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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 125
we have listened to what parents have said about what they want from the newsletter and made some changes….


Thirty-two budding crime scene investigators aged between 11 and 12 gathered this week to solve the murder of ‘Victor’ whose body had been discovered in the library of Forest Hill School.  Around his corpse they found a multitude of clues including hairs, fibres, fingerprints, footprints and spilt ink, and although these suggestive items corresponded to a scenario involving bribery, fiery passions and unreturned books, it was up to them to gather the evidence and then subject it to a number of laboratory-based tests to establish what actually went on, and who the culprit might be. 

The science challenge, organised by Sydenham School was presided over by special guest, the prolific young people’s mystery and science author Dr. Malcolm Rose.  “If I wasn’t here, I would be at home trying to day-dream my way through the plot of the latest novel I have got on the go – my 42nd,” he told the students.  “It is a great joy to get out and take part in something like this,” he later confided.  “It is an ambitious event and it has taken a lot of planning.  As well as observing and advising the teams, it is helpful for me too, chatting to young people and hearing about what they enjoy and don’t and even gauging what vocabulary they are familiar with  - ‘contamination’ posed them no problems while some students needed a little help with ‘chromatography'.

As well as testing the students’ ability to apply scientific methods and manipulate laboratory equipment, the biggest challenge was their capacity for teamwork with people they had not met before, suggested Diana Adams manager of Sydenham School’s Learning Resource Centre:  “There was a very strict order with which the different specialists were allowed to step into the crime scene and there were also time-constraints on how long they had to carry out their tests and put together their court-room presentation for the end of the day.”

Adding the event extra credibility was PC Aaron Bawden.  “I am impressed how the event reflects more of the reality of these occasions than a lot of TV depictions,” he commented.  “For example, often on television a single CSI is skilled in every kind of forensic technique, whereas here the students have had to choose a specialism each.  It is also credible that someone is the key suspect, putting the emphasis more on testing that suspicion rather than having to solve a complete mystery.”

The event was the culmination of a term’s effort, with the students being selected at both schools having successfully jumped a number of extra-curricular hurdles since January.  “The murder mystery day was the reward for students who had produced the best work associated with a variety of science writing challenges,” explained Forest Hill librarian Carol Webb. “To qualify they had to have written a science-based story, a journalistic piece and a science book review.”   Diana Adams added:  “also, what we have asked the students to do is very much based on the science curriculum, for example, some of the students had already been learning about chromatography. It was also based on the type of science they’ll encounter in Malcolm’s books.” 

“I have really enjoyed today,” said 12-year-old Ameera Conteh, “it is great having to puzzle something out completely for oneself.  I also enjoy the competition too.”  In the end the winning team was commended by Carol Webb for its scrupulous evidence collecting including the quality of the fingerprints they retrieved from the murder weapon – a bottle.  “They were also innovative when they came to their lab work; using an iPad through the microscope to record result for the presentation. Their logic was impeccable too.”  The winning team were presented with medals and books by Dr. Malcolm Rose and PC Bawden.

“The day was also crammed with all sorts of mini-discoveries too.  “It’s really hard to write with the protective gloves on,” said Toby Scanlon (11).  “That’s great,” commented Malcolm Rose, “it’s just such insights that help make stories believable.” 


Year 9 students make the news for real


12 students from year 9 got the opportunity to make the news for real yesterday as the Gl@ssroom was transformed into a newsroom for the annual BBC School Report. They researched and reported on a wide range of topics from the development of Crystal Palace Park to the rise of Youtube and presented their findings in written reports, videos and radio broadcasts.  The girls worked really hard throughout the day and we definitely have some budding journalists among them – well done School Reporters!

BBC News School Report 2015

On Thursday 19th March we took part in the BBC News School Report and we were told to research a topic of our choice and write our own news article about it. I was working with my friend Sarah-Angel. Our topic was ‘What’s wrong with horror’ and we based most of our research on the film ‘The Woman in Black’ and its sequel ‘The Woman in Black: Angel of Death’.
At break time we went out and asked lots of different people for their perspectives on modern day horror movies. Some people said that nowadays horror films are very predictable and other people said that they like modern day horror movies. Once we came back from interviewing people we started writing our report. 
Looking for images for our report was quite difficult because we had to get an image appropriate for younger people to see and an image that wasn’t too gory or scary because then it would make some of the audience not want to read the report. In addition, we had to consider copyright issues and make sure that we chose images with the appropriate credits.
When we had finished writing and finding images we had to have the report proof read by Nada, our editor, and finally we were finished. I am very proud of the work Sarah-Angel and I completed.
To conclude, I have enjoyed today and it has really encouraged me to get thinking about journalism and writing news reports. It was a really inspiring experience and I would love to do it again!
Joana Da Silva Martins, 9D

Sydenham in the News!  

Future Learning Device Pilot

In January this year, two tutor groups of Year 7 students were provided with a tablet device as part of our Future Learning Device Pilot. The students were able to take the devices home and brought the devices into school to use as part of their lessons, and we are currently evaluating the impact these devices had on their learning experiences.

We understand this is the biggest such pilot ever to be conducted in a UK school, and are grateful for the support of our sponsors, Dell, Lenovo, Getech and Cetrix for making this possible, as well as to the staff, students and parents of those involved.

The pilot period has now come to an end, and we are in the process of collecting these devices back from students and staff, so that they can be returned to the companies. We are delighted however that Dell have allowed us to keep all of the devices they provided, and that we will be using these as part of a second device pilot for Year 8 students later in the year.

If you are a parent of students in 7D or 7M, these devices should have been returned to the school by now, but we would like your feedback on the pilot programme. You can provide your feedback by completing this short survey -

The feedback from the survey will be considered alongside the results of our “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)” survey which closed last week, as we consider plans for allowing all students to bring devices into school to support their learning in the near future.

New building – ICT update

As you know, we will soon be moving into our brand new building, complete with over £1 million worth of investment in the latest technology to support learning. Here is a quick overview of the fantastic ICT facilities that will be available in the new buildings:

State-of-the-art, future-proofed network infrastructure, including high-speed wifi
A brand new VOIP phone system and digital signage around the site to enhance communication
The latest classroom audiovisual/ presentation technology in standard classrooms, including interactive projectors, visualisers and audio capabilities.

Technology to support specialist teaching areas, including:
o   Design Technology/ Engineering/ Textiles rooms with Smart Podium displays, motorised screens and banks of tablets for student use
o   4 brand new ICT rooms with upto 30 powerful PCs for students to use as part of Computer Science and across the curriculum, including space for students to programme microcomputers such as the Raspberry Pi, Arduino and Lego EV3 bricks
o   2 brand new Catering/ Food Technology rooms with Smart Podium displays, motorised screens, tablet banks and the ability to film/ record lesson demonstrations using an in-built dome camera
o   Multimedia-enabled Science labs, including uberboard dual displays, in-built cameras in fume cupboards and 4 class sets of tablets for student use
o   4 brand new Art rooms, including Smart Podium displays, motorised screens and two class sets of laptops for student use
o   A brand new Dance studio featuring a Northern Lights audio system, dome camera for filming dance pieces and large motorised screen
o   Two brand new Music rooms featuring Northern Lights audio system and upto 30 Apple Macs for student use
o   Two brand new Drama studios (which can be combined into one larger space) featuring Northern Lights audio and lighting, smoke and wind machines, additional spotlights and ribbons and the ability to projection map onto 6 surfaces simultaneously
o   A brand new Sports Hall and Activity Studio, supported by a mobile projection system, audio capabilities and digital signage
o   Over 400 tablet devices across the site for students to use, as well as 100 state-of-the-art staff devices
·         A brand new Main School Hall (and canteen area) featuring Northern Lights audio and lighting, smoke and wind machines, upto 8 simultaneous projection surfaces and large LCD screens
·         A brand new Sixth Form Common Room and Study Area, including 30 laptops and 30 tablets, a mobile projection system, audio capabilities and digital signage

We are incredibly excited about the new facilities that will be available to us, and are working with SMART, Microsoft and a variety of other companies to ensure we get the most from these over the coming months, and we look forward to welcoming you in to the new buildings to see the technology in action in the near future!

Mr Mark Guest
Assistant Headteacher


Lost Property

Students' lost property is kept in the Medical Room. As we will be moving to the new building after Easter, all lost property not claimed before the end of this term will be disposed of. Students are encouraged to come and claim their belongings before or after school, during break or lunch time.

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