Challenge For All

We believe that all children, whatever their level of knowledge and skills, should be stretched and challenged in every lesson. The bespoke ‘learning logs’ system developed by the school allows teaching staff to assess and track pupils’ progress while also providing a tool for the pupils to reflect on their learning and understand their next steps.

Our high ratio of staff to children means that we can work together to stretch and challenge every pupil.

A significant number of pupils have exceptional knowledge, skills and aptitudes and it is crucial that all children are extended appropriately. Pupils’ strengths are recognised and teachers have high expectations, setting high levels of challenge whether in the classroom, art studio or  laboratory, or on the games field. Extra workshops, trips and courses may be offered to stimulate and develop our children.

Many children win scholarships to the senior school of their choice and our carefully considered scholarship programme ensures that children’s potential is identified early and that applicants are very well supported throughout the scholarship process.

Some children find learning to be more challenging than others in some areas. Many of these children, with encouragement and help from school and home, overcome difficulties and thrive academically, but others with specific learning difficulties may need tailored instruction and appropriate additional support.

Early identification of learning difficulties takes place during the first years at school. St. Helen’s College has experienced, well-qualified staff with expertise in addressing learning problems and we call upon outside experts for guidance as necessary. One to one and small group assistance is available for children who experience difficulties. Advice and support are offered to parents so that effective back-up work can take place at home.

News

Posted on: 14/06/2024

Weekly News - Friday 14th June 2024

Singing Competition Final  Over the past few weeks the sound of children singing has been ringing out from the classrooms, corridors and playground at Upper School as anticipation has built for the annual Singing Competition. Pupils have entered into the competition with enthusiasm and have taken every opportunity to squeeze in extra practise! Today we welcomed parents of our talented finalists into school for the hotly contested final. All the children sang beautifully with backing accompaniment in solo and group numbers and certainly made the job for our guest judge, soprana and music teacher Jessica Bergman, extremely difficult. Finally a decision was reached...huge congratulations to the winners for their outstanding performance: Year 2: Amina H Year 3: Alicia Z MS group: Eleanor, Alicia and Sanaya Year 4: Gurdaya J (with Leo A highly commended) Year 5: Rohan F Year 6: Samara P US group: Anna, Grace, Hana and Samara A huge thank you to Jessica for not only taking on the difficult task of judging the competition but also for singing for us. To hear opera sung here at St. Helen's College was absolutely beautiful and so inspiring for the children.  Kingfishers Class Assembly Kingfishers took parents on a whistle-stop tour around the world at their class assembly on Wednesday. The children presented their own 'St. Helen's College News', reporting on the art, music and culture from Africa, Asia and Europe, all in the spirit of celebrating world harmony. Parents were treated to beautiful Korean dress, traditional Morris dancing and a fun retelling of the famous Aesop's fable 'The Hare And The Tortoise'. It was also a lovely opportunity to wish St. Helen’s College a very happy 100th birthday! It was wonderful to see how the confidence and poise of Reception has grown throughout the year and we look forward to seeing even greater things in Year 1! Year 2 and 3 First Maths Challenge This week children in Years 2 and 3, and selected children from Reception and Year 1, have put their maths knowledge to the test by taking part in the First Maths Challenge. This 45 minute online quiz, consisting of twenty multiple choice questions, has been specifically created for children aged 7-9 years. The challenge offers children the opportunity to demonstrate their maths knowledge, application and aptitude for problem solving. All participants will receive a certificate once the papers are marked and are banded into bronze, silver and gold categories. Well done to everyone who took part!      School Handwriting Competition On Monday the Year 1 and 2 winners of the in-house handwriting competition were announced. The standard was very high and the competition stiff so congratulations to Amayra C in Year 1, and to Harleen P and Sikhya R who were joint winners in Year 2. Each winner received a certificate and special framed copy of their handwritten submitted poem.  Cricket News Our U11 A team played in the The Uxbridge and District Primary School Sports Association (UDPSSA) best cricket tournament on Wednesday 12th June. The boys played extremely well and were just beaten in the final to a very strong Newnham School team. They should all be extremely proud of finishing as runners up.         Year 6 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Tickets are now on sale for the eagerly anticipated Year 6 production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Compass Theatre on 27th and 28th June. The children have been working hard on rehearsals before they take to the stage for their final performance at St. Helen's College. Tickets are available here.  Centenary Concert and Art Exhibition  Don't forget to buy your tickets for the art exhibition on Thursday 11th July. Every child in the class will have at least one piece of work in the exhibition and we have been working hard to mount and package the art beautifully to send home with your child the following day. Tickets are £5 per family and include refreshments. The exhibition is open from 3.00 - 5.00 p.m. on that day.  Concert tickets for the evening concert (starting at 7 p.m.) are also now on sale to parents of performers. These are £15 each and include refreshments and entry to the art exhibition, which will re-open at 6 p.m.  This should be a really special afternoon/evening so we hope you will support your child's artistic and/or musical efforts by coming along to celebrate their creativity! Please log in to your SchoolsBuddy account to book your tickets. Lower School Art Exhibition Parents of children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 are warmly invited to our Lower School Art Exhibition on Friday 5th July 2024, which is being hosted by MiniMasterworks. Refreshments will be served from 2.30 p.m. in the Lower School playground, weather permitting, and the exhibition will be open in the Lower School Hall from 3.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m. on this day. Each child has created a masterpiece that has been professionally mounted and framed. Your child’s piece of art will be available to purchase and take away with you on the day for the bargain price of £20. You will also be able to order extra prints and postcard sets featuring your child's artwork if you wish. We would love you all to attend with your child; however, if you are not able to do so, pre-order forms are available from Mrs. Rooney. We are looking forward to celebrating all our future Monets and really hope you are able to attend to enjoy the occasion with your child! Centenary Teddy Bear Naming Competition! Thank you very much to all who allowed their children to pay £1 to enter the raffle to name our centenary teddy bear. We had lots of entries and today we drew the class winners, to great excitement. Each winner was awarded their own centenary bear to keep! The overall winner will be drawn from the winning class entries on Monday and the centenary teddy bear's name will be revealed!  We raised a wonderful £205.80 to be donated to the Four Paws animal preservation charity to support their important work.    Staff News We will be bidding a fond farewell to some staff at the end of this academic year, and extending a warm welcome to some new colleagues. After four years at St. Helen's College, Mrs. Briggs is leaving us to relocate with her family.   Mrs. Hussein has had a long association (eleven years) with St. Helen's College as a teacher and parent. She will be taking a well-deserved rest when she leaves us at the end of this term.   Miss Joiner has been a valued member of our Lower School team for six years and is leaving us to spend more time looking after her young family.   Mrs. Stark's St. Helen's College journey stretches back over 25 years, as a part-time teacher, full-time teacher, Deputy Head and, most recently, part time French teacher. She has been a huge part of the school.  We know that you will join us in wishing our staff leavers well on the next stage of their journey. They will be greatly missed by us all at St. Helen's College; they have each had a huge impact on so many young lives. Uniform & Equipment Lists The Uniform & Equipment lists for 2024-2025 have been posted to the School Documents page of the website. There are no changes to required items for the forthcoming year but please check the lists carefully and ensure that your child has all that they need by September for their next year group. Next Week Tuesday 18th June - Year 1 and 2 rehearsal at Compass Theatre Wednesday 19th June - Year 1 and 2 rehearsal at Compass Theatre Wednesday 19th June - Parents' evening for Ducklings, Nursery and Reception Thursday 20th June - Year 1 and 2 performance for parents at Compass Theatre  Thursday 20th June - Chess match v St. Bernadette's Primary School Friday 21st June - Prep Sports Day   Saturday 22nd June - Centenary PA Summer Fete
Posted on: 7/06/2024

Empathy

    Yesterday, Thursday 6th June, was marked as ‘Empathy Day’ and many schools across the country have been focussing on ‘empathy’ with their students. Our pupils at St. Helen’s College have all participated in assemblies and activities and the children have been encouraged to start noticing when they are demonstrating empathy and what it feels like. Please take a few minutes to watch this wonderful short animation which the children in Middle and Upper School watched together and then discussed - it is incredibly powerful for adults and children alike! I have followed the work of ‘Empathy Lab’ for many years and it is most definitely a wonderful resource for adults to dip into if you are looking for a book to support in developing ‘empathy’ in our youngsters. Empathy Day celebrates and grows empathy's power to create a better world. It shines a light on the role of books in raising an empathy-educated generation. What is Empathy? Empathy is our ability to imagine and share someone else’s feelings and perspectives. Research shows it is: a pivotal social/emotional competence: influential frameworks include empathy as a key factor; an essential ingredient in education: it builds the relationships pupils need to learn/feel safe (Settling Children to Learn, Bomber & Hughes, 2013) and a key factor in moral behaviour: Empathy, Justice, and Moral Behavior, Decety & Cowell, 2015 Empathy is made up of three elements: FEELING: where we resonate with other people’s feelings; THINKING: where we use reason and imagination to work out how someone else feels and  ACTING: where we are inspired to help others, having experienced what they are feeling For some people ‘empathy’ does not come easy and I am often saddened when I hear of and witness sometimes first hand when adults are not able to demonstrate empathetic behaviours towards each other.  American researcher Brene Brown has spent over twenty years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. You may enjoy this very short video where she explains the difference between empathy and sympathy.  Parents, teachers, peers, society, and culture affect how people feel about kindness, empathy, compassion, and helping behaviours. Some conditions may play a role in a lack of empathy such as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder (BPD).  We all have such an important role to play in shaping the young people around us to allow them to be immersed in an environment where empathy and kindness are consistently being modelled and recognised and even celebrated.   Our school values play an important role in your children’s daily life. Your children are encouraged to think for themselves, understand their place in the world around them, anticipate others’ needs and show confidence, determination, resilience, courage, love, empathy and gratitude. At Upper School the children will celebrate by taking time to write a ‘values spotter’ postcard and pop it into the values box - these recognitions are then celebrated in assembly. The children do not receive ‘rewards’ for this achievement other than standing up in assembly to gain the recognition of their peers. It is so important that we do not ‘reward’ children with physical gifts for behaving in a manner that as a society we expect. The fact that we take time to recognise the person who has noticed the kind behaviours and acknowledge both parties is reward enough.  Let’s see if we can continue to embrace and demonstrate ‘empathy’ at home and in school to help our children develop the characteristics and values for them to build a happy, wholesome future.   Happy weekend. Ms Drummond
Posted on: 7/06/2024

Weekly News - Friday 7th June 2024

Centenary Celebrations As we begin the final half term of our Centenary year we have some very special events coming up, so please make sure you have the following dates in your diary. Saturday 22nd June - PA Centenary Summer Fete (please see below) Friday 5th July - Lower School Art Exhibition Tuesday 9th July - Centenary Fun Day for Pupils Thursday 11th July - Upper School Centenary Concert and Art Exhibition (please see below) TfL Top Schools Award and STARS Gold Accreditation We are delighted to receive a TfL Travel for Life ‘Top Schools Award 2024’. St. Helen's College has been highly commended for ‘Creativity and Innovation' in support of active and safer travel initiatives. We have also received renewed Gold Level accreditation until 2026. This recognises the vital work of the passionate and committed STARS Junior Travel Ambassadors who have been instrumental in promoting the importance of this. Keep up the good work!      SATIPS Art Exhibition 'People's Choice' Winner  Artwork submitted by Pavan S (Year 6) has been awarded 'The People's Choice' at the SATIPS Art Exhibition hosted by Moreton Hall in Shropshire in April. This is a terrific achievement as the standard of entries from other prep schools across the country was extremely high this year. Pavan has been awarded a beautiful sketchbook and certificate to mark her success, and we hope she will enjoy creating many more beautiful pieces of art.        SATIPS Handwriting Competition Pupils from Year 1 to 6 have submitted entries to the annual SATIPS handwriting competition. The children are required to write out a set poem for their age category, in pencil, in their very best handwriting to be judged against entries from other Prep schools from across the country. Winners will be announced at the beginning of the autumn term and receive a prize and certificate. Meanwhile we are celebrating the talents of our students with our own St. Helen's College in-house handwriting competition. A winner from each year group has been selected, each of whom has received a special framed copy of their submitted handwritten poem. Year 4, 5 and 6 winners have been announced; congratulations to Amara B, Arya A and Pavan S. The winners for Year 1, 2 and 3 will be announced in assembly on Monday. Huge congratulations to the overall school winner, Amara B, who has been awarded a very smart fountain pen in recognition of her hard work.  Singing Competition Finalists  The finalists for the Singing Competition have been announced! We had a terrific response and would like to say well done to everyone who submitted an entry. The standard was very high. Congratulations to all of the pupils who have made it through to the final on Friday 14th June, when they will perform the song of their choice for their parents, peers and our guest judge Jessica Bergman (soprana and music teacher) . The finalists are: Year 2: Amina H, Sikhya R, Anika S Year 3: Alicia Z, Tansy M, Anoushka B MS groups: Eleanor, Alicia and Sanaya; Arahya and Anika Year 4: Avleen P, Alyssa P, Leo A, Gurdaya J Year 5: Rohan F, Alexander A, Diya B, Zinnia M Year 6: Hana H, Pavan S, Samara P, Senna G US groups: Anna, Grace, Hana and Samara; Pavan and Zarifa; Avleen & Gurdaya Author Caroline Boxall Visits Year 6 It was a great pleasure to welcome author Caroline Boxall to school on Monday. The author of 'The Secret Children of Mumbai' and 'The Runaway Children of Chennai', Caroline ran workshops for our two Year 6 classes and certainly inspired the children by telling them all about how she became an author, how she gets the ideas for her books and how the children could themselves become published writers! She also introduced her International Creative Writing Competition for children to have the opportunity to write their own story and win copies of her books. Signed and personalised books are available to order here. The link will remain open for another week or so; please order asap if you would like a signed copy delivered to school.   Upper School Centenary Concert And Art Exhibition - Thursday 11th July We are delighted to invite Upper School parents to join us for our Centenary Art Exhibition and Centenary Concert at the Winston Churchill Hall in Ruislip on Thursday 11th July. This special event will celebrate the arts at St. Helen's College. Every child in Years 2 - 6 will have at least one piece on show at the art exhibition and all three school choirs, the school orchestra and many soloists will be performing at the evening concert. Our string group and guitar ensemble will be performing in the foyer before the concert, so parents of children who are performing only in these two groups will not necessarily need to book tickets for the concert (although are welcome to do so). Please read the following information carefully and book your tickets soon! Art Exhibition The exhibition will be open from 3.30 - 5.00 p.m. on Thursday 11th July, and again from 6.00 - 6.45 p.m. The art exhibition is open to all SHC families. Every child in Years 2 - 6 will have at least one piece of art at the exhibition. We will also be offering you a drink to enjoy while you peruse the artwork.  Tickets for the art exhibition are priced at £5 per family (not per person) and you may come and go as many times as you please during the opening hours. Displayed work from the exhibition, which is being mounted and packaged appropriately, will be sent home with your child on the final day of the summer term. Evening Concert Many children will be performing at the concert in the evening on Thursday 11th July, including those in the school choirs and orchestra. Parents will need to buy tickets for this event, and these will be made available first to parents of performers. If any remain unsold after a fortnight, these will then be made available to other families.  Tickets are priced at £15 per person for the evening concert, which will begin at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m. for visits to the art exhibition). Please book your tickets through SchoolsBuddy. We hope that you will support this exciting event, which we are sure will provide a fitting end to our Centenary year! New Reading Scheme Books Reading is the key to success and we are huge champions here at St. Helen's College. Year 2 were excited today to discover some of the hundreds of new reading scheme books recently added to our extensive collection. The updated selection includes children's classics alongside titles exploring more current topics such as Black History Month, neurodiversity and wellbeing. We are lucky to have so many avid readers in the school, we hope parents will enjoy listening to children reading the new books at home too.    Sports News On Thursday it was our Pre-Prep Sports Day at Court Park. Children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 had a wonderful day taking part in a variety of sports and games in the sunshine. It was a great day to see the children enjoying all the activities and the children were delighted with the rosettes they achieved. You can see some photographs of them having fun on the Galleries page here.   On Monday our cricket A team travelled to Highgate while the B team played a fixture against Highgate at home. The A team played confidently and won by a comfortable 30 runs (56 - 86). The boys bowled and batted extremely well, taking 5 wickets in a 12 over game.  The B team had a lovely afternoon producing some excellent cricket, especially with the ball, and winning 58 - 9. The game finished quite quickly, so we played a second, shorter game and we were again victorious, 32 - 19. It was super to see the boys all enjoying their cricket so much. They have all clearly improved over the season so far. Name The Bear Competition To celebrate our centenary year we are running a 'name the bear' competition for all pupils to have the opportunity to christen our new St. Helen's College special centenary teddy bear. Entry is £1 which should be brought into school by Wednesday 12th June. All funds raised will be donated to the Four Paws animal preservation charity. The winning entry in each class will receive a centenary teddy bear and will be entered into the final draw for the overall winner. Pupils can be as imaginative and fun as they please with their names for the bear, you can hear more about the competition here. We look forward to hearing their suggestions! Month End Music Recital Our Month End Music Recital today was, as always, very well attended by families, staff and pupils. It was a joy to hear the children's pieces on piano, recorder, trombone, violin, flute, cello and trumpet, as well as some beautiful vocal performances. Very well done to all those who took part and good luck to everyone who will be practising hard for ABRSM exams over the next month or so! LAMDA Exams We would like to wish our LAMDA pupils the best for tomorrow, when they will be taking a range of drama and public speaking LAMDA examinations here at St. Helen's College. Good luck! Summer Fete, Father's Day And Sports Day - Messages From The PA Only two weeks to go until the summer fete! The summer fete will be extra special this year as we will be celebrating the school's centenary year. The event is open to all SHC families, friends and the wider community. Please note that it is a cash only event. The success of the much anticipated fete relies on the support of all families to give time and donations where they can. This year we are short on volunteers and donations, so please contact your class rep as soon as possible to see where you can help on your allocated stall. There will be barrels out for donations of any toys, teddies and uniforms at both Upper and Lower School entrances from this Monday onwards. The PA has two other events coming up, as follows. A Father's Day stall will run on Friday 14th June for children to buy a gift for a cherished male figure in their life: - Upper School: Before school, at break time and after school (cash only) - Lower School: Before and after school (cash and card accepted). The PA will also have a refreshments stall running at the Upper School Sports Day on Friday 21st June and we are in need of parents to volunteer some time on this stall; please contact your class rep if you are able to spare some time on the day. Summer School 2024 Summer School will be running at PACCAR Scout camp from 5th - 9th August for Years 3 - 6. This will be a fun-packed week of thrilling outdoor activities including climbing, archery and a day of water sports at nearby Taplow lake. Full details have been sent directly to parents and there are now just a few places left. If you would like to book a space for your child, you can do so through your SchoolsBuddy account. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The St. Helen’s College Holiday Club will run at school for children in Nursery - Year 2 as usual during this week.  Reminders All children from Reception to Year 6 should arrive at school in their summer uniform and wearing a blazer, unless it is a PE kit day. School hats (felt cap, summer boater) may be worn if children have them; sun hats must always be with your child.  Please ensure that you have applied sun cream to your child's skin on hot days. Next Week Tuesday 11th June - Friday 14th June - Y2 and 3 First Maths Challenge Wednesday 12th June - Y2 and 3 First Maths Challenge Wednesday 12th June - Kingfishers Coffee Morning and Class Assembly  Friday 14th June - Singing Competition Friday 14th June - PA Father's Day Stalls  
Posted on: 24/05/2024

Why I Ran The London Marathon by Sabe Karunananthan

This week we have a guest blog from Sabe Karunananthan, father of St. Helen’s College twins Naima and Noah. He explains why he ran the London Marathon this year to raise an incredible total of £7211 for Young Lives Vs Cancer.  This all started with a conversation with our Young Lives vs Cancer social worker, Rebecca, on the ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon. I am a recreational runner at best having done two half marathons. I’ve entered the ballot for London for many years and never been successful. In my head it always seemed like a challenge I’d enjoy. Maybe I like pain. Rebecca regularly visited us on the ward, we had many conversations and on one occasion, I decided to ask for a charity place in the London Marathon and here we are. Dilly thought I was crazy and she was probably justified.  Noah and his twin sister Naima both started life like normal children. Noah became unwell at the age of 2, he wasn’t eating or drinking, eventually we had to take him to A&E. Naima and I had to stay at home. After a few tests, Dilly heard those dreaded words from the doctor: ‘It’s better if Dad is here too’.  The next 48 hours were a blur. Noah got diagnosed with ALL Leukaemia and was transferred to GOSH. In that whirlwind, I heard the strangest sentence from one our consultants: ‘If I had to give my child any type of cancer, I’d pick this one’. To be fair they were correct as ALL Leukaemia is the most researched cancer and one with the highest survival rate. During the first round of chemo, Noah developed a fungal infection that spread to his brain and caused a stroke. He was transferred to GOSH under blue lights for the second time in a month. There he spent the next seventy nights. For the first few weeks he wasn’t moving at all. We were at our lowest point and Young Lives vs Cancer really helped us and gave us the support we needed.  Originally, I was supposed to run the Marathon in 2023 but I got injured training, so I deferred to 2024. Noah still needed extensive rehabilitation. He spent eight weeks at The Children’s Trust, a charity St. Helen’s College knows well. Naima and I were again driving up and down to see them and I had to try fit in my marathon training. It was too early for me.  This time it was much better. A lot of very early Sundays running around Hillingdon; I particularly enjoyed Long Lane past the school as it was downhill. It only dawned on me that Hillingdon probably has that name due to the hills. I tried to avoid hills at all costs so you might have seen me running up and down the A40 as it’s flat. This went on for weeks. It consumed my life.  The BBC had picked up my fundraising, so they ran a story and asked me to stop for an interview on Tower Bridge. If you saw it, I may have looked composed but already I was broken. The rest of the run was brutal. I had so many mixed emotions. The crowd shouting Noah (and Naima), handing out sweets and the most tempting pint ever, which I did resist. I would cry, laugh and cry again. I was overtaken by a rhino, a lady carrying a fridge, a slow Sonic and a fireman wearing all his gear. There were so many inspiring people on the way. I had a decent tussle with a granny who in the end beat me. Eventually that last corner arrived and the crowd at this stage were incredible. The thought of doing an Usain Bolt like finish did cross my mind for a moment but I thought I’d save it for school Sports Day.  The money raised is a phenomenal number and the support I was given by everyone at the school has been incredible. Would I do again? The quick answer is no but I have entered the ballot for next year so who knows. I can see that strip on the A40 with my name on it!
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