Welcome from the Co-Headteachers

Driving to produce confident young people and responsible citizens

We would like to extend a very warm welcome to readers of this newsletter on behalf of all the staff, students and trustees from Isleworth & Syon School.

This week, the school is well and truly in full flow with a vibrancy and energy within classrooms, around the corridors and outdoors. Lessons are buoyant with a heavy focus on oracy and reading – because good speakers become good writers.

As well as the aspiration for students to be successful in a range of subjects and extra-curricular clubs, school House assemblies have been driving the importance of personal and social development, in particular ensuring that students are empathetic towards each other. In our daily tutorials, we have continued to drive the promotion of positive wellbeing and mental health alongside issues linked to personal safety within our local community; in fact, on Monday afternoon, Year 7 students were exposed to a workshop about rail transport safety (see below). Again, this explicit messaging reinforced our continual drive to produce successful students, confident young people and responsible citizens. 

Thank you for reading this newsletter. If you have any ideas for how we can make it even better, we want to hear from you! Fill out this form anonymously.

Simon Fisher and Jo Higginbottom

Examination Stress

As important assessments approach, some ways for students to help manage anxiety

We know that examinations can make feelings of anxiety and stress worse amongst young people. That is why it is important that whilst students should be encouraged to work hard, this should not be at the expense of their wellbeing.  

There is a range of advice and guidance for students and parents/carers to help alleviate or lessen the anxiety they have about sitting exams, including:  

Subject Focus – English

A deep dive into one of our core subjects

This week, we have been scrutinising student work within English, a core curriculum area. Led by Mrs Axten, all lessons in English are heavily dominated by discussion triggered by a huge array of visual prompts, incisive questions and extended verbal as well as written answers. Teachers skilfully narrate stories and recount poems. Subsequently, students build up model verbal responses which they then record within their beautifully laid out exercise books. As a result, these same exercise books are often meaty and demonstrate how students think hard and work hard in their English lessons.  

The in-class focus on reading and oracy – a whole school priority – is mirrored in all lessons and cascaded all the way down from Year 13 to Year 7 – indeed, it is a delight to hear students speak with such passion about the texts they are reading. Current topics vary from the features of Gothic poetry and prose (Year 7), child labour, hope and resilience in Andy Mulligan’s ‘Trash’ (Year 9); living conditions in 19th-century London as depicted in Akala’s ‘The Dark Lady’; and the ever-present tensions between parents and their children in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (Year 10). In the ‘News’ section below, you can read about an in-school production of that play earlier this week.

Our highly sequenced curriculum in English 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 include Ali Khan, who combined his Literature and Film Studies skills to go onto study screen writing and production at Warwick University. Check out this document for more such stories.

Coming Soon!

Some more dates for your calendar

  • Monday 6 May – Bank Holiday
  • Tuesday 7 May – Monday timetable
  • Thursday 9 May – Public examinations begin
  • Monday 27 – Friday 31 May – Half-Term
  • Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June – Year 9 immunisations (for those who given consent)
  • Friday 28 June – Track & Field Championships
  • Tuesday 2 July – Transition Day (Year 6 students) and Transition Evening (Year 6 parents/carers)
  • Thursday 4 July – Summer Arts Festival
  • Monday 8 – Friday 19 July – Year 10 Work Experience
  • Monday 8 – Friday 12 July – Wider Learning Week (Years 7-9 and 12)
  • Wednesday 17 July – KS3 Awards Assembly
  • Friday 19 July – End of Summer Term (students dismissed at 12.30pm)

The full calendar is available at this link.

Ofsted Big Listen

An opportunity for parents/carers to give their feedback to the school inspectors

Ofsted, the schools inspectorate and regulator, is holding a survey called ‘The Big Listen’, which parents/carers can fill out. The survey gives you the opportunity to give your views across four areas – reporting, inspection practice, culture and purpose, and impact. The survey is structured so that you provide feedback on the areas of greatest interest and importance to you.

You can find the survey on Ofsted’s website. It closes on Friday 31 May 2024.

Championing Student Leadership

Making students feel valued in school

As schools face the ever more urgent challenges of ensuring wellbeing for their students, the value of including students in their planning should be recognised. One way of doing this is through the development of student leaders and ensuring student voice is part of the process.

At Isleworth & Syon, student leaders play a pivotal role in this planning by helping to cultivate a climate of collaboration and empowerment. In leading the way, student leaders contribute to the improvement of both the school culture and environment. They also help run charity and community partnershp events as well as being the face of the school when giving tours for visitors.

This week, Sixth Form student leaders met with the Co-Headteachers to discuss the outcomes from a recent Student Council meeting. This is another example of our vibrant and dynamic culture of student leadership. 

Pictured: Co-Head Student Anya Brucal speaks during November’s Remembrance assemblies.

Rail Safety

Watch this important free video on keeping children safe around railways

We have recently been made aware of a couple of incidents in our local area connected to rail services at Isleworth (National Rail). It is vitally important that all students stay safe in these areas, which includes staying clear of ‘live’ rail lines and behaving responsibly at level crossings.

We recommend all parents/carers spend 15 minutes watching this video – it is free (registration required). Over 21 million students and parents/carers from across the UK have already watched the video-clip, which have led to a significant decrease in fatalities and injuries in their area.


Promoting the benefits of an active lifestyle

Recently, we wrote about the benefits for our students of an active lifestyle. As the days get longer and warmer, it is timely to emphasise how these benefits are increased by getting outside and into nature. Engaging with nature and the outdoors offers a range of unique benefits crucial for young people’s development. Firstly, it provides a break from the constant stimulation of screens and technology, offering a chance to unplug and reconnect with the natural world. This break can help alleviate stress and anxiety, promoting better mental health.

All outdoor activities including cycling, or even just playing sports in a park, encourages physical exercise and healthy habits. Exposure to natural sunlight helps regulate the circadian rhythm, promoting better sleep patterns and improving mood. This is particularly important during childhood when sleep patterns can be disrupted by factors like screen time and academic stress. Studies have shown that spending time in nature reduces stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. The calming effect of natural environments can help young people cope with the pressures of school, peer relationships, and other stressors they may encounter during this developmental stage.

Additionally, being outside encourages social interaction and connection with peers, family, and community members developing important social skills. 

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

Pictured: Year 12 students on their Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award expedition in the Brecon Beacons.

Summer Extra-Curricular – Coming Soon

Full list of outstanding opportunities coming next week

We are currently working on the Extra-Curricular timetable for the Summer Term; it will be published soon. In the meantime, check out these posters to get a sense of what was offered in the Spring Term. It gives a great sense of the outstanding opportunities on offer to Isleworth & Syon students.

(Please note that some of the listed activities will not continue this term.)

House Point Champions

Celebrating student success

Congratulations to every student who has earned a Diamond or Prestige house point certificate this week, for hitting 200 and 300 house points respectively. 

View the names
Prestige (300 points)

Mirza BAIG (8Br)
Asher COLACO (8Am)
Hadi HASAN (7Sn)
Harshdip Singh JASSAL (9Sn)

Axle MOLDERO (10Bl)
Eric ORDONEZ (8Tu)
Faris QURESHI (7Am)
Ranveer THAKUR (8Br)

Diamond (200 points)

Vaughn D’SA (10Ad)
Dany DOUAR DON (7Am)
Vaughan DOURADO (9Tu)
Aadam ESPRIT (7Ad)
Ayden FERNANDES (11Tr)
Megansh GANGALAM (11Sn)
Parmvir GILL (11Bl)
Harvey HAYDEN-FRY (7Am)
Omar IDRIS (7Br)
Areeb IMRAN (10Ad)
Quintel JOHNSON (7Bl)
Adreal LIMA (10Tr)
Kai MAHOON (11Bl)
Mikkel MALHI (7Am)
Judhveer MANN (10Br)
Aaron OPEL (8Tu)
Mahin PATEL (9Tu)

Vivaan PENDSE (7Tr)
Jayden PEREIRA (8Am)
Marzuq RAHMAN (8Bl)
Athar REHMAN (10Bl)
Joyran RODRIGUES (9Br)
Mohamed SALLOUM (9Bl)
Musa SARWAR (7Am)
Taran SAWHNEY (9Bl)
Lloyd SECCOMBE (9Sh)
Isa SHAKEEL (11Sn)
Fred SIMPSON (9Ad)
Simarvir SINGH (7Bl)
Sota TANAKA (9Br)
Shylen THAW (9Ad)
Maks TOR (9Br)

Note: this list is accurate as of 7.00am today (Friday). If your child reached a threshold after 7.00am on Friday, they will appear in the next list. 

Pride of House

A new set of award winners

Well done to the 40 Isleworthians given a Pride of House award this week. Each has been recognised for their brilliant contribution to school life. Click a badge below to view each house’s full list!

Careers Corner

Who do you think is the most desired employer in the UK?

The 2024 BBC Bitesize Survey of more that 4,000 13-16-year-olds has placed doctor as the most desired job, above engineer and teacher. The NHS was voted the most desirable employer, beating Apple, Google, and Disney. 27% of respondents felt that happiness was their most important career driver while 20% felt money motivated them. Interestingly, over 50% of students from London were willing to pursue a job that they did not like if it was well-paid. You can see more from the survey in this BBC article.


Enhancing student learning through theatre performances in and out of school – plus alumnus success!

‘Romeo and Juliet’ Performance

The week began with a fantastic professional theatre performance in school courtesy of The Globe Players. They performed an abridged version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, complete with explanations of key scenes, to our Year 10 students. This lively adaptation showcased oracy in action, as well as demonstrating to students that Shakespeare is accessible, relevant, and most importantly, meant to be performed; lifting words off the page and bringing them to life for our young people. Seeing the play in this way helped illuminate a text that students are currently in class – and that they will write about in their Summer 2025 examinations.

Road Safety Performance

On the same day, we welcomed Hounslow Council’s Theatre in Education team into school for a special presentation on road safety. Titled ‘The Riot Act’, the performance featured three actors as school-aged children discussing the importance of road safety. The play used humour to engage its Year 7 audience, before leading to a hard-hitting and poignant message – with one of the characters passing away in a road traffic accident.

The workshop afterwards gave students a chance to discuss the themes of the play – which they were very keen to do as they were affected by what they had seen. The question and answer portion was another good opportunity for students to increase their learning on the issues. As we mentioned earlier in this newsletter, it is so important that all students take notice of their surroundings and stay safe when travelling to and from school.

Theatre Screening at V&A

Monday was certainly a busy day for enrichment, with Year 12 drama and theatre studies students heading to the Victoria & Albert Museum for a special screening of the play ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’.

It all formed part of their preparation for Component 2, including their devised performance and Working Notebook. Students travelled independently to the event and were able to get a brilliant insight into the work of practitioners currently being studied in school. One student said afterwards, “The trip helped us to create new ideas for our devised piece based on Fo and Rame, our practitioners. The production was amazing.”

Photo copyright – NVAP and V&A Museum

‘Red Pitch’ Theatre Trip

Following the ⁠successful September trip, we took another group of students to see a production of ‘Red Pitch’. It has now moved to Soho Place – just opposite Tottenham Court Road tube – after its performances in Shepherd’s Bush. This time, it was a group of Year 10s who went to London to see this impressive production featuring young male footballers experiencing change in their local community. It had a very unique staging, with the set made up to be a football pitch (see photo 2 above). Staff reported that students were superbly engaged throughout this innovative production; indeed, one said afterwards, “The performance and all the visual elements were extremely amazing and I was taken aback with how much I enjoyed it.”

Year 8 Parents/Carers Evening

Yesterday evening (Thursday) was our final Parents/Carers Evening of the year, as we welcomed Year 8 families into school. Parents/carers were able to meet with subject teachers and discuss students’ progress through the year. It was a fantastic event to strengthen the partnership between home and school. Thank you to everyone who attended.

Taheen Modak – Alumnus Success

We were delighted to learn about a fantastic achievement for our former student, Taheen Modak. For those who are not aware, Taheen left us at the end of Year 13 in 2014 and is pursuing a professional acting career after graduating Bristol Old Vic drama school. He has had great success in recent years, including starring roles in ITV drama ‘The Bay’ and Sky’s ‘Two Weeks to Live’ as well as on stage at The Old Vic.

This week, we learned that Taheen has been nominated for an Ian Charleson Award for his recent performance in ‘Pygmalion’. These annual awards celebrate the best performances by actors under 30 in a classic role – which means work written before 1918. The winners will be revealed on 26 May – well done, Taheen! His continued success is testament to the work of our performing arts department, who “discovered” Taheen’s untapped ability at a young age and nurtured it through classroom lessons and, eventually, school productions.