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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 154
we have listened to what parents have said about what they want from the newsletter and made some changes….


Message from the Head

Dear Parents,

We have reached the February half term break and so we are officially half way through the academic year. I would like to wish you all a very lovely half term break.

The school is open in half term but only for Year 11 and their half term revision school which we know many of the Year 11s will attend.

There is also a lot of building works taking place over the half term which is great as it moves us ever nearer to our move sate at Easter.

At this point I would like to remind parents that Thursday 24th March and Monday 11th April are packing days for the staff and so the school will be closed for students – these are the two days that surround the Easter break.

Again, have a safe and enjoyable half term break

Ruth Holden


Important changes to ParentPay



New ParentPay website going live 9th February 

What's changing and why?
We are making major improvements to the ParentPay website, which will include:
New support area making it easier for parents to access dedicated FAQs and lots of useful tips.
New design with improved navigation
New login area which will encourage parents to use a verified email address as a username, helping to reduce 'forgotten' login queries from parents. 
What will happen and when?

Please check your browser version and see the list of the recent browsers you can use to access ParentPay:

Please read our Parents Internet Browser advice


GCSE Berlin Trip January 25th-28th 2016


On a cold dark Monday morning at 4:30am, 64 GCSE students along with 6 teachers boarded two coaches and set out on a long-anticipated trip to Berlin. Miraculously, we were only 10 minutes late to set off as almost everybody arrived on time, which is no small feat for that time of the morning! Travelling by coach to Gatwick and landing in Berlin’s Shonefeld airport by midday, we boarded another coach to take us to our accommodation.
Our first stop was to the Reichstag, Germany’s government building which also houses a magnificent glass dome open to the public. Climbing right to the top of it, students were able to have a panoramic view of Berlin’s city centre.

The next morning involved a coach trip to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where experienced tour guides showed us around a place which had previously housed political prisoners and those who had opposed the Nazi party between 1936 and 1945. The wind was strong and the camp was eerily calm. It felt odd to see the barbed wire next wall where so many inmates who had tried to escape were shot down. The inside of the bunkers smelt musty as we viewed the cramped rooms where over 30 men were housed. The appalling living conditions included few toilets and filthy beds.

Leaving Sachsenhausen made many of us grateful not to have been born during that era. We left there in a stunned silence and headed to the Brandenburg Gate where we spent a happier time having lunch and shopping for souvenirs.

From there it was on to the Jewish memorial, a unique tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. We walked through the increasingly overwhelming blocks feeling the sense of unease as we lost sight of our companions. The memorial was designed to reflect the feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness felt by the Jewish victims of the Nazi government. Ironically, just yards away from this memorial was a plaque marking the spot where Hitler’s underground bunker lay and the place where he ended his life as the Allied victory appeared more certain.

During the remainder of the trip, we visited several museums including the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and Stasi Museum, both of them reminders of the Cold War era and the division of Germany into communist East and capitalist West.

It was an authentic experience of Berlin as we travelled the city using the public transport system of u-bahn (underground trains), s-bahn (overground trains) and tram. We practiced our German and indulged in traditional dishes including bratwurst and currywurst. All in all, a successful trip for everybody involved!


Science Literary Success

Olivia Kersey from Year 13 has been shortlisted for this year's Henry Kitchener Junior Prize. 

Olivia's essay
In the light of how our diet has changed over the last century, how does nutrition affect the developing brain? - See more at:

"In the light of how our diet has changed over the last century, how does nutrition affect the developing brain" impressed the judges, and earned her an invitation to the prize-giving ceremony on 10th March. 

The awards will be presented by Lord Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame and Lady Emma Fellowes, and there will be a lecture delivered by Professor Tim Brenna of Cornell University.  We congratulate Olivia on her success and look forward to finding out whether she has won one of the top prizes!

Year 11 English Masterclass


A select group of Year 11 students who have set their sights on success in English are attending English Masterclass sessions every Wednesday lunchtime to prepare for their English Language IGCSE exam.

The students read texts about a wide range of topics - last week they learnt about Oetzi the Iceman, Europe's oldest natural human mummy - and practise exam questions while munching on sandwiches and snacks kindly provided by the catering staff. We have been hugely impressed by the students' commitment to and enthusiasm for the masterclasses and their determination to achieve the very best grades. Well done Year 11!


Speech Slam

Daniella Robinson (9N) won the Y9 Speech Slam competition. She spoke passionately about feminism to a very supportive year group. Well done to all the contestants!

online safety information

We have introduced a new page on our website to help parents have more online safety information.

ParentInfo -  is a news feed bringing the most up to date information to parents and carers on a range of parenting topics, including digital, health, wellbeing and sex and relationships.
The live parent link comes from CEOP ( Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command, which is a branch of the National Crime Agency). There will be articles and information from experts in their fields for you to read and signposts for further help.


Year 9 Careers Trip To Goldsmiths College, University of London

As part of our “careers season”, in which we are visiting workplaces and universities to discover what career opportunities are out there for us. Ms Kerr organized and led the Year 9 trip to Goldsmiths College. The aim of the trip was to educate all Y9 about opportunity post 16 and university life, for some students this was their first visit to a university. We worked in groups with Ambassadors and university staff on icebreaking activities to get to know us and also they provided an opportunity for us to ask questions about university courses, fees, finance, accommodation, societies and leisure time. The Ladders activity not only gave us the opportunity  to find out more about Higher Education through drama focused activities, but also to consider how we  see ourselves progressing to achieve our career goals. The day also included a mini lecture by a computer science lecturer where we had to think of a problem within our community and solve it.

The feedback received from Goldsmiths was extremely positive; they said that they really enjoyed having us and looked forward to working with us again.  We have learned a lot about university courses, facilities, how courses are taught and the steps required towards going to university. The day has also taught us the need to think now about planning our future.
By Saoirse Spy



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