It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our much-loved and highly respected serving colleague, Ray O’Neill, who died peacefully on Saturday 10 April 2021.

Ray started teaching chemistry at Isleworth & Syon in September 1985, making this his thirty-sixth year of dedicated service to our students and our school. Those who were taught by him will always remember his flowing lab coat and his passion for learning, and many of them would consider his teaching as the trigger that inspired their own scientific careers.

With degrees in education, chemistry, biology, physics and law, and a black belt in Aikido, Ray was himself a life-long student. He was always expanding his own mind and persistently studying across a range of interests, mostly related to some fairly obscure field of chemistry! His infectious enthusiasm for his own subject alongside an often-unorthodox teaching style, rubbed off on those around him and our students simply adored both him and his inspiring lessons.

Over his time at school, he held various positions of responsibility including Head of Sixth Form, and he was the Head of Chemistry until his death. He remained a highly respected Sixth Form tutor for many years, always happy to pass on words of wisdom to those students lucky enough to be in his tutor group. As a long-standing staff governor, Ray also took interest in the wider development and success of the school and gave freely of his time to this end.

He was also a member of one of the country’s leading teaching unions and continued to serve as a local and area representative, supporting teachers from across west London whenever they required help or advice.

Further arrangements to mark Ray’s contribution to the school will be made in due course. We will publish his book of condolence soon. For now, his colleagues, past and present, will miss him greatly. Countless students from across the years will also mourn his passing but all of us will be grateful for having known him and his gentlemanly ways. We are thankful for his company and indebted to Ray for his selfless contribution to education.

Euan Ferguson