Our Staff

Staff List

Governing Body

Principals                  
Mr. D. A. Crehan  (Chair of Governors)
BSc  BA  MSc  MEd C.Phys  ARCS                          

Mrs. G. R. Crehan                   
BA  MA  PGCE                                                          

School Governors
Miss L. Beckett Cert Ed                                            
Mr. D. Crehan BA GDL BPTC                                
Mr. J.  Crehan BSc MSc Chartered MCSI QTS   
Mrs. S. Drummond  BEd (Hons) PGCert MLDP FFCT          

Senior Leadership Team

Head
Mrs. S. Drummond  BEd (Hons) PGCert MLDP FFCT       

Deputy Head
Mrs. T. M. Stark BA  PGCE  
                                      
Head of Lower School
Mrs. L. Hunt Mont Dip  BEd   

Director of Studies
Mr. M. Lewis BSc PGCE

Director of Co-Curriculum
Miss S Walker  BSc QTS

Director of Administration 
Mrs. S. Smith  BA, CAMDIS

Teaching Staff                  

Form Teachers
Mrs. N. Mann BA  PGCE  ​
Miss M. Carmichael  BA                       
Miss S. Joiner BA                                             
Ms J. Matthews BSc PGCE Early Years Lead, Deputy DSL
Miss A Cooper  BEd RS Lead
Mrs. L Hunt Mont Dip BEd             
Mrs. L Califano BA                                          

Mrs. L. Hussein BEd                             
Mr. J. Bustard BSc                                           
Mrs. P. McLaughlin BA  PSHCE Lead
Mrs. S.J. Belvoir BEd History Lead
Mrs. K. Thompson BEd                            
Mr. D. Tovell BA PGCE AfL Coordinator
Mrs. R.J. Allery GTCL  LTCL  PGCE Director of Music 
Mrs. E. Gilham BTec  BSc  PGCE Science Lead
Mr. A. McLaughlin BA PGCE English/Drama 
Mrs. Rance BA PGCE Maths Lead

Specialist and Cover Teachers

Art      
Miss A. Dear DipEd Art Lead

MFL    
Mrs. T.M. Stark BA PGCE  MFL  Lead
Mr C. Aguiar  BA PGCE   

Drama
Mrs. L. Moore  BTec Dip. Perf. Arts   

PE      
Mr. M. Dyson Cert. PE                     
Miss S Walker  BSc QTS PE/Games & Geography Lead
Miss S Ward  BA, PGCE                   
Miss E Barham  BTec Dip. Sport         

ICT     
Mr. M. Lewis BSc PGCE ICT Lead 

Music  
Miss H Collier BMus PGCE  Violin
Mr. T. Chan BMus PGDip  Guitar
Mrs. E Edwards BMus PGCE  Music
Mr. G. Knox BMus  DipRCM  PGDip Piano
Mr. I. Lynch DipRAM Trumpet
Mrs. J. Maclean HNC  BA  LTCL  Cello
Mrs. K. Nash MMus GRSM LRAM  Violin
Mrs. K Stubbs GCTL LTL ARCM  Flute 
Mrs M. Garnes BA  Choir, clarinet

Special Needs
Mrs. D. Hopkins BAEd NASENCo                    
Mrs. N. Mann BA  PGCE                                                                       

Ducklings Staff

Miss C. Diogo NVQ3 ,EYFound.Deg.            
Mrs. C. McGee NVQ3, EYFound.Deg.            
Miss A. Burksfield NVQ3                         
Miss M. Douglas NVQ3                         
Miss K. Hill NVQ3                         
Mrs. B. Purewal NVQ2                         

Teaching and Learning Assistants (TALAs)         

Lower School 
Miss K Bundy NVQ3                         
Mrs. E. Coyle CACHE3                    
Miss E Davies BEd                             
Miss H. Durkin BA                              
Mrs C O’Mahoney NVQ3                                     
Miss L. Eaver NVQ3                         
Mrs. S. Lawrence NNEB/NVQ3              
Mrs K. Neri PGCE                         
Miss J. Williams BA                              
Mrs. L. Coker NVQ3                         
Mrs. V. Edgson NNEB                         
Mrs. V. Harker NVQ3                         
Miss G. Oakshott NVQ3                         
Mrs. R. Place NNEB                         
Ms S. Thomas NVQ3                         

Upper School
Mrs. S. Schlachter CACHE2                    
Miss C. Heath  BA                              
Mrs. S. Hill NVQ3                         
Mrs. S. Smith  NVQ4                         
Mrs. J. Brooker  CACHE3                    
Mrs. K. Mahesaratnam BA                              
Mrs. T. Parker  NVQ3                         
Mrs. R. Place  NNEB      

Non-Teaching Staff                           

Business Manager
Mrs. S. Cargill                                                                        

Finance Manager
Mrs F. Bool  Dip. Business Management   

Finance Assistant
Mrs J. Golis  MA, ACCA                             

IT Manager
Mr. P. Puchinszki                                                       

Librarians
Mrs. E. Smith  HND                                       
Mrs. S. Emanuel  BA                                          

School Secretary
Mrs. S. Clements                                                       

Office Assistant
Mrs. K. Rumney                                                         

Lower School Receptionist
Mrs. L. Rooney  HND                           

Welfare and Attendance Officer
Mrs N Wilcock L3 Paediatric First Aid           

Welfare Assistant
Mrs. T. Beale                                                             

Midday Supervisors

Lower School 
Mrs. J. Couto                                                             
Mrs. J Fong                                                                 
Mrs. S Daly                                                                 
Mrs. M. Moorfield                                                                   
Mrs. C. Shurety                                                          

Upper School 
Miss J. Brooks                                                           
Mrs. E. Bryce                                                             
Mrs. J. Hunter                                                            
Mrs. S. Hawkins                                                         

School Patrols
Mrs. J. Hunter                                                            
Mrs. J. Couto                                                                                

Funtasia

Mrs. S. Blackstone NVQ3                                     
Mrs. M Carmichael BA  Holiday Club Manager
Mrs. E. Coyle CACHE3                                
Miss E. Davies BEd                                        
Miss H. Durkin BA                                          
Miss K. Hill NVQ 3                        
Mrs. S. Lawrence NNEB/NVQ3 Funtasia Manager
Ms K. Mellon BTec                                       
Ms S. Moonshadow Dip Arch                     
Mrs. B. Patel  NVQ3                         
Ms S. Porteous NNEB                                     
Miss J. Williams BA                                          
Mr B. Jones                                                                
Miss A. Gilbey NVQ2, CACHE2   Funtasia Supervisor
Miss P Williams                                                         

Premises Manager   
Mr. C. Smith                                                               

Premises Assistants
Mr. G. Rizzo                                                               
Mr. K. Barnard                                                           

News

Posted on: 6/12/2019

Weekly News - Friday 6th December 2019

Carols Around The Tree Thank you to all of the parents and children who joined us for our annual Carols Around The Tree event on Monday afternoon. It was super to have so many of you with us. Thank you to Soula and her team for the lovely mulled wine, mince pies and biscuits too! Nursery Nativity What a treat for our Nursery parents and staff on Tuesday morning, as the children of our Robins and Wrens Nursery classes performed their first St. Helen's College Christmas Nativity! The children took to the stage with confidence and gave an utterly charming performance. There were clearly spoken individual lines as well as many group songs, with choreography too! The vast majority of these pupils are 3 years old and the audience was so proud of them for remembering their lines, showing off their stage presence and their ability to follow direction and doing it all with a smile. Well done, Nursery!  Reception Nativity The Reception Nativity this morning was another resoundingly successful performance. The Lower School Hall was packed with family and friends and the children certainly rose to the occasion, singing with gusto and delivering their spoken lines clearly.  The children looked amazing in their costumes and the audience showed their appreciation and support as the show ended. Very well done to all those involved.     Year 3 Christmas Production The Year 3 performance of 'A Countdown to Christmas' took place at the Winston Churchill Hall on Thursday evening and really was a feast for the senses! The countdown's focus was a village hall, at which various groups, including the long-suffering cleaners, were preparing for Christmas. The script allowed the children to shine through individual and small group performances, as well as large ensemble numbers. It is sometimes easy to forget, watching productions such as this one, that the children performing are so young. Their voice projection and stage presence were both excellent and it was clear that they enjoyed themselves immensely! Year 3's achievements on stage are all the more impressive because so many of the children have suffered from winter bugs over the last week or two. Well done to all of the children and staff involved.         4KT Assembly Parents, pupils and staff watched a wonderful assembly today by 4KT as they reminded and taught us about some of the traditions and facts about Christmas and how it is celebrated around the world. We even had a visit from Father Christmas during a stunning rendition of the poem 'Twas The Night Before Christmas'. The assembly ended with the children signing the popular Christmas song 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'.       Doodle Wellbeing Advent Calendar Each class in the Upper School  have been given a 'Young Minds Wellbeing Advent Calendar' for the children to participate in simple wellbeing activities throughout December. It was delightful to observe Year 2 and the Mindful Moments Club children take part in the Giant Doodle from Wednesday's calendar entry! Please download a copy of the calendar to participate at home.   https://youngminds.org.uk/media/3393/wellbeing-advent-calendar-2019.pdf                 St. Helen's College Kitchen Receives 5 Stars Again We are delighted for the school and for Soula and her team that they received a 5 star rating from the Food Safety/Health and Safety Inspection team when they had a spot inspection last week. To quote the report: ​'You have a fantastic and committed team which is apparent through the excellent standards in place. Well done!" Clare Piggot, the Client Services Director from Accent Catering, awarded Soula with a well deserved bottle of champagne to recognise her achievement.                    Final Week of Term - Arrangements Monday 9th December Infant Choir Carols in Lower School Playground - 8.15 a.m. - Please join us as you drop off your children to hear our Infant Choir singing carols in the morning. Year 1 Christmas Assembly - 8.45 a.m. - all Year 1 parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Methodist Church - please note the change of venue. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Methodist Church Hall. Wednesday 11th December Upper School Pantomime Trip (Year 2-6) - after a brief introduction at school to pantomime as a traditional British drama form, all children in Years 2 and 6 will travel to the Beck Theatre to see 'Sleeping Beauty'. Previous performances have been of a high quality and much enjoyed by all, so we hope that this year will be no exception. On return to school, the children will enjoy a party style picnic lunch and some afternoon themed activities. School will end at the normal time for all classes. Thursday 12th December School Christmas lunch - Lower and Upper School children will enjoy a party style Christmas lunch here at school, cooked and served by our Accent staff. You can see the menu, with allergens, here. Lower School Pantomime Visit - After their Christmas lunch, Lower School children will enjoy a visit from West End In Schools Pantomimes who will present their version of Dick Whittington. Lower School children are encouraged to wear party clothes to school on this day but please also remember suitable shoes and a warm coat! Friday 13th December Upper School Carol Service - Parents are warmly invited to join us at All Saints Church for our Y2-6 Carol Service, which will begin at 11.00 a.m. Please be mindful that the end of term is a busy time for traffic, and walk to the service/to pick up your children from school if you possibly can, or perhaps park away from the school and walk. End of Term - half day - Pick up times are: Ducklings and Nursery 11.50 a.m. Reception 12.00 p.m. Year 1 and Year 2  12.10 p.m. Year 3 and Year 4  12.20 p.m. Year 5 and Year 6  12.30 p.m. Holiday Club will be running on the afternoon of Friday 13th December and then every day until Monday 23rd December. Please book in via your SchoolsBuddy account. Christmas Cards The children often like to send festive cards to their friends at this time of year. We are aware that many children like to pop a Christmas chocolate/coin into the cards as a treat but please could we request that this year that an alternative to chocolate is sought. With our school being very allergy aware, we are recommending that perhaps Christmas stickers are added instead or perhaps the simple gesture of a card is adequate. Thank you for your continued support. For further information and advice on allergies please see the Allergy Aware UK website. Christmas postboxes will be open next week at Upper School, Lower School and Ducklings for free deliveries of Christmas cards among the children. Please ensure that the children's names and classes are clearly marked on envelopes. Co-Curricular Activities Thank you to parents for making your co-curricular selections for the spring term. Club allocations will be confirmed next week and we would like to remind you to make payment promptly when you receive your allocations in order to confirm your place(s). Autumn term co-curricular activities have now finished apart from the following clubs, which will be running a 'catch up session' in the final week of term. Reception Multi-Sports Club Reception Percussion Club Y1 Percussion Club Y2/3 Yoga Y2 Tennis Y4/5/6 Tennis Y3 Tennis Y2/3 Craft Club Y4/5 Art Club Year 4/5/6 Cricket (Monday instead of Wednesday next week) Y5 Football  
Posted on: 6/12/2019

Bonjour by Mr. McLaughlin

Last week’s blog - ‘Au Revoir’ by Mrs. Stark - was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster! I felt a great deal of happiness for a cherished colleague, knowing that she is heading into a thoroughly deserved (semi) retirement, surrounded by loved ones. We are all delighted that Mrs. Stark will remain with us as our French teacher, such is the positive impact that she makes in the school on a daily basis. Her consistency, commitment to the school and care for the children are inspirational for any young teacher. Reading about her many accomplishments over her time spent at St. Helen’s College, I began to think about the very exciting new chapter that lies ahead for me in January. It also prompted me to reflect on my journey so far and to look to the future. How will I be remembered by the children, parents and colleagues I have worked with when I retire? I hope that it will be with the fondness that I am sure will be lavished upon Mrs Stark in the coming weeks!  We have worked together very closely during the transition period to ensure that there is a seamless handover in the new year and I cannot wait to get started. For those of you who do not know me yet, here is a brief history of my background in education. My first step came whilst studying English literature at university. I taught a creative writing course to a Year 8 class in Winchester and it was a fantastic experience. Who knew that children were so creative and fun to work with! I went on to do some cover teaching in several challenging Hampshire secondary schools. At 21, this was certainly a character building exercise, but my curiosity around becoming a teacher remained unabashed! After graduation, I worked as a teaching assistant in a small school for children with autism in Southampton. It was a delightful place to be; our class of five was like a little family in itself. Here, I learned so much about the importance of togetherness and treating every child as an individual with their own ways and needs, a tenet that will always remain a cornerstone of high quality teaching. This confirmed my desire to teach, and my alternative path as a sports journalist at BBC South took a back seat. After a successful PGCE year in London, I took up my first post as a Year 3 class teacher. It was in my first ever interview lesson that I met a young lady named Miss Vig (you may know her as Mrs. McLaughlin – it must have been fate!). In this post, I became history and geography subject leader and I also taught in Year 5. One day, the mother of one of my pupils informed me that she would be moving on to a ‘St. Helen’s College’. A quick Google search later and I was very intrigued… Since I first stepped foot through the door, I was struck by the confidence and friendliness of the pupils and the family atmosphere of the school. I was given a tour by Mrs. Crehan and throughout that first conversation, I knew that my ideas around education were firmly aligned with those of the school. A few weeks later, I was called in for an interview and the rest, as they say, is history. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first three years of working here and I am looking forward to many more. All of the aforementioned experiences have led me to this opportunity, and I will grasp it with both hands. One thing that stands out to me throughout my time in education is the crucial role of strong relationships for building successful partnerships in the school environment. We have an open door policy at our school, and I will be dedicating a lot of time to building those all-important relationships, to help ensure that everybody in the St. Helen’s College community feels valued and supported at the school. So, whilst the name on the door will have changed, and I will forge my own path in this fantastic role, the passion, professionalism, sincerity and warmth that Mrs. Stark has brought to you all in abundance for so many years will certainly remain. Finally, to our dear friend and colleague Mrs. Stark: ‘Merci beaucoup et à bientôt.’ Mr. McLaughlin
Posted on: 29/11/2019

Weekly News - Friday 29th November 2019

Philosophy For Children (P4C) Mrs. McLaughlin from 3M delivered two P4C sessions to our Nursery and Reception children this week, encouraging their reasoning and thinking skills.   The other staff looked on with great pride as the children listened very carefully and interacted with each other so mindfully. We are very fortunate at St. Helen's College to have staff expertise and the collegiality amongst staff to share good practice.                   2B Class Assembly What a super class assembly from 2B today, telling us all about their journey so far at Upper School! They demonstrated their growing independence with a 'Countdown' style challenge to change their reading books in the upstairs part of main school, shared some of their impressive English writing with us and demonstrated how to do column addition. They also told us about their involvement in STEAM Day and their first Year 2 class trip to the Chiltern Open Air Museum. It is clear that they are relishing the challenges that the move to Upper School brings and that they are taking on greater responsibility with glee. A perfectly chosen hymn - 'One More Step Along The World I Go' - rounded off an impressive and very well-presented assembly. Well done, 2B.         Year 6 Senior School Masterclass Mrs. Hubble, the Head of Northwood College, spent the afternoon speaking with the Year 6 children about transition to senior school. The children asked interesting and thoughtful questions about the issues that were important to them, as they prepare themselves for upcoming examinations and interviews at a wide range of schools. They asked about whether Year 7 children have lockers, how the settling in process works for pupils who are the only one from their prep school, and numerous questions about the interview process for independent schools. The most important message from Mrs. Hubble was that the children should always be true to themselves and sincere in every interaction. As ever, we were very proud of how our Year 6 pupils conducted themselves with such confidence. They certainly were a credit to St. Helen's College. We heard today also from the parent of one of the pupils who made the transition to senior school in the summer. She had this to say about how her daughter has settled into North London Collegiate School: 'Our daughter absolutely loves her everyday life at NLCS. Thanks to St. Helen’s College for building her self-confidence; she now actively and confidently participates in so many clubs there. She is in Concert Orchestra, Symphonia, duet ensemble; netball, lacrosse, badminton and swimming squads.  We attended the parents' evening last week and it seems that she stood out in all subjects, especially in Maths and English. St. Helen’s College definitely has explored her potential. We are extremely grateful to St. Helen’s College.' Any parents who are notified of their children's interview dates should inform Mrs. Drummond so that we may assist them in preparing for their interviews.  Month End Music Recital Well done to all of the performers who took part in today's Month End Music Recital, the third of the term. As ever, this was a wonderful opportunity for our children to perform in an informal environment and it was super to hear pieces on such a variety of instruments and voice. Thank you also to ex-pupil Shreya Tharmalingam for coming back to visit us and delighting us with her voice as she works towards her Grade 6 singing examination. Times Tables Rockstars Mrs. Rance is delighted with how pupils throughout the Upper School are engaging with Times Tables Rockstars. They are clearly putting in lots and lots of time to practice and the results are fabulous. In Upper School, the fastest player this week was Harry J (6RD) and the most improved player was Alex S (6RD). The fastest Middle School Player was Isaac B (2B) and the most improved was Jasmine H (2H). Well done to everyone and do keep practising! Christmas Events - Please Read Very Carefully! Monday 2nd December Carols Around The Tree 4 p.m. - Please join us in the Evans Hall/Upper School playground after school, where we will be serving mulled wine and festive treats from 3.10 p.m. We will gather around the large Christmas tree at about 4 o'clock to sing some carols and turn on the lights. All family and friends are welcome so please come along and get into the festive spirit! Tuesday 3rd December Nursery Christmas Assembly 8.45 a.m. - all Nursery parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Wednesday 4th December Year 3 Rehearsal at Winston Churchill Hall - All Year 3 children should arrive to school as usual and they will then be taken by coach to WCH. A packed lunch will be provided for Year 3 children by the school caterers; lunch arrangements remain as normal for all other children. End of day arrangements are as normal for all children. Thursday 5th December Year 3 Dress Rehearsal at Winston Churchill Hall - all children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 must be dropped at the Winston Churchill Hall, Pinn Way, Ruislip, between 8.00 and 8.40 a.m. on this day, unless they are booked into Breakfast Club. Year 3 will perform their dress rehearsal to the audience and all children will be returned to school by coach in time for normal school lunch service. Year 3 Performance at Winston Churchill Hall - 7 p.m. - The Year 3 children and staff have been working very hard to prepare their Christmas performance, The Countdown To Christmas, and tickets are still available for the performance. You can book tickets by following this link. We do hope that you will join us on the evening and we are looking forward to seeing many family and friends at this event. Friday 6th December Reception Christmas Assembly - 8.45 a.m. - all Reception parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Monday 9th December Infant Choir Carols in Lower School Playground - 8.15 a.m. - Please join us as you drop off your children to hear our Infant Choir singing carols in the morning. Year 1 Christmas Assembly - 8.45 a.m. - all Year 1 parents are warmly invited to watch their children perform in their Christmas assembly, which will begin at 8.45 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Prior to this, coffee will be served from 8.15 a.m. in the Lower School Hall. Wednesday 11th December Upper School Pantomime Trip (Year 2-6) - after a brief introduction at school to pantomime as a traditional British drama form, all children in Years 2 and 6 will travel to the Beck Theatre to see 'Sleeping Beauty' Previous performances have been of a high quality and much enjoyed by all, so we hope that this year will be no exception. On return to school, the children will enjoy a party style picnic lunch and some afternoon themed activities. School will end at the normal time for all classes. Thursday 12th December School Christmas lunch - Lower and Upper School children will enjoy a party style Christmas lunch here at school, cooked and served by our Accent staff. You can see the menu, with allergens, here. Lower School Pantomime Visit - After their Christmas lunch, Lower School children will enjoy a visit from West End In Schools Pantomimes who will present their version of Dick Whittington. Lower School children are encouraged to wear party clothes to school on this day but please also remember suitable shoes and a warm coat! Friday 13th December Upper School Carol Service - Parents are warmly invited to join us at All Saints Church for our Y2-6 Carol Service, which will begin at 11.00 a.m. Please be mindful that the end of term is a busy time for traffic, and walk to the service/to pick up your children from school if you possibly can, or perhaps park away from the school and walk. End of Term - half day - Pick up times are: Ducklings and Nursery 11.50 a.m. Reception 12.00 p.m. Year 1 and Year 2  12.10 p.m. Year 3 and Year 4  12.20 p.m. Year 5 and Year 6  12.30 p.m. Holiday Club will be running on the afternoon of Friday 13th December and then every day until Monday 23rd December. Please book in via your SchoolsBuddy account. Christmas Cards The children often like to send festive cards to their friends at this time of year. We are aware that many children like to pop a Christmas chocolate/coin into the cards as a treat but please could we request that this year that an alternative to chocolate is sought. With our school being very allergy aware, we are recommending that perhaps Christmas stickers are added instead or perhaps the simple gesture of a card is adequate. Thank you for your continued support. For further information and advice on allergies please see the Allergy Aware UK website. Christmas postboxes will be open next week at Upper School, Lower School and Ducklings for free deliveries of Christmas cards among the children. Please ensure that the children's names and classes are clearly marked on envelopes. Jack and The Beanstalk at The Compass Theatre If any parents would like to take their children to a local pantomime, you can find details of The Compass Theatre's production of Jack and the Beanstalk here. And Finally.... Please remember to use Easyfundraising when you do your Christmas shopping, as over 4,000 shops and sites will donate to the St. Helen's College Development Fund at no extra cost to you - so you can raise donations when you buy gifts, decorations, your festive food shopping or anything else online! It doesn't matter if you haven't signed up yet as it takes just a moment to create your account and begin using Easyfundraising to raise money for our cause. Just click here or follow this link: ​https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/sthelencoldevfund/?invite=T7XS4M&referral-campaign=s2s  Thank you so much for your support!  
Posted on: 29/11/2019

Au Revoir by Mrs. Stark

As I read Mrs. Drummond’s blog last week with its ‘retirement wish list’, my thoughts turned to my own imminent retirement. At the end of this term I will be retiring from my position as Deputy Head after a long and happy association with the school. I joined St. Helen’s College over 20 years ago as a part-time French teacher and it is true to say that things were very different here back then. For one thing, French was the only language taught in the school and it was taught only during timetabled lessons. I am very proud that I have been able, during my time at the school, to introduce Spanish and Latin to the curriculum, to help with establishing co-curricular language clubs and to introduce the Eurotalk competition (now called uTalk) which gives Upper School children a chance to learn even more languages and compete online against other language learners from across the United Kingdom. Language teaching is most certainly not the only area of change I have seen during my time at St. Helen’s. The buildings and facilities at the school have developed apace over the last 20 years; the Upper School building’s first floor has been extended to add an extra classroom and enlarge those already there, libraries have been established at both Lower and Upper School, Ducklings Kindergarten has opened, an Art Studio has been built, a Business Office has been established and the kitchen and refectory have been added so that children may have meals cooked for them at school. The dining experience now is a far cry from how it was back then, when the children each had to unfold an embroidered napkin (often embroidered during their sewing lessons), then lay out their packed lunches at their desks and eat in silence! Recorder cases were also stitched, and some classes had home-sewn ‘chair bags’ in which pupils kept their belongings. In my early days, some year groups only had one class and there was just one teacher per class from Year 3 onwards. The pupil roll has increased to two classes per year group and we are so lucky, now, that the staff body has grown to include more specialist teachers and such a big team of teaching and learning assistants. Having more staff means that we can offer more opportunities to the pupils and one opportunity which I am particularly proud to have introduced is the annual Year 6 trip to the Chateau de la Baudonniere in Normandy, France. About 15 years ago, Mr. Crehan and I travelled to France for a ‘recce’ and, having enjoyed the French culture (and cuisine!) so much ourselves, we were determined that St. Helen’s College pupils should benefit from an immersive language experience in such a beautiful setting. The trip was established, and I have accompanied the Year 6 children on their trip every year since then. I am delighted that this is always a highlight for the children and that we have fostered close relationships with the local community and the local primary school there. As my own children grew older, I moved from part time teacher of French to full time class teacher, spending many years as a Year 5 class teacher and a few years as a Year 6 teacher and becoming Deputy Head over 10 years ago. My roles have meant working closely with the staff across the whole school, and at Upper School in particular, and I have enjoyed close working relationships and friendships with so many talented and enthusiastic colleagues over the years – including, at various times, my own children! My daughter Laura is a teacher herself and has done some supply teaching here, and my son Chris worked in Funtasia and Holiday Club during his sixth form and university years. I must say that it has been a privilege to work alongside such a diverse, positive and friendly group of people. There have been so many meals out, holiday meet-ups, drinks receptions and Christmas parties and I have memories to cherish of wonderful times with colleagues and friends. There have been sad times, too, with the loss of colleagues to cancer in particular. I am proud to have been able to establish the school’s relationship with and ongoing commitment to Cancer Research UK’s Relay for Life. In the years we have been taking part in this event, the school has raised tens of thousands of pounds for Cancer Research. I am enormously thankful to all of the staff, parents, pupils and friends who have been involved with this over the years, and I am hopeful that this association will continue into the future as we continue to fight cancer together. The work that we have undertaken together in support of Relay for Life is just one expression of the St. Helen’s College spirit. Certainly much has changed over the past 20 years, but it is true to say that much has also remained the same. The heart of St. Helen’s College still beats strong; the school’s family ethos and traditional values still underpin all that goes on here. The well-being and personal development of the pupils is still given the highest priority by both staff and parents; love, kindness and tolerance remain the most important of the values that we teach. This is why I have remained with the school for so many years - it has been genuinely inspiring to work in a school with such a strong heart and virtuous purpose. Over the years I have taught thousands of pupils from hundreds of families; some of my earliest pupils are, in fact, now parents themselves. I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all of the parents who have chosen St. Helen’s College over the course of my time here and showed me such trust and such kindness. To the pupils, I would like to say thank you for making my working life such a joy. I have seen so many children grow and develop into fine young people and I am pleased to be able to retire feeling confident that the future is bright! We all become teachers because we want to make a difference, and I am happy and proud to be retiring as Deputy Head feeling that I have been able to do that. I am handing over the Deputy Head baton to Mr. McLaughlin in the certain knowledge that he will use the role to drive forward change, to uphold the traditional St. Helen’s College values and to make a positive difference too. This is not goodbye, as I will be returning to St. Helen’s College in January for one day per week as a part-time French teacher, ending my journey here just as I began it all those years ago. So, for now, I shall simply say ‘Au revoir’. Mrs. Stark
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