St. Helen's School
|Motto||"In hoc vincite velut illi crescite"
"Conquer by the cross and grow like the daisies"
(Literal: "In this [cross] we conquer and in these [daisies] grow.")
|Type||Independent day school|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Headmistress||Dr Mary Short|
|Deputy Headteacher||Mrs Parker|
|Founder||May Roland Brown|
|DfE URN||102453 Tables|
|Houses||Scott, Shackleton, Bruce, Bonnington|
St. Helen's School, founded in 1899, is an independent day school in Northwood, North West London for girls aged three to eighteen. It is also the sister school of Merchant Taylors' School. As of the September 2009, St. Helen's school no longer takes boarders.
St. Helen’s School was founded by Miss May Rowland Brown in 1899. Having been trained as a teacher at Cambridge Training College for Women, she began to teach at Northwood College, a school which, at the time, refused to take in any students that were connected with trade. Whilst still at Northwood College, a group of local businessmen persuaded her to start another school, and so she did. At the age of 25, in January 1899, she founded Northwood High School, later named St. Helen’s School. In 1999, St. Helen's School celebrated their first centenary.
St. Helen's school occupies a twenty two acre greenfield site. The Senior School, Junior School and Little Saints are on separate sites with their own specialised facilities for their students. The swimming pool is an important facility as many people come for lessons and tutoring after school hours or in the holidays.
The Science Block, containing fourteen laboratories, supports all scientific disciplines. The June-Leader building consists of three Art rooms, three Design and Technology Labs as well as an equipped Drama Studio. The school has recently installed a Virtuoso Language Laboratory in addition to the old one. The Music Block, "Fitzwalter" or "Fitz", possesses sixteen practice rooms, where the school offers lessons for most musical instruments. The Sutherland library, run by a chartered librarian, holds a vast number of books, periodicals, newspapers and computing facilities. There is also a separate careers library containing prospectuses and career information.
St. Helen's School possesses grounds for many sporting activities. With seven tennis courts, two lacrosse pitches, squash court, swimming pool, gymnasium and fitness suite, the school has been able to offer an intensive physical education curriculum.
Information and Communication Technology
St. Helen’s School has a unique partnership with Toshiba and has become their "UK Centre of Excellence in Mobile Education". IT is an integral part of school life, with wireless connection covering nearly all the sites.
In July 2004, phase I of the sports complex was completed and was opened by Steve Parry, Olympic Bronze Medalist. It consists of a 25m swimming pool and a "State of the Art" fitness suite. Phase II was finished in summer 2006. This includes the multi gym, dance studio, treatment rooms and observation areas. In 2005, the new swimming pool was used by the female celebrity competitors from The Games television programme for training.
The house system was established in 1927 with three houses named Scott, Shackleton and Bruce. Two of the houses were named after Antarctic explorers - Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton, with Bruce named after the Himalayan explorer Brig. Gen. Charles Bruce. A fourth house, Bonington, also named after a Himalayan explorer, has since been added.
House events are an integral part of school life, notably Sports Day and House Arts. Each girl is given a house badge on entering year 7. New to 2006, St. Helen's is offering house T-shirts with the crest in the corresponding house colour.
Each year the House Cup is awarded to the house with the most points, which can be earned through commendations, Sports Day, House Arts and other achievements.
|House||Name Origin||Motto||House Colour|
|Scott||Sir Robert Falcon Scott||"Ready Aye Ready"||Red|
|Shackleton||Sir Ernest Shackleton||"Endurance"||Blue|
|Bruce||Brig. Gen. Charles Bruce||"Altiora Peto"||Purple|
|Bonington||Sir Chris Bonington||"Laboramus Ut Vincamus"||Yellow|
Junior School House System
In 1999, to mark the centenary, Junior School adopted a new house system consisting of 3 houses. The Houses, nominated by the Junior School students, were named after pioneering women in history. Later in 2012 the fourth house was added named after the female pilot Amelia Earhart.
|House||Name Origin||House Colour|
Pupils in Middle School (Years 7-9) follow a broader version of the National Curriculum. Upper School pupils (Years 10-11) take English Language and Literature, Mathematics, the Sciences, a Modern Foreign Language and one Humanities course. Students take both GCSE and IGCSE courses, with core subjects studied at IGCSE. Sixth Formers sit A Levels.
St. Helen's has regularly performed well inGCSE and A Levels examination league tables. In 2009 candidates achieved a 100% pass rate, all A*-C grades. In 2010 they achieved a 99% pass rate with 96% receiving all A*-B grades. In 2013, the school achieved its best results to date with 53.47% of entries graded A* and 86.1% graded A*-A.  The pass rate was 99.9%.
Notable former pupils
- Luisa Baldini, News reader
- Josephine Buchan, TV presenter
- Caroline Daniel, Journalist
- Magenta Devine Journalist & TV presenter
- Helen Grace, Actress
- Patricia Hodge, Actress
- Penny Johnson, Director of the Government Art Collection
- Penny Marshall, Journalist
- Rachel Petladwala, Actress (M.I. High)
Notes and references
- Junior School - The Community
- Curriculum - Middle School
- Curriculum - Upper School
- Sixth Form
- "Borough schools' results soar in new exam league tables". Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times. 22 November 2011.
- "GCSE results produce smiles all around". Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times. 23 August 2007.
- "St Helen's girls celebrate near perfect GCSE haul". Uxbridge Gazette. 27 August 2009.
- "Year 11 pupils at St Helen's School in Northwood achieve excellent GCSEs". Uxbridge Gazette. 24 August 2010.
- School Website
- ISI Inspection Reports
- International Baccalaureate - St. Helen's School
- Profile on the ISC website
- Profile on the Good Schools Guide
- Profile on MyDaughter