Welcome from the Co-Headteachers
Driving the development of the whole person
It has been yet another really busy week in school, with an array of vibrant, hands-on daily lessons and a host of outstanding enrichment opportunities in the arts, science and sport. Worthy of a headline notice is the Year 10 DofE Silver group who are currently in coastal Dorset; some of the group photographs are stunning.
House assemblies have dominated a lot of our pastoral care this week. There have been huge drives on maximising individual potential, promoting learners as leaders within the classroom, form groups working as effective teams and, in particular, the sum of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
All these values highlight the importance of the form group; our House system – a school within a school – embodies these values. Indeed, such values are deeply embedded in our traditions and school history and, as such, we encourage everyone to reinforce them at every opportunity.
Enjoy the weekend weather – the forecast is good.
Simon Fisher and Jo Higginbottom
Saturday Morning Sport
Building “soft skills”
In school, we work hard to identify our students being the best that they can be in a full range of learning environments. One such environment is Saturday morning sport where so many of our students are currently developing their rugby skills, knowledge and tactics. We would like to thank the boys for their hard work and discipline at these early season events which are so much more than simply winning and losing. Indeed, they are great for strengthening what we call “soft skills”: team-building, leadership, resilience, and dealing with defeat the same way as one deals with success.
Open Evening Arrangements
Changes to the school day
A letter was sent out earlier this week about changes to the school day for our Open Evening. To reiterate:
- On Wednesday 11 October, school will finish early at 1.10pm
- On Thursday 12 October, school will start late at 10.45am
Some students have been invited to help on the evening – they have received separate communications. We know that our students do a brilliant job of promoting our school to new parents/carers.
Our position in light of recent announcements
This week, the Government has decided to ban mobile phones in schools. At Isleworth & Syon, mobile phones have been banned from our classrooms and playgrounds for over a decade. Simply, phones cannot be used, seen or heard anywhere on the school site. We would like to thank students and parents/carers for supporting these regulations. For clarity, the ban is important in several ways:
- Phones are a distraction from learning.
- Smartphone usage is an addiction with profound personal and social consequences.
The consequences stretch well beyond the classroom and into every segment of our lives. Its impact is most profound on the youngest addicts – our students – who we urge to have regular digital detoxes.
Attendance to School
Making sure students maximise their learning
The school average weekly attendance continues to be above the national average. Our Form Tutors, Pastoral Leaders, and dedicated Education Welfare and Attendance Manager continually drive the importance of being in school, on time every day, every week. Key messages are:
- Children learn from those around them. Parents/carers set the standards and expectations – please reinforce that good attendance and punctuality are skills for the future.
- Avoid absence from school wherever possible. Avoid GP and dental appointments during school hours. Absence means your child will miss out on academic studies and begin to feel that education is not a priority. This can have a negative life-long effect.
- There can be good reasons why children become reluctant to attend school. Take the time to listen to your child, share any concerns you or your child may have with school staff, and seek support at the very earliest opportunity.
Students can give feedback about local community crime
As well as successful students and confident young people, we also encourage our learners to become responsible citizens. As part of their civic duty, we would like students (aged 13-19) to complete this survey about their own “lived experiences” in relation to local community crime and their positive or negative dealings with the police.
See more details in the graphic. The results will be published, and then used for our work on creating national recommendations for reforming policing practices. It will be shared with schools and students.
Dates for the diary
- Thursday 5 October – KS3-Ready Evening (Year 7)
- Wednesday 11 October – early finish (1.10pm)
- Wednesday 11 October – Open Evening
- Thursday 12 October – late start (10.45am)
- Friday 20 October – Progress & Partnership Day (Years 7-13)
- Monday 23 – Friday 27 October – Half-Term
- Tuesday 7 November – Sixth Form Open Evening
- Friday 10 November – Remembrance Commemorations
- Thursday 16 November – Year 11 Parents/Carers Evening
- Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 November – Senior School Production
- Thursday 30 November – Friday timetable
- Friday 1 December – INSET Day
You can access the full calendar at this link.
Free Saturday Art Club
Students can receive expert tuition – for free
Students can sign up to The National Saturday Club, for 13-16-year-olds interested in art and design. It is held at Cranford Community Club – find out more information in this poster. Students can also join other external Saturday Clubs and receive expert tuition in exciting and inspiring subjects – for free. It is a unique chance for students to to learn new skills and network with people offering further education and career opportunities. There are no exams and the aim is to focus on a subject that students love.
School Production Auditions
A fantastic opportunity to be our next stage star
Our next school production will be ‘Emil and the Detectives’, and it will take place in January. It features a young boy sent alone by train, who becomes suspicious of a fellow passenger who later robs him. He teams teams up with a band of children turned detectives and sets out to track the robber and get his money back, leading to a hair-raising chase across Berlin.
Auditions for Years 7 and 8 take place on Tuesday 10 October. Students in Years 10 and 11 are also welcome if they did not audition this week. More information is available on Teams.
How to help students stay safe online
World Mental Health Day takes place on Tuesday 10 October. This year, the focus is on positive mental health being a human right. As a reminder, across our school, we regularly recycle and remind students and staff alike about our highly principled MIND strategies as shown in the graphic.
If you have a concern about the safety or welfare of your child, please email the safeguarding team at email@example.com. If there is an emergency call 999 or, for non-urgent matters that require police attention, call 101.
Pride of House
Celebrating student success
The final Pride of House awards for the year have been revealed – 40 outstanding students who have shown dedication and commitment to school life. Click a house badge below to see who they are!
A community award-winner, and a film-maker finalist
Black History Month
Although October is the national month of celebration, we do believe that Black history should not be confined to one month alone. For too long, our shared values and our complex past have not been a consistent feature of children’s learning, but it is now time to change that. We must all advocate the UK’s ‘hidden heritage’, including topics that can be uncomfortable, to empower our young people.
During Black History Month, staff will share examples of history that are both positive and hidden in plain sight. This is not about teaching the personal history of key individuals, but rather about linking the story of the diverse communities that make up our society.
This will help form a unifying sense of Britishness to equip the next generation with a more comprehensive understanding of how modern Britain was made. Ultimately, we hope that this will support their aspirations and academic attainment.
Senior Maths Challenge
On Tuesday, 44 students in Years 10-13 took part in the Senior Maths Challenge, organised by the UK Maths Trust. The Senior challenge is mainly targeted at A level students, with 25 of our Sixth Form mathematicians taking part.
However, it can also be sat by younger students with high potential. So we were really pleased to see six Year 10s and 14 Year 11s taking part. For both year groups, this was the highest participation ever!
Students now await their results. They will hope to emulate the achievements of Year 13 Mikaeel Shah, who last year progressed through all the rounds and eventually represented England in the Balkans Maths Challenge.
We know that it is not just students that have to cope with the transition from primary school to secondary school. We know that this huge change has an impact on families as well. With this in mind, we organised a special parent/carer evening on Thursday.
The main aim of this Key Stage 3-Ready Evening was to help parents/carers understand how they can help children be ready for the challenges of Key Stage 3. We explained how students would become an Isleworthian during their time in school, particularly how we would focus on their development from boyhood to manhood. It was a successful evening – parents/carers can view the whole presentation.
On Wednesday, five A level drama students headed to the Hampton Hill Theatre for a live performance of ‘They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!’ It is a requirement for students to study live performances to write about in their examinations, but this was a special case. The play was written by Dario Fo, the specific practitioner being studied in class right now. This meant that the visit had a direct influence on their Working Notebook
Students loved the performance. Aiden commented, “I really enjoyed the play and learned a lot about our chosen practitioners Fo and Rame. This will help us when completing our devised piece and working in their style. It was great to support a local theatre.”
Jack Petchey Award
We were delighted to receive news last week about one of our Key Stage 4 student leaders – Max Manson – winning a flagship community award – the Jack Petchey Award.
Max is an outstanding student who, as well as buying into our own extensive enrichment, also balances his academic work with community work. As an army cadet, Max regularly goes out of his comfort zone in order to help other people. The Jack Petchey Award is particularly prestigious because it rewards students who have gone above and beyond in activities where other people may have failed. Well done, Max.
Chiswick Young Filmmaker Finalist
And finally for this week – congratulations to Year 11 film student Harvey Dobel, who earned a place on the four-person shortlist for Chiswick Cinema’s inaugural Young Filmmaker’s film competition.
The competition’s brief was simple but challenging: “Films must be shot in or feature in some way Chiswick and its surrounding areas.” Harvey’s entry was an inventive take of the rom-com genre with a love-struck teen seeking the ideal date in the area. It starred classmates Finn Chappel and Nathan Ruben, with alumnus Dexter Dobel providing the original score.
Harvey’s film finished in third place overall, which came with special recognition from from judges Colin Firth and Richard Attenborough. Well done, Harvey!