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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 119
we have listened to what parents have said about what they want from the newsletter and made some changes….


Holocaust Memorial Day, Tuesday 27th January. 


Over the past few weeks myself and six other students had the opportunity to work with Mark Curtis from Small Nose Productions.  With his direction we created a performance commemorating the Holocaust alongside four local Primary Schools; Horniman, Kelvin Grove, St Bartholomew's and Holy Trinity.  The performance told the story of a Kinder Transport survivor named Liane Regenbourn who travelled to England from Vienna at the time of the genocide.  We were lucky enough to have Liane attend the performance, revisiting Sydenham School that she attended when she was younger.  The experience of working with Mark was definitely one I will not forget, through physical theatre and other techniques he taught us how the Holocaust happened in a way that we understood.  Meeting Liane, our inspiration for the performance was definitely my highlight.  Seeing who the Holocaust had had an impact upon really brought the topic closer to our hearts and made the performance even more memorable.

Maya McFarlane 9E, Drama Ambassador.   


Dance Theatre trip to Ballet Boyz.


On 14th January 2015, a group of Year 10 & 11 GCSE Dance students went on a trip to Sadler’s Wells to watch Ballet Boyz perform‘Young Men’.
In a truly heart-warming and captivating portrayal of love, friendship, loss and survival, Young Men explores the themes of war and the relationships which develop between the men who face these challenges together. This production involves a combination of dance, theatre and screen performance which doesn’t fail to impress.
This dance was performed by Ballet Boyz, the winners of the National Dance Awards Best Independent Dance Company 2013 and was choreographed by the rising star Ivan Perez. It also features the award-winning all male dancers from the company The TALENT.
After the performance, the students came away astounded by the pure beauty of the show and many of them would recommend it due to the wonderful experience they had.
Written by:  ‘Sharna Fernando


Lost Property

There is a collection of PE kits and school jumpers in Lost Property which is kept in the Medical Room - all with no name on! Students are encouraged to come and claim anything belongs to them (not be done during lesson time).

Anything not claimed by Friday 13 February, will be disposed of.



A recent double celebration at Sydenham School saw the first team of student interpreters presented with special certificates by head teacher Carolyn Unsted  in recognition of their winning a prestigious Lewisham Pupil Ambassadors’ Award.  These are given only to the borough’s most inspirational young people, and the Sydenham girls received this accolade in the ‘working together’ category. 

The event was also an opportunity for the current young interpreters to welcome the latest graduates to the scheme who have successfully passed a five-week course and are now in a position to lend their language skills to help the school’s English and as Additional Language (EAL) department.  

At the simple ceremony, Carolyn Unsted used the shape of the Award to compliment the outgoing Young Interpreters; describing them as ‘stars’: “You are a huge asset to the school and have made a massive difference to pupils who arrive with little or no English and to their parents and families.  The new team has a lot to live up to.”  Her views chimed with those of French-speaking Student Interpreter Oceanne Eby (14) from Sydenham who recalls feeling very lost when she started school.  “It was very scary – it would have made a big difference to have had the team to turn to back then.” 

“The scheme began at Sydenham in 2012 as a part of a Lewisham-wide initiative.  To begin with we had  just 8 students in Years 9-11 offering Dutch, Persian, German, Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Turkish,” explains Fatma Ahmet of the EAL team who co-ordinates the Scheme.  “It is great to see how the project has grown and have become an important resource for the school.  Today we are welcoming the next group of Young Interpreters who have completed the training in their own time over a succession of lunchtimes during last term and are now ready to help at open days, parents’ evenings and  occasionally speaking to parents over the telephone, and in more informal everyday ways.” 

She adds: “The training is comprehensive and it is not for everyone: students need to be fluent in both English and their first language – capable of translating both ways.  We spend a lot of time exploring the role of a Young Interpreter, and how best to behave when interpreting – the need for diplomacy, focus and confidentiality.  It is also important to stress that Young Interpreters won’t ever be asked to interpret alone or get involved in highly sensitive conversations with parents.”  

“Being a Young Interpreter has been a great experience,” says Arzo Wali (15) from Catford. “As well as being able to do something valuable for the school, it has been a training for me and given me lots of confidence.  I hope to go on in life to do something with my languages – Dutch and Pashto.”

“Why do I do it,” says Russian speaking Arina Marcenko, “well, it is important to help people!” 

“I love the enthusiasm and commitment of these students,” adds Fatma Ahmet.  “Over the last few terms they have become a really tight-knit and supportive group.  Thanks to them and their hard-work and care, there is no question of students arriving at Sydenham with little or no English having to face that challenge alone.  Far from ‘sink or swim’ for such students;  the Young Interpreters are a key element in ensuring it is ‘only swim’!”


Performing Arts Ambassadors

The Performing Arts Ambassadors listed below will have their photographs and profiles on display in the CDT corridor of Lower School building. These students currently use their expertise to organise and run their own Curriculum Enrichment Activities and prepare for whole school performances.  They, also, coach and support other students and are our role models at events.  They will be working within the school's systems for Student Voice under the 'Wellbeing' strand of student mentoring.  Please come and read the students' profiles in the coming weeks to discover more about them and find out how they might be able to help you to achieve more.

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