Latest Letters Home I Sydenham Website I EPortal I My Maths I Sam Learning
Follow us on: Twitter
Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 116
we have listened to what parents have said about what they want from the newsletter and made some changes….


Jimmy Mizen Foundation


25 selected students will be working next term with the Jimmy Mizen Foundation on the award winning Achievement, Leadership and Community Programme.
The Jimmy Mizen Foundation has worked with schools and communities across the country for the last five years.  It was founded as a positive way of remembering the life of Jimmy, Barry and Margaret’s son, who was tragically murdered in May 2008. Their work has been so successful and influential that in 2014 both Barry and Margaret were awarded MBE’s for ‘Services to Young People’.
“We believe that young people respond best when they are part of any decisions affecting their lives. We have witnessed the impact in the lives of young people who have been affirmed and encouraged to help change the communities they live in. They are responding in a way that far exceeds our hopes. This sense of being listened to, and changes happening because of their input, acts as a catalyst as more and more young people become involved.”
Margaret and Barry Mizen
To launch this programme Margaret Mizen came into the Year 7 Assembly on 8 December to tell her inspiring story and the response from the Year 7’s was overwhelming, with many of them wanting to get involved or build on their involvement from primary school.
The young people will be working on collaborative projects with our local primary schools.


Rights Respecting


(Above) Sydenham students brainstorming ideas.

Sydenham is on its journey to becoming a Rights Respecting School which means our values and ethos is inextricably linked to the language of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Rights Respecting Steering group made up of Students, from across the year groups, and members of staff, have had their second Rights Respecting meeting. The purpose of the Steering Group is to explore the different ways the values and language of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are embedded into the Sydenham philosophy, including the academic and pastoral curriculum.  In our first meeting the students brainstormed imaginative ways we could bring the Rights Respecting Agenda alive in our school community, from visiting local Care Homes to entertain the elderly to fundraising for different charities.  The second meeting was about how we ensure all tutor groups have a Rights Respecting Charter and creating resources to consolidate Sydenham students’ knowledge of what it means to be Rights Respecting. 
It is really such a pleasure working with all the students and look forward to implementing their ideas next term.


Beat Bully Mentors

Our Beat Bully mentoring sessions are fully up and running on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Room 166 Break and Lunchtimes.  Our mentors have been fully trained and look forward next term to raise awareness of their services to the younger year groups.

If you wish more detail about any of the above please contact Ms Janet Emmanuel Head of Key Stage 3

Touch Rugby Festival  

We had a great if a little chilly afternoon at Beckenham RFC. We played local teams - Sydenham High and lots of Predergast School‎s

We had 2 full teams and so splits the games between us. We did some kicking practice in between games and met lots of great kids from other schools.

We played much better as the afternoon went on.

There was very little between us and the best teams - in fact we beat the overall winners in our final game.

We now have fixtures agreed in principle for 2015 and the basis of selecting a tag and contact team ‎for the youth games. We also hope to get players to come to us at Tigers - we launched our girls team last weekend

Our players dealt with the bitter cold really well. Few complaints and a lot of big smiles and enthusiasm. 

Outstanding performances for me:

Katie Long and Josie Hammond - Stones

These are players who do not usually run at teams and have been unwilling to communicate ideas on the pitch to other players. They led from the front and just exploded into fully formed centres as their confidence grew.   It was a pleasure to see what quiet kids can do if they take risks and work out how to suceed.


New Spring term club list


Lewisham Schools Help Publishers Puffin Launch A Classic Book Club

Year 7 students from Sydenham School and Forest Hill School gathered together this week to take part in an experiment initiated by Penguin’s Children’s Division to promote the reading of novels on its young people’s ‘classics’ list.  The Puffin Book Club is the only one so far to have been set up by the international publishers and the focus on this occasion was on US author Madeleine L’Engle’s famous 1962 adventure story A Wrinkle In Time.

“It was a demanding story,” said Sydenham School Learning Resource Centre (LRC) Manager Diana Adams.  “It is about time-travel and includes discussion of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, mathematical concepts such a tesseract and characters that continuously quote  famous sayings in a variety of languages. It was highly appropriate novel for our first hosting of the club given we are a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) specialist school.”

The thirteen students all aged between 11 and 12 were selected to take part on the basis of their enthusiasm for reading and their reading progress during their first term of senior school.  “We also made an effort at both schools to marry up students with an interest in maths and science to this book and also chose those that are happy to express their views,” said Diana Adams.

The event was ‘hosted’ by Puffin’s Shannon Cullen, who kick-started the conversations with a number of prompts about the novel’s characters and themes.  The process sparked a lively discussion of the book’s strengths and weaknesses – with some students feeling it tailed away at the end, leaving enough loose ends for additional novels.  Few were surprised to learn that Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007) followed up A Wrinkle in Time with a further four stories.

Less equivocally, many commented how much they’d enjoyed coming together to analyse a book in detail that was known to all.  “I liked having a chance to describe what I thought about it,” said Dylan Maggs (11) from Brockley.  “Things always make more sense when you explain them out loud.”  For Sydenham School’s Suraya  Ellis-Davis (11) from Forest Hill the event was also positive: “The discussion really opened up the book for me and it was good hearing other’s opinions.  I am not sure this is a book I would have found myself, but I am pleased I have.”  Her views were echoed by Reanna Mickayla-Evans (12) from Forest Hill: “I usually prefer horror, so it was good to read a science-fiction story that I enjoyed.”

The students were also pleased to learn more about children and young people’s classics.  “It is proof they have lasted and remained popular: that they won’t let you down,” added Dylan Maggs.  “Unlike some novels, these are ones that you are not going to want stop reading half-way.”

“It was only the second book club meeting of this sort that we have run,” commented Shannon Cullen.  “The previous one held at Forest Hill School was also successful, when a different group of boys and girls tackled Milldred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  On both occasions the students involved have been able to keep the books we sent them; with the libraries of the two schools receiving a further two copies each.  And as well as the main discussion, the meeting is a chance to explain a bit about publishing and also quiz students about  their reading likes and dislikes, their social media use and also, on this occasion, we asked them to assess some book cover designs.

“As a publisher Puffin is committed not only to keeping a rich list of children's classics in print, but also staying connected to our audience and being confident that the books we publish still resonate with today's readers,” added Shannon Cullen.  “For me, meeting the students and listening to them talk about classic books is incredibly rewarding. I look forward to more sessions with both schools throughout 2015.”


Science visit new build

Last Friday, a group of our BTEC Level 3 Applied Science students visited our new build site to learn more about the design of science laboratories for their assignment on lab design.  It was really exciting to see our lovely new labs, which are very close to being complete!  Students learned about the various design constraints faced by our engineers, and our Director of Strategy, Miss Smith, gave a full explanation of the rationale behind the final design.  Engineer Chris Mills was also on hand to answer the student's questions.  We visited two different labs and the technician's prep room so students got the opportunity to compare the design of a teaching lab with the preparation area.

Some quotes from students:
"I learned that the engineers have to co-ordinate with the teachers and furnishers"
"I liked the large windows to showcase what is happening, and the purple walls for the colour coding system."
"I learned how much planning and time goes in to the new building."
"It looks nice!"

Thanks to Costains, in particular Chris Mills, for making this valuable enrichment opportunity possible.


Please reply directly to this email if you would like to unsubscribe to our school newsletters.