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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 107
we have listened to what parents have said about what they want from the newsletter and made some changes….


I am very pleased to say that the Unison, Unite and GMB unions have suspended their strike on Tuesday; the school will be open. All students are expected to attend as normal.


Carolyn Unsted



Sydenham Parents’ Drinks

The Sydenham PTA warmly invites ALL parents to join them to celebrate the autumnal weather at
8.00 pm Friday 10 October at the Honor Oak Pub, SE23 -

Hope to see you on Friday.



Our next meeting this year will take place:

  • Tuesday  14th October 7.00-8.00pm in the Library.                                                             
  • The focus will be to look at student reports.                                                                    
  • This is a change to the original agenda in the first letter sent earlier this term.



Quiz room!  

The quiz website goes live today at:

Tickets are £6 each and available from today - buy online at the website



Sixth former Nicole Arnold had a busier than usual summer as she gained her Shodan Black Belt in Kyokushinkai Karate.   Nicole has been training since the age of 10 at Crystal Palace Karate Club which is based at the National Sports Centre. The hard work and dedication paid off when she passed a 6 hour exam and 3 day assessment.

Nicole has represented England both domestically and in competitions in Europe and is now preparing for her first competitions as a Cadet with events in England, Wales and Belgium in the next few months.


Upcoming STEM lecture

Claire Gott award winning Structural Engineer (NCE Graduate of the Year) will be delivering our fifth STEM series lecture. Claire is currently part of the team redesigning London bridge station and will be talking about her journey in to civil engineering and the fantastic opportunities available in this exciting area. Monday 1st December 6-7pm in the main school hall.

Top ‘teen’ fantasy writers reveal their writing secrets and the pleasures of collaboration to Sydenham students  

The publicity surrounding top US authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s tour promoting their ‘dream-come-true’ collaboration on a new sequence of fantasy novels for young people had promised something out of the ordinary.  They lived up to the hype arriving in SE23 to meet a packed hall of students from Sydenham and Forest Hill Schools, sporting dramatically coloured hair, and identical butterfly-pattern dresses.  The writers went on to provide a 45-minute ‘stand-up’ routine exploring the origins of their friendship and their writing secrets which frequently had their audience in stitches.

“They were really funny,” said Year 10 Sydenham School student Shanica Brown (14).  “I am interested in the novels now and also it made their writing tips more memorable.”  Her comments were picked up by Sydenham School Learning Resource Centre (LRC) manager Diana Adams: “Holly and Cassandra had a huge impact here today mainly because they were prepared to be quite playful with the audience and also a bit irreverent about their own, quite considerable, achievements.  Cassandra’s terrific description of the first novel she wrote aged 12, in which an impossibly beautiful heroine was courted by a number of impossibly handsome and romantic men all of whom died heroic deaths following a single kiss with the heroine, was joyful; but also part of a really important message – if you want to be a writer, you have to write and write and expect not to be very good at the start.”

The authors also outlined their unusual collaborative writing process associated with their current venture: The Iron Trial’ – the first in a new Magisterium series of novels - in which they take it in turns to compose 200 words; passing what they have produced to the other for immediate revisions and additions.  “If there is one thing that’s really helpful for anyone who wants to write,” explained Holly Black, “then that’s a ‘critique partner’ - someone who is there expecting your story; giving you a firm deadline and feedback.” It has proved an extremely fertile system for the authors so far, who are now well into the second of the novels in the series and have the entire five-book sequence mapped out. 
Erin Mandle (12) from Sydenham School had already read ‘The Iron Trial’ which only appeared in shops in mid-September: “It was a terrific novel and I enjoyed having the chance to see the authors close up – they were as unusual as I had hoped.” 
While they signed books at the end of their visit, both authors shared their excitement at being the co- screenwriters on the forthcoming film version of the ‘The Iron Trial’ – which they hinted would give them fuller control over the adaptation than had been the case with previous novels of theirs that have been turned into movies.  They also explained their unusually twin-like choice of dress.  “We wanted to have a strong impact on this tour – to look as if we were at the friendly end of the quirky scale,” admitted Cassandra Clare, “but also suggest how we are linked thanks to this latest project.” 
“These kinds of events are so helpful in encouraging students to broaden their range,” said Forest Hill assistant librarian Yasmin Ahmed.  “The trip was a reward for those boys who have been putting in a good effort with their reading and are ready to try more demanding and longer novels.” 
“This certainly kicked-off a new year of authors’ visits to Sydenham l with a bang,” commented 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 was really intriguing.”

Athletics Report  

Irene turning off the turnboard                                                 Kayla sprinting to take the lead in her race

The year 7 Indoor Athletics Squad competed in their first of 4 tournaments on Tuesday at Hatcham School. The girls were very nervous and asked LOTS of questions! But they did fantastically well and were a credit to the school. They competed in both track (2 lap, 4 lap, 6 lap, 8 lap paarlauf and 4 x 1 lap relay) and field (standing long jump, triple jump, vertical jump, shot put and speed bounce) events. Well done to Isobel Williams, Kayla Williams, Sahitha Sakthikuruparan, Chante Darces, Vanessa Kwami, Irene Dam, Storm David and Lauryn Sy.


Students in 9y2 studying the AQA GCSE Biology unit B1 have been building group models in class to demonstrate how the body defends itself against disease. They have also been making individual bracelets to represent how hormones control the menstrual cycle.

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