Academic Enrichment

To help to instil a lifelong love of learning, we enrich the curriculum at St. Helen’s College in many ways.

All children enjoy termly day trips to castles, museums, gardens, educational centres and theatres. The older children (from Year 3 onwards) attend residential trips to Shortenills Environmental Centre, to Flatford Mill field study centre, to Kingswood on the Isle of Wight to study coastal erosion and for adventurous outdoor activities, and to Château de la Baudonniere in Normandy for a week of immersion in French language and culture.

Specialist tutors and speakers visit the school to provide workshops, activities and presentation, and Focus Days/Weeks allow individual subjects to be pursued in depth. Our annual STEAM Day gives pupils the opportunity to take part in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths workshops outside of the classroom, run by staff, parents and visiting specialists.

In addition, children are given many opportunities to develop their confidence in public speaking and performance, including regular class assemblies, theatrical productions and our annual Speech/Poetry Recitals and Singing Competitions.

News

Posted on: 24/01/2020

Weekly News - Friday 24th January 2020

Month End Music Recital Wow! Our first Month End Music Recital of the term saw several children perform on many different instruments. This was probably the biggest of these recitals so far: there were solo performances on various instruments, including some from Lower School, a flute duet and a string ensemble! We were also treated to some fabulous singing. Very well done to all of the children who performed, and thank you to Mrs. Nash, Mrs. MacLean and, in particular, Mrs. Allery who was put on the spot for some sightreading too! Children's Trust London Schools Concert - Sunday 2nd February The St. Helen's College Chamber Choir will once again be performing at the Children's Trust London Schools Concert this year. This event takes place from 2 - 4 p.m. on Sunday 2nd February at the beautiful St. John's, Smith Square in London. All St. Helen's College families are welcome to book tickets, whether your child is in the Chamber Choir or not. This is a really special event in beautiful surroundings and we would appreciate support from families across the school. You can purchase tickets via the following link. https://thechildrenstrust.digitickets.co.uk/category/24930#cart-summary St. John's Church Concert - Saturday 8th February The Chamber Choir will also be performing publicly more locally in February, taking part in an evening concert at St. John's Church, Royal Lane, Uxbridge on Saturday 8th February. The concert begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are available to all (£5 cash payable on the door). Through ticket sales, the concert will raise funds for renovation of the church and for two animal charities in South Africa which promote animal welfare, one of which is run by an ex-Hillingdon vet.  We would be delighted to have as many St. Helen's College families as possible supporting the event, so please do come along if you can. The concert will last from approximately 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with tea/coffee/cake available in the interval. Our Chamber Choir will be performing in the first half of the event, and several other local bands and artists will be performing too. We hope to see you there! Sports News Gymnastics Well done to our gymnastics teams from Years 3/4 and Years 5/6 who took part in the Borough Gymnastics Competition held at Botwell Green Leisure Centre this week. Each of our gymnasts completed a floor routine, a body management routine and two vaults in front of panels of judges.      Our pupils performed with precision and flair, showing great skill. Our Year 3/4 team finished in 8th place and our Year 5/6 team finished in 5th place. Team members were Mark R, Marvin R, Charlotte M, Poppy H, Krish S, Jasmine B, Daniel G-J.         Multi Skills Festival Some of our Year 1 and Year 2 pupils took part in a friendly multi skills festival hosted by St. Mary's School in Gerrards Cross this week. Senior school sports leaders from St. Mary's organised different skills stations to challenge the teams taking part from St. Helen's College, Dair House and St. Mary's. Our children thoroughly enjoyed taking part and representing their school in a sports event. Many thanks to Miss Ward for organising this for our pupils.  Netball Match Our Year 6 netball team resumed matches in the local schools' league this week.  In a very close match against St. Andrew's, our team rose to the challenge and maintained a high standard of play throughout the game. Our team remains top of the table with two matches to go!  Holding Area Holding area at Upper School will now take place in the school library each night and will be separate from Funtasia. Holding Area is only for younger siblings at Upper School to use until their older siblings are released and come to collect them. This is one of the methods we use to help reduce congestion outside the entrance during home time. Staff News Sadly, Miss Dear will be leaving us at the end of this academic year as she moves to work closer to home to enable her to spend more time with her family. Miss Dear has been with us for nine years and has worked at both Lower and Upper School as well as leading Art for several years. She will be much missed. We must also share the news that Mrs. Allery will be stepping down as Head of Music from September in order to free up more time to spend with her family. Mrs. Allery has been with St. Helen's College for 20 years and, happily, is not leaving us entirely but will be relinquishing some of her many musical duties.  We will shortly be advertising for teaching staff to join us from September in various roles, including maternity cover and other teaching roles. If you know of anyone who might be interested in joining our team, do direct them to the school website! Parents' Forum The next PA Forum meeting will take place on Tuesday 25th February. If you have any points of school-wide relevance that you would like discussed at this meeting, please send these to your class representative as soon as possible. Class rep's should send any issues for discussion to Mrs. Smith by Friday 14th February please, just before we break up for half term. Robins Nursery class do not currently have a class representative - if you have a child in Robins and would like to volunteer, please contact Mrs. Smith as soon as possible. Mrs. Smith can be reached on susmith@sthelenscollege.com or by telephoning the Upper School office. As usual, we will circulate minutes from the PA Forum meeting to all parents after the meeting has taken place. Bus Route 278 There is a new TfL bus route running daily in both directions between Heathrow and Ruislip and stopping along Long Lane just outside both Upper and Lower School. We know that some parents are already using the bus for their school run journeys and, as part of our ongoing efforts to ease congestion and pollution, we would encourage others to do the same! As the new route will mean increased bus traffic along Long Lane during drop and go/pick up and go times, we would like to remind parents not to idle in these areas (and, particularly, not to stop cars in the bus stop areas). You can see more information about the new bus route here: https://tfl.gov.uk/bus/route/278/ Half Term Holiday Club Bookings are now being taken for Holiday Club during the February half term. Please log into your SchoolsBuddy account to make your bookings. 
Posted on: 24/01/2020

Best Ambassadors

Over the past few weeks we have had many prospective parents visiting the school and on every tour we are always so proud of our current pupils. They truly are the best ambassadors of the school and it would, in fact, be easy for the children to conduct every tour themselves!  In classrooms, corridors and around the school our pupils greet visitors with a friendly smile, from Ducklings all the way through to Year 6, and many of them will stop to chat - only this week our Head Girl welcomed a family and had a long conversation in Chinese, which I was reassured was all complimentary!   Upon entering classrooms, the children are eager to share what they have been learning, reading examples of their work, explaining the importance of place value, highlighting the features of persuasive writing (with FATHORSE - facts, alliteration, triples, humour, opinion, rhetorical questions, similes, emotive language or exaggeration) or demonstrating their coding ability. The captured moments of learning on a school tour are endless and it is no wonder that our prospective parents are often left speechless! This week we found it hard to leave the 2H classroom, as child after child wanted to share something special with our visitors! Their science investigation was clearly a highlight of their day.  I only wish that our current parents could see for themselves how their children engage with new adults they meet with such ease and confidence, showing such pride in talking about school work and other achievements.   I visit many schools throughout the year in my role as Head, including feeder senior schools and other Prep schools within our IAPS group. I also visit schools in my role as an ISI inspector and although I am clearly biased about St. Helen’s College, we really do stand out from the crowd in terms of pupils' personal development and engagement with their learning in all areas.   Mr. Crehan spent time in school on Tuesday and managed to visit every class in the Lower School and Upper School. He too was delighted with what is going on around the school and he revelled in being back in class with the children! I am sure that many of you remember your first tour of the school when you visited as prospective parents. I may have shown you around, or you may have been toured by Mr. or Mrs. Crehan, Mrs. Hunt, Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Stark. I am sure that you recall what left a lasting imprint on that tour - and I suspect that, for most if not all of you, it included the children! I would love to hear from any parent who remembers something specific about meeting pupils on their tour...please do feel free to share your memories with me around school or by email. Finally, please do congratulate your children on their marvellous ability and willingness to interact with visitors with confidence, honesty and joy - we are so proud of them each and every day!  Have a great weekend. Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 17/01/2020

Weekly News - Friday 17th January 2020

Lower School and Ducklings Reading and Phonics Evening Thank you to all parents who attended last night's workshops. We hope that you have taken away some very useful tips on how to support your child's development in reading and writing and that you now understand more fully how teaching staff are developing these skills. Please do speak with the class teachers if you would like to  follow up on any points discussed. Upcoming Music Events - All Welcome! Month End Music Recital Our next Month End Music Recital will take place this coming Friday (24th January) from 3.45 p.m. in the Evans Hall at Upper School. All are welcome to this informal event, which gives our instrumentalists and singers a chance to practise performance in a friendly and encouraging environment. Do come along! Children's Trust London Schools Concert - Sunday 2nd February The St. Helen's College Chamber Choir will once again be performing at the Children's Trust London Schools Concert this year. This event takes place from 2 - 4 p.m. on Sunday 2nd February at the beautiful St. John's, Smith Square in London. All St. Helen's College families are welcome to book tickets, whether your child is in the Chamber Choir or not. This is a really special event in beautiful surroundings and we would appreciate support from families across the school. You can purchase tickets via the following link. https://thechildrenstrust.digitickets.co.uk/category/24930#cart-summary St. John's Church Concert - Saturday 8th February The Chamber Choir will also be performing publicly more locally in February, taking part in an evening concert at St. John's Church, Royal Lane, Uxbridge on Saturday 8th February. The concert begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are available to all (£5 cash payable on the door). Through ticket sales, the concert will raise funds for renovation of the church and for two animal charities in South Africa which promote animal welfare, one of which is run by an ex-Hillingdon vet.  We would be delighted to have as many St. Helen's College families as possible supporting the event, so please do come along if you can. The concert will last from approximately 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with tea/coffee/cake available in the interval. Our Chamber Choir will be performing in the first half of the event, and several other local bands and artists will be performing too. We hope to see you there! Pupil-Led Learning Well done to Manisher L (Y5), who is certainly taking her learning into her own hands. Last week, she proudly brought a scale model of the solar system into school, which she had created at home with her father over the Christmas holidays. Here is the piece she wrote about her creation: Over the Christmas holidays, I was asking my Daddy how big our solar system is and that's when he said, “Why don't we make our own scale model of the solar system!”  It took us approximately 3-4 hours to collect the measurements, divide the length by 34 billion and find out more information about each planet, for example my age on each planet. The following day my Daddy had ordered a 200 metre long roll of paper and 200 metre tape measure so that I could be 100% accurate.The next day the equipment arrived. It took a while to measure out all of the planets, because the distance from the Sun to Mars is relatively close but the distance from the Sun to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto is astronomical! When I finally finished my scale model of our solar system it was 169 meters of paper from the Sun to Pluto! Fun Facts: The full length of our solar system is 6 billion kilometres. The day in Venus is shorter than the year. It takes 365 days to complete a year or a full orbit on earth. Pluto is not actually classed as a planet - it is classed as a dwarf planet. Scientists are not 100% sure that Pluto orbits the Sun. They are thinking that Pluto orbits another planet. ABRSM Music Results In addition to the excellent set of results announced last week, we are also delighted to let you know the following result for an ABRSM exam taken last term: Violin Krisha S - Grade 2 Merit Acts of Kindness Our school community continues to inspire pride. We were delighted to hear this week of further acts of kindness by two Upper School pupils. Samir (Y5) and Hana (Y2) are regular visitors to their grandpa's social group; the children regularly sing, play the piano and bring joy to the older people with their presence. Hana also helps out at a toddler and baby group run by her grandmother. Well done Samir and Hana - this is yet another example of how our pupils really are living the St. Helen's College values and ethos. Co-Curricular Clubs It has been wonderful to see the engagement of the children in the first week of our spring term programme of clubs. We have an additional pupil-led club which will commence next week; a group of very enthusiastic Year 6 pupils (Harry, Taha, Lakhi, Eli, Mohib, Jai and Dhian) will be running a 'Mathletics and TimesTables Rock Stars' Club commencing next Thursday lunchtime for Y4-6.  Pupils can sign up on Monday. Pupils are aware that if they have already committed to another Thursday club then they must attend the club that they were allocated.    News From The School Kitchen Chinese New Year - Special Themed Menu Please note that we will have a special, Chinese-themed menu on Thursday 23rd January, to celebrate Chinese New Year. You can see the menu here. February's Spice of the Month - Recipes for Parents At school we are always working to stimulate your children's taste buds and encouraging them to try new flavours. February's 'spice of the month' is ginger and we are delighted to share with you these recipes, all including ginger, which you might like to try cooking at home with your children. Do let us know how you get on! Pick Up and Go We would like to remind parents collecting children from the Parkway entrance at Upper School that you must move to the car park if your child is not visible at the gate at the end of the day. This week there has been congestion along Parkway due to some parents remaining at the pick up and go area. Mrs. Hunter does her best to keep the traffic moving and we work hard to maintain our relationships with our neighbours; we ask that parents work with us to do the same. Teachers try hard to ensure that the classes are out on time; however, there may be the odd occasion when a class is delayed for some valid reason and we ask, on such an occasion, that you move to the car park to enable traffic to move freely on Parkway.
Posted on: 17/01/2020

Diversity

  Last Saturday, I attended the annual Diverse Leaders Conference, which happened to be hosted by Upton Grammar School in Slough. The event is in its third year and is organised by a close friend of mine, Hannah Wilson, who is currently Head of Secondary School Teacher Training at the University of Buckingham. It brings together leaders and educators from all areas and phases of education who are passionate about supporting professionals and pupils within the education system who are underrepresented but with particular reference to educational leadership in our schools.  There was representation from the BAMEedNetwork (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Educators), the LGBT network, Disabled leaders,  WomenED (women in education) and the HeforShe movement. The opening keynote speaker, Diana Osagie, who stands at 6ft 2, inspired the delegates by asking us this question: ‘Are you fulfilling the expectations of your life?’  Can I? Will I? Am I? Her call to arms for us to fulfil expectations in life was a powerful reminder to find and serve our purpose.   Several leaders that day reflected on the struggles they have had in their careers and on the resilience and courage that it took, for many reasons, to climb the ladder and be recognised for their contributions. Sadly there were devastating stories of leaders who had been pushed out of their schools: James Pope, who last year featured on the BBC2 documentary ‘School,' spoke eloquently but emotionally about his experiences and how he now supports other Heads who may find themselves in this very vulnerable and stressful situation (I have linked the moment in the documentary where James had to tell his staff he was leaving).  Ofsted (the regulatory body which inspects maintained schools) can make or break a dedicated Head’s career and I am somewhat grateful that as an ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) inspector, the approach that the Independent Schools Inspectorate takes is to celebrate the achievements and outcomes of schools and support them in areas where improvement may be required - not to push dedicated Heads from their schools.  One inspirational Head, Jo Lawrence, whom I have known on social media for several years, shared her courageous journey through being diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer just 18 months into her Headship and how she coped with handing over the reins to an interim Head but keeping in touch with her staff and school community throughout her treatment (I have linked Jo’s blog prior to her cancer diagnosis). She stood proud on Saturday, although still suffering from severe bone pain, and with a fantastic new look cropped hair do. It was my first time actually meeting Jo in person despite our many communications on social media - the warm embrace we gave each other spoke volumes and I only hope that not many of us have to endure what she has been going through.   Mark Pritchard, the Head of Upton Grammar, reflected on how we need schools to be diverse; complex problems needs people who think differently and collective intelligence is determined by our cognitive diversity. He reminded us of the detriment of homophily amongst leadership teams and the HIPPO style of leadership (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion!). Thankfully over my years in education I have only experienced this type of leadership on two occasions and stayed strong to my moral compass and moved to pastures new where colliding perspectives and risk taking was welcomed and staff and leaders were developed and nurtured.  I could continue sharing my reflections of the many other inspiring leaders I heard from on Saturday but I will end with Karen Giles, who has been Headteacher of a co-educational primary school in Brent for 16 years. Karen spoke about the learning behaviours of boys versus girls in her school and how she has worked with her staff to ensure that they are inspiring girls to become strong, confident leaders for the future - they tackle stereotypes and support equality of education. Karen has 960 children in her four form entry school, pupils are from the immediate local area and the school is incredibly diverse in culture, faith and languages. Karen highlighted the charity and the film  ‘Girl Rising’  and shared the ‘Nepal Chapter’ with us. I urge you all to take the time to watch (12 minutes) - this is a simple reminder of how far equality of education for girls has come, but also of how much there still is to do in this area. As we left the conference, we were asked to make a pledge to ourselves as we return to our own schools on Monday. The first couple of weeks back at school have been incredibly positive and Mr. McLaughlin has been handed the baton by Mrs. Stark and has stepped up to his new leadership role as Deputy Head with commitment, confidence and energy. With a new Deputy Head in place I am excited for the future - I pledge to continue giving my best to lead St. Helen’s College with the staff team, the pupils and parents to give the children the best possible education and to prepare them for life in the 21st century (whatever this future will look like). I will work my hardest with the amazing staff at St. Helen’s College to fulfil the expectations of the parent body, Principals and Governing Body and will be honest, resilient and courageous but will lead with grace, love and compassion.  Mrs. Drummond
View all news