Welcome from the Co-Headteachers

Helping students to become considerate citizens

It has been hugely busy week in school with an array of internal “low stakes” assessments and re-drafting exercises taking place in the run-up to the half-term break. Our daily learning walks have demonstrated how students are well-prepared for these informal in-class assessments helped by the use of both Personalised Learning Checklist (PLCs) and effective active revision techniques. We are very proud of the fact that students learn how to revise from Year 7 through to Year 11 and Sixth Form. Parents/carers are asked to check the understanding of these active revision strategies with their son/ward.

Within our outstanding House assemblies, one focus point has been on Holocaust Memorial Day which always takes place on 27 January; this is the same date that the Nazi’s largest death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated in 1945. These powerful assemblies have honed in on human rights and the fragility of freedom. In particular, House leaders have reinforced the right to seek asylum in order to enjoy a life away from the risk of persecution. They also addressed the negative stereotypes about displaced people and concluded with life lessons for students, notably to be compassionate and empathetic to others as one never knows what life experiences they have undergone. Students were asked to educate themselves about the challenges of being a displaced migrant, especially prejudice and discrimination.

Please do read the full newsletter which also contains information about our values as well as forthcoming events. Thank you to those parents/carers who have provided written feedback and suggested amendments. Actions will be triggered after the half-term break. We continually review all of our communications to make sure that they are the best they can be. With that in mind, we still welcome your feedback via this form. Thank you.

Simon Fisher and Jo Higginbottom

Pre-Public Examinations – Years 11 and 13

A final chance for students to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses before the summer

Today, we have published examination timetables for the Pre-Public Examinations (PPEs), taking place for Years 11 and 13 from Monday 4 – Friday 8 March.

These important examinations are the last way that students sitting public examinations this summer can get a sense of their progress, including areas where they are strong and topics where they need further improvement. Please do encourage students to think hard and work hard by downloading one of our blank revision timetables and committing to regular revision. We recommend a “little and often” strategy as the best way to maximise progress.

Students will receive Individual Candidate Timetables, detailing their seat number, after half-term.

Curriculum Focus – Design Technology

Shining the spotlight on another academic subject area

Students studying Design Technology (DT) at Isleworth & Syon are starting to see the fruits of their hard work, with students showing an abundance of high-quality ideas being realised via a range of materials.

At Key Stage 3, our Year 7 students are testing touch sensor circuits with vacuum-formed cases, in preparation for final assembly. Year 8 are developing a programmable integrated circuit onto which they will download some tunes which will bring their musical boxes to life, while Year 9 are developing a range of high-quality making skills as they learn how to assemble and test a mechanical toy.

Year 10 taking GCSE engineering have developed printed circuit board designs using digital and analogue inputs that will control LEDs, DC motors, and servo motors. Meanwhile, our Year 12 students have been creating a mechatronic lamp using detailed electronic circuitry and computer aided design software that operates the school’s specialist laser cutters and 3D printers.

As Year 11 and Year 13 engineering students prepare for their final assessments, they have been working on their own coursework projects; examples include medicine dispensers and automatic door locks. They have also been revising regularly and engaging in both low-stakes weekly revision quizzes and rigorous end of term assessments to help them prepare for the summer examinations.

We have also been delighted to see the development of an engaging and very popular toy making club every Thursday after school. Next term, we will welcome students from Smallberry Green Primary School in the summer term to engage in a range of DT and engineering activities. 

The DT department’s aim is to promote a lifelong love and understanding of design and technology and engineering. We are delighted to see many of our students continuing with engineering for their next steps – do check out this document to see a few of their stories.

Coming Soon!

Some more dates for your calendar

  • Monday 12 – Friday 16 February – Half-Term
  • Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 February – Year 8 HPV and MMR immunisations (students with consent)
  • Thursday 22 February – Year 9 Parents/Carers Evening
  • Monday 4 – Friday 8 March – Year 11 and Year 13 Pre-Public Examinations (PPEs)
  • Monday 4 – Friday 8 March – Sustainability Week
  • Thursday 7 March – Year 10 Parents/Carers Evening
  • Thursday 14 March – KS4 Courses Evening (Year 9)
  • Tuesday 26 March – Year 11/13 Parents/Carers Evening 2
  • Wednesday 27 March – Drama & Music Showcase
  • Thursday 28 March – End of Spring Term (students dismissed at 12.30pm)
  • Tuesday 16 April – Start of Summer Term

The full calendar is available at this link.

Positive Habits

How many of these does your son/ward do already?

As we mentioned last week, we regularly focus on the importance of sleep as an essential requirement for people to effectively carry out our daily activities. It is no surprise, then, to see it at number one on our top ten list of essential habits:

1. Obtain enough sleep – memories are solidified in your sleep.

2. Get organised – use a daily planner or a “to do” list. Get on top of your school PPA (homework), tests, research and reading.

3. One task at a time – turn off the TV and detach yourself from your mobile phone when working at home.

4. Study often – our mantra is “little and often”. Study/revise for 60 minutes minimum every evening; this includes 20 minutes of reading.

5. Take good notes – we encourage dual-coding, which means mixing words with sketches and vice-versa.

6. Be an active participant – answer questions, ask questions, build on the responses of others. This is your Attitude to Learning score (1-4).

7. Be honest – don’t put your head in the sand and don’t make cheating a habit.

8. Learn to prioritise – don’t become overwhelmed with work. Focus your attention

9. Be fully prepared – check the contents of your school bag the night before: make sure you have a pen, pencil, scientific calculator, water bottle and fiction reading book.

10. Ask for support when necessary – get help when you need it.

Partnership Working: Educational Development Trust

Encouraging careers pathways, not corridors

Among a range of successful external working partnerships, one of our most effective is with the Education Development Trust (EDT). The EDT has a team of specialist careers advisors who work with students in Years 10-12, actively supporting the delivery of high-quality, independent careers advice and guidance. They signpost local, regional, national and international employment opportunities. Based around our mantra of “pathways, not corridors”, our specialist advisor reinforces the importance of students having a toolkit of academic grades as well as transferrable soft skills. Working alongside our Careers Leader, Mr Adams, EDT is at the heart of our drive to give every student a chink of light in what can sometimes be a very long tunnel of school-based learning.

Invigilators Wanted!

An opportunity to support our school community through a busy exam period

We are currently recruiting for exam invigilators. You will be employed on a casual basis to supervise students in mock and external examinations throughout the school year.

The hours are variable; morning sessions begin at 8.00am and afternoon sessions typically finish at around 3.30pm. You will need to be:

  • reliable
  • punctual
  • have good communication skills both verbal and written
  • have good spoken fluency and accuracy in English.

If you’re interested – or know someone who might be! – read the full Job Description and how to apply. Please be advised that the start date for this post is May 2024.

The Pyramid of Hate

Speaking to students honestly about prejudice

In the same week as Holocaust Memorial Day, we have been highlighting to students about the “Pyramid of Hate” and the history of genocide across the world. The Pyramid of Hate (pictured, click to view full size) is particularly useful because it focuses on everyday, grassroot bias. For example, it provides students with an opportunity to examine the escalating nature of bias (growing towards hate) and to consider the difficulty of stopping the progression once it begins. In particular, important questions for individuals include:

  • What are some of the factors that make it more likely that hate will escalate?
  • Once the actions of a person involved in a bias incident began to escalate, do you think it’s difficult to stop? Why or why not?
  • Finally, how difficult is it for students to speak out when their friends display prejudice?

Reminder: National Youth Theatre Audition

The last chance for this fantastic opportunity which past students have called “life changing”

A final reminder that all students in Years 9-13 can register to audition for the National Youth Theatre (NYT) in school on Saturday 24 February.

The NYT is the UK’s most prestigious drama company for young people aged between 14 and 25. It has been the launching pad for many British actors including Idris Elba, Daniel Craig and Helen Mirren. In the past, 15 students from school have become members.

Please note that this opportunity is available to all students in Years 9-13, not just performing arts students. Find out more information in this letter.

Safeguarding

Give us your feedback about local and national issues

This week, House Assemblies have discussed good, positive habits and how students can develop these over the long term to bring success. Mr Shaw also visited each of the assemblies to talk about the importance of being an ambassador for the school in the community – how to do this and the benefits to all. He set out key habits for behaviour, including sharing pavements with consideration, showing respect by queuing well and remembering please and thank yous. Finally, students were reminded of the non negotiable ‘keep hands, feet and negative comments to yourself’, which applies equally inside and outside the school.

Be aware that strong internal disciplinary action is taken against any individual student found to be involved in nuisance behaviour, harassment or public disorder. We always report any such behaviour in our community to the police as crimes. In some cases, robust internal school action will also be supplemented by external police action; namely warnings, arrests and formal charging as well as convictions. Simply put, this sort of behaviour brings the school into disrepute and will not be tolerated.

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.

News

Students pushing themselves to succeed – creatively, academically and physically

‘Emil and the Detectives’

Yesterday (Thursday) saw the first performance of our whole school production of ‘Emil and the Detectives’. This production was a madcamp romp through 1950s Berlin, featuring a young boy called Emil (Isaac Shaw) teaming up with the children of the city to battle the villainous Mr Snow (Shahjahan Akbar).

Nearly 60 students in Years 7-13 were involved in the production. You can check out the full cast list. On the stage, students performed brilliantly, especially the younger students – many of whom had never given a live performance before. The student Tech Crew performed various behind-the-scene roles – including backstage, lights and sound.

Mr McKeever led a full band in the pit under the stage, with this production marking the first-ever time that a student has composed the entire soundtrack. So, a special well done to Year 9’s Sam Gilmour for creating a tense yet uplifting soundscape for the performance.

Tickets can still be purchased on the door for tonight’s (Friday) final ever performance – please do pop down if you can. Tickets cost just £5 for adults and £2 for everyone else. It is always such a pleasure to see these productions come together, as they really do showcase the importance of the performing arts in this school.

Intermediate Maths Challenge

On Wednesday, nearly 100 students in Years 9-11 took part in the Intermediate Maths Challenge in school. This multiple-choice assessment, run by the UK Maths Trust, is a nationwide competition for keen mathematicians.

Students can achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold prizes, as well as a participation award. Students who achieve the top scores can progress on to future rounds and achieve even greater success – we will post the results once we receive them in a few weeks’ time.

Athletics Borough Success

And finally for this week – congratulations to both Year 7 and Year 8 indoor athletics teams who won the Hounslow Borough Sports Hall athletics championships last week. This was our first Year 7 win in a number of years, while the Year 8 boys successfully defended their title that they won last year.

Both teams gave superb performances in this points-based team event, taking part across running, jumping and throwing events. This win means that the boys progress to the area finals next week. A top two finish there will see them progress to represent Hounslow at the London Youth Games finals – just like the Year 8 boys did last year. Good luck to both teams, and well done for your progress so far!