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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 114
we have listened to what parents have said about what they want from the newsletter and made some changes….


The best group for punctuality each half-term will be winning a prize!
We should be at 100% in every year group – who’s stopping your Tutor Group from being on target for time!
Mrs O’Connor

well done to 8S 100%, 9D 100%



All year 7 parents and carers are warmly invited to the YR7 STEM celebration. Pupils will be showing off the fantastic projects they have been working on during their STEM lessons this term.
Pupils will be showing either their Breakfast food, Happy City or Magic Boots project. All students work will be on display. Our external STEM ambassadors from industry and commerce will be in attendance to help with the prize giving.
Tuesday 16th December 5.00pm to 6.45pm in the main school hall.
We look forward to seeing you all.


Award-Winning Civil Engineer Challenges Next Generation Of Young Female Students To Follow Their Passion

It was a chilly, damp Monday  in South East London but an enthusiastic group of students, staff and parents made it their mission to attend the latest Sydenham School STEM lecture last night given by award-winning structural engineer Claire Gott.  She proved a passionate advocate for her profession and the variety, excitement and challenge it offers young women hoping to have a positive impact on the world and people’s lives. 

Claire arrived at the school fresh from her day job as part of the WSP consultancy team involved in the redevelopment of London Bridge Station, and as well as explaining some of the complexity of the project, she discussed other intricate schemes with which she has been associated including a Cambridge ‘new-build’ mixing residential accommodation and a fire-station!  “The job is all about problem-solving and the challenge of working to ensure technical excellence within a client’s budget,” she said.

An even more inspiring part of Claire’s story proved to be her commitment to international development.  She explained how in 2009, while in her third year at Southampton University, she co-founded a charity called Cameroon Catalyst, which has, to date, completed five successful building projects in the village in the impoverished rural east of the West African country.  These include a medical centre, a school and a workshop: home now to sustainable services benefitting the local community and a launch-pad for subsequent projects elsewhere in Cameroon.   

“It was fascinating learning about her work in Africa,” said Year 11 Beckenham student Jameo Ssemando (15).  “It is easy when you are studying maths or physics to forget what they can amount to in the world; how they can be put to practical use.”  Her view was echoed by classmate Adiva Peters (16) from West Norwood: “I have considered pharmaceutical engineering or working in the petro-chemical sector but tonight’s talk really got me thinking about structural engineering.” 

“This was one of the best of the STEM lectures so far.  Claire is at the start of her career and has already achieved an enormous amount following her passion,” said Sydenham School STEM curriculum leader Keith Matheson-McLaughlin who arranged her visit.  “She managed to mix lots of practical advice into her talk too including details of her joint engineering and architecture degree and also the sponsorship she had received during her studies from a large engineering company.  I found it inspirational.” 

“Claire is our fifth speaker in the Sydenham STEM Lecture series ,” added Mr Matheson-McLaughlin. “There has been some very positive feedback from pupils who have had their eyes opened to new areas of science, maths, engineering and technology in the previous events.  In addition, staff have learnt about cutting-edge research and members of the local community have expressed their thanks for making these informative events available to them.

“Bringing the speakers to us not only allows us to set a suitable agenda for the talks but also increase the numbers of our pupils who can attend,” he said  “Although I knew we would never compete with the Royal Institution’s Christmas lecture series my hope that Sydenham STEM lectures would become a 'must do gig' for STEM experts and researchers keen to promote their areas of specialism is becoming a reality.”

Below is a cutting from the South London Press Newspaper


Georgia and Izzy Benham

Before the Competition:

Georgia and Izzy Benham are twins in Year 8. Georgia is in 8H and Izzy is in 8A. They are very talented. They are very lucky to have the opportunity to go to the Czech Republic, for an international gymnastics competition. Georgia and Izzy are multi-talented girls, they are gymnasts but they are also dancers. You have probably seen them performing in assemblies with their amazing tricks and flips.

            Kiara and I asked the twins how they felt before they left for the Czech Republic. Firstly, we asked Izzy, “How do you feel about the competition”. Izzy replied that she is really nervous but she was quite confident with her routine. Izzy also told us that she is looking forward to going to Czech Republic because it would be a new experience for her. Lastly Izzy told us that she is very confident but because there will be lots of countries; she is not sure where she will come.

            Next, we spoke to Georgia. Georgia told us virtually the same exact words as Izzy (twin telepathy!). But Georgia told us something surprising. She told us that they had done gymnastics for 10 years. Yes 10 YEARS. They are only twelve, which means they started when they were two years old. When she told us this, both our jaws dropped.

            Good Luck Georgia and Izzy! Enjoy Czech Republic!

After the Competition:
When Georgia and Izzy got back from their competition, I spoke to them again. They told me that they were there for 4 days in total. One of the days was spent training and the next day they had they competition. In total there were 50 people competing. They also told me that they knew it would be difficult because they were competing against people training for the Olympics.

            There were four rounds. Bars; vaults; floor and beam. They also told me that they thought they did quite well considering the amount of gymnasts there were to compete against. Similarly, they enjoyed the experience because it isn’t very often that you get to go to the Czech Republic so compete internationally.

            We are very proud of Georgia and Izzy, and personally I think they should continue what they are doing because you never know you could be seeing them in Olympics in the future.

                               Written By Leonie Rodney  9Y PE Ambassador.

Year 11 come Second in LSSSA Netball festival


Year 11 played their first netball match this term. They took part the annual netball festival organised by Lewisham. The team consisted of 13 girls who have only been playing netball 1 lunch a week. They have never played as a full team or played for 2 10 minutes halves at a high level. The girls found it tough and exhausting but really enjoyed their experience and  cannot wait for the Next game. The girls were a credit to the school, they were supportive of each other and respected the other teams, laughing and chatting to them as they played their games.

After the match we found out that Knights Academy had players that played regularly for local teams and some girls who play county netball including 1 6th form player. 

Well Done Ladies Keep up the good work

Ms Griffiths


PE Notice

Due to the year 11 mock exams next week and the week after there will be no PE clubs
until January. Please see the new clubs timetable for the Spring term below to see what you would like to do in January and come and sign up in the PE department before Christmas.

Mrs Molligoda



The Christmas Carol Service is on Thurs 18th December at St Bartholomew's Church and it will be a combination of traditional carols and readings with Sydenham dance, drama and music performances. It is for any students and their parents, who would like to attend.



Last night (Thursday 4th December) was the Drama Showcase 2014.  The night gave an insight into what students from years 7 to 13 have been working on this term.  Ranging from the Year 7 Drama Clubs version of 'A 21st Century Nativity', a short film from the Improv Comedy Club, thought provoking performances by A Level Drama and Theatre studies and ending with the Drama Ambassadors moving performance of 'The Christmas Truce'.  I was really proud of all involved including both technical and front of house support.  The night was a great success and really demonstrated how much hard work, dedication and passion the students have.   

Full article and photos in next week's Newsletter


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