Remote Teaching and Learning

St. Helen's College has remained open throughout all periods of lockdown for the children of critical workers and, more recently, for our Early Years classes too. The Covid pandemic did, however, force teaching and learning entirely online for some pupils. 

We were extraordinarily well-equipped to move our educational provision online following the first lockdown announcement in March 2020.

We were already using Google Classroom for Flipped Learning tasks and homework, and most of our children were already familiar with this and other online systems. We quickly extended the use of Google Classroom and Google Meet for all classes from Reception to Year 6, surveyed parents to find out how we could best make online learning work for families, and developed an adapted timetable so that, for example, families with siblings in different year groups could have lunch and physical activity sessions at the same time.

For our Early Years classes (Ducklings and Nursery), we used the St. Helen's College Learning Portal and Tapestry to set activities and work online and we held 'keeping in touch' Google Meets so that the children continued to see their friends and teachers.

We are a very well equipped school and we quickly organised the free loan of school devices for any family whose child(ren) did not have their own device for online learning, for as long as required.

We taught our full curriculum. Although we kept largely to the usual school timetable, time was set aside every day for physical activity. 

Our teaching and learning support staff continued to assist in lessons and provided breakout sessions for those who needed additional help. 

Throughout each period of lockdown, we monitored pupil engagement very closely and followed up with parents if we felt that a pupil could better engage with their online learning. Our form teachers continued to hold pupil tutorials to monitor pupils' wellbeing and engagement, and our school counsellor remained available for one to one conversations with pupils who needed her. All pupils had opportunities, overseen by their teachers, to interact with their classmates daily. For all assemblies, lessons and Meets, all staff and children had their cameras on so that we could all see each other and interact fully.

We also made plenty of 'keeping in touch' fun videos, including story time and song videos for younger children, to promote wellbeing and our ever strong community spirit.

Our online teaching and learning approach included a combination of:

  • Live online lessons with class and specialist teachers.
  • Pre-recorded videos, or offline tasks, accompanied by an online optional Meet for children with their teacher if they need further explanation or support.
  • Set project work.
  • Teachers assessing/marking work and providing constant oral and written feedback to children to recognise effort and achievement and to encourage improvement.
  • Regular (at least twice weekly) assemblies to promote school values, mark festivals and national events, celebrate pupil achievements and pupil birthdays and so on.
  • Special online events/workshops such as online author visits, charity assemblies or celebrity visits.
  • Moving our annual competitions online, including our annual Singing Competition and our annual Speech Competition.
  • Setting online challenges for the children, including sport/physical activity challenges, 'Name the Place' challenges and promoting local and national competitions (in which our children are very successful!). 
  • Monitoring pupil work and pupil progress closely.

We are delighted that our children continued to make excellent progress throughout the periods of lockdown. 


Posted on: 26/11/2021

Weekly News - Friday 26th November 2021

COP26 Talk Children in Years 1-6 were very lucky this week to be joined live from New York by one of the organisers of the recent COP26 summit, who spoke to them about why and how the summit was organised and its aims. You can read more about this in this week's Head's Blog here.  3MB Class Assembly The children of 3MB presented a class assembly this morning all about babies! They looked at the best years of their lives so far and how they have changed since they were babies. They thought about getting older and had some interesting interviews with their grandparents. They also thought about what they might be like as adults and wrote some letters to their older selves. They cleverly linked their theme with our school value of kindness and considered how we should be kind to everyone, including ourselves. The children were clearly so happy to share their assembly with so many parents, pupils and staff. Well done, 3MB, on a thoroughly enjoyable performance.  Month End Music Recital As always, it was a real treat to end the month with an informal music recital in the Evans Hall at Upper School. We heard a wide variety of pieces and instruments, including piano and cello performances from five of our Year 2 pupils and over twelve performers from Years 4, 5 and 6 delighted us with guitar, piano, flute, violin and singing. Well done to all of those who performed. Lower School Gardening Club At Lower School, children have been making flower arrangements in Gardening Club this week, using foliage from teachers' gardens and fresh flowers. The children really enjoyed designing their own arrangements! We hope that all of the children across the school who have taken part in co-curricular activities this term have enjoyed the chance to have a go at something new, and maybe have discovered an interest or talent they did not know they had.   Co-Curricular Allocations Club allocations for the spring term were sent out to parents yesterday (Thursday 25th November) and parents have until midnight on Monday 29th November to pay. Any places allocated for which payment has not been received by this deadline will be allocated to children on the waiting lists. NextGen Enterprise - Monday 29th November We have secured an exclusive one-hour virtual taster session with NextGen Enterprise on Monday 29th November from 6.30 - 7.30 p.m. for pupils in Year 5 and Year 6.  NextGen Enterprise provide entrepreneurial courses to ages 10-15 and aim to introduce the next generation of entrepreneurs to a world of innovation, collaboration, and creativity. Many of our alumni have been on the NextGen Enterprise courses and we have received fantastic feedback. Parents have already been emailed the link to the event ( and we hope that many of our pupils will participate in this super opportunity. Christmas Events Next week sees the beginning of Christmas festivities here at St. Helen's College and there are many exciting events coming up.  The PA Christmas Party is this weekend on Sunday 28th November and we are sure that everyone who is attending will enjoy the festive fun. Christmas Tree Decoration Competition Pupils across the school are invited to make a homemade decoration for one of the school Christmas trees and these can be brought into school from Monday 29th November.  Please make sure that the child's name and class are attached in some way to the decoration and that they are not too heavy for us to hang on the tree. There will be prizes for each year group. The closing date is Wednesday 8th December. Lower School Tuesday 30th November - 1C Christmas Assembly in Methodist Church Wednesday 1st December - 1R Christmas Assembly in Methodist Church Thursday 2nd December - Owls Christmas Assembly in Methodist Church Friday 3rd December - Kingfishers Christmas Assembly in Methodist Church For each of these Lower School assemblies, coffee will be served in the Lower School Hall at 8.15 a.m. and parents will then be directed to the church in time for the start of the assembly at 8.45 a.m. There will be a collection at the end of each assembly for the St. Helen's College Trust. Our Nursery classes will perform their Christmas assemblies the following week. Thursday 9th December - Wear a Christmas jumper day. Lower School children will enjoy a visiting pantomime production in the afternoon. Details will be sent to parents separately. Upper School Friday 3rd December - 2B Coffee Morning/Class Assembly (Coffee from 8.15 a.m. in the Evans Hall, assembly from 8.40 a.m. in the Upper School Hall) Friday 3rd December - Carols Around The Tree at Upper School (Lower School families, Y2 and Y3 from 3.20 to 3.40 p.m. and Year 4, 5 and 6 from 3.40 p.m. to 4 p.m.) Wednesday 8th December - Year 2-6 Pantomime trip to 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. Full details will be sent separately to parents. Thursday 9th December - Wear a Christmas jumper day. Friday 10th December - Carol Service. Our Year 6 parents are invited to attend All Saints Church at 11 a.m. on Friday 10th for our Christmas Service which will be hosted by our Year 6 pupils, the school orchestra and choirs.  As per our Harvest service we are limiting the audience in the church due to the Covid protocols which are still in place.  We will be recording a similar Carol Service for the pupils who are back in school to participate in and this will be shared in due course with our parent body.  Christmas Lunch Christmas lunch will be served for all children from Nursery to Year 6 on Thursday 9th December. The menu is available here. Orders will be taken from the children in school next week, so please discuss the menu with your child so that they know what they would like to order. Salvation Army Christmas Present Appeal You may recall that last year we successfully ran the Christmas Present Appeal for the Hillingdon Salvation Army. Encouraged by the same St. Helen’s College family, we would like to encourage the pupils to participate again. This is such a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our school’s core values by helping those local families less fortunate than ourselves. Therefore we are inviting your child to choose a brand new toy/game for ages 3-11 with a value of approximately £12. The Salvation Army has also suggested gift vouchers. The item should not be gift wrapped and should fit inside a shopping plastic bag. Please allow your child to bring in their donation by Friday 3rd December. We will have systems in place so that gifts can be put into a class collection bag and subsequently quarantined until The Salvation Army collects them. We will launch the appeal in our assemblies and really hope it is something you feel able to support. Thank you so much in advance for your kindness and generosity. Charity Fundraising We would like to extend heartfelt thanks to parents, pupils and staff for all of the recent generous charity donations received. We are delighted to say that the St. Helen's College community has raised: Poppy Appeal  -  £382.35    Children In Need - £1,984.92 Uniform Reminder Please may we remind parents that pupils should be wearing their winter felt caps and hats to and from school and that the woollen beanie hat is only for use in the school playground. 
Posted on: 26/11/2021


The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 13 November 2021. On Tuesday 23rd November all the pupils and staff of St Helen’s College were fortunate enough to be joined by Raakhi Williams, the aunt of Veer (3MB) and Laksh (1C), who is the Deputy Head of the COP26 Delivery Department with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.  Raakhi spoke to us live from New York,  via Googlemeet, where she is currently based and shared with us her experiences of leading on three major projects as part of COP26. Raakhi led on the ‘Adaptation - Loss & Damage Day’ at the conference and explained to the children that some of the worst effects of climate change are being felt by  many poorer countries where some of the losses they are experiencing cannot be replaced. She gave us the example of the Maldives where the islands are already sinking and this is not due to anything that the people of this country have done but sadly this is a great loss to the people and the culture of these islands.  It has been agreed that richer countries will support poorer countries to recover  but for some change is not happening quickly enough and this is what many of the protestors who attended the events were protesting about.   Raakhi then explained that one of her other projects was to organise the safe arrival of 120 world leaders to the World Leaders Summit.  This ranged from ensuring that invitation letters were sent out to the world leaders, trying to minimise the number of people actually travelling to the UK for the summit to organising where Boris Johnson would stand to greet people, where the cars would arrive to etc.  A logistical nightmare one can imagine! Raakhi explained to the children how important it was that people attended the event in person to enable all the discussions and negotiations which took place around the clock to eventually form the ‘The Glasgow Climate Pact’. The final project which Raakhi led on was the vaccine programme and ensuring that all the attendees were vaccinated prior to the event. Vaccines were sent out to 75 countries who did not have access to the vaccines to ensure that COP26 was as safe as possible.  Our pupils were given the opportunity prior to the presentation to think of questions for Raakhi and we are delighted that so many pupils posed their thought provoking questions.  Please see below the array of questions put forward by pupils in Year 3 and Year 4.  It would also be super for you to hear from your children and think of the small changes which you may be able to make as a family to assist in this global issue of climate change.   Questions from Year 3 and Year 4 pupils: Questions for you personally: How does it feel being part of something amazing and which may change the world forever? How many leaders turned up at the event and did you meet anyone famous? What things have you done to help COP26? What is the most important thing you have learned working on COP26? How many people work at COP26 and how long have you worked on the project? More general questions about COP26: How can we help make a difference?  Why can't we start using renewable energy now?  How can we build up the ice in the Arctic?  What is the biggest contributor to climate change? How often does COP happen and how will it help? Why does everyone travel to COP26? The Young Poets Network teamed up with People Need Nature to launch a competition for young people on how to imagine solutions to the climate crisis inspired by the natural world. I have linked the website where you can find the winning poems.  We would be delighted if any of our pupils or even parents were able to take the opportunity to write from their perspective on how they imagine solutions to our climate crisis.  Climate change is real, it is now and in our future and we encourage all families to continue the conversations by trying to understand how other people across the world are experiencing climate change and the role we all can play in protecting our planet. I am so proud of the work going on at St. Helen’s College already to further educate us all. We hope that next year at COP27 in Egypt we will hear more about the steps which are being taken worldwide and that we all will have made further compromises in our lives to assist.  Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 19/11/2021

Weekly News - Friday 19th November 2021

Children In Need We have had a lot of fun today at school fundraising for Children in Need and have thought seriously, too, about why we are raising money and about the issues that affect children less fortunate than our own. Children and staff throughout the school dressed in spots, yellow, Children in Need merchandise or just their own clothes. Many bought wristbands and entered the Design a Pudsey Bear competition. The raffles were, as usual, one of the highlights of the day! The raffle winners were: Ducklings: Gobind B (Blush), Noah G-W (Pudsey) Lower School: Eleanor G (Blush), Anika S (Pudsey) Middle School: Veer K (Blush), Daya R (Pudsey) Upper School: Jacob N (Blush), Antony F (Pudsey) The winner(s) of the Design a Pudsey Bear competition will be chosen by our Charity Reps next week. We would like to thank parents sincerely for your generous support of this very worthy charity and for helping your children to understand why it is so important to help those in need. It is not too late to donate via the St. Helen's College Children in Need JustGiving page here.  You can see more photographs of the children enjoying Children in Need Day on our Galleries page here. 2H Class Assembly - Buckets Wow! Well done to the children of 2H who presented a very charming and thought provoking assembly this morning about buckets! They explained that we each have a bucket that can be filled with good feelings and kindness and that, if we are kind and inclusive or do good deeds, we are filling other people's buckets but also filling our own.  They sang a beautiful song to remind us that we can all count on each other, explained how we can help others less fortunate through Children in Need, and led us in prayer. Every child spoke their lines with confidence and projection and we are very proud of them all. While 2H presented their assembly live to their parents this morning, the other children at Upper School watched a pre-recorded version. You might like to watch it too - it is available here. Chamber Choir - St. John's Smith Square We were very proud of our Chamber Choir who performed magnificently last Sunday at the Children's Trust London Schools Concert. Thank you to all of the parents who came along to support such a worthwhile charitable cause. We have received some lovely feedback from one of the concert organisers, who wrote:  "Your school was absolutely amazing – I really enjoyed your performances. Power in Me was particularly one of my favourites on the day. We cannot thank you enough for all your fantastic hard work and for kindly supporting us on the day. Your support allowed us to raise over £8,000 for children with brain injury." You can watch the videos of the performances here: Power In Me All Things Bright And Beautiful Gurupurab Today is a very special day as members of the Sikh community celebrate the birthday of Guru Nanak. Thank you to parents Mrs. Raikmo and Mrs. Daheley for their input into assemblies over the last couple of weeks. Mrs. Raikmo celebrated with Lower School children yesterday.       Inspection It has been a pleasure to welcome a team of ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) inspectors into St. Helen's College this week for both a compliance and an educational quality inspection. We have enjoyed showcasing our school, pupils and staff and demonstrating all that we do to ensure that the pupils have the best possible educational experience. The inspection report should be available within five weeks and we will of course share this with parents when we receive it.  Many thanks to all of the parents who responded to the inspection questionnaire so quickly and so positively. IAPS iArt Competition  After the success of iArt 2021, in which Arya A at St. Helen's College was a winner, IAPS will be running the competition again in 2022 and hopes to receive more submissions than ever. Shortlisted entrants will receive prizes of vouchers for local independent bookshops.   This year, the competition will have a theme and all submissions must in some way relate to this theme. The theme is my role model.   This theme has been chosen because IAPS is interested to see who inspires pupils, who motivates them, who they admire and who they would like to be like when they grow up. The role models can be anyone: someone personal e.g. a family member, friend, teacher, coach, librarian, a member of the local community; someone “in general” e.g. nurses, doctors, train drivers, farmers; someone public e.g. a famous person, such as a sportsperson, environmentalist, singer While IAPS encourages pupils to attempt a portrait of their role model, pupils – and particularly, younger pupils – should feel free to just paint / draw / create something which reminds them of their role model instead. For example, if a pupil’s role model is David Attenborough, they might choose to paint trees and animals, or if their role model is a parent, they might choose to draw a picture of their house.  Each pupil must write a maximum of 100 words in a sentence or two to accompany their piece of work, saying 'My role model is...because...'. Entries will be judged on a) interpretation of the theme; b) creativity around the theme; c) overall design; d) and that ‘certain something’ that just draws you to the artwork! There is no set format for entries and artwork can be submitted in any medium. Submissions can be paintings, drawings, or models, any size, and use any art supplies.     There are five categories for the iArt competition: Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4, Years 5 & 6, Years 7 & 8 and Years 9 & 10.  Each school may enter one piece of art for each category. For example, one piece of artwork representing the Years 5 & 6 category, not one artwork from Year 5 and one from Year 6.   The competition opens for entries on Thursday, 6 January. The deadline for submission is noon on Wednesday, 4 May and the shortlist will be announced later that month. Winners will be invited to attend an awards ceremony which will take place towards the end of June.   Pupils who would like to enter this competition should submit their pieces of art and accompanying sentences directly to Mrs. Pruce or via their class teacher. Mrs. Drummond and Mrs. Pruce will judge which entries to put forward from St. Helen's College. This might be a lovely Christmas holiday activity for the children. Good luck everyone and happy creating! Alumni News Don't Unleash The Beast is being shown on CITV starting on Monday (November 22nd) at 5.30 p.m. It is also available on the ITV hub afterwards. Two Old Helenians will be appearing in the show. Samir H is in the Firecracker team and his show is on Tuesday November 23rd. Vidhit N's show is appearing later - possibly Tuesday November 30th. We hope that you will watch the shows and support our Old Helenians and their teams! Co-Curricular Activities - Spring Term Bookings for co-curricular activities for the Spring term will open at 4.00 p.m. today. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account to make your selections by the deadline of midnight on Monday 22nd November. Co-curricular club allocations will be confirmed to parents in due course and we ask that you make any payments due promptly at that point in order to confirm your child's place. Christmas Holiday Club Bookings open at 4.00 p.m. today for the Christmas Holiday Club, which will run from Monday 13th December to Tuesday 21st December. Please login to your SchoolsBuddy account to book your child's place. Author Event On Saturday 11th December from 1.00 - 3.00 p.m., bestselling children's author Lauren Child will be signing copies of her latest books, Clarice Bean: Think Like An Elf and Pippi Longstocking, at Chorleywood Bookshop. We hope that many of you will take your children along to meet the author and perhaps buy a copy of one or both of these lovely books to support them in reading for pure enjoyment! You can find full details and book tickets for the event here. Next Week Next Friday 3MB will be performing their class assembly. 3MB parents are welcome to join us for coffee from 8.15 a.m. and the assembly will begin at 8.40 a.m. Also next Friday we have our November Month End Music Recital in the Evans Hall from 3.45 p.m. We hope that many parents will join us! Accent Catering Survey Yesterday we circulated a survey to parents of children in Nursery to Year 6, asking for your feedback about the catering service here at school. Many thanks to all of those parents who have already completed the short questionnaire. If you have not already done so, please do check your SchoolsBuddy account and complete the survey to give us your feedback. Your responses will be used to inform how we may improve the catering service even further. Pupils in Years 3 - 6 will also be asked to complete a short survey in school next week so that their views may be taken into account too. Parents are reminded that the school menu is always available in the School Documents section of the school website here.  PA Raffle Donations The PA will be running a raffle at the PA children's Christmas parties and would love donations from parents. If you have anything to donate, you can bring items to either Upper or Lower School where there will be collection points outside school each morning. Many thanks in advance for any prizes you are able to donate.
Posted on: 12/11/2021

Weekly News - Friday 12th November 2021

Year 1 Trip - Roald Dahl Gallery To enrich their literacy studies, Year 1 enjoyed an action packed day on Tuesday at the Roald Dahl Gallery in Aylesbury. They explored the museum and gardens looking for inspiration for their dream bottles and then became very engrossed illustrating their ideas and creating their very own dream bottle! They also had fun investigating all the hands on exhibits within the gallery. They went inside a giant peach and used a microscope to identify numerous mini-beasts. They also had fun in Fantastic Mr. Fox's tunnel and loved pretending to fly up the shoot in Willy Wonka's Factory! The children did, however, keep away from The Chokey as none of them wanted to be put in there by Mrs. Trunchbull!  It was an amazing day and the children all agreed that they would love to go back again! We would encourage parents to take children to this wonderful place whenever the opportunity arises.  You can see lots of photographs of the trip on our Galleries page. Year 3 Music This term in music lessons, Year 3 are learning about Music from Western Africa. This week they enjoyed playing Djembe drums to improvise their own rhythms over an ostinato pattern.        Year 3 Maths In Maths this week, Year 3 have been learning about perimeter. They enjoyed taking their learning outside where they measured the perimeter of different things in the playground.         Chamber Choir Performance at St. John's Smith Square We wish the Chamber Choir well for Sunday, when they will be joining with other prep schools from across London to perform in the Children's Trust Concert at the beautiful St. John's Smith Square. Thank you to everyone who will be attending to support the choir - you are in for a treat! This is the first of many opportunities for our Chamber Choir to perform this year. Sports News On Wednesday our U11 netball team played against St. Mary's School and continued their winning streak, with the match ending 8-0. Both teams showed great skill and determination in some pretty awful weather as the match progressed, as well as excellent sporting attitudes. Well done, girls!   Congratulations are also due to our U11 football team who won the Reddiford Challenge Cup tournament this week and brought their trophy back to school with pride! They won three matches and drew two during the competition, which secured them the top spot from amongst six local prep schools. We are very proud of their performance.         Switch Off Fortnight We have had a very successful start to our Switch Off Fortnight. All of the children have been very active in ensuring the lights are being turned off in their classrooms and other empty rooms, powering down their Chromebooks when not in use and making sure that teachers are turning off the overhead projectors and computers at the end of lessons. We will continue our energy saving campaign next week, when we will also be announcing which class had the most amount of switch offs and will be awarded the title of Eco Class of the week. We hope that you are all remembering to switch off at home wherever possible too. Road Safety Week - Next Week Next week is Road Safety Week and we ask that the children wear bright socks next Friday as part of the 'Be Bright, Be Seen' initiative. Our new Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs) presented an assembly on 'Road Safety Heroes' and Be Bright, Be Seen' today to inspire the children to take part in this important initiative. There is further information for parents here.  World Kindness Day Saturday 13th November is World Kindness Day. At school we have been looking at random acts of kindness, and parents might like to do something similar at home with your children over the weekend. You can find out more information here: Mrs. Drummond's Head's Blog this week also addresses themes of kindness and happiness.  Charity Well done to Tiya T, one of our charity representatives, who showed great initiative in writing to Lord Dolar Popat, the Prime Minister's Trade Evnvoy to Rwanda, Uganda and DRC, to let him know about the work we are currently doing at school to support Children in Need and the Royal British Legion. Tiya shared with him a poster that she had made to promote our charity efforts. Lord Dolar Popat replied to Tiya's email to congratulate the school on its efforts and to pledge a donation to our fundraising. Remembrance Day Thank you to everyone who has donated to our Poppy Appeal this week. We thought that you might like to see this beautiful display, which is currently on show in the Upper School Hall. We marked Remembrance Day yesterday with a silence at school and spoke about why we remember this day and the many men and women who gave their lives in fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today.  It is not too late for parents to donate online to the Poppy Appeal via the St. Helen's College JustGiving website if you would like to do so. The fundraising page can be accessed here. Children in Need Next Friday, 19th November, is Children in Need and as usual we will be supporting this very worthy charity. Children may come into school wearing Children in Need items or their own clothes, which could use the Children in Need themes of yellow or spots. You can purchase Pudsey or Blush ears and other Children in Need items at the online Children in Need shop here. We ask that parents make a donation to Children in Need so that children may wear their own clothes on Friday 19th November. You can do this via our JustGiving page here. We will also have wristbands available for sale at school, priced at £1 each and there will also, as usual, be a raffle at all three sites with tickets on sale for £1 each. Prizes will be Blush and Pudsey bears. Please allow your child to bring some money into school next week if they would like to buy wristbands and/or raffle tickets. Our charity reps have also promoted a Pudsey competition for pupils in Years 2-6, challenging children to create a Pudsey bear using whatever medium they would like and being as creative as possible. These imagined Pudseys do not have to be yellow! Winners will be announced next week and the competition also costs £1 to enter, which will be donated to Children in Need. We hope you will support your children with their creative ideas for their Pudsey. We thank you, as always, for your generous support. PA Forum Meeting The next PA Forum meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday 16th November. Thank you to parents who have sent in suggestions for discussion points. Minutes will be circulated to all parents following the meeting.
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