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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 106
we have listened to what parents have said about what they want from the newsletter and made some changes….


'Sydenham Students help Southwark Tigers launch £600,000 Premiership Rugby Campaign'


Thanks to their success promoting tag rugby among girls in South East London Schools, Southwark Tigers RFC were invited to attend the  prestigious launch of a new national programme this week (Wednesday) designed to engage young women and ethnic minorities in the sport.  The club’s coaches brought a contingent of 20 girls – members of the team that won the tag-rugby plate in July’s finals of the London School Games at Crystal Palace.
The 13 and 14-year-olds had the thrill of talking and playing with two members of last month’s World Cup winning women’s squad: Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks  – Lock/Number 8) and Claire Purdy (Wasps – Prop), who allowed them to try on their gold medals and autographed the girls’ shirts.  They also met the sports minister Helen Grant MP and Lord Chris Holmes disability commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Josie Hammond-Stones, 13, from Southwark said, “Tamara Taylor’s medal had lost some of its gold because she told us she had ‘loved it to death’ and hardly taken it off for two weeks after the Finals.  I have never met anyone who won a World Cup before.”  The girls also took part in interviews to camera describing their experiences and the benefits of playing rugby with the Southwark Tigers.  “When they returned some of the girls rushed to give me the rugby ball that Tamara Taylor and Claire Purdy had signed for them,” said Sydenham School Headteacher Carolyn Unsted.  “They were practically speechless with excitement!”
“The girls were really inspired to be with the World Cup winners and were fantastic throughout – training hard, having fun and handling their first TV interviews impeccably,” said Southwark Tigers community coach Maggie Hammond.
“We are at the start of a long overdue campaign to get more women into rugby.  For our part, thanks to separate funding from Sports England, we are now able to double our training sessions this year, extending opportunities to older girls such as getting coaching qualifications in their own right,” added Maggie.    “We hope to form our own girls’ team at Southwark Tigers, made up of players from inner London schools to be called ‘The South London Iceni’.


Chief Executive of Medical Schools Council Talks To Pupils, Parents and Staff at Sydenham School


The main school hall of Sydenham School was satisfyingly full last Thursday (25th September) as an audience of nearly 100 students, their parents and staff came for the fourth in a series of increasingly successful evening Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) lectures.  The guest speaker on this occasion was Dr. Katie Petty-Saphon MBE, the chief executive of The Medical Schools Council (MSC). 

Dr Petty-Saphon explained her own science career, and then went on to give a detailed overview of the ways in which medical careers are increasingly opening up for young people whatever their circumstances.  “I hope that I made the point that there is far more to being successful than having the necessary academic qualifications,” said Dr Petty-Saphon, “ and during my talk I spelled out the sorts of personal qualities such as resilience and team work that are also crucial.”

“It was a measure of how clear and comprehensive Dr. Petty-Saphon’s talk was that when it came to questions there were few to ask,” saidKeith Matheson-McLaughlin  Sydenham School’s STEM Curriculum Leader.  “One parent later told me how helpful it was to have had the medical training landscape mapped out and any illusions dispelled about the demands students face taking medical degrees when her daughter was 14 and just as she is about to make the choices that will determine her future.” 

A fascinating, and amusing part of Dr Petty-Saphon’s talk involved her exploring the data concerning Victorian medical students that had received their training at London’s St Barts between 1839-69. “Of the 1,000 students that were followed up over the next 30 years, some had had distinguished careers and at the other end of the scale were those driven from the profession by scandal, their own health problems and death – sometimes during their ‘pupillage’, “ said Dr Petty-Saphon. “But the key thing the study emphasises is how, as a profession, the business of identifying who is likely to succeed as a medic has been going on a long time, and as scientists we are always looking for evidence plus, then as now, fitness to practise and professionalism are just as important as academic achievement.” 

“I really enjoyed the talk,” said Year 11 student Tejal Rayamajhi (15).  “It was really helpful finding out about the many careers that you can go for in the NHS having qualified with a medical degree.”  Her enthusiasm was matched by Year 10 student Orla McArthur aged 14: “It is comforting to know how much more accessible it is now to get onto courses.  The talk has confirmed that I want to go for a medical career.” 

“As a teacher advising students,” added Keith Matheson-McLaughlin, “one of the most interesting elements of Dr Petty-Saphon’s talk was the news that the MSC is collating all the detailed entry requirements from all the medical 34 schools it represents so that by next year students should be able to make really informed choices about where to apply to and know a bit better what subtle variations there can be in the criteria from one school to another.”



Autumnal Monday mornings can be dull, but not the one coming (6th October) which promises to be anything but thanks to best-selling US authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare who have included Sydenham School in their packed four-day tour of the UK.  The authors are here promoting their new ‘dream-come-true’ co-authorship of ‘The Iron Trial’ – the first in a new Magisterium series of novels being heralded by its publishers as the next big thing in young people’s fantasy publishing and with film deals lined up.
“This is certainly going to kick-off a new year of authors’ visits to the school with a bang,” said Sydenham School Learning Resource Centre (LRC) manager Diana Adams.  “Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have separately written some of the best-known of recent young people’s fantasy fiction such as (respectively) The Spiderwick Chronicles and the Mortal Instruments series, and so hearing about their collaboration creating the Magisterium novels should be really intriguing.  In the publicity associated with their visit we are told the new books will be ‘a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown’, and that certainly will be an unusual way to start the week!” _________________________________________________________________________

Accelerated Reader

All Y7 students are enrolled in the Accelerated Reader literacy program. Please encourage your daughter to read appropriate books and quiz as much as possible in the LRC.


National Poetry Day

Year 7 and 8 students celebrated National Poetry Day with a difference this year by investigating the links between Maths and Poetry. The lesson was inspired by a lecture given by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, on Maths and the Arts. Both Maths and English teachers taught a special cross-curricular lesson where students worked in groups to 'find the maths' in different forms of poetry. They wrote poems based on the Fibonacci sequence called 'Fibs', investigated out the rhyme scheme of the Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam, created their own abstract version of William Blake's 'The Tiger' using a mathematical process called the N+6 shift, and much more!

"I loved writing a Fib because it was fun, creative and challenging" - Sumaiyyah 8D
"I enjoyed investigating different types of maths that fit into poetry as it's a new experience and something I've never really looked at before" - Erin 8E


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