Welcome from the Co-Headteachers

Helping students become mature, active citizens

A series of outstanding House assemblies this week have seen important messages shared with students about the forthcoming festive season. For example, students have been reminded about the importance of active citizenship and, in particular, our charitable drives to collect food donations for the Ivybridge Pantry – more information will follow about this next week. As ever, key values have been prioritised and, this week, the theme of the week has been on mutual respect.

Got any feedback to make this newsletter even better? Let us know via this link. Please note that all comments are anonymous.

Simon Fisher and Jo Higginbottom

Examination Season

Training students to become independent learners

Whilst students are working hard on their revision, they should also realise that vital improvements can still be made across all subjects. Remember, one extra mark can change a grade! Alongside revision, students should now start thinking about how to approach the examination days. Important points to remember:

  • Know exactly when all exams are scheduled (timetables have been emailed and are on this website).
  • Ensure you have enough equipment and – for all Year 11 students – a scientific calculator.
  • Ensure a calm and steady approach to taking the written papers. 

More ways to handle exam stress can be found in the ‘Safeguarding’ section below.

Reminder: PPA Day

An important change to school arrangements

An extra reminder that Monday (4 December) is designated as ‘PPA Day’, meaning that school is closed and students do not attend.

Students return on Tuesday 5 December at 8.25am.

Coming Soon!

Some upcoming dates for the diary

  • Monday 4 December – PPA Day
  • Thursday 7 December – Tuesday 19 December – Written December Exams (Years 11-13)
  • Friday 8 December – Year 7 Induction Assembly
  • Wednesday 13 December – Christmas Jumper Day
  • Thursday 14 December – Winter Concert
  • Friday 15 December – Flu immunisations for those with consent
  • Monday 18 December – Senior Awards Evening
  • Thursday 21 December – End of Autumn Term (students dismissed at 12.30pm)
  • Monday 8 January 2024 – Start of Spring Term

The full calendar is available at this link.

Scholastic Book Fair

Support the school by buying books!

Earlier this week, we sent parents/carers a letter about the Scholastic Book Fair. Please do support the school by encouraging your son/ward to buy books – if we reach last year’s target of £400 of books sales, the school will receive 40% of this in free books!

Safer Communities Consultation

Have your say in this borough consultation

Hounslow Council is consulting with residents, visitors, partners and community and voluntary organisations to understand if you agree with their priorities for the next three years. This Safer Communities Strategy Consultation is available until Thursday 21 December – you can have your say at this link.

Winter Concert – Tickets on Sale

Don’t miss this outstanding exhibition of I&S performing arts!

Tickets are now on sale for our Winter Concert, scheduled for Thursday 14 December. Tickets are just £2 for adults and £1 for children/students/concessions. All money will be donated to the school’s chosen charity.

Please do come along if you can for an evening of festive fun, featuring over 120 students from Years 7-13. There will be musical pieces, drama performances, and much more besides. Get your tickets by clicking the image below.

Christmas Messages for the Elderly

A great community project to spread festive joy!

We will again be asking students to write Christmas messages to the elderly within our community. This year, we will focus once more on residents of the local retirement home as well as members of the Tuesday Club which runs out of the community centre on St John’s Road.

For the last four years, all age groups have had the opportunity to connect with the elderly by writing joyful stories about their own inter-generational experiences. In response, many of the elderly recipients of our heart-glowing letters have written back to individual students.

As a general plea to parents/carers, please drive your son/ward to be an active citizen and encourage him to reach out to a member of our community. The festive messages can be in the form of a letter, poem or card; they can include current affairs. We are hoping that some student leaders are able to visit both venues to read their stories first-hand.


Coping with examination stress

With the December examinations beginning very soon, we remind students that perspective and self-care are crucial during this period of heightened stress.

Making time for self-care is important. This means eating well, getting enough sleep, and taking time to relax and unwind. This is so important for overall wellbeing and being the best that they can be.  

The best way to manage exam stress, is to get organised and get a study plan. ‘Little and often’ works best, breaking revision down into small chunks to prioritise your learning for each exam. This will help students stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed. 

Students should also make sure they:

  • Organise a comfortable and quiet study space.
  • Eat nutritious snacks to keep energy up.
  • Get regular exercise to stay focused and energetic.
  • Take regular breaks while studying.
  • Do something physical or fun to relax their mind during these breaks.

Most importantly, students should not be afraid to ask for help if they need it. Students should remember to keep things in perspective – examination scores do not define a person. Employers are interested in more than your results – they also care about your character and ‘soft skills’. With the right strategies and mindset, students can navigate through the exam period with less stress and more confidence. We wish all students well.

If you have a concern about the safety or welfare of your child, please email the safeguarding team at safeguarding@isleworthsyon.org. If there is an emergency call 999 or, for non-urgent matters that require police attention, call 101.

Careers Corner

The impact of AI on UK jobs and training

Earlier this week, the government published a report on The impact of AI on UK Jobs and Training. This report shows the occupations, sectors and areas within the UK labour market that are expected to be most impacted by AI and large language models specifically. It also shows the qualifications and training routes that most commonly lead to these highly impacted jobs. The main findings are:

  • Professional occupations are more exposed to AI, particularly those associated with more clerical work and across finance, law and business management roles.
  • Teaching occupations also show higher exposure to AI, where the application of large language models is particularly relevant.
  • The finance & insurance sector is more exposed to AI than any other sector.
  • The other sectors most exposed to AI are information & communication; professional, scientific & technical; property; public administration & defence; and education.
  • Workers in London and the South East have the highest exposure to AI, reflecting the greater concentration of professional occupations in those areas. 

Its clear that AI is here to stay and will be a valuable tool for many job sectors. However, we are also seeing AI impact the job market and its important that our students are able to identify these sectors and be aware of the challenges that they may face in terms of job availability.

Pride of House

Celebrating student success

Our Pride of House awards have just been given out. There is one winner from each form group in Years 7-11, meaning eight per year and 40 in total. Students receive the award for a specific contribution to school life. Check out the winners via a house badge below!


Giving students a voice and preparing them for their next steps

Student Council

On Wednesday, Co-Head Student Oliver Hone and one of his deputies, Joe Gilmour, hosted our first Student Council of the school year. Taking place in the dining rooms, House & Citizenship Ambassadors from each form were invited to air their views on a variety of topics, including revision, extra-curricular activities, school facilities, and much more. Several proposals from the meeting have been put to an electronic vote before being passed to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Oliver and Joe did a fantastic job helming the meeting and steering the conversation, so well done to them – and everyone who took part in this important example of student voice in action.

Work Experience at British Airways

As part of our careers programme, led by Careers Leader Mr Adams, we are always looking to identify fantastic work experience placements for Year 12 students. This helps them to get some experience of the ‘real world’ while continuing their studies. One such example took place earlier this month, with Yousef Abdul Ghani heading for a ‘Flight Operations Insight’ workshop with BA.

Yousef already has ambitions of becoming a pilot, so this was an incredible opportunity for him to see, hands-on, his dream career in action. When asked about it, he said, “In the role we got to experience the thrills of a full motion simulator and got a tour of the Boeing 787. We also saw crew in training and got the opportunity to meet amazing pilots and ask questions and learn about the life of a pilot.” This was a highly competitive placement so well done to him!

Alumni in the West End

We always love reporting on alumni success stories – those students who have left Isleworth & Syon and gone on to great things. We always encourage our leavers to stay in touch.

One such alumnus is Raymond Anum, who finished Year 13 in July 2014 before heading to drama school at RADA. He is currently starring on the West End stage in Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed production of ‘King Lear’. Raymond plays the role of Burgundy in the production, which has just over a week left of the seven-week run. Well done to Raymond – it is a pleasure to see him doing so well.

National Theatre Archives Trip

Year 13 drama students study the classic play ‘Our Country’s Good’ by Timberlake Wertenbaker as one of the set texts in their examinations. This week, they were lucky enough to attend a screening of a filmed staging of the play, at the National Theatre Archives. It was brilliant for students to see their classroom studies brought to life, helping them to gain new understanding of character and theme. Indeed, afterwards Josh described the screening as “a catalyst to understanding the play more deeply.”

‘Apollo 13’ Screening and Discussion

Yesterday (Thursday), Sixth Form science students held a very special screening of the film ‘Apollo 13’ after school, with Years 8-13 invited along. The aim of the event was to watch the film and then conduct a discussion about whether Apollo 13 could be considered a successful mission. It was a well-attended event, with plenty of interesting discussion about the mission and space travel in general.

Oxbridge Interview Prep

Finally for today – a big part of life in Year 13 is preparing students for their next steps – universities, apprenticeships or the world of work. For some, this means applications to ‘Oxbridge’ – Oxford or Cambridge. These universities are among the most prestigious in the world – and also the most competitive! We have had 14 applications this year, which as far as we can tell is a school record.

Of these 14, six students have so far received interviews – a figure which may still increase further in the coming weeks. On Thursday, the Sixth Form team arranged for Peter Rawlings to come into school for a series of mock interviews with these six students. Peter has a long-standing connection with Cambridge and is also a member of PiXL – an education organisation linked to the school. These one-to-one meetings allowed students to ask questions about interview preparation and practise their technique, giving them the best chance for success. Good luck with their applications!