School Calendar



Posted on: 22/01/2021

Weekly News - Friday 22nd January 2021

National Online Safety Award We are delighted that St. Helen's College has successfully met all the criteria to achieve the NOS Certified School Community accreditation for the 2020/21 academic year. This award recognises the school's commitment to Online Safety. We are totally committed at St. Helen's College to educating children, staff and parents about staying safe online. The vast majority of our staff, including all teaching staff, have recently undertaken training about how to keep ourselves and the children we educate safe while using the internet. Internet safety is embedded into our teaching in all classes during remote education too. Never has it been more important for our children to understand the potential dangers of the internet alongside its huge benefits and potential, so this award is very timely indeed! Guess The Place Well done to all of the children who worked out the correct answers to our Guess The Place pictures last week!  For children in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6), the correct answer was Durdle Door, Dorset. We had over 400 responses and 113 people correctly guessed the name of the place. Many were close with answers of Dorset or the South coast.   Please remember that all of the pictures will be from somewhere in the UK each week - so don't submit international answers as they will be wrong! For children in Key Stage 1 (up to Year 2) - the answer was Tower Bridge, London. We had over 130 responses and 42 people correctly guessed the name of the place. Many thought it was London Bridge - just like the Americans!  This week's pictures have been posted to the Learning Portal and we hope the children will have fun doing their research and making their guesses. Ducklings and Nursery It has been wonderful to hear the laughter coming from our Early Years classrooms this week as we welcomed back our Ducklings and Nursery children.  Thank you to all the staff and parents who are following all of our school protocols to keep staff, children and parents safe. For families who have not yet returned their children to Ducklings or Nursery, please do contact the school before returning.  Charlie Mackesy Art Competition Thank you to those children who have submitted their entries.  The last day for submission will be Monday 25th and the winners will be announced next Friday in assembly. Guest Speakers in Assemblies We are very fortunate to be welcoming some guest speakers to our assembly programme this term and would like to remind pupils in Years 2-6 that assembly will start at 8.30 a.m. on Monday 25th. We will be hearing from Jo from the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and she will be speaking about Endangered Species. Year 1 will then have a talk at 9 a.m. from her on Elephants. On Monday 22nd February we will also welcome Jason from Blue Cross who will be speaking to us about Pets And Our Wellbeing.  The Big Garden Bird Watch I am sure that many of you are enjoying your gardens and parks during the lockdown and we would like to encourage you to engage with nature even further by signing up for the annual Big Garden Bird Watch with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds which runs from 29th January to 31st January. Do let us know what wonderful birds you spot and enjoy looking after the wildlife on our doorstep. Year 6 Examinations and Interviews We are very proud of our Year 6 pupils as many of them have participated in a very different process for their senior school assessments.  The pupils have been, and still are, sitting online examinations and interviews. They have taken it all in their stride and demonstrated how adaptable and resilient our St. Helen's College pupils are - well done boys and girls! Staff News We are delighted to congratulate our Owls teacher Ms Joiner and her partner, who are expecting their first baby in July. We are also eagerly awaiting the news from Mrs Neri, whose baby is due next week!  January 25th - Burns Night! I may be in the minority from our community but I will certainly be celebrating Burns Night and enjoying my haggis, neeps and tatties with whiskey sauce this weekend followed by the delicious cranachan dessert! For those of you who are interested to know more about this Scottish celebration please do visit this website. Usually the children at Upper School would be able to taste haggis (both the meat version and vegetarian) here at school. Alas, sadly this will not happen this year,but do remember that you can purchase haggis in most supermarkets! Perform Drama Workshops Over many years we have welcomed ‘Perform’ into school to provide various drama based workshops. They have always been excellent and the children have a wonderful time. They are currently offering Zoom classes for drama, singing and dancing. Please see the link below if you are interested in a free trial. Virtual Early Years Open Morning - Friday 26th February If you have any family members, friends or neighbours who might be interested in entry to St. Helen's College for their son or daughter in 2021, 2022 or 2023, please do encourage them to register for our next online open morning. This event will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday 26th February and anyone interested in future entry for their child will be most welcome to join us. Mrs. Drummond, Mrs. Hunt and Mrs. Smith will be online to present the St. Helen's College Early Years provision and to take questions on the entry procedure. The event can, of course, be joined from anywhere in the world! The link for registration for the Open Morning is here and copied below - please do share this with any family, friends or neighbours who have babies or very young children and might be interested in finding out more about St. Helen's College.  
Posted on: 22/01/2021

Cheerfulness by Mr. McLaughlin

I have always felt that cheerfulness is an underrated quality. We have all been at awards ceremonies where the prizes for effort, enthusiasm and cheerfulness are somewhat scorned in favour of the more tangible titles. Optimism can sometimes be derided as empty cheer or mistaken for naivety. However, it can play a vital role in enabling people to achieve happiness and contentment, perhaps the most prized feelings of all. In the current situation, this intrinsic fulfilment is more important than ever. Children seem to be born with an abundance of cheerfulness, and it is important to model, encourage, maintain and applaud it as they grow up. Most people think of cheerfulness as a feeling or temperament, which means that cheerful people are those who got lucky genetically and are blessed with an ‘upbeat personality’.  Instead of viewing cheerfulness as a trait or feeling, what if we thought of it as a behaviour or a set of actions? A verb rather than a noun? What if we thought of cheerfulness as a habit of thinking and behaving? We all know the frustrations of waiting in long, slow queues at the post office, of losing connection at the key moment of an important presentation or business meeting, or of turning up at the supermarket and realising that you have left your face mask at home! When these things happen, the cheerfulness with which a person may have entered the day can vanish quickly. But why? Did these events suck up all the cheerfulness? Of course not. It vanished because the person started thinking and behaving differently: S/he started looking at the time and worrying about being late. Then s/he began castigating himself or herself for not picking another checkout line, or for being forgetful. Perhaps s/he started to direct anger towards the postal workers, or the internet provider, or anybody else to whom blame could be allocated. In these situations, whatever cheerfulness existed at the start of the day diminishes because of the way a person chooses to think, directly influencing their feelings. In psychology, there is a set of principles called Cognitive Mediation Theory, which says that our thoughts always mediate the relationship between external events and our emotional reactions. A little old lady taking a long time in the checkout line doesn’t cause frustration, but the interpretation of her being too slow does. An implication of this theory is that we cannot directly control how we feel. We cannot simply dial up our joy levels any more than we can turn down our levels of sadness. We can only change the way we feel indirectly by changing how we think and behave, two things we actually have direct control over. This leads to a bit of a paradox: if we think of cheerfulness as a feeling or trait - something we just have or happen to feel sometimes - we’re giving up responsibility for and control over it. This means we’re only allowing ourselves to feel cheerful when things in our life are going well. On the other hand, if we think of cheerfulness as an action - something we do or think - it becomes something we have control over, regardless of our circumstances. So how might we practise cheerfulness? 1. Gratitude. You have to truly appreciate everything you have in life in order to be satisfied with it. If you don't feel grateful, you're always going to be looking for more, no matter how much you already have. Forget what you could have; try to focus on what you do have. 2. Present Focus. Cheerful people tend to live in the moment. They aren't preoccupied with things they've done in the past, and they aren't constantly thinking about the future. It's important to remember the past, but it's harmful to dwell in it, just like it's important to plan for the future, but it's harmful to obsess over it. Focus on being happy right now. 3. Humour. Cheerful people are typically able to find humour in almost anything. Laughing is shown to be beneficial not only for your emotional health, but also your physical health. It releases endorphins and helps you to relax. Even the simple act of smiling can carry some of these effects, so if you want to be happier in your own life, start laughing and smiling whenever you can, and surround yourself with others who appreciate humour. 4. Self-Confidence. Having faith in your own abilities can make you less stressed - you spend less time worrying about whether or not you're good enough to accomplish something and more time actively trying to do it. When you feel confident, your doubts and apprehensions don't weigh you down, and you can focus on what's in front of you. Building confidence can be difficult, especially in adulthood, but it is possible to train yourself to be more confident by practising positive thinking and remembering your skills instead of your faults. 5. Adaptability. Life changes frequently and it is more unpredictable than many of us would like. The most cheerful people in life aren't the ones who focus on the interference or the obstacle, but the ones who focus on finding the best way around it.  6. Optimism. Optimists find the best in everything and aren't ever consumed with the need to search for faults. Fostering optimism can be tough, especially if you're used to a cynical line of thinking, but, with practice, it is possible to change your outlook. 7. Intangible Values. Most happy people are not obsessed with tangible rewards or destinations. They aren't as concerned about getting to a certain position, making a certain amount of money, or having certain material things. They're more concerned with the intangible parts of life: friendship, fun, and family.  Cheerfulness allows for progress when things are going well, and for mistakes and forgiveness when they are not. If you or your child are finding cheerfulness hard to come by during this lockdown, know that there are people out there ready and willing to help you in and out of our school community, and please do not hesitate to contact us for support.  So, if your child ever receives the ‘always smiling’ medal, the ‘looking on the bright side’ shield or the ‘glass half full’ cup, do not feel disappointed - feel thankful instead. Simply take a leaf out of their book, cherish the fact that they hold a vital and sometimes elusive quality which will set them on their way to future success and happiness, and share in the joy of cultivating it.  Mr. McLaughlin
Posted on: 15/01/2021

Weekly News - Friday 15th January 2021

Remote Learning Many thanks to all of the parents who are supporting children at home with their remote learning. It is wonderful to hear about how independent the children are becoming as we embark upon our next phase of school closure. We understand the pressures that many of you are under, trying to juggle working from home, and we are incredibly grateful for all that you are doing to support the children's learning.  In assembly I shared some good tips for the children which you may wish to reiterate them: - make sure you have an organised workstation  - know your timetable: have it printed out next to you - have what you need for the day to hand e.g. pencil case, water bottle and any other resources your teacher has told you that you will require - communicate: ask for help if you are not sure what is being asked from you but remember the 4B's: brain, book, buddy, boss. In other words, read the instructions again, look at your books to help you (or Google classroom), talk to your friends to clarify and remember that you can also ask your teachers for help. We published these top tips for parents and top tips for children during our last lockdown and you may wish to look at these again.  To assist our teachers' wellbeing, we ask parents to follow our school email protocol and avoid sending emails to the teachers between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. We are encouraging all staff to switch off phone notifications and this may be good advice for all parents too. I am sure that many of your companies have similar protocols - it is crucial that we all step away from our devices and give ourselves some time.  Guess the Place Today we launched a new weekly 'Guess the Place' challenge in assembly. Each week, a different photo will be placed on the Learning Portal for the children to try and identify. For pupils in Years 1 and Y2 the challenge will be to identify different places in London and for pupils in Years 3 - 6 the challenge will be to identify different places from around the UK. The children will be able to submit their answers on the Learning Portal. Each week in our Friday assemblies the correct answer will be revealed and the next week's photos will be shared. We hope this will be fun for the whole family as we try to 'Guess the Place'! Writing Challenge January heralds once again the launch of the Chorleywood Bookshop Children’s Writing Competition and our children will be excited to know that Cressida Cowell, the Children’s Laureate and author of the How to Train Your Dragon and Wizards Of Once series, will be judging the entries in each of the competition’s three categories! Last year, this competition attracted over 500 entries from primary and secondary schools. The standard is extraordinary across each age category and previous well-known authors who have judged the event are invariably impressed by the standard as well as the variety.  This year’s theme is Friendship, a theme which should enable all those who take part to focus on positive messages. With challenges targeted to everyone from the youngest children in Reception to the oldest in Key Stage 4, we hope many of our pupils (and perhaps older ex-pupils) will take part. Full details of the competition and the relevant paperwork are now available on the bookshop's website at Good luck, everyone. Do let us know how you get on. Fun Friday Next Friday, for a bit of fun, we are asking pupils at Upper School to wear a hat or fun headwear creation when they come online for our morning assembly. The children at Lower School might like to wear their hats when they have a Google Meet or perhaps to upload a photograph of themselves in their hats to Tapestry or Google Classroom. We look forward to seeing everyone's fun headwear! Fitness Challenges National survey evidence from the last lockdown found that around 36% of children were doing less physical activity than usual, with only 22% getting their recommended daily activity of 60 active minutes and a worrying 9% getting no physical activity.  Regular weekly PE activities continue to be provided in class Google classrooms and on Tapestry for all of our pupils, and we encourage our parents to ensure children continue to develop their skills and remain physically active. However, we are keen to ensure our pupils are keeping as active as possible, so we are also launching some additional easily accessible fitness activities, as follows. Parents can help our pupils get involved with from Monday.  Activity Calendar The first one is an 'Activity Calendar' with daily links to physical challenges all our pupils can have a go at whilst at home. It also includes a link to the Youth Sport Trusts Tuesday and Thursday after school club activities. Here is the January calendar. London Youth Games Virtual Fitness Challenge The second is an opportunity for our Year 2 - 6 pupils to take part in the London Youth Games Virtual Fitness Challenge. The challenges this term will be based around fitness and personal bests and may be done at home or at school (for those attending) in class or at breaks, to keep all of our young people active with minimal equipment required.  The challenges are all about participation and will be an opportunity for our pupils to represent the school and Hillingdon Borough and earn valuable points for the Hillingdon team in the London Youth Games competition! The first Fitness Challenge will go live on the LYG website on Monday 18th January and will be posted in the Year 2 - Year 6 PE Google classrooms. The children will have until Thursday evening each week to complete the challenge and add their results to the shared spreadsheet in their PE Google Classroom. These results will then be submitted to London Youth Games and the weekly leader board will be announced in our Monday assemblies.  We hope lots of our pupils will have a go at the virtual fitness challenge and try to get St. Helen's College and Hillingdon to the top of the leader board each week! We Like to Move it Finally, our Year 6 Sports Captains and PE staff put together a fun workout video at the end of last term for us all to get up and move to in January. Have lots of fun joining in with them - see if you can get the whole family up moving and share your videos with us!  Click here for the video. Blue Peter On YouTube CBBC have launched Blue Peter on YouTube and we are sure that pupils and parents will be interested in this, for entertainment outside of home-schooling hours now we’re in lockdown. Blue Peter is the longest running children's TV show in the world and the videos are suitable for 5-11 year olds. There are world record breaking challenges, arts and crafts, environmental videos, cooking and baking how tos, inspirational films, gaming, celebrity appearances, dance routines and music performances. The channel also features ways of getting a Blue Peter badge, behind the scenes footage and extra content about the presenters Adam, Lindsey, Mwaksy, Richie and Henry the Blue Peter dog. If you are interested, please subscribe to (it’s completely free to subscribe!) and also don’t forget to watch the live programme on CBBC at 5.00 p.m. every week, or on BBC iPlayer. E-Scooters We have recently received an email from Hillingdon Council's School Travel and Road Safety team, regarding the increased use of E-Scooters across the borough. The council have received numerous reports of E-Scooters being ridden across the borough on public roads, in parks and even through town centres.  Please read the E-Scooter guidance document which has been created to inform parents and residents about the use of E-Scooters. We encourage parents to have a look at this document as there are road safety and legal implications associated with the unlawful use of E-Scooters within the borough. ABRSM Results Many of our children took ABRSM examinations on their instruments last term, although some were inevitably delayed due to Covid. This list of results is therefore not yet complete, but we did not want to delay any further in sharing with you the results that we have received so far, in order to celebrate these achievements. Very, very well done to all of the children who have been practising so hard to work towards exams, and to those who have already sat their exams and achieved such great results! To those who have exams coming up next week, we wish you the best of luck. 3B       Emily S Violin Grade 1 Pass Raiden B Guitar Grade 1 Merit Viren C Piano Grade 1 Pass         3M       Grace O'H Cello Grade 1 Awaiting result Verity S Violin Grade 1 Awaiting result Kal-el M Piano Grade 1 Awaiting result Avantika G Piano Grade 2 Awaiting result Aaran B Piano Grade 1 Awaiting result         4L       Arshia S Piano Grade 1 Distinction Arshvir S Piano Grade 1 Awaiting result Minaya W Piano Grade 1 Merit Minaya W Singing Grade 1 Distinction         4T       Advik S Singing Grade 2 Merit Advik S Guitar Grade 1 Pass Xavier B Guitar Grade 1 Pass 5A       Nirvaan D Piano Grade 1 Distinction Amber P Violin Grade 2 Pass Siyana M Piano Grade 1 Distinction Siyana M Singing Grade 3 Merit Sahib N Piano Grade 1 Pass Luka K Guitar Grade 1 Pass Nya P Flute Grade 2 Distinction Anokhi B Piano Grade 1 Distinction Zach F Oboe Grade 2 Distinction Layla O Piano Grade 2 Awaiting result Leo J Piano Grade 1 Merit Aryan  Piano Grade 1 Awaiting result         5G       Kiran A Singing Grade 2 Pass   Piano Grade 1 Pass Adam O Piano Grade 1 Merit Shruthi T Sining Grade 4 Merit Diyan C Cello Grade 1 Awaiting result Devan S Piano Grade 1 Merit         6R       Arjan D  Piano Grade 2 Pass Frederika T Piano Grade 1 Distinction Esha C Singing Grade 4 Awaiting result         6M       Riya C Singing Grade 2 Pass Manisher L Piano Grade 2 Pass Vidhit N Piano Grade 2 Pass
Posted on: 15/01/2021

Supporting Ourselves

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly difficult for us all and this week I would like to share with you a ‘Coronavirus Anxiety Booklet’ which was shared with me by Mrs. Brooker, our school counsellor who works with some of our pupils in our ‘Time to Talk’ sessions. As a school we are so fortunate to have Mrs. Brooker on the staff as not many schools have their own in-house counsellor who is highly trained and experienced in supporting the children during difficult times. Children might not always recognise that they are feeling anxious, so it is important that we all listen to the children and appreciate how they might be feeling during this surreal time. However, as well as supporting the children, we also need to support ourselves and some of us may be feeling the effects of our current situation more than others. Therefore, I encourage to you to take a look at this wonderful resource which has been published by The Wellness Society. I regard myself as being very in touch with my mental and emotional wellbeing and my daily mindfulness practice has been such a support to me during this period. However, the indigestion which I had put down to too much good food and wine over the festive period could actually be my body telling me something different!  Regardless of how we all ‘think’ we are coping in this pandemic, I highly recommend you give yourself time to read through the workbook as the toolkit has something for everyone and does make you reflect on how we can make this time in our lives and that of our families that little bit better. Happy reading and I truly hope that you will find it interesting and useful. Stay safe everyone. Thank you for all that you are doing at home with the children and do look after yourselves.  Mrs. Drummond
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