Donating IT equipment
Access to computers is always a crucial part of being at school, and this has never been more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are delighted and proud to have been able to assist two schools local to us with their IT equipment needs: in 2020 we donated 29 computers to Carswell Primary School in Abingdon for their new IT suite, and 20 Chromebooks to Stockham Primary School in Wantage, to assist with their remote learning.
Girls Do Physics
We run practical sessions for Year 8 and 9 students at Larkmead School, aiming to boost the confidence of girls in mixed-sex groups and help them realise that physics is not just a ‘boy subject’. There are five sessions each year, delivered by four St Helen’s teachers to 30 students. The initiative has had a gradual but substantial impact, encouraging students to pursue science beyond GCSE and in particular in its reach – students who were not initially involved in the sessions have asked to join in after friends described them as ‘interesting and fun’.
Read about previous Girls Do Physics sessions
One of St Helen’s modern languages teachers takes French lessons at St Nicolas Primary School, Abingdon. In order to support the teaching of MFL at Key Stage 2 level, 35 minute lessons are delivered to two Year 5 classes, 50 students in all. This work has continued throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, with resources being shared with St Nicolas by the teacher in charge, so that their language learning can continue remotely.
Modern languages teacher training
St Helen’s is a hub for the National Modern Languages School Centred Initial Teacher Training (NML SCITT) and has been providing teacher training placements with a network of maintained and independent schools for over a year. With the overarching aim of reducing the national shortage of languages teachers, trainees spend time in each of the partner schools, learning from staff and teaching students. In our first year both our trainees went on to find teaching posts; in our second we had four trainees, three of whom are now working in the maintained sector; currently we have six trainees and are recruiting for the 2020-21 academic year - numbers are looking healthy!
Learn more about our NML SCITT activities on our Teacher training opportunities page.
This is an MFL drama competition for local primary schools, joined by St Helen’s Junior Department. Taking place in the spring term each year, the event promotes links between neighbouring schools and brings students in Years 3–6 together to celebrate languages. In 2019 approximately 100 students took part, performing in the St Helen’s Studio Theatre to the other schools. The opportunity to use languages creatively and in a different setting to the classroom is very important and both students and teachers enjoy the experience.
Love Languages 2020
Geography Worldwise Quiz
Held for all Year 7 students at Larkmead and St Helen’s annually, this interactive and sociable quiz afternoon enables students to engage with the subject of geography and understand the importance of studying it. The nature of the event also builds connections between students of similar ages from different schools and is always a very effective way to inspire all the students.
Geography Worldwise Quiz 2019
Model United Nations
The Model United Nations Society is run jointly between St Helen’s and Larkmead School, giving students from Year 10 upwards the opportunity to participate in a highly regarded political and diplomatic exercise. Students attend weekly meetings and weekend conferences, coached by St Helen’s politics teachers. The most active participants gain experience in organising conferences, chairing committees and running sessions for the whole society, and participants from Larkmead regularly win prizes at the conferences. These experiences are highly valued on UCAS personal statements, feeding into students’ higher education prospects.
MUN conference at Malvern St James