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 2) and Latin (from Year 5). In addition, every child from Year 2 to Year 5 takes 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: 27/03/2020

Stay Connected

This is undoubtedly one of the hardest blogs I have ever attempted to write. Last night, as I joined with my neighbours and the entire nation to applaud the NHS, I was quite overwhelmed with emotion. This week has been like no other and I am sure you all feel the same. As yet, I have not actually been at home during the day and I am so grateful to have a routine of some form to my day, albeit ‘school’ has not been normal. We have had a small number of children attending each day, whose parents are our incredible key workers, and I am in awe of their resilience and adaptability. Our young Ducklings through to our Year 6 children have been so resilient as they have adapted to new classrooms, new staff and a very quiet  school, some of them not quite understanding where all their friends are. The staff in school have been just wonderful: support staff, TALAs and teachers all pulling together to make each day as happy and productive as possible for the children. You can see some photographs of the school this week on our Galleries page here.  I have also been able to join in class Google meets, during which children, working remotely, have touched base with their form teachers, and I have joined in on a guided reading session on World War II, a recorder lesson, Chamber Choir, story time and many more outstanding distance learning sessions throughout the week. Our teachers, working from home, have surpassed all expectations! Their enthusiasm and dedication this week has humbled me as they have supported each other, learning new skills and working tirelessly into the wee early hours to video lessons, upload resources, provide feedback and assess tasks the children have been working on.  Your children have been outstanding, and you as parents have been outstanding!  I know for many of you who are also working from home this week you must feel as though you have been put through the wringer, trying to support your children’s learning as well as adapting to your new routines of working from home.  The last thing we wish to do is to cause anxiety and stress for you all at home, so I would like to take this chance to say that the distance learning educational provision needs to be approached by each family as appropriate for you. This is only Week 1 of a journey which may be quite a long one and we need to treat it as a marathon rather than a sprint. I do think that your children are proving they are in good shape for this marathon, but we appreciate here at school that you must settle into a sustainable pace for the family. Yesterday I participated in a live webinar along with 160 other Head teachers and Bursars and we spoke with the Headteacher/CEO from the Kellet British International School in Hong Kong whose school is now on Day 41 of distance learning. They have learnt many lessons along their journey and have worked with their community of pupils, parents and staff to ensure that everyone is being looked after in such uncertain times. I felt quite gratified and proud of our St. Helen’s College community as we are only into Day 5 of our distance learning experience and already have so much in place which they did not have at the outset.  Wellbeing for everyone is paramount at the moment and it is so important, for children and adults alike, that we allow ourselves to acknowledge how we are feeling. Take time to notice the wobbles - they will happen to everyone I am sure, as we all live through something which none of us expected. It is how we respond to our wobbles that is important. Perhaps, by using the tools of mindfulness and bringing attention to our breath, we can try to find stillness as we acknowledge how our bodies and minds are feeling.   Your children already know so much about mindfulness and they will be able to teach you some of the practices which we do in assemblies - so I hope that you will be able to have some moments of quiet stillness every day with your family.  I have shared with you below a famous poem which is often recited in mindfulness circles; our current Year 6 have discussed the poem and understand the sentiment, not to resist the thoughts and emotions that pass through you but to meet them with courage, warmth and respect. Over the Easter holidays it may be very difficult for us all to negotiate the impacts of what is happening in our country and our world. Please do reach out to each other, staying connected by whatever means you can. Many of us are possibly grieving the old way of life from just a week ago but at the end of this we will, no doubt, value human contact even more.  If anyone is concerned about how their child or even an adult is coping then Mrs. Brooker, our ‘time to talk’ listener, is more than happy to be contacted. Parents all have our staff contact details. We will also be keeping in contact with you regularly over the holiday - as a community we will get through this together.  Below I have sign posted some additional sites which may be useful for you as parents to help your children cope and keep busy at this time.  Some top tips on how to talk to our children about Coronavirus: Opera I am sure like me you are being inundated with emails and posts on social media about things to do with your family whilst in lockdown, but I am delighted that the Royal Opera House will be streaming live and tonight's ‘Peter and the Wolf’ may be enjoyed by young and old! Theatre During the holidays I love to attend the theatre with my family and although it may not be possible to be there physically I am pleased that I may enjoy some productions - the link below provides information of shows which are live streaming. Singing Competition I am sure many children are avidly rehearsing for the St. Helen's College annual Singers Competition next term - please keep encouraging them to do so, as this is an event which we are looking forward to very much.  Rainbow Trail During the Easter Holidays do encourage your children to become part of the Rainbow Trail - to share positivity families have been taking part in creative projects to display rainbows in their windows/gardens to stay connected with their community and spread positivity.  It would be wonderful to see some photos of the rainbows you create - here is our first one, from Mylo and Oliver O!             Free Audible Books In assembly on Thursday, we showed the children a site for free audio books during the school closure period. Here is the link: The books come in different age categories and even include foreign language sections. It is a wonderful opportunity for the children to explore stories in a new and exciting way whilst boosting their vocabulary. Stay safe everyone; stay home but stay connected. Thank you all for being my extended family. Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 20/03/2020

Weekly News - Friday 20th March 2020

Scholarships We are thrilled to announce that our Year 6 pupils have performed extremely well in the independent school entrance processes. Following the 11+ entry assessments and interviews, they have been awarded the following scholarships. As you will see, it is an impressively long list! Many congratulations to all of these children, and to all of the other Year 6 children - we are so pleased that your hard work has been acknowledged in this way. Headington School Academic Scholarship - Catherine L Music Scholarship - Catherine L Long Close School Academic Scholarship - Taha U Merchant Taylors School Academic Scholarship - Daniel G-J Northwood College Academic Scholarship - Aarna A Academic Scholarship - Esha T Art Scholarship - Kaixin F Art Scholarship - Ridhima M Sport Scholarship - Rhea A-V Reddam House School Academic Scholarship - Ibraheem F Royal Masonic School All-Rounder Scholarship - Ridhima M St. Helen's School, Northwood Academic Scholarship - Aarna A Academic Scholarship - Ridhima M St. Mary's School Academic Scholarship - Jasmine B St. Paul's Girls' School Music Exhibitions for Flute and Voice - Catherine L Wycombe Abbey School Music Scholarship - Catherine L Music Personality of the Term The Musician of the Term trophy was awarded this term to Jasmine B, who has always worked conscientiously and demonstrated great enthusiasm over many years in all aspects of music at St. Helen's College. Jasmine has excellent music skills, applies and shares creative ideas well in class work, and has is an excellent role model within the music department as a music prefect. She has been a regular member of the Junior, Senior and Chamber Choirs and she regularly performs in assemblies and recitals. As well as playing the recorder fluently, Jasmine plays the piano and the guitar, and has recently taken her Grade 5 singing exam. Well done, Jasmine! PA Easter Egg Winners The following children won the PA Easter egg raffle today. Some of these children were not in school but don't worry - we will hold onto their prizes for them until we return! Ducklings - Alana P Robins - Aaria M Wrens - Nihaal P Kingfishers - Millie B  Owls - Caitlin P 1C - Avar D 1HC - Ashvika A 2B - Hana H 2H - Lachlan J 3B - India C 3M - Milo M 4KT - Nirvaan D 4T - Avaani M 5A - Jessica L 5G - Joban K 6M - Jai D 6RD - Aran C Many thanks to the PA for their generosity in donating these Easter prizes!   Outdoor Choir This week the Senior Choir took their musicality outdoors and delighted Accent staff, other pupils and staff (including catering staff) with a medley of Frozen songs. It was wonderful to see and hear such uplifting musicality around the Windsor Garden and playground.         Sports News Well done to the girls who played in the netball rally last Saturday. The team lost in the semi finals and were awarded bronze medals. They were also presented with gold medals and the cup for winning the league. Congratulations, girls.         Staff News We know that you will wish to join us in congratulating Ms Califano (1HC) who is expecting her second child! 
Posted on: 13/03/2020

Weekly News - March 13th 2020

Chess  Congratulations to Michael K from Year 6, who was the winner of the Delancey Chess Tournament; Michael received a lovely trophy and book voucher. Congratulations also to Marcus S and Alex S who both qualified for the Megafinal, which is due to take place over the Easter break. Wrens Assembly A budding group of scientists entered an amazing time machine and went back to the prehistoric era in the Wrens class assembly this week, where they met two paleontologists who introduced them to an array of fascinating dinosaurs.  The children delighted us with their singing, acting and knowledge of dinosaurs and how they became extinct. There were some wonderful performances from such young children. Congratulations to everyone involved!     6RD assembly It was an emotional morning for the pupils and parents of 6RD as the children presented their final class assembly. They took the opportunity to share their favourite memories of their time at school with the audience, from Nursery right through to Year 6, and to reflect upon the great start they have made not just to their education but to their lives! They considered their hopes and dreams and speculated on the careers they might go on to undertake, but also reminded us all that health and happiness are the most important goals in life. Well done, 6RD; your singing and acting were very impressive and we very much enjoyed sharing your reflections.   Quiz Club Heats On Tuesday, our Quiz Club visited the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster to take part in the national primary General Knowledge Quiz Club finals. The A team came 10th overall and the B team came 25th overall. There were 31 teams taking place in all. This was a fantastic experience including a super minibus tour of London for our Quiz Club members, who were: Catherine L, Esha T, Ben L, Vandan V, Aryan B, Riddhi S, Annie L and Arshvir S.     Book Sale We are delighted to report that the World Book Day book sale last week (of surplus library stock plus some books donated from home) raised £108, which will be used to purchase new school library books which enhance our wellbeing. This might include books specifically addressing wellbeing and mental health, fiction for different ages, hobbies and sports...any specific suggestions or ideas are most welcome! In the summer term, our librarians will create a display of the new books. Many thanks indeed to all those who supported the book sale!  Sports News Table Tennis We took twelve players (three teams) to the Hillingdon Primary Table Tennis at Oakwood School on Monday. The format of the competition was different this year, with twelve individual medals available instead of team medals. We are delighted to report that, of the twelve individual medals available, St. Helen's College won seven! There were four seed pools overall and our individual medals were as follows:     Seed Pool 1 Silver - Eli V-B Bronze - Ciaran R Seed Pool 2 Gold - Jai D Silver - Harry J Bronze - Mohib F Seed Pool 3 Silver - Rhea A-V Bronze - Hema G  We were crowned Borough Champions once again and the team proudly retained their silver plate trophy! Well done to all those pupils involved. Football Our school football team finished their campaign for this season with a 2-1 defeat at home to St. Matthew's. It has been a season of two halves, with some great play and results before Christmas followed by a drop in form after the Christmas break. The team should be proud of themselves as we have introduced younger players this year and some of the performances from our Year 6 players have been outstanding. Mistakes have cost us a higher finishing position in the league, but with the introduction of youth we look forward to a successful campaign next season. Netball Many congratulations to our netball team, who were winners of the Year 6 netball tournament at Reddiford School this week. Schools taking part were Alpha Prep, Reddiford, Quainton Hall and St. Helen's College. Our team were undefeated all afternoon and showed great competitive skills and team play.     Swimming Gala At Thursday evening's swimming gala, the St. Helen's College team put on a very strong performance indeed, qualifying through the heats for 7 out of 8 finals! In the finals, there were bronze medals for Krisha S in breaststroke and Catherine L in freestyle and a silver medal for our freestyle relay team, made up of Catherine L, Ben L and Krisha S. The St. Helen's College team came in 3rd place overall and should feel very proud of themselves!   Speech Competition (Years 1- 6) Our finalists have now been selected from each class for the Speech Competition, following a very high standard of semi-finals. Parents of finalists will receive a letter inviting them to attend the final on Monday 23rd March, which will be judged by one of our school Governors, Miss Linda Beckett. We hope that we will all enjoy a sensational day of 'projection, expression and clarity'! Singing Competition Our very exciting Singing Competition for Years 2-6  will take place on Friday 5th June this year. Children should decide which category they would like to enter and choose a song. Next, fill in a slip and put into the boxes which can be found at the front of the Upper School hall. Entries must be submitted no later than Thursday 26th March. Semi-finals will be held during the first half of the summer term this year.  Once again, there is no set theme this year as we would like to hear songs from all different genres and perhaps a range of songs throughout musical history. Singing in other languages is permitted. The only restrictions are that we would like you to avoid singing pop songs and we would like to see only simple gestures and appropriate movements relevant to the performance. No dance moves please. Duets and groups are encouraged to add harmony/part singing to their performance. The categories are: Best solo singer from each year group. Best duet Middle School  Upper School  Best group - trios (3) or quartets (4) only. Middle School  Upper School   There should be just one solo entry per child but they may also participate in either a duet or a group. No summer term choir songs please! A backing track is required (without words) for performance on the day; CD or ipod only. No piano accompaniments will be used this year, unless a child is playing the piano or guitar as part of their performance.                                                                      All winners will be invited to sing at the Singers’ Concert on 9th June. Exhibition Day, Easter Service and Nursery/Reception Poetry Recital We have taken the decision to postpone Exhibition Day, which was due to take place on Saturday 21st March, and to cancel the Upper School Easter Service, which was due to take place on Friday 27th March, as part of our action to mitigate against the risk of Coronavirus. We are sorry that these events will not take place this term but we are sure that parents will understand the reasons behind their cancellation. We are currently considering the format of the Nursery/Reception Poetry Recital and whether it will be possible for this to take place, and will contact parents about this in due course. PA Easter Raffle The PA has again donated prizes for a raffle for the children this Easter. All of the children are included in this free Easter egg draw with one prize drawn for each class. We hope that the lucky winners enjoy their prizes and we thank the PA for organising the raffle! Rescheduled PA Forum Meeting Date The next PA Forum meeting is now scheduled to take place in the Upper School Hall at 7 p.m. on Monday 27th April. Class rep's should send any points for discussion to Mrs. Smith at by the first day of term please, to allow the school time to collate and research any issues before the meeting.  
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