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Posted on: 11/06/2021

Weekly News - Friday 11th June 2021

Singing Competition What a fantastic Singing Competition we enjoyed this afternoon! The children in Years 2 - 6 had obviously prepared and rehearsed their songs with dedication and the standard of performance was, as always, very high indeed. Gemma Cross was our guest judge and she was very impressed by the musicality and confidence of the children. Many congratulations to all those who took part and, in particular, to our winners, who were: Zinnia M - Y2 Winner Samara P - Y3 Winner (and Middle School Winner) Eshanvi A - Y4 Winner Shruthi T - Y5 Winner Maya T - Y6 Winner (and Upper School Winner) Winners' trophies and certificates will be awarded in Monday's assembly. 4T Assembly - Gratitude We were treated to a wonderful class assembly by 4T this morning, whose focus was on Gratitude. They explained what Gratitude is and gave us lots of examples of what we might choose to be thankful for. They performed a lovely story about an old woman who was never satisfied, showing us how contentment comes from the heart and not from external possessions or surroundings. Finally, they sang their Gratitude song with real gusto and accomplishment, and led us in prayer. Well done, 4T, for conveying such an important value so enjoyably. We all now know that by being grateful for our troubles, we can turn them into blessings - which is a wonderful skill to have. The Whale Company Assembly and Eco Work On Monday we virtually welcomed Carolyn Newton, co-founder of The Whale Company, to be a guest speaker at our assembly. The Whale Company is an environmental organisation that connects people to nature by inspiring action and innovation through stand up paddle boarding, upcycling workshops, expeditions and campaigns. Carolyn talked to us about the global problem of plastic waste on our planet and showed us some very impactful photos of the effects that this waste has on the world's oceans and rivers. Carolyn also played a video of a paddle board she and her husband had made reusing plastic drink bottles, which they used to travel down the River Thames, litter picking and educating people on plastic waste enroute. This paddle board really impressed us all and became a talking point for the rest of the day! We learnt several thought provoking facts from this assembly and one that really stood out was that there is more micro plastic in the world's oceans than stars in our galaxy! There was a clear message that we urgently need to rethink how we use plastic and what small things we can do to help. The assembly ties in with our current school eco mission in taking steps to become plastic free. Each day our Eco reps have been collecting plastic litter in the playground and spreading the message that rubbish belongs in the bin and not on the floor!  We hope this assembly, along with our eco mission, will encourage everyone to take actions, however big or small, to remove plastic pollution and help our environment. For more information about The Whale Company and what they do, please visit the following link.thewhalecompany.org End of Term Events The school is busy planning and adapting our programme for several end of term events, including Sports Days for all year groups, the Year 6 play, Prizegiving and transfer meetings for parents. With the Covid restrictions due to be reviewed next week, we are not yet able to confirm whether we will be able to welcome parents to these events in any 'normal' way. We are sorry for the uncertainty but we know you will appreciate that we have to follow the government guidance rigorously at every step. You can see all of the proposed events listed on the school calendar. For now, we encourage you to save the dates if you would like to attend these events and meetings - but with the caveat that we will send out further information when we can, and that all plans are subject to change. There is further information about this year's Sports Days via the links below. This has also been sent out by email to parents today. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Sports Day Year 3 - 6 Sports Day School Uniform It was wonderful to see all the children back in full summer uniform for our class photographs. Please can you continue to send Upper School children to school in full summer uniform, which includes blazers, and the panama summer hats should now also be worn. It was noted that many pupils had to borrow blazers for the photographs thus please do ensure that your child has one.  The PA are hoping to set up second hand uniform sales at the Sports Day events. Further details to follow pending government guidance. Primary Mathematics Challenge We are delighted that six of our Year 6 pupils have been recognised in this National Challenge, achieving Silver and Bronze awards. Congratulations to Ben L and Reece G for achieving Silver and Riya C, Aaron S, Arjan D and Pavitar D for achieving Bronze. The National Quiz Club Finals are approaching with the Year 4 final next Thursday 17th June and the Year 5 and Year 6 finals on the 24th June. We wish all our teams well. CRUK - Cancer Research UK For many years now the school has been part of the Relay for Life Harrow event to raise much needed funds for Cancer Research. Unfortunately the event will not go ahead this year but as a school we will continue to support this most worthwhile charity which helps so many of us as the statistics show that one in every two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. In our final week of term the children in each class will participate in a range of fun activities and we will be asking you to make donations to our 'Just Giving' page.  Further details will be shared nearer the time but he week will commence on Monday 5th July with a non-uniform day for all the children.   
Posted on: 11/06/2021

Gratitude

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting many of our new Nursery parents as they visited Lower School to have their individual meetings with either Miss Carmichael or Mrs. Mann.   Throughout the evening I had wonderful conversations discussing the events of the past 16 months and listened to how different families have experienced the journey of the pandemic so far. What really struck me was the joy that so many parents expressed in being able to spend time with their children - despite mums and dads working from home and juggling work commitments, there really has been genuine joy in what these turbulent times have brought about. We often get lost in the sadness and fear that has been reported, but for so many families there has been new found family time and experiences which will never be able to be replicated under ‘normal’ working patterns for parents.  There was so much gratitude expressed from our Ducklings parents for the love and care that their children have had since joining us in September 2020. Parents are genuinely in awe of the all round development of their children, and in particular their oracy skills and levels of independence and confidence. I listened with great pride and shared all the parents' excitement as we prepare to welcome so many new families to our school. We have our new Ducklings intake, new Nursery children and many other families joining us throughout the school in September. However, before the new academic school year I know that so many of you will be taking time this summer to reap the benefits of living on this incredible island!  Our British coastline will be the busiest it has ever been as overseas travel is so restricted. Many of us will be taking to the coast and I for one need my frequent intake of coastal sea air!  The West Coast of Scotland, Oban and the Isle of Mull are my go to places and I am looking forward to catching up with family and friends. The beauty of the area and coastal scenery brings me great peace and pleasure. Over half term I managed yet another visit to the Kent coastline, as my daughter is currently in university in Canterbury. This time I found a beautiful Airbnb apartment near to Deal. Since she moved there, we have discovered an area of the UK which we absolutely love with the most stunning beaches: Whitstable, Broadstairs, Deal, Herne Bay, Ramsgate, Margate...each area has their own identity and the area is becoming very popular with ‘those from London’. Who knew that Margate was home to the Turner Contemporary art gallery! The attraction of the seaside here in the UK, regardless of what part of the UK, is special. The traditional piers, rugged coastline, undeveloped beaches, natural defences, the sea life, flowers and fauna really are unique to the UK - let alone the fish and chips and Mr Whippy!!! The UK coast brings me great spiritual support too and I find being by the coast refreshing, reinvigorating and relaxing. Our seas are mysterious and powerful and we must all respect this and be grateful for our proximity here in the UK to such incredible coasts. Wherever you are planning to visit this summer within the UK - I hope that some time near the sea is on your agenda.   Deal beach last Saturday! Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 28/05/2021

Weekly News - Friday 28th May 2021

We hope that you all have a relaxing and enjoyable half term break - the children and staff have had a busy half term and it is always good to recharge batteries ahead of the very busy second half of the summer term! To those who will be attending Holiday Club here at school, we hope that your children have a great time. Year 4 and Year 5 Residential Days Our Year 4 children had a wonderful day on Tuesday, when they visited Iver Environmental Centre for a day of outdoor learning and exploration. During the day, they took part in several activities including pond dipping, mini-beast hunting, fire-lighting, den building and toasting marshmallows. They collaborated brilliantly to build animal homes and practised their advertising and persuasive skills as estate agents! It was a wonderful day all round and we were lucky enough not to be rained on!  On Thursday, the Year 5 classes went off-site to Paccar Scout Camp where they had an incredibly busy day participating in a range of activities, including zip wire, gladiator challenge, karting and archery. All of the children showed great camaraderie in supporting and encouraging each other and their perseverance was commendable - a real tribute to the St. Helen's College values being demonstrated by every student. Well done, Year 5!  You can see photographs of the residential days on our Galleries page. Staff News Mr. Leo Harrington will be joining us in September as our new Director of Co-Curriulum/Head of PE & Games and will continue the excellent work that Miss Walker has been doing in these areas of the school for the past 26 years. He will also be taking on the role of Head of Assessment, working in liaison with Mr. Lewis, our Director of Studies. He will be visiting the school in the next half term and will have the opportunity to meet the children. Mr. Harrington brings with him a wealth of prep school experience and has most recently been teaching at Haberdasher's Aske's School for Boys. I am sure you will all join us in welcoming him to the school. We are delighted to share the happy news that Mrs. Garnes is expecting a baby and will be beginning her maternity leave at the end of the summer term. We will let you know the name of her temporary replacement in due course but please rest assured that all of her individual lessons will continue. Mrs. Pruce has just been appointed as the IAPS (Independent Association of Preparatory Schools) Art Subject Advisor. This is a prestigious role to hold and she will be working with the IAPS Education Committee, providing support and expertise to the art departments of preparatory schools throughout the UK and overseas.  Mrs. Califano returned from her maternity leave this week and is supporting Ms Matthews in Kingfishers class. We are delighted to have her back with us. We are looking forward to welcoming Mrs. McLaughlin back to school after half term, when she will return from her maternity leave. She will resume her teaching in 3M, three days per week, with Mrs. Briggs continuing for two days per week. Miss Carmichael will be stepping down from her role as Holiday Club Manager at the end of the summer term. We would like to thank her for her hard work and commitment to running the Holiday Club over the past four years. Miss Carmichael will continue to work in Holiday Club and we are delighted that she is handing the baton over to Miss Flemming, who is already known to the children and is one of our current Funtasia staff. Miss Flemming was previously one of our EYFS assistants before she went travelling and we were delighted to welcome her back last year. Further information about our summer Holiday Club will be distributed by Miss Flemming in due course. Climate Change Competition Just a reminder that, to encourage more people to think about Climate Change, Hillingdon Council is running a Climate Change Competition, which is open to all St. Helen's College children. The closing date is Saturday 5th June. Children are urged to get creative and take part in this borough wide competition to get everyone thinking about Climate Change, how it makes us feel and what can be done to do our part. Children are free to use any art form to express what Climate Change means to them, whether it be a musical composition, a drama scene, a poem, a piece of artwork or something else.  You can find out more information about the competition here, including how to enter and of course what prizes are on offer! We hope that many of your children will create entries for this competition and that, in doing so, they will think deeply about climate change and what it means for all of us. Royal Mail Stamp Design Competition Well done to all of the children who have been busy designing their stamps for the Royal Mail competition. We have seen several very high quality designs come through school, and we know that many more have been submitted directly to the Royal Mail. Fingers crossed that the children's hard work and creativity may be recognised in a winning design! Reminders - Second Half of Term We would like to remind parents that all children should return to school on Monday 7th June wearing full summer uniform. Girls should not wear tights with the summer dress. Woolly hats should now be put into hibernation please and at Upper School, blazers are expected to be worn as part of uniform. Class photographs for all classes from Ducklings to Year 6 will be taken by Tempest on Wednesday 9th June. Please ensure that your children arrive to school in good time on that day and in full, smart summer uniform with tidy hair. If girls' hair could be plaited for the occasion, that would be much appreciated. If any of the boys are having their hair cut over half term, please be mindful of the school guidelines, which are that boys’ hair must be cut above the collar and ears in a conventional manner. Crew cuts, shaved patterning, obvious layering and gelling are not allowed. The Year 2 - 6 Singing Competition finals will take place on Friday 11th June. Good luck to all those involved. Details about upcoming events such as Sports Days, concerts, Prizegiving and plays will be sent out in due course but you can see the dates on the school calendar. Textile Bank Just a reminder that, if you are planning a clear out over half term, you can bring any unwanted textiles (clothings, belts, bags, paired shoes, bed linen, curtains, towels etc) to our textile bank outside 227 Long Lane. Please note that, while bed sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases are fine, we cannot accept duvets, cushions or pillows themselves. The items donated via the textile bank are gifted to those living in poverty across the UK and the world, and anything that cannot be gifted in this way is recycled into industrial cleaning cloths, so that nothing ends up as landfill. The school receives a small donation per kilo of textiles collected too. Thank you once again for supporting this eco-friendly and charitable initiative.
Posted on: 21/05/2021

Weekly News - Friday 21st May 2021

World Meditation Day Today is World Meditation Day, and in Upper School assembly this morning, we considered this quote from the actor Dick Van Dyke: "When you’re a kid, you lay in the grass and watch the clouds going over, and you don’t have a thought in your mind. It’s purely meditation, and we lose that". We then participated in this beautiful three minute meditation together, enjoying the images and sensations. Why not take part in this with your children again over the weekend? There are events running throughout the day for World Meditation Day until 8 p.m. this evening - you can find more details here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/world-meditation-day-free-tickets-151332817531 Residential Days On Wednesday, our Year 3 classes enjoyed their outdoor-based residential day and on Thursday, the Year 6 children immersed themselves in France and all things French for their residential day. You can read more about these days and their value in Mrs. Drummond's Head's Blog today and you can see photographs of the days on our Galleries page. Thames Water Assembly Many thanks indeed to James from Thames Water, who delivered an informative and thought-provoking assembly to our Upper School classes on Monday. James told us all about the importance of being 'water-wise', which means being considerate about our water use. The children engaged enthusiastically with the quiz questions and clearly have a good understanding now of how to use less water and why it is so important to consider and limit our use of this precious resource. As discussed, if each person can make one change to their water use, we can together make a real difference. Hopefully, your children will want to spread the word, encouraging their family and friends to be more 'water-wise' too. There is a fantastic e-book available to download regarding water saving, with a related competition! Please do take a look and encourage your child to enter this competition too. https://www.waterwise.org.uk/drycompetition/ Well done to Charlee G and Pavan S (Year 3), who were so inspired by the assembly that they are creating their own presentation to share with their peers to further highlight the importance of saving water. Singing Competition Finalists Congratulations to these children, who have been selected as finalists for this year's Singing Competition! Year 2 Zinnia M Mia O Innaya S Diya B Year 3 Samara P Hana H Amaya L Year 4 Advik S Anaiya B Eshanvi A Minaya W Inaya S Year 5 Aanya B Rivan K Anjka G Shruthi T Year 6 Maya T Jessica L Riya C The final will take place next Friday and we are all looking forward to watching the children perform before our guest judge Gemma Cross picks her winners! Gemma is the vocal and choral lead for Slough Music Services. Royal Mail 'Design a Stamp' Competition We would like to encourage children (aged 4-14) to enter a very special competition being run by the Royal Mail. For more than 50 years Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated British history and achievement. Stamps have also been issued to honour the achievements of many British people. Often, the people who appear on stamps are already famous. They include scientists and explorers, writers, artists, musicians, athletes, and Prime Ministers. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, there have been many people who have done great things. Many of them are not famous, but they have done extraordinary work. These are the people who have helped us all through a really difficult time. Some are frontline workers in healthcare, others look after elderly or vulnerable people. Millions of key workers have kept the country going when most of us were told to stay home for our own safety. And there have been many people who volunteered to help people in their communities who needed help or support. Royal Mail wants to honour these heroes by producing a set of eight stamps. The stamps will feature designs created by eight school-aged children. Pupils should think about who their hero or heroes are, and then design a stamp in their honour. A special panel of judges will pick the winning designs. The final eight stamps will be sent to Her Majesty The Queen before they can be printed and issued. You can find out further information, including how to submit your entries, here: https://www.stampcompetition.ichild.co.uk/ The closing date for entries is 5 p.m. on Friday 28th May 2021. Please do let us know if your child enters and how they get on! Teddy Talks Thank you so very much to all of the parents who have sent such positive feedback and heartfelt thanks for the Teddy Talks which we shared last week. The talks are a part of our new Pre-School Parenting Programme, through which we aim to support parents of babies and toddlers in the local community and beyond. Please do continue to watch and share the talks, and to let us know if you have ideas for topics for our next set of talks, which will be filmed later this year. We plan to launch our first free in-person pre-school classes, our Mother and Baby Mindfulness Classes, in September. If you are interested in taking part in these, then please telephone the school office on 01895 234371 to register your interest. Virtual Open Morning We held our summer term Virtual Open Morning for prospective parents today and it was both enjoyable and successful! As well as talking to those who joined us about our school aims, values and provision, we were able to play them a Teddy Talk and answer their questions about joining us. Don't forget that we are now running a Virtual Open Morning once per term, as well as our in-person school tours, so if you have any friends or family who might be interested in attending these, please tell them to visit the school website for more information and to register their interest. Wraparound Care Bookings We would like to remind parents that, while it is usually possible to book wraparound care at the last minute via your SchoolsBuddy account, it is enormously helpful for the organisation of our staffing and catering if parents could book required sessions in advance as much as possible. Many thanks for your support with this. Library Books Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Emanuel, our school librarians, ask that pupils and parents check school bags and return any stray library books ahead of the half term break. Uniform4Kids Summer Plans Our uniform supplies, Uniform4Kids (Pullens) have asked us to share their plans for summer opening with parents, so that you can plan your uniform shopping for the new academic year. The headline news is that they will once again be opening the shop by appointment only from June to mid-August. There will also be extended opening hours in the final week of August just before the new term starts. You can find out more information on their plans here and you can book your appointments online at www.uniform4kids.com. Weekend and Half Term Classes Hotshots Football Academy Hotshots Football Academy are offering a free first class for boys and girls aged 4-12. Classes take place in Uxbridge from 9.00 to 10.15 a.m. on Saturdays. If you are interested in signing your child up, you can find out more information here.  Computer Xplorers Computer Xplorers have fun and exciting Half Term Holiday classes open to children age 6+ from Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June, as follows. Video Game Animation (Age 6-8) 9 a.m. - 10 a.m., Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June The perfect introduction to programming for primary school children. Children aged 6-8 will make progress as they learn how to program an animation in this class using Scratch - an easy-to-understand drag-and-drop programming method. Click on the link below to register: https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/videogameanimation-coding-tech-class Kodu Game Design (Age 8+) 10.15 a.m. - 11.15 a.m., Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June Children will use Kodu, a graphical programming environment, to design and build games. They will then create a range of terrains, worlds and characters, controlling the characters' movement, sound and vision using an intuitive, icon-based programming language. This is a great class for budding game designers and tech enthusiasts. Are your children up for a new challenge? Now is your child's chance to develop coding and programming skills in our online Game Design classes!  Click on the link below to register: https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/kodu-3d-game-design-class JavaScript Game Design (Age 11+) 11.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m., Monday 31st May to Friday 4th June Students will learn to design, code and build their very own arcade games to keep using JavaScript. This is a great class for budding game designers and tech enthusiasts. Are your children up for a new challenge? Now is your child's chance to develop coding and programming skills in these online Game Design classes!   Click on the link below to register : https://middlesex.computerxplorers.co.uk/classes/javascript-game-design-class  
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