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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 132
we have listened to what parents have said about what they want from the newsletter and made some changes….


Attached letter from Chair of Governors with information on the new Headteacher

End of year exams timetable

International Evening


Many thanks to everyone who joined us for a wonderful International celebration on 8 May.  We were overwhelmed by the turnout.  A special thanks to our student chefs who did a fantastic job producing a wonderful array of delicious food from all over the globe, under the calm and efficient direction of the Food Tech team led by Ms Laverne Williams.  Thank you also to the Rights Respecting team and helpers who came up with the idea and the Jimmy Mizen team for their wonderful contribution. 

Quotes from International Evening:

"It's shown us how good this school is, how embracing it is, for all us new parents as well as, all the ones that are still here" 
"Our daughters where babies together and it's lovely to see that our daughters will be going back to Secondary School meeting up again." 

"The foods, the flags [...] trying to identify all the flags was good."

Theatre in Education Show And Mass Mock Interview Event Give Year 10 Sydenham Students A Crash Course in Employability    


On Friday (May 15), South East London students aged 14 and 15 experienced a day dedicated to thinking about life beyond school and how to present themselves to appear as employable as possible.  With work experience fortnights only a month away for Sydenham School’s Year 10s the chance to reflect on what might be required of them and how best to make and maintain a good impression in the workplace could not have been more welcome or relevant. 

The day began with a bang thanks to the WEX-FACTOR show, put on by Raynes Park-based Rah Rah Theatre Company.  This highly interactive TiE (Theatre in Education) performance took a game-show format which over five rounds gave the entire 230-strong year group gathered in the school’s new main hall a hilarious, yet instructive introduction to everything from appropriate behaviour, customer care and appearance.  The ‘dress to impress’ round was particularly well received, as two teams battled against the clock to deck-out one of their number either in office or safety gear.  “This is one of our most popular shows,” said Rah Rah actor Monica Gaga.  “It manages to get some very important lessons across in a fun way such as the importance of time-keeping, commitment and enthusiasm.”

This was Rah Rah’s second time at Sydenham.  “We enjoy coming here,” confided actor David Selkirk.  “The students are eager to participate and the hour we have with them flies past.”  15-year-old Dyandra Da Costa was quick to volunteer to help during the ‘dress to impress’ game: “It is a great show – it has really got us energised and focused ahead of the more formal and challenging part of the day when we have mock-interviews.”

Head teacher Carolyn Unsted later thanked the 35 visiting representatives of national and local businesses and services who had agreed to give up an afternoon to interview every Year 10 girl:  “Today the girls get a crucial life-lesson: that all the work and effort they put into their studies and school life has a purpose when it comes to getting jobs and making a success of them.”  She asked that they be as honest as possible in their immediate feedback to the girls about their demeanour and dress.  “Your comments will carry extra weight as it is coming from people outside school.” 

In addition to giving the girls advice, each interviewer was asked to decide which one girl among their contingent they would notionally want ‘to hire.’ ‘Hired’ students will receive recognition in a celebration assembly later this term and all students get a certificate and detailed feedback.

“I have been impressed,” said Bianca Tia Mesuria of the construction and consultancy company Lakehouse.  “The best of the girls have come across as friendly but not over-confident.  At this stage of their lives, when they inevitably can’t show a significant track-record of experiences, ensuring they give a good sense of their personalities is essential.”  Her views were echoed by Lewisham Neighbourhood Safety Officer Selvin Reid, “the girls that have impressed me the most are those with clear ideas of what they want to do without being too inflexible. Having such plans means all their studies have a purpose to them.” 

On the other side of the table were students like Wren Patrick (15):   “Although time was short it was important to think a bit about the questions before answering.”  The day was also a positive experience for Tarisai Muzeya (15) from Forest Hill: “I think it was great having this chance – it was encouraging: a boost before work experience and next year’s exams.” 

“Our most recent Ofsted report praised the success we have in extending students’ learning and widening their horizons and raising their aspirations,” added Carolyn Unsted.  “The Employability Day is just one of the means by which we prepare students for the world beyond school and help them hone their interview skills.” 


PE Updates

Esme Adams
Layren Sy
Melissa Mbazira

All reach the final stage of the their Kent County Netball trials

Unfortunately there will be no PE clubs running after May half term.
This is due to the Year 11 GCSE exams taking place in our Sports Hall; building work commencing on our outdoor spaces; Ms Michael going on maternity leave and Mrs Molligoda having to take time off to have a knee operation.
We are incredibly sorry to have to do this and will ensure a full variety of clubs starting back up after the summer holidays.
We wish to take this opportunity to say how proud we are of our girls this year; participation at clubs has been brilliant and we have made a significant impact on local fixtures due to our girls increased skills, knowledge and confidence of sports such as netball, basketball, trampolining and athletics.
Mrs Molligoda

Subject Leader of PE
Gold Standard Rewards Trip to Disneyland Paris  

Congratulations to all our students who have qualified for this special prize by achieving the Gold Standard in every Track of the year so far. They will be joined by those students who were lucky enough to be drawn at random from those who had achieved the Gold Standard in at least one Track this year.

The winners will be travelling to Disneyland Paris, and will spend a whole day in the park, enjoying the attractions and meeting all their favourite Disney characters. The trip will take place between Thursday 16th and Saturday 18th July 2015, and a letter with further details of the trip and how to confirm your place has been distributed to the winners today.

For those who did not make it this year, there are plenty of opportunities to ensure they get a place on next year's rewards trip. The next track (Track 5) will count towards next year's prize, and all students will need to continue working hard to ensure they are attending school on time everyday, collecting merits for their good behaviour and effort in class, and making progress in their learning. And of course those students who attain the Gold Standard in Track 5, will also be rewarded with their certificates and Gold star badges.

An update on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

As a school, we believe that the appropriate use of technology both in and out of the classroom has the potential to impact significantly on student achievement. It will also bring parents closer to the classroom, enabling them to see more of what their child is doing in school and the feedback they are receiving from their teachers, as well as enabling us to improve efficiency across the school.

Part of our vision for the future of technology in our school is for every student to make use of tablet-style devices both at home and at the school. This year, we conducted a pilot study with two Year 7 tutor groups using several different devices, supported by some of the biggest companies in the Tablet market, including Dell, Getech and Lenovo. We have also conducted a number of surveys with students and parents about the idea of students bring their own devices into school. The feedback from the pilot and the surveys has been overwhelmingly positive, but has also provided us with an insight into what more needs to be done before we implement a BYOD policy across the school.

Parent's main concerns were understandably focussed on three key themes:
- Security of their devices and safety of their daughter in transporting a device to/ from school everyday
- The cost of devices (whilst costs have fallen significantly in this market over the past 5 years, decent devices still require a significant investment)
- Concerns over whether an increase in the use of technology or screen time is desirable, or whether more time studying from books, writing by hand or working face-to-face with others should be a priority

There were also additional concerns raised by teachers, parents and students about the need for the school to explore ways of working with these devices in the classroom further, in order to ensure that when the time comes that all students are bringing devices to school, that these are able to be used to maximum effect.

Having reviewed all of the feedback we have received, we have purchased over 400 tablet devices for use in school, which will be arriving on site within the next few days. The tablets will be dispatched around the school in trolleys that teachers will be able to book and begin to utilise the power of these devices as part of their lessons. We see this as a process of discovery, but one which will ultimately lead to our vision of every child having their own device and making use of this technology to enhance their learning.

If you have had chance to pop into the school since our new building opened last month, you will have seen firsthand the significant investment we have made in technology across the school, including interactive SMART technology, over 200 brand new PCs and Macs for staff and student use, a faster, more powerful wired and wireless network,specialist facilities for Music, Art, Science, Dance, Drama and Design Technology, and much more besides. We have also invested in the latest productivity and collaboration software, including Office 365, our GLASSFrog learning platform and a variety of subject-specific software titles. These tablets add to these fantastic facilities, and will enable us to continue to develop our teaching and learning practice to make the best use of technology in the years to come.

Bring Your Own Device is still very much in our plans, and we will be continuing to move towards this over the coming months. We envisage this working as follows:
- We will provide an option for parents to purchase a device from a 3rd-party under the terms of a leasing agreement. This will enable parents to spread the cost of a device over the course of a number of years, should they wish to do so, or to be outright if they prefer. These devices will be low-cost (relative to what you would be able to buy from high-street or online retailers). The devices will also be security marked with the Sydenham School logo at both physical and software level to deter against theft, and will issue guidance to students on how to stay safe whilst making their way to/ from the school site;
- We will provide guidance to parents on the type of device that would be of most benefit to students, should they wish to purchase their own, or for students to bring in existing devices. This will cover the basic specifications needed to make effective use of the school's network facilities, such as suggested processor speed, storage capacity, memory, network connectivity and software. This would not prevent other devices from being used, however some older or cheaper devices may not provide students with the full functionality of the suggested device type;
- We will provide additional help and support for families experiencing financial hardship, and those in receipt of Free School Meals;
- We will maintain a bank of tablets in school for students who opt out of BYOD to use whilst in school

We hope to be able to launch our BYOD scheme prior to moving into our refurbished Edwardian building in just under 12 months time, and will release further details nearer the time.

Many Thanks

Mark Guest
Assistant Headteacher
Sydenham School


Year 9 Outward Bound Residential.

On 20th April over 100 year 9s spent an amazing week at Ullswater Outward Bound Centre in the Lake District. Immersed in the stunningly beautiful natural environment away from modern day amenities , the  girls swam and canoed the crystal clear lake water, scrambled through gorges, climbed rock faces, trekked across mountains, slept under the stars and watched lambs being born! It was great for the girls to have the opportunity to experience activities out of their comfort zones and to feel a real sense of achievement and pride when completing the challenges.


Event for September yr7 parents/carers  

As part of our 'Science Technology Engineering and Maths programme', we are hosting a STEM Evening at the school on Wednesday 3rd June from 6pm to 8pm for our new September yr7 parents.

The evening will start at 6pm with an exciting exhibition of work from students in the STEM Faculties. This will include work from GCSE Graphics and Resistant Materials, as well STEM activities undertaken by the current Year 7 students, along with some of the older students. This will be held in our brand new STEM building.

Following this, our keynote speaker will be Marie-Noelle Barton MBE. For 20 years Marie-Noelle was director of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). She will talk about the vast range of careers available in the areas of science and engineering by showcasing various rising women stars in these fields. She is an inspirational and motivational speaker. Following her speech, a number of our students will present work they have undertaken in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

We would very much like to invite you and your daughter to attend this event, which will serve as a good introduction to what is on offer to students in the school.

K Matheson-McLaughlin
STEM curriculum Leader


Sydenham girls get kitted out for Summer

What a talented bunch of fashion designers !
Year 8 students paraded their finished tie-dyed wrap around skirts in the new patio area .
We had great fun learning how to tie-dye and dip dye .
Got in a sticky mess making your own paper patterns.
Honed our cutting skills .
Practiced our sewing machine skills ..straight and zig-zag !
Pinned, unpinned, tacked , sewed and unpicked seams .
Added binding and  hand sowed fiddly little poppers  .
Styled it out with our own ways of fastening .......
and I hope to see those skirts on a  sunny beach very soon !!
Ms Pollard and the students of 8DTx4  


Magic work to make magic booties
Just a few examples of the fabulous work on the Year 7 STEM project .
What a delight to see beautifully made baby booties with electronic circuits and LEDs that actually light up ...
Well done 7 STEM y5

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