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This is a particularly distressing time as we watch events unfold in Ukraine, and it can be particularly upsetting to hear accounts from families who have been bereaved, displaced, or separated because of the Russian invasion. Our deepest sympathies go out to all members of our community who have family and friends in the affected areas.
As a school community, we are ensuring that students can access extra support during this troubling time, within group discussions but also more individual opportunities to explore their feelings.
Girls in the Prep School are being supported by members of staff, who will answer any questions briefly and honestly. Teachers will let parents know when such discussions have taken place so that parents can then follow up at home. Girls will also have opportunities to ask questions and share any concerns and anxieties in scheduled lessons.
In Senior School, girls will be supported through assemblies and form times. Assemblies have explored the geography and history of Ukraine, and the concept of a state, and will also consider the international response to the current situation. Form Tutors will allow girls to discuss the situation in a safe environment, express their feelings, ask questions, and consider how we can help.
Students have been encouraged to talk to any member of staff at any time and they have been reminded of the support available to them through our Wellbeing Service.
By facilitating open communication with parents, we are confident that our pupils will be very well supported as they learn about this very difficult situation and navigate their own thoughts and feelings.
As well as expressing sympathy, we know that pupils, staff, parents, and friends of St Helen’s will want to offer material support to the refugees (numbering more than 1,000,000) who have already been forced to flee their country.
As a School we have decided to raise money to support the work of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an organisation which brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently to provide an effective humanitarian response to support the victims of large-scale disasters in countries which are unable to respond. You can find out more about the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal here.
We will be inviting all pupils to show their support for those affected by this horrifying humanitarian disaster by taking part in a whole-school Charity Run on Thursday 24th March. The girls will be able to walk or run a course on the school site as a sign of our sympathy.
The School has set up a Just Giving page to collect donations from the School community, which you can find here. All monies received will be donated to the DEC charities’ Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Many other charitable organisations have also launched their own humanitarian appeals to provide aid to the victims of the invasion; of course, the people of Ukraine will appreciate any support, whatever the origin.
In addition to the above support, we encourage parents and teachers to use the below helpful information to support pupils: