Welcome from the Co-Headteachers
“Much more than an academic conveyor belt”
In the run-up to Christmas we have enjoyed a series of masterful events and House assemblies which have been highly applauded by current and past students, teachers and parents/carers alike. It gives us great pleasure and pride when we hear and read feedback comments which include “wonderful”, outstanding”, “mature”, “joyful”, “absolutely cracking”, “fantastic energy”, and “amazing.” Such is school life at Isleworth & Syon; we are much more than an academic conveyor belt. Instead, we are hugely successful at producing confident, resilient and responsible citizens – young people who are fully prepared for a successful life in modern Britain.
Nothing fits this description better than our numerous charity drives this month. First, students have driven the collection of much needed goods for those less fortunate than themselves. Second, our national charity drive has been on supporting Save The Children. You can read about both of these initiatives in the ‘News’ section. Third, Key Stage 3 students have been writing Christmas messages, poems and stories for local elderly residents – more on this next week. All of this promotes kindness across both our school and local community.
Thank you for reading the 14th Isleworthian of 2023-24. Do you have some feedback? We always want to improve. Go to this link and leave an anonymous comment. Any student-focused questions should be sent via email rather than the form.
Simon Fisher and Jo Higginbottom
Classroom Focus – History
Casting the spotlight on a subject area in school
This week, we have been scrutinising student work within history, a curriculum area recently highlighted and celebrated within the Ofsted report. Led by Mr Judge, all lessons in history are heavily dominated by discussion triggered by a huge array of questions and answers. Teachers skilfully narrate stories and build up model verbal responses which students swiftly record within their beautifully laid-out books. As a result, exercise books are meaty and demonstrate how students both “think hard” and “work hard” in their lessons. The focus on structured talk (oracy) is mirrored in all Sixth Form lessons and cascaded all the way down to Year 7 – it is a delight to hear students speak with such passion on topics so varied as the Treaty of Versailles to the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany.
Our highly sequenced curriculum in history means that Sixth Form students develop a rich toolkit of knowledge and skills which effectively prepares them for university and the world of work. Recent successful student stories can be found in this document.
Some upcoming dates for the diary
- Thursday 7 December – Tuesday 19 December – Written December Exams (Years 11-13)
- 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
- Monday 8 – Monday 15 January 2024 – Year 12 School January Examinations
- Tuesday 9 – Friday 19 January 2024 – Sixth Form Vocational External Examinations
- Thursday 18 January 2024 – Year 7 Parents/Carers Evening
- Thursday 25 January 2024 – Year 11 Photographs
- Thursday 25 January 2024 – KS5 Parents/Carers Evening
The full calendar is available at this link.
End of Autumn Term and Start of Spring Term
An important reminder regarding arrangements
Please be aware that the end of term is on Thursday 21 December. Students will be dismissed at 12.30pm. Students return to school on Monday 8 January at 8.25am.
Green Skills Opportunity
If you’re over 19, you can join a special Green Skills bootcamp
If you are aged 19 or over and live in Hounslow, you can apply for a free four-week training course in land management and arboriculture, and receive a guaranteed interview for paid employment upon course completion. Candidates must fulfil all of the below criteria:
- Be a resident of Hounslow
- Be aged 19 or over
- Be currently unemployed or in receipt of means-tested benefits
The course will begin in February 2024. If you are interested, you can sign up for a free online Q&A session in January. Find out more via this Eventbrite link.
Music Instrument Lessons
Still time to sign up for Spring Term lessons
Please note that applications for Spring Term music instrument lessons are now open. Full information is available on the Music subject page (in the ‘Music Instrument Lessons’ tab).
Applications will close on Friday 5 January (ready for a Monday 8 January start), so please make payments via SCOPAY. Lessons are open to all ability levels – so if your son/ward has always wanted to learn an instrument, now could be the time! Please note that students who receive Free School Meals (FSM) can have their lessons subsidised by 50%.
Recognising the importance of extending a helping hand
While the Christmas holidays are a time of joy and festivities for many, we understand that the season can bring unique challenges and struggles. Families facing hardships, whether financial, emotional, or health-related, may find it difficult to take part in the quality family time or celebrations that many take for granted.
We remind our students to remember those in need and that in times of adversity, communities can make a significant impact by extending a helping hand. Through assemblies we raise awareness of local charities, religious, and community organisations that play a vital role in providing assistance, organising food drives, helping ensure that all families have access to the essentials during the holiday season.
At Thursday’s joyous Winter Concert we were pleased to welcome a representative from the Ivybridgelink; a local charity working hard to support the local community. If you would like to make a donation or seek their support please visit their website: https://bridgelink.org.uk/. Our own food drive this week will also benefit the charity – read more about that in ‘News’ below.
Our Safeguarding team will ensure that school emails regarding student safeguarding are picked up through the holidays. Please remember that there is always someone available to help with family. The Samaritans freephone line – on 116 123 – is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you have a concern about the safety or welfare of your child, please email the safeguarding team at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is an emergency call 999 or, for non-urgent matters that require police attention, call 101.
Helping students pursue their dreams
We have several items in Careers Corner this week. First up, we have a LMI (Labour Market Information) report published by the World Economic Forum. The Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023 highlights the technologies set to impact upon society in the next 3-5 years. This report really showcases the leaps in technology we can expect to see and gives our students and parents/carer the opportunity to consider and discuss potential roles in these cutting-edge industries.
Well done to Sixth Former Yousef Abdul Ghani. Two weeks ago, we wrote about his work experience with British Airways. He has also recently took part in a ‘Take to the Skies’ virtual event with Virgin Atlantic. It is fantastic to see students taking ownership of their futures – sourcing their own opportunities as well as the many opportunities posted on the ‘Careers – Profile Building’ channel in Microsoft Teams.
Pride of House
Celebrating student success
A huge congratulations to this week’s worthy recipients of a Pride of House award. This award is given to a student in each form who has best exemplified the values that make an Isleworthian. Click a house badge to check out each list!
A week showcasing kindness and community spirit within school
On Thursday, we held our annual Winter Concert. We were absolutely thrilled to have a full house for this special event. Over 100 students featured in this feast of music and drama, themed around ‘Rhythms of the World’ to celebrate the diversity of our school community. Many different languages were represented throughout the 90-minute show.
It would take too long to praise all the noteworthy performances, as there were so many. Throughout the show, the audience were encouraged to be involved and sing along, creating a fantastic atmosphere! It was fantastic to welcome former students to perform, including Cara Doyle, Adam Greaves, Charlie Mills and Zaki Osahn. This shows just how connected our students feel to the school – even after they have long left!
Well done to every single student who took part. It was such a fantastic showcase of how the arts are integral to life at Isleworth & Syon – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are still going through all of the amazing feedback, so look out for that in next week’s end-of-term newsletter.
This week has, of course, been the last full week of term. So, we were commemorating the festive season in a number of ways. First, on Wednesday, we held our annual Christmas lunch in The Pantry.
Always a popular day, students paid just £3 for a full halal Christmas dinner (vegetarian option also available, pictured second above) with all the trimmings! Students were also given a cracker to pull at the festive-themed tables. It was a huge hit, with students complimenting the quality of food provided by our caterers!
Christmas Jumper Day
Also on Wednesday, we took part in Christmas Jumper Day, with students able to wear a festive jumper underneath their school blazer! It really helped spread the festive spirit in school – the fantastic efforts pictured above (from 7Br, 8Am, 9Tu and 10Sh respectively) give a small flavour!
The event was to raise money for the Save the Children charity, and the vital work they do for children worldwide. If families haven’t already and are able to donate to Save the Children, they can do so via SCOPAY.
Christmas Charity Drive
This year’s Christmas charity drive focused on accumulating donations of non-perishable food items and toiletries to be sent to Ivybridgelink, a food pantry in our local community. Families were encouraged to donate as much as they could manage, and we were overwhelmed with the response! Items will be delivered by student ambassadors next week – thank you to everyone for your generosity. It is a fantastic lesson for students – to be altruistic, mature citizens who contribute to making people’s lives better.
Yesterday, our Year 12 physics students enjoyed taking part in he GCHQ Christmas Challenge, pitting their wits against a series of tricky puzzles. It was a series of brainteasers specifically for 11 to 18-year-olds. Students enjoyed taking part in the challenge and testing themselves against each other! Read more about the challenge on the GCHQ website.
Ofsted – A Good School
And finally for this week – in case you missed the letter from the Co-Heads on Monday, the school has been graded Good by Ofsted. This is recognition of the fantastic hard and innovative work taking place every day in a school community which Ofsted described as “rich and inclusive.”
Given the current national conversation regarding school inspections, it is worth nothing that the school considers Ofsted as one measure of success rather than the only measure; indeed, we regularly evaluate our progress via a range of methods. We are incredibly proud of our staff, students and parents/carers.
Do read the full letter from the Co-Heads which details some of Ofsted’s positive comments, plus a link to the full report.