Welcome from the Co-Headteachers
Setting high expectations for writing and reading
It has been a hugely busy week in school as we approach the end of the first half-term. A key focus has been on preparing for, completing and re-drafting written assessments in the lead up to Progress and Partnership Day (PPD). Our expectations for written work are extremely high and, from our regular learning walks across lessons, we notice how students are striving to take greater pride in their work. For example, there should be no gaps in exercise books, with student using pens for writing and pencils for sketching or drawing. On this note, it would be beneficial if parents/carers could check the basic equipment of their son/ward before the start of the new half-term.
On another positive note, almost 1800 reading books have been borrowed from the school library over the past six weeks. This phenomenal figure shows how so many of our students are hooked on reading.
It goes without saying that reading is fundamental to success in all subjects. Over the half-term break, please check-in on what book your son/ward is reading. Ask him to read aloud; read to siblings/cousins; and to read to you. Finally, ensure that he reads little and often. Good readers become good speakers and, essentially, good speakers become good writers; when this happens, students make rapid progress.
As a reminder, school is closed next week for half-term. Students return at 8.25am on Monday 30 October.
We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter – please do leave us any feedback.
Simon Fisher and Jo Higginbottom
Developing learners as leaders
We were delighted to be awarded Centre of Excellence status by the Leadership Skills Foundation. This beacon status is awarded to schools that deliver high-quality student leadership programmes. It acknowledges and celebrates the wide-ranging impact that our student leaders’ volunteering has had in our local community. The Foundation recognises that the school is a strong advocate of developing leadership skills in young people through sport, as well as through other pathways. The beacon status recognises centres that are going above and beyond with their implementation of leadership – empowering their learners to believe, lead and succeed.
It is clear that our learners as leaders have built the confidence to BELIEVE, the qualities to LEAD and the skills to SUCCEED. Good leaders create followers but greater leaders create leaders; watch an excellent Ted Talk.
More dates for your diary
- 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.
Sixth Form Open Evening
All Year 11 are welcome
Our Sixth Form Open Evening takes place a few weeks after half-term. Prospective students and families will have the opportunity to hear of the successes of the Sixth Form from Mr Doyle (Sixth Form Leader) and from our senior students. There will also be the opportunity to speak to subject specialists and students currently studying in the Sixth Form.
Driving good habits and routines
Thank you to those parents/carers who have provided feedback on our drive to train students to both undergo a weekly digital detox and establish strong sleep routines. As a reminder, active, alert learners require nine hours of sleep each night during the school week. We know that many parents/carers are working hard behind the scenes to develop these crucially important routines with their children. Remember, it takes 30 days to establish a routine – that equates to six school weeks of practice.
GPM Young Curators Forum
Another community opportunity
We have been made aware of a fantastic community programme at the local Gunnersbury Park Museum (GPM). To find out more about their Young Curators’ Forum – which gives young people a voice in terms of the museum’s future – take a look at their flyer.
Get Into Teaching
Fancy a career change?
Locally, regionally and nationally, there continues to be a extreme shortage of school teachers. If any parent/carers are considering a switch in employment, please review the Government website as well as watch DfE recruitment video one and two. Our closest centre for teacher training is the LWA ITT. As a school, we proactively support parents/carers as well as alumni who wish to visit for a one-day school experience.
Club of the Week – Law & Politics Discussion
A thriving new club
Staff: Ms Messer
When: Tuesday, 3.05 – 3.50pm
Who: Years 10 and 11
The Law and Politics discussion club has had a great start. Students have chosen a fantastic set of legal issues to discuss, including the insolvency of Wilko, the murder and witness tampering trial of YNW Melly, the Post Office wrongful fraud convictions, Ed Sheeran’s latest legal case, the Colin the Caterpillar case between M&S and Aldi, and more.
If you are in Years 11-13 and interested in studying law or politics at university or as a future career, you can join the club. We have plans to debate the regulation of AI, too! Speak to Ms Messer for more details.
I&S Inspires – 1 November
The first of the 2023-24 series of talks
Our I&S Inspires series of talks peels back the curtain behind some of the top career pathways – so students can hear different voices. We are looking forward our first I&S Inspires talk of 2023-24 – Simon McDonald. He is currently an honorary fellow at Christ’s College Cambridge and previously worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and was British Ambassador to Israel and Germany.
The talk takes place on Wednesday 1 November at 3.30pm, and will be of particular interest to those with an interest in politics and history. Please read the full letter, sent earlier this week.
Staying safe during the holidays
The holiday period can be stressful for children and young people as well as their parents/carers. Indeed, 2023 research by the charity Barnardo’s reminds us that the reality of school holidays for many children is being immersed into difficult, unpredictable and sometimes unsafe environments. This report also highlights the importance of maintaining effective safeguarding and supporting children all year-round, particularly during any school holiday periods.
Given this, parents/carers should be aware that members of the school safeguarding team always monitor the email@example.com email account over the holiday break. If there are any domestic and/or community issues of which you want the school to be aware, use this communication channel and we will endeavour to support you. If there is an emergency call 999 or, for non-urgent matters that require police attention, call 101.
Developing profile building in students
‘Careers – Profile Building’ is a channel on every year group’s Microsoft Teams page. It promotes a wide variety of careers opportunities available to our students. To date, we have promoted over 30 different opportunities for students across the school to engage with businesses and further education providers and build important work related skills.
Primarily focused at Year 9 and above, many of these opportunities can be completed virtually at home. However, there are some that are face-to-face and give our students a marvellous opportunity to network as well as build their contacts. One such event was the recent Linklaters Law event at their offices in the Barbican and run by Young Professionals. Blake Lawrence, an aspiring lawyer in Year 12, attended the event and described it as “Incredible… it was great to hear from their early careers team and get tips on applying. The opportunity to network was amazing; I had so many insightful conversations and made some great connections.”
Pride of House
Celebrating student success
Each week, Form Tutors or Pastoral Staff nominate a student from each form for the Pride of House award. These are awarded for a number of reasons, but always reflect fantastic commitment to the school and the House. This week’s winners can be read by clicking a house badge below.
A new podcast episode – plus some musical success
Progress & Partnership Day (PPD)
Today (Friday) we held our annual Progress & Partnership Day (PPD), one of the most important days of the school calendar. All students in Years 7-11, along with their parents/carers, were invited into school to discuss their progress so far this year with a member of staff. Students were asked to think about how they could do even better in the months ahead. Thank you to those parents/carers who were able to come in – your support is invaluable to ensure that all students can be the best that they can be.
University Admissions Tests
This week, 11 students in Year 13 sat University Admissions Tests in school. There were six different tests to get into top courses at prestigious universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick and Imperial College London. Students took the online tests in school under examination conditions, and now await the results. Good luck to them!
School Podcast, Episode 2
Episode 2 of our brand new podcast is now live. Titled ‘Our Favourite Books: Part 2’, Roo Clark and Alexander Moran (Year 8) discuss some of their favourite books, give some encouragement to anyone struggling with reading, and reflect on positive reading experiences from their early childhoods.
Please do give the podcast a listen via the embedded player below.
A direct link is also available if the player does not work.
More episodes are coming soon:
- ‘Reading and studying’, featuring Year 12s reflecting on their academic successes so far
- ‘Reading and performance’, featuring Head of Drama Mr McDonnell discussing the senior school production with one of his stars
We’d love your feedback once you’ve had a listen – please leave any comments in this form.
Royal Academy of Music Jazz Ensemble
And finally for this half-term…
Three Isleworthians have been accepted as performers in the Royal Academy of Music’s Autumn Jazz Ensemble Programme.
Year 10s Ashish Kurian (piano, left), Ethan Osahn (drums, centre) and Ayman Shah (clarinet and saxophone, right) have been taking part in Saturday sessions during October, led by the Royal Academy of Music and hosted by St Mark’s Church. The course includes working with leading musicians from the London jazz scene, as well as developing skills and meeting like-minded young musicians from across the country.
Well done to the boys for this great achievement!