Subjects Taught

Children at St. Helen’s College are taught the following subjects, some of which are combined into topic work in the Kindergarten, Nursery and Pre-Prep.

Reading and comprehension are the foundation of all learning in primary education and we inspire enthusiastic readers through our engaging approach. All children read every day; guided reading takes place throughout the school; our two libraries are popular, vibrant places (staffed at Upper School by qualified, specialist librarians); we run reading clubs, reading sessions for parents and reading challenges; World Book Day is an annual whole-school highlight. High level, age appropriate questioning is employed to ensure that children are understanding  a range of texts and developing imaginative, inference and narrative skills. As they move through the school, children learn to produce writing of increasingly sophisticated style and content. Scholarship clubs are run for English scholarship candidates and to prepare children for the high level demands of senior school transfer English papers.

Maths is taught in a systematic and creative way to ensure that every child masters the building blocks of this incredible subject. As children progress through the school, the maths they are exposed to becomes more high level and in the upper years most children are working well above their national curriculum level and, in many cases, accessing senior school mathematics for fun! The subject is enriched with online maths competitions, high level Maths Clubs for the most able and pupil-run maths clinics for younger children.

Most science is taught through hands-on investigation, and as pupils rise through the year groups, they become ever more able to devise their own experiments, make their own predictions and draw their own intellectual conclusions. Much enrichment takes place outside of the classroom, with fieldwork on day and residential trips, and visits to study centres such as the Amersham Field Centre to study Electricity.

Languages: French, Spanish, Latin
All children in the school learn Spanish (from Ducklings Kindergarten), French (from Year 4) and Latin (from Year 6). In addition, every child from Year 2 to Year 5 is encouraged to take part in the UTalk Language Challenge annually, through which they learn different European, Asian and African languages and compete online against children from across the nation. St. Helen’s College children are enthusiastic linguists and the school’s record of achievement in this competition is superb! The children’s language learning is crowned off with a week’s immersive residential trip at the Château de la Baudonniere in Normandy during Year 6.

Through historical enquiry, independent research, story-telling, drama and trips to places of historical interest, children acquire a love for and appreciation of British and world history.

Our Geography curriculum equips pupils with the skills and knowledge to understand the world in which we live, its landscapes, peoples, places and environments, and is delivered creatively through a range of class based case study investigations, digital mapping activities and regular outdoor practical fieldwork. A particular highlight for children are the coastal studies undertaken on the Isle of Wight residential trip in Year 5. The school weather stations also provide pupils with the chance to be meteorologists!

Using a variety of hardware and software, children from the Early Years learn to use technology safely, confidently and creatively. By the end of their time with us, children are able to communicate their ideas through a range of media, including animations, videos and  websites. They learn how computer systems work and design and develop programs. Many children choose to attend Coding Club, Minecraft Club or other technology clubs.

Creative subjects have a high priority at St. Helen’s College and art is taught throughout the school. At Upper School, pupils use our purpose-built art studio. St. Helen’s College pupils’ work is shown at Art Exhibitions and we have a strong track record of pupils achieving Art Scholarships to the senior schools of their choice. Many co-curricular arts/crafts clubs are run.

St. Helen’s College pupils are known as confident and accomplished public speakers. Every child performs publicly throughout their time with us, through class assemblies, plays and our annual speech/poetry recital competition. In their final year with us, the children put on a grand musical production at The Compass Theatre in Ickenham (recent examples include The Wizard of Oz, Aladdin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Beauty And The Beast). Regular theatre trips are run for enrichment.

We are a vibrant musical community. Every child has class music lessons from specialist music teachers and many children choose to take individual instrumental or vocal tuition or to join one of our many choirs or musical ensembles. There are regular opportunities for our singers and instrumentalists to perform, at informal month end music recitals, Harvest Festivals, Carol Services, Easter Services and our superb annual Singers’ and Musicians’ Concerts.

Our innovative personal development programme includes Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, Peer Support, Growth Mindset, ‘Heartstart’ first aid training, Relationship and Sex education and more. We focus on set values throughout the year such as kindness, perseverance and courage so that pupils become kind, compassionate, curious and mature listeners, thinkers and speakers. Pupils have the opportunity throughout the year to raise money for charities, take part in selfless service projects and, through our Eco Representatives, they have the opportunity to make their school and local environments more eco-friendly. British Values are taught throughout the school.

Through a careful programme of learning about the major world religions, children enquire into life’s ‘big questions’.

Physical Education
Our wide-ranging physical education offering, split into PE lessons and Games afternoons, encompasses sports and games including football, rugby for boys and girls, hockey, netball, tennis, cricket, athletics, basketball, handball, rounders, gymnastics, swimming and more. Children have the opportunity to play representative sport at house level within the school and against other local schools. Our record of competitive sporting achievement is very strong indeed.


Posted on: 15/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 15th October 2021

Nursery Harvest Assemblies Wow! We were so impressed with our two Nursery classes, who performed harvest assemblies at the Methodist Church for their parents at the beginning of this week. It is always incredible to see such young children performing with real confidence and enjoyment. They had clearly learned their songs and actions well and should be very proud of themselves!                   3B Coffee Morning/Class Assembly On Friday, class 3B performed an assembly all about life in Year 3. They told us how it is different to life in Year 2, demonstrating how quickly they have learned to get changed for swimming and sharing examples of their work, including a report on their recent trip to St. Albans. They performed with great confidence and real enjoyment, with children sharing their particular interests and skills. Thank you, 3B, for such an interesting, informative and enjoyable assembly. Year 2 Trip to Chiltern Open Air Museum Year 2 had a fantastic visit to the Chiltern Open Air Museum on Thursday. The children learnt about life in the time of The Stone Age, which they have been studying this term in history.  They met a woman from the Mesolithic era and learnt how to make fire, shelters, shoot a special bow and arrow called an atlatl. The children enjoyed making  paste with charcoal to paint on material and their faces. They even made their own spears using stone and wood.               Year 5 Trip to Hampton Court Palace To extend and enrich their History topic of The Tudors, our two Year 5 classes visited Hampton Court Palace on Thursday and had a truly successful day in their first school trip in eighteen months. From the minute they entered the royal gates, they were excited and eager. The children learned from Mistress Alice (the head of the king’s laundrette) about how being a servant was a really good job in the 1500s! Our pupils impressed everyone with their good behaviour, relevant questions and by embracing the day with real enthusiasm. They were equally impressed with the grandeur of Henry’s apartments, the spookiness of the haunted gallery and the magnificent formal gardens. All in all it was a superb trip!   Sports News This week our girls' football team took part in an U11 Girls' Football Tournament at Radlett Prep School. They played six matches and finished 4th in the tournament overall. The boys' football team also took part in a tournament, travelling to Manor Lodge Prep School. Again, they played six matches and finished 3rd overall. Well done to all of the players involved in the tournaments - they were very enjoyable occasions and will have helped to develop skills and matchplay further. School at Work Open Morning The school was abuzz on Wednesday morning as we held our first in-school Open Morning since October 2019! At Upper School, our Year 6 pupils were super guides for prospective parents and the families who visited were enormously impressed with their knowledge of the school and confident communication skills. At Lower School, our Early Years and Year 1 classes acquitted themselves beautifully and it is amazing to think that so many of these children joined us for the first time in September. They have really adopted the St. Helen's College values and are living them out in their daily behaviour. We were very proud of them. Our prospective families were impressed by the behaviour and communication of the children throughout the school, as well as the impressive work on display. Many thanks to everyone involved in the morning. Maxwell Garden It is wonderful to watch our Maxwell Garden come to life as the pupils and St. Helen's College team continue to develop this outdoor learning area at Upper School.           Nursery/Reception/Year 1 Parents' Evening Thank you to all of the parents who attended the online parents' evening for Nursery, Reception and Year 1 children this week. We hope that you enjoyed talking with the teachers. Upper School Parents' Evenings If you have a child in Year 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and have not yet booked your appointment(s) for our forthcoming Upper School parents' evenings, please login to your Schoolcloud account to do so. The face-to-face parents' evening will take place on Tuesday 2nd November, and the online parents' evening will take place on Thursday 11th November. Individual Music Lessons We currently have availability for the following lessons for Upper School pupils (in Years 2-6): Trumpet Flute  Singing  Please note that these spaces are during the school day, so are only available to students not currently having lessons on another instrument already during the school day. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis so please contact Mrs. Fawbert if you would like your child to have lessons in one of these: Free Half Term Workshops Rosie, the Education and Community Officer for Dogs Trust covering West London, will be delivering FREE school holiday activity workshops for families about How to Behave Safely Around Dogs and Being a Responsible Dog Owner. These workshops will take place at Oak Farm, Northwood, Ruislip Manor and Charville Library. They are designed for children aged 7-11, with one accompanying adult, and there will be a realistic toy dog and lots of props that can be used to help make activities really fun! There is no charge to families to book these workshops and all relevant contact information is on the attached poster here. Autumn Half Term Camps - Computer Xplorers Computer Xplorers (who run our Minecraft Club here at school) will be running Autumn half term tech camps. Their programmes are as follows: VR Robotics -   KODU 3D Game Design -   Intro to Roblox Game Design -   MinecraftEdu Fantasy Island - Uniform Reminder After half term, girls should return to school in full, correct winter uniform. The winter skirt should be worn wtih green tights please - no white tights allowed! The winter hats should now also be worn, with the St. Helen's College beanie/ski hats only to be worn inside the school gates for playtime/outdoor sports when it is extremely cold. Textile Bank If you are having a clear out over half term, please remember that you can donate any unwanted textiles (clothes, shoes, accessories, bed linen) via the textile bank located outside the school entrance at 227 Long Lane. We cannot accept school uniform items or duvets/pillows/cushions, but anything else is fine! The textiles donated are given to those in need, or recycled into industrial cleaning cloths, so that nothing ends up as landfill, and the St. Helen's College Charitable Trust receives a small donation per kilo collected. Many thanks in advance for any donations.  
Posted on: 8/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 8th October 2021

Lower School Harvest Festivals Thank you to all of the parents who joined us this week for the Lower School class assemblies to celebrate Harvest Festival. Our Reception and Year 1 children gave wonderful performances to remind us of the importance of our farmers and all that they do to provide food for us all, as well as how important it is to think of others less fortunate than ourselves at this time of year. The children all spoke their lines and sang their songs with great confidence - it is just wonderful to see such young children developing the public speaking skills they will need in the future! Many thanks to all families for the generous contributions of Harvest food, which will be distributed via the Salvation Army to those in need in our local community.  The Nursery (Robins and Wrens) Harvest Festival assemblies will take place next week. Please check the calendar here for details. Sports News Well done to our netball team, who won 6-1 on Wednesday in their first  game of the season against St. Bernadette's. The girls played with great skill and determination, as well as super attitudes. We are all very proud of them!           Also playing their first game of the season on Wednesday, our football team took on a physical St. Mary's team in a closely contested game which ended in a 1-1 draw. Very well done to all of the players involved.       On Thursday, our girls' football team enjoyed their experience of their first football festival at Abbotts Hill Football Club. They took part in a carousel of activities to help develop their skills and enjoyed playing a match against Oak Farm, despite it ending in a 0-0 draw.       On Friday, the boys' football team took part in the U11 tournament at Aldenham School.             St. Helen's College Kitchen Achieves Five Star Hygiene Rating Again Following an unannounced visit from the Food Standards Agency today, we are delighted to confirm that our kitchen has once again been awarded a five star hygiene rating. Well done to Soula and her team! Lower School Parents' Evenings Thank you to the Nursery, Reception and Year 1 parents who attended parent consultations on Tuesday this week. We hope that you found these useful. The next set of consultations will take place on Thursday 14th October. Co-Curricular Activities - Lower School Gardening Club We are thrilled that our Lower School Gardening Club was recently recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) who were impressed with our harvest of runner beans, tomatoes and cucumbers! It is great that we are able to teach the children about where their food comes from and the effort that must go into successfully planting, nurturing and harvesting crops. Year 6 Trip to Denham Country Park On Thursday, our Year 6 children enjoyed a day of outdoor learning at Denham Country Park, investigating the environment including the river.          Year 3 Trip to St. Albans Earlier in the week, the Year 3 classes had a super trip to St Albans, where they enriched their learning in lots of ways. They looked around the cathedral and found out about St Alban. They did some really exciting drama and dressed up as characters from the story of St Alban. They also made some Roman mosaics and found out about different aspects of Roman life. Everyone was very well behaved and one of the volunteers from the cathedral commented that we should all be very proud of our children and our school because they were so engaged and enthusiastic throughout the day. The children have written some lovely recounts of the day and one of them said, "I would recommend this trip to people who like History, learning and finding out about the Romans."   Reception Trip to Odds Farm Kingfishers and Owls thoroughly enjoyed  a fantastic visit to Odds Farm Park today as part of their shared topic of  ‘Down on the Farm!’  The children delighted in the chance to get close to a range of farm animals, they excitedly took part in a ‘meet the bunnies’ workshop and they even learned how to milk a cow!  The day was finished off in style, with a bumpy-but-fun tractor ride around the farm. The trip certainly proved a wonderful way for the children to learn about the importance of agriculture, how to care for living things and the significance of the autumn harvest. Recycle to Read Next week we will be holding the Eco initiative 'Recycle to Read'. You can find out information about this initiative here: Upper School Eco Reps discussed this in assembly today and Lower School Eco Reps have been busy making posters to promote the scheme. Eshan N has written this piece to explain the scheme: From Monday 11th October, St. Helen's College will be taking part in Recycle to Read! This is a new campaign where we throw away lots of plastic toys and technology in exchange for new books. This is the very first time this has been done and St. Helen's College is very proud to support this environmentally friendly campaign. We are doing this for the health and safety of our planet because over 318 million toys over the world are being sold each year! This is very damaging to the environment because when these toys are disposed of incorrectly some of the plastic could go into the sea or into the forests which could have a big impact on the environment. The school would like both teachers and students to help the environment. At school we will have two bins. One bin will be for plastic toys and one for technology. Happy recycling! There will be collection bins at Upper School, Lower School and Ducklings for donations and we thank you in advance for your involvement in this excellent scheme. Flu Vaccination Reception to Year 6 If you have not already returned your child's flu vaccination form, please note that we must have this back by the end of next week in order for your child to receive the vaccine. Your completed form should be sent into school and handed to your child's form teacher or to the school office.
Posted on: 8/10/2021

Emerging With Ambition

  A couple of weeks ago I attended the IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) Heads' Conference in Bournemouth.  It was the first time in two years that 400 Head Teachers had been able to come together for this annual conference and the theme of the three days was very poignant indeed - ‘Emerging with Ambition’. As the conference was launched, the CEO of IAPS, Christopher King,  addressed us and shared some of the highlights of good practice which make IAPS schools beacons of excellence. As I sat in the auditorium I was filled with pride watching a promotional video where our Lower School pupils and beautiful facilities were showcased. Chris King then went on to specifically mention St. Helen’s College and how we have been incredibly innovative in our preschool parenting Teddy Talk videos and baby mindfulness classes.  During the tea break, several Heads approached me to discuss how we had managed to do so much during a pandemic. It is evident that St. Helen’s College is not just ‘emerging with ambition’ from a pandemic but that throughout the pandemic we actively were ‘driven with ambition’ or in the words of our aims, written by our pupils, we strive for excellence, help everyone achieve and care for each other.    Our staff work so well together and it is the shared ambition from our whole community that makes us so unique. The three days of conference were inspiring and I listened to several keynote speakers and participated in several seminars. There was so much to reflect upon but what was particularly gratifying was that much of what was discussed as best practice in some keynotes we are already doing here at St. Helen’s College.  For example, in his session on the future of learning and the future of assessment, Professor Bill Lucas outlined some key findings and recommendations from recent research on rethinking assessment from educational researchers and practice from across the world.  Alternatives to the predominantly summative methods of assessment (test results) are now no longer fit for purpose (an ongoing debate for secondary schools). However, here at St. Helen’s College we are already frontrunners in our approaches; for example -  extended investigations and pupil profiling (where the pupils take ownership of work they are most proud of which they curate over time), our use of learning logs, flipped learning and our reporting of ‘habits of learning’ not ‘achievement’ grades. We are an ambitious school and always have been, so we do not feel that we are ‘recovering’ from the pandemic and lockdown but merely transitioning and adapting.  Many of the speakers referred to ‘recovery’ and it did annoy me slightly the extent to which doom and gloom were associated with the pandemic. I believe that we need to celebrate all the amazing things which your children achieved during the last 19 months and look forward with continued ambition.   I would love to give you a synopsis of many of the other speakers I heard over the conference but I will leave you with one speaker’s Ted Talk, whose work is truly inspiring and which I am sure will resonate with you as it did me. James Shone’s work is aligned with one of the St. Helen's College school aims, which is centred on personal growth: We aim to instil core moral values, inspiring virtue, responsibility, resilience, independence, mindful self-awareness and a desire for continuing self-development. Please indulge yourself for the 16 minutes of this Ted Talk - I heard him speak for an hour but this is a snippet of what he spoke about to empower the group of Headteachers in front of him at our conference.  Let’s keep inflating the balloons of self belief! Have a wonderful weekend. Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 1/10/2021

Weekly News - Friday 1st October 2021

STEAM Day The whole school enjoyed a fabulous STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) Day on Wednesday. The children took part in a diverse range of activities and the school was buzzing with excitement and those 'lightbulb' moments that so often come in the hands-on doing of work. Many thanks to Mr. Shahabuddin and Mr. Usher (Mrs. Pruce's Dad) who gave up their time to come into school for the day to run or assist in the running of workshop sessions. We took lots of photographs of the children engaged in their activities and you can see them here. Dara McAnulty Author Talk We joined with 11,000 other children from schools across the country to hear from author Dara McAnulty on Thursday this week.  Dara shared his love of the natural world, and how his fascination with birds of prey was inspired by an RSPB school talk. He shared a recording of red kites, and invited us all to consider the beauty of nature in our local area. Dara then discussed his writing process with the children: he encouraged them to write in a carefree manner and write about any topic they find interesting. The pupils were also shown a short video of his book's incredible illustrator at work. He then spoke of his love of fantasy stories and how they enabled him to escape bullying at school. His talk concluded with him challenging the children to explore nature and enjoy the natural world.  Harvest Celebrations Year 5 and our Senior and Chamber Choirs presented a beautiful harvest service at All Saints Church today. Thank you to the parents who joined us for this special occasion. All of the other Upper School children celebrated Harvest with a musical assembly at school. Thank you to all of the staff involved in organising these events. Lower School Harvest assemblies (one per class) will take place soon too. Do check the school calendar for your child's date. We would like to extend gratitude to children, parents and staff for the generous donations of Harvest food. These will be distributed, via the Salvation Army, to those in need in the local community. We are pleased to be able to make such generous contributions to help those less fortunate at this time of year. Year 4 Ancient Greek Day On Tuesday, our Year 4 pupils were immersed in an Ancient Greek Day to extend their learning. In the morning they watched a show, in which an Athenian woman helped a time traveller to answer questions about Greek discoveries, Sparta, Homer, the Greek Gods, clothing, myths and battles. The children then took part in two workshops: in one, they acted out Ancient Greek daily life and a wedding, and in the second they learnt all about the Olympics. It was a hugely enjoyable and educational day! Month End Music Recital This afternoon we enjoyed our first Month End Music Recital of the academic year in the Evans Hall. We were treated to a variety of vocal, violin, trumpet and piano pieces, performed by Upper School children, and it was lovely to celebrate the musicality of the pupils informally in this way once again. Performance opportunities are an important way in which pupils can develop their confidence and resilience and we are very proud of the children who took part. Pantosaurus This week the children at Upper School were spoken to about the 'underpants rules' in assembly. This is part of the NSPCC's Talk Pants campaign which is designed to help keep children safe from sexual abuse. They were introduced to Pantosaurus and the PANTS rules (Privates are private, Always remember your body belongs to you, No means no, Talk about secrets that upset you, Speak up - someone can help).  More information, including a link to the Pantosaurus book designed to prompt conversations between parents and children, can be found here: Charity Fundraising Aleyna (4T) recently raised funds for UNICEF in support of children impacted by the situation in Afghanistan. She decided to do this in lieu of birthday presents from friends and wider family and raised £540. Well done, Aleyna, for thinking of others who are in a less fortunate position and taking action to support them. Autumn Half Term Camps and Activities Computer Xplorers (who run our Minecraft Club here at school) will be running Autumn half term tech camps. Their programmes are as follows: VR Robotics -   KODU 3D Game Design -   Intro to Roblox Game Design -   MinecraftEdu Fantasy Island -
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