Burlington Lane

W4 2UN

Tel: 0208 747 6655

Fax: 0208 747 6620



> Headteacher Tony Ryan's letter to parents

Posted: 19/03/12
Dear Parents / Carers,
As we fast approach the spring and exam season I thought it a good time to write with a few thoughts looking back over the last couple of months and forward towards the summer term.
I guess the big news for many is that after much discussion and something of a race to complete the paperwork in time for a March 1st conversion, we now operate as an Academy.
Most people whom I meet not directly involved in education understandably ask why we felt the need to convert from local authority control. Whether one agrees with the politics attached to this or not, there is an inevitability to conversion under the coalitions plans.
Whilst there is no doubt that we will gain financially at least in the short term, that is not the driver. As a foundation school we had already moved many services traditionally provided by the local authority to commercial providers. Examples of this would be payroll and HR both of which have for some time been bought in at cheaper rates and with superior service from the private sector. Conversion to academy status is simply an extension of this principle and allows us to react quickly to identified needs in school within difficult fiscal times.
We opened on 1st March without a fanfare and as one member of staff quizzically stated on the day, “is that it then?” The only change in staffing prompted by conversion is the recent appointment of a Business Development Manager tasked to get the very best out of our buildings, to enhance our relationship with local business and commerce and to get the very best value for money from all of our externally arranged contracts (catering, cleaning, energy Etc). Every penny saved on these contracts can be re-directed towards enhancing our delivery in the classroom.
We have had some good feedback on our refreshed logo (designed by our students), and new signage (paid for I hasten to add from a DfE conversion fund), will go up around the school within the next couple of weeks.
I have heard and read much about our proposed new uniform, even down to where it can be bought. I feel the obvious need to put the record straight here. Prompted by a survey carried out last summer; within which parents, students and staff all clearly expressed some displeasure with our current uniform, we have started a consultation process with the student council, no more, no less.
I am fully aware as a parent myself that any changes introduced need to be phased in so as not to require parents to spend huge sums of money. Our name change to “Chiswick School” will require some changes for year 7 uniform from September for our new intake; but it could be September 2013 before we introduce a completely new design. It is more important to get this decision right than it is to introduce it with haste.
Whilst on the topic of the new academic year, I am delighted to be able to inform you that we have once again filled our intake for year 7 next year, with a healthy waiting list. As our results rise and our reputation continues to improve locally, there is clear evidence that this is having a positive affect on local families choosing Chiswick.
We were also inundated with applications for our Sixth Form for 2012/13 with over 80% of our current year 11’s opting to stay with us next year and an eight-fold increase in external applications.
Our next challenge lies in gaining an improvement in capital buildings as we improve all other facets of the school. As a new Academy we were invited to place a bid for funding to enhance facilities to meet clearly identified student need, we are working on a bid at the moment for submission at the end of this month.
In the meantime we will continue to use the funding that we have carefully managed from our school budget to carry out enhancements to our current facilities.
The new IT room fitted out with Apple Mac machines over last summer is in constant use, more so now that we have become an Apple training centre (please look out for details of courses being offered to parents, students and our local primary schools on our website). We have vastly improved our IT infrastructures, as I firmly believe that technology has a central role in educating our students.
We are nearing completion on the conversion of two little used squash courts into a new state of the art fitness centre. This will provide excellent facilities for our staff and sixth form students before and directly after school, for all age groups during the day as part of our PE offer and we intend to open a membership scheme to parents in the evening and at weekends.
Our students continue to take part in projects run with and by local companies and business entities. For the second year running our year nine and ten students are taking part in a major programme run in partnership with the Hounslow Education Business Partnership and Chiswick Business Park. Within this project students work with business partners to create CV’s and formal letters of application, whilst at the same time learning some of the “softer” skills so desired by business, industry and commerce such as teamwork, problem solving skills and how to dress for and present yourself at an interview.
Our year 11 students were very successful in recent module tests in both English and Maths and as we await the next set of results next month, we are on track to match or beat some very ambitious internally set targets. Our focus is now set on assisting our students to stay calm, prepare well and achieve the best results that they are capable of. This success is being mirrored by our year 12 students where the mantra “no failure in year 12” appears to be taken seriously by our students.
On a final note, I attended a conference a short while ago within which a very simple question was asked, that being “what is the purpose of education?” To me the answer does not rest with the simplicity of testing and subsequent results. I send my children to school to foster their ability to make sense of the world that they live in, to develop an inquiring mind, to learn that just because people think and act differently to them; that does not mean that they are wrong.
I believe that we have a moral duty to encourage and develop the creativity in our young people; they have a right to feel safe and secure and must learn from teachers passionate about their subject. If we get all that right, the results will look after themselves!
Warmest Regards
T. Ryan


Chiswick School has received national recognition for achieving some of the fastest improving GCSE results in the country. Chiswick School qualified as one of the top 10% of schools in England by improving its GCSE results year-on-year from 2008 to 2011 by 23 percentage points overall.


Every school in the country has been ranked according to how much progress they made in improving their GCSE results in 2011 in new rankings released by SSAT – the representative body

for schools.


Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT said: 'Chiswick School should be congratulated for their

stunning achievement in improving their GCSE results.'


'Chiswick School has proved itself to be one of the best schools in the country at improving GCSE outcomes for their students. There is plenty that other schools could learn from Chiswick’s success.'


'These results are testament to the commitment and hard work of the students, teachers and leadership team at Chiswick School and a vindication of their belief in high expectations, good teaching and ambition for every young person.'


Tony Ryan  Headteacher  was delighted. ‘On behalf of our students, staff and parents we are pleased to receive this external recognition. With another set of results on the way we are confident that our success story will continue,’ he said.


Kew House

6 Capital Interchange Way

London TW8 0EX

Tel: 0208 742 2038



> Interview with Mark Hudson - Head Teacher of Kew House Secondary School

Why is Kew House going to be different from other private secondary schools and why do you believe it will be successful?


A great deal of thought went in to deciding what sort of secondary school Kew House should be. Maria Gardener, Educational Director for London Preparatory Schools Ltd (LPS includes Ravenscourt Park Preparatory School, Kew Green Preparatory School and Kew House School) and Theo Brehony, MD of London Preparatory Schools Ltd have extensive experience within the secondary and preparatory school sector, particularly in building strong ties with many other secondary schools. They wanted the school to have traditional values but to reflect a new and modern approach. Kew House School recognises this and intend to bring a fresh and pioneering approach to school life.


We are also pleased to offer a broad curriculum, usually seen in bigger schools. As a small school we felt we could still offer our students an extensive programme, but with added flexibility and choice. Sport, science, creativity and classical studies such as Latin feature highly. We are offering an extended day whereby pupils can come in early and stay late to work on their projects giving a flexible approach to their studies. Our open door policy will welcome parents into the school to see a teacher, to join in with appropriate lessons or to simply have a cup of coffee with a friend in our café.


One of the huge advantages we’ve had is to start the project from the ground upwards. We have been able to work with specialist architects to design and develop spaces and facilities second to none. These specialist facilities are now being installed and will provide teachers and pupils with optimum teaching and learning conditions.


The use of information technology is vital in education today. In Kew House the infrastructure is in place to create a virtual learning environment similar to the way universities operate. We’ve invested in the latest teaching technology and a digital curriculum which will enable the children and parents to access all of the teaching and learning materials from home or abroad. Homework will be set and returned via email or online as well as in traditional ways.



You were very much involved with Thomas Telford, which was a top performing school. What did you take from that experience and how will you use it within Kew House?


Thomas Telford is a pioneering school which challenged the educational norms. I was Senior Deputy Head there for 16 years and in that time we were awarded Top Performing Comprehensive School for 13 years running. The extended day, the organisation of the curriculum and the emphasis on the individual were key elements to the school’s success. By establishing confidence in the students were able to maximise their attainment in every facet of their school life, be it music, performance, sport or academic. These are the attributes I will bring to the ethos at Kew House.


Thomas Telford really pioneered the way forward with their online learning programme. It was written by teachers for the children linking to their lessons. We created one of the largest online curriculum resources which children could access 24/7.


I was very much involved in building this online curriculum project which has given me huge experience with technology and how children interact with it.


By bringing this fresh approach to Kew House, we can step away from some of the conventional practices found more in traditional schools and work more towards how our world works today. After all, we are educating 21st century children for the 21st century.



What kind of individual will benefit most from this type of school?


Kew House is looking at the individual child who is at ease with themselves and aware of their environment. We are putting more emphasis on the interview where they can share their passions and experiences, rather than solely on how they perform in the exam. Once at school they will have the support of a personal tutor within their small group, to build confidence and help them mature in all aspects of their school life. By creating a nurturing environment, we can gently mould each individual to fulfil their full potential.


We do wish to emphasise that there will be an intake from other schools and not just from Ravenscourt Park and Kew Green Schools. There will also be a balanced girl to boy ratio.



How many pupils will you admit at what stages? Ie 11+; Common Entrance


The school has the capacity to hold approximately 600 pupils which we will build up to over time. Each year will have a 3 form entry made up of 22 students per class. For now we are concentrating on filling our Year 7s as a result of high demand at 11+. Numbers permitting, it is anticipated that we will create one class for Years 8 and 9.



Sport and Physical Education are prominent in your curriculum. What sort of a sport programme do you envisage?


Kew House is in a privileged position. We have the River Thames on our door step with all its water sports facilities such as rowing, canoeing and kayaking.  It is also opposite Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre which will provide other sports such as badminton, netball, basketball and more complementary activities in addition to rugby, football, rounders and cricket. We have also booked a local outside sport centre so that we can deliver a full programme of sport such as football, rugby, hockey, tennis and netball. All of these activities will be included in our extensive extra-curricular and fixtures programme.


It is hoped that we will also be able to offer the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme as students reach the appropriate age for participation in this excellent scheme.



You promote an ethos of knowledge and enrichment – how will this be delivered?


The school is equipped with state of art facilities for the children to utilise. We have science laboratories, a music recording studio within the music department, a food technology room and a design and technology department to offer a greater variety of after-school clubs and activities. With high quality teaching and these superb facilities, I am confident we will be able to provide a rich, balanced and enjoyable curriculum. We will celebrate the achievements of our pupils in all aspects of the curriculum and extra-curricular life of the school.



What can a Year 7 child expect in their first year?


We have designed each day to consist of 4 x 1 ½ hour lessons. This 6 hour day provides an optimum amount of time in which to focus on academic study. This provides effectively an extra day’s teaching compared to other schools.


Pupils will study a core of Maths, Science and English. History and Geography will form our humanities curriculum. Pupils will all follow Spanish with French, German and Latin as complimentary language modules. Design and Technology and Art will also form a key part of the timetable. The Individuals in Society and RE course will be followed by all pupils throughout their school life. A half day will be dedicated to sports and games and use the facilities nearby in the Fountain Leisure Centre and the University of Westminster Sports Grounds in Chiswick. All students will follow Drama and Music in Year 7 and 8 utilising the superb facilities available.


Our Kew House pupil will be able to start the day from 7.30 with a nice hot chocolate from the cafeteria, whilst checking that homework is in the right format for emailing across. They are likely to meet their friends here to catch up as they walk to their first lesson at 8.30. The morning has just two lessons followed by a meeting with the personal tutor or assembly. Following lunch the afternoon may consist of two further lessons or a full afternoon of Sport, Art or Design and Technology. After a post 4.00 break the after-school extra-curricular activities will commence and students can participate in their personal interests and passions. 



King Street


London W6 9LR

Tel: 0845 638 5800

Fax: 0208 748 5212




When you were first appointed as Head Teacher how would you describe the character of Latymer school ie traditional, academic, selective?


I knew Latymer because I had taught there from 1973 – 1979, so those days it was a boy’s school which had around with 80% of the boys having free places. When I came back in 2002 it was slightly different from what I knew before, because we had 50 girls admitted in the 6th Form. The school has always had a good reputation but I found the school slightly rougher and tougher than I would be happy with myself. I had inherited the Art Centre, but because of the cost of that, the rest of the school was falling down. The maintenance wasn’t quite up to scratch. So I had quite a task on my hands.



There were so many changes made in 2004 – the school became co-educational and you changed your motto. What prompted you to make these changes, particularly going co-educational?


Girls were admitted into the 6th form in 1996, however the Governors had made the decision in 2001 that Latymer was to become completely co-educational. So when I arrived in September 2002 that was my principal task.


I had experience of this having previously been Headmaster of King Edward’s School, Bath (1993-2002), which was similar to Latymer, but a little bit smaller. This had been a boy’s school that I had converted to co-educational – so I have done this twice!


It was a gradual process. The Prep School began to take girls from September 2003 and the Upper School, the girls came in September 2004. The children in the Upper Years who have just completed their A’ Levels are the 2nd generation of being fully co-educational.  The school now has 51% boys and 49% girls.


The change of motto was connected with that. Firstly I changed the school badge as I wanted to send out a very clear signal that Latymer Upper School was going to change. It was not going to be a boy’s school but for the girls it was going to be a new school which was co-educational. I had to reassure people that it was going to retain all the good things associated with Latymer.


The motto itself was a very silly pun – Paulatim ergo certe which is latin for ‘gradually, therefore surely’. If you look at the riddle you can see latimer (there is no y in Latin). I made myself pretty unpopular as I felt the motto was not reflecting what was about to happen to Latymer. It was not ‘gradually, therefore surely’ -  we were about to change enormously. Whenever you change something you please some, you disappoint others so there no doubt there were old Latyermians who didn’t want it changed. I not only had a petition, I had about 5 or 6 terms of enduring jokes about the new badge.



Do you think the school has become more academic with boys and girls competing against each other as opposed to just boys vying for a place?


If you double your catchment overnight, it doubles the number of children who apply to the school. It therefore follows your central priority that you are going to get more abled children coming in.


Latymer has always been an academic school, producing over 90% of University professors. Everyone has heard of Hugh Grant. He was in my form in the 1970s and won the Galsworthy scholarship to New College, Oxford, for his English.


I think what happened, when it introduced girls, the ability range became more. I am not so sure of the competitiveness, but I think everyone accepts that girls are more consciousness and boys tend to be more casual. The boys tend to get the girls to take risk and you find as a teacher it is interesting to get different points of view. I think we created a more academic culture over the last 10 years.


When I arrived it was a slightly more rougher and tougher than I would have liked but you can get that in an all boy’s school. An all boy environment is very physical. What I am really proud of is that we gradually changed the ethos of the school so it is a slightly gentler environment. Latymer these days is a very happy school, the children feel secure and safe, girls or boys, big or small. That is a result of lots of hard work!



How had Edward Latymer’s philosophies influenced you?


Edward Latymer opened Latymer School for boys in 1624. He died 3 years later of which the revenue was to pay for the education of poor boys.


When I came in the 1970s, 80% of the boys had free places. When I came back in 2002 there were only 7% of boys, of which we have now got the numbers up to 100 children who are on mean tested places this September.


You get in to the school by doing well in a competitive entrance exam. Once you get to the school we are interested in more than just the academic. We present ourselves as a school which specialises in educating the academic children, boys and girls and that is what we think we do well.


We’d like to think that Edward Latymer would have approve of educating girls as well as boys and we still retain his philosophies that Latymer should not be social excluded school which only takes the elite.

We have raised over 12 million over the last 8 years although we still need to fund raise more because there are an awful lot of parents who can’t afford the fees.



During your time, what improvements have you made within the school?


Over the last 15 years, we have had a substantial upgrade of the facilities. So first was the Art Centre.

The first project I managed was the Sport facilities. We had a new pavilion and we upgraded the field. The top soil was taken away and proper irrigation was put in, so we had proper drainage. I am proud to say we’ve had the All Blacks, The Wallabies and Springbok who have all played here!


The second project was the performing arts, which had a recital hall a dance / drama studio and lots of music practice rooms.. The last project that was completed two years ago was the new science and library building which cost 13 ½ million.


So in total over the last 12 - 15 years we have spent over 30 million pounds on upgrading the facilities. That ties in with the old tradition that you come to Latymer because of  your sport, science or art interest.  During 1900 – 1960, Latymer had a reputation for science. Recently it has earned a reputation for art and drama particular because we have produced Alan Rickman, Mel Smith and Hugh Grant. Physics is very popular, Science in A’level has gone up significantly and we have had fantastic results.



Do you think it is still possible to keep Latymer a successful school with many of the changes proposed by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education for the up and coming years?


I feel politicians have not helped the education in this country, throughout my working life. I think schools like Latymer flourish despite the government and I am sorry that Latymer has to be an independent school and not part of the state system. Politicians in the 1970s decided they wanted to end academic selected schools which I feel was a fundamental error. There is now less social mobility in England because of it!



The Good School Guide commented in 2011 “we approve – a serious, professional head with a job well done.” What do you think are the key strategies to making a school a success?


In terms of the key strategies, you can’t do it alone. You get rid of the bad people and get the good guys on board. You let them get on with their job and help them along the way. You keep voicing your ethos and give them clear targets. I have worked with very abled people, governors and great colleagues. However the most important thing is having the quality teaching.


Latymer is a great place, and a strong and unique school. It is also a very exciting place to work. I have enjoyed teaching for 20 years and I walk away feeling very good about that!



Do you feel that the new Head Teacher, David Goodhew will retain the same ideologies that have influenced the school for so long? Or have you chosen a Head Teacher who will challenge and bring in fresher ones?


I don’t know what David Goodhew’s brief is but I am sure he will make the school even better.  I am sure he will get the best academic results from the kids he has got and that the school will continue to move forward and continue to change.