly for parents and will prove very useful in the long term. Since we will be using SchoolsBuddy for all bookings (including parents' evenings, play/event ticket bookings and, eventually, wraparound care), it is crucial that all parents activate their account and become familiar with the system. If you experience any difficulties in using SchoolsBuddy, please telephone or visit the school office and staff will be pleased to help. Please note that school staff will not be able to make bookings on your behalf. Summer Schools A super time was had by over 70 pupils at our two summer schools a few weeks back in August. At Upper School, the younger pupils were thrilled to experience the delights of having a petting zoo visit for the day, as well as enjoying many creative and active activities throughout the week's theme of 'On The Farm'. Our older pupils got their thrills in adventurous activities on water and land whilst based at Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre for the week. Kayaking, abseiling, caving, fencing and karting were just a few of the adrenaline-fuelled activities they did during the week. Friday was fancy dress day and we saw some amazing 'Under the Sea' themed costumes. Photographs of both our summer schools can be seen in the gallery here.  Please note a number of items were left at HOAC. These have been returned to school and can be found in lost property. Meet The Teacher Evenings It was lovely to see so many parents attend the Year 3/Year 6 Meet The Teacher evening last night. I am sure you found the meeting informative. We look forward to meeting with the Year 4 and Year 5 parents next Thursday. School Bus Our new school bus service is now running daily from Eastcote through Ruislip and Ickenham to school. Children in Years 2 to 6 are welcome to book onto the bus for odd days or whole weeks. Please telephone the school office or complete the booking form on the School Documents page if you would like to book onto the bus. School Uniform We already have rather a large amount of lost property, much of it unnamed. Please do check the lost property areas at both Lower School and Upper School and please remember to name every item your child wears or brings to school. Table Etiquette I am sure that you have heard from the children the drive that we are having at school on 'routines'. One of our focus areas is developing the children's lunchtime etiquette and table manners. Please do reinforce this at home as the children are developing their knife and fork skills and awareness of table etiquette.
Posted on: 14/09/2018

Head's Blog - The Power Of Everyday Heroes

At our very first staff meeting last week, all employees of St. Helen’s College were reminded of how privileged we all are to spend our working days in an environment where we can have such a positive impact on your children. Everyone who works in an educational setting is a hero! Many of us are not even aware that we have these superpower ‘hero’ qualities. But to many children they see the adults who surround them, care for them, listen to them each day as their heroes. The children may not be aware of the impact that the adults are having upon them and it may not be until later life when they reflect on their life journey that these everyday heroes will be recalled. The message which reverberated around the room was about being human first….our roles as teacher, TALA, SMSA, secretary, groundsman, school patrol..these roles come second! I showed the staff a very moving and poignant TedEx talk by a friend of mine, a teacher who has had a very difficult and moving life journey but now speaks to audiences about ‘The Power of Everyday Heroes’. You can find her talk on Youtube under Jaz Ampaw-Farr/Ted-Ex Norwich. Jaz is a teacher and an excellent literacy trainer but a few years ago, having spoken to audiences about how to improve literacy in the classroom, she decided to reveal her story. As I stood with a very nervous Jaz backstage at ‘Teachmeet London’ she was so apprehensive about whether she should deliver her presentation, which was most certainly nothing to do with phonics and literacy. The impact Jaz’s talk had on the audience that day took her to TedEx Norwich; her message is strong and heartfelt. We will email parents the link to the video of her talk, which contains sensitive material and is not suitable for children. It only lasts 10 minutes, but this is 10 minutes which may make you step back from your role in your workplace, to remember that ultimately if we can all be human first we may have the greatest and most positive impact on others. I speak on behalf of all the staff when I say that we are so proud of our St. Helen’s College community. The relationships we have with our pupils and parents are unique and we look forward to a very successful and happy academic year with your precious children.   Mrs. Drummond  
Posted on: 7/09/2018

Weekly News - Friday 7th September 2018

A very warm welcome to all our pupils, parents and staff and a special welcome to all new members of our St. Helen's College community. I trust you have all had a wonderful summer and that the children are all excited for Monday morning! We have had a busy summer here at school with the very well attended Holiday Club and Summer Schools - it was so lovely to see so many of the children throughout the summer having fun in what has been the most glorious weather. Lower School Building Project As you are aware, the Lower School project was underway at the very beginning of the holiday! Our contractors, along with Mr. Smith and Mr. Rizzo, have been exceptionally busy over the summer and our new state of the art Nursery and Reception buildings will be ready to welcome the children on Monday. I am sure that you will all be impressed with our new EYFS facilities and the children will benefit hugely from their brand new, first class environment. The staff have been working hard in order to prepare the learning environments and it has been like Christmas Day unpacking all the beautiful new furniture and resources. As with many building projects we have a few minor snagging points which we will be resolving, thus we do not intend to have our 'Grand Opening' on Friday 14th September. We will publish a new date in due course when we are ready to showcase our pièce de résistance to the whole community.  Staff News Our new staff are very excited to meet the children next week: we welcome Miss Joiner (1J), Mr. Campos (Spanish), Miss Ward (Lower School PE) and Miss Heath (US Teaching and Learning Assistant). Miss Hill will be joining Ducklings and Mrs. Coyle returns to Lower School to assist in Reception.  Mrs. Stone, our Breakfast Club assistant, underwent hip surgery over the summer and is making a good recovery but alas she has decided that she will not continue in her role; Miss Beagley will be working with Mrs. Blackstone this term in Breakfast Club. Mrs. Dennington has been with us in the Finance Office for almost 17 years and having spent time with her retired friends this summer has decided that she too would like to reap the benefits of having more time with her husband, family and friends.  Thus we will be bidding farewell to Mrs. Dennington on Friday 14th September. We wish Mrs. Dennington well and thank her for her dedication and commitment to the school.  Miss Shepherd, one of our Lower School SMSAs, who has been on maternity leave since last October, will also not be returning to her post.  Cancer Research Relay for Life - Tog Day on Friday 14th September  I am most grateful to Mrs. Vatsa and Vandan for our Guest Blog this week and for joining us at the CRUK Relay for Life last Saturday.  It was a truly wonderful day; CRUK plays such a vital role for so many families. Special thanks to Mrs. Stark and Miss Dear who spearheaded the St. Helen's College Team and to all the staff, families and friends who attended on the day or who have donated so generously to the charity. You can see some photos on our Galleries page. Next Friday, 14th September, will be a tog day in aid of Cancer Research. Children may come to school dressed in their own clothes, and if they can find something to wear in bright pink or bright blue (the CRUK colours) that would be particularly appropriate. There is a suggested minimum donation of £2 per child; all monies raised will go directly to Cancer Research UK and we thank you in advance for your generosity. Birthday Cake/Treats - Reminder Parents are often very generous when it is their child’s birthday, but treats should not be sent to school for distribution to friends. The exception is birthday cake, which should be sliced and individually wrapped at home. Teachers will then distribute it at school to be taken home at the end of the day. Teachers will not distribute any treat apart from cake as described above.
Posted on: 7/09/2018

Head's Blog - Relay for Life (by Mrs. Vatsa)

My youngest son, Anand, was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was only 2 years old, still in nappies and barely talking. He is now a boundless 5 year old, having completed 3.5 years of treatment. This long journey has taken place while we’ve been a part of the St. Helen’s College community, as Anand’s older brother Vandan had just started in Reception when we received the diagnosis.  When Mrs Drummond asked me if we’d like to write about Anand’s treatment journey, I wasn’t sure what from this long story I should write about. During the candle lighting ceremony at the Cancer Research Relay for Life event that the school participated in last weekend, one of the speakers talked at length about hope. I reflected on this and realised that hope wasn’t the thing that resonated most in Anand’s story - it was more resilience, and the positive attitude of a young child who doesn’t really understand negativity. It’s not resilience born of grit or bloody mindedness, more an acceptance of what is, and letting go of what happens. I know the children learn Mindfulness at school, which is in part about “being present” - children have an innate ability to live in the here and now. Whatever Anand went through, he would let it go. He never let one moment of pain or discomfort ruin the next. If he was 'nil by mouth', it was forgotten the second he could tuck into his cheese sandwich; if he’d had an unpleasant procedure it was forgotten as soon as a sticker was offered, and the adults involved were forgiven immediately. Self-pity very rarely featured. I don’t recall Anand ever expressing regret or anger for what he had to go through or allowing it to ruin what could be. He spent most of his time playing and making mischief like any other little boy, and no one would guess he was any different.  Our neighbour has an elderly sister who is sadly enduring cancer treatment and not coping with it very well. This neighbour came to me for motivation for her sister, knowing how well Anand had coped. I think so much of it came down to his acceptance. Anand didn’t know any better, so just accepted it all. My neighbour’s sister can’t change that she has cancer and can’t really change the treatment she has to endure. To learn anything from Anand, it would be that she can change the mindset with which she bears it. She can dwell on the pain and injustice or she can seek joy and distraction elsewhere - as a child, Anand instinctively chose the latter. We are our children’s teachers, but this highlights to me how much we can learn from our children. They are naturally spirited, full of joy, curiousity, play and adventure. Why sit and mope when there are adventures to be had?  I can’t not mention Anand’s older brother Vandan, who had only just turned 5 when Anand got sick. Through the years of treatment, Vandan has shown similar spirit and resilience. He showed this every time he woke up to find Anand and I had disappeared in the night to the hospital, when plans were waylaid, outings missed, holidays weren’t booked, or he was on the receiving end of Anand’s steroid-induced aggressions. Anand was so often the focus of attention, but Vandan chose to help look after his little brother, and chose to put Anand before himself, rather than complain. He’s the other hero in our story!  It’s strange to think unwitting young children can inspire and motivate us grown ups, but to my initial surprise Anand seems to have. I can’t control what happens to me, but only I can control how I deal with it. I’ve always believed we play the hand we are dealt, and now Anand is my shining example of how to do this.  Unsurprisingly, Vandan was enthused to be involved in writing about Anand’s treatment for the newsletter. Vandan wanted to write about the Relay for Life event. So, over to Vandan....  On Saturday 1st September, my family and I went to the Harrow Relay for Life, organised by Cancer Research UK.  When we got there, we had a little look around, and we found the St. Helen’s College stall.  Working on the stall were Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin, Mrs. Drummond, Mrs. Stark, Miss Dear and lots of others. On their stall, you could decorate lanterns to light in the evening. Soon after we got there, they gathered everybody together to start the relay. All the cancer survivors were given purple t-shirts to wear, including Anand. As the Deputy Mayor was late, they asked Anand if he would like to cut the ribbon as he was the youngest survivor there. Unfortunately, the Mayor did arrive! Luckily, he asked Anand to cut the ribbon with him, and then off we went walking…as slowly as snails! We walked around the track once, with the St. Helen's team and the St. Helen’s banner – we even got to hold it. After our lap, we got to sit on a blow up sofa in the middle of the track – Mrs. Drummond and I wore a purple wig! We then went to have a go at the activities on the stall and get some food.  Luke won amazing VIRTUAL REALITY GLASSES on one of the stalls!  Well done Luke!  Not many of my other friends were there because their parents must have forgotten – I’m pointing at you mums and dads!  I’m sure they raised lots of money for children and adults with cancer. Mrs. Drummond said St. Helen's College raised lots of money this year.  Well done to everyone at St. Helen's College! Mrs. Vatsa    
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