Latest Letters Home I Sydenham Website I SIMS I My Maths I Sam Learning
Follow us on: Twitter
Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 164
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 had a lovely evening last Friday after school where staff, students and parents came together to view the Year 11 GCSE Art work and to judge it in a competition. The Art work was of a very high standard and was very impressive – well done to Hannah in Year 11 who won!

The evening was also to say a well done to staff and Costain for actually opening of our refurbished Edwardian building on time and there was a very lovely atmosphere as people enjoyed a drink in the sunny Edwardian courtyard. A very pleasant evening all round.

Year 11 students have been given their ‘2016 Leavers’ Hoodie’ so you will now see them wearing their very university-like sweatshirts in their chosen colour.

Thanks to everyone again for your support for your daughter and for the school.

Have a very nice weekend.

Ruth Holden


Ministerial visit


On Wednesday 11th May we had a short but intense ministerial visit from Sam Gyimah and his team.

Mr Gyimah is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Childcare and Education and has a particular focus on mental health in children and young people. He came to visit Sydenham as we had been highlighted to him as a school providing excellent support for young people with mental health difficulties. He was particularly interested in how we use counselling in Sydenham School and how it fits in with all of our other Inclusion interventions.

Minister Gyimah met with a number of staff and then spoke to some students in our new library. He was extremely impressed with our provision, our students and of course our lovely building!   We are hopeful our contribution to his thinking will help to secure more government support for schools in meeting the mental health needs of young people across the country.
Ms Podmore


Year 8 LSSSA Rounders Tournament


This Wednesday 11th May we took 10 year 8’s to Sydenham High school for their Lewisham School Sports Rounders Tournament. 5 teams were entered, the others being Sydenham High A team, Sydenham High B team, Predergast Vale and Prendergast Ladywell.

The girls started off a little scared and lacking confidence in their first game against Sydenham High A team losing 11 rounders to 1 ½ but they soon found their form in the second game against Sydenham High B team losing by just 1 rounder (#7-6).

Their third game was against Prendergast Ladywell and everyone had settled into their fielding positions and made some good catches and managed to get 3 batters out. They won that game 9 ½ rounders to 4. In their last game against Prendergast Vale, again they played some fantastic fielding skills and managed to score 5 whole rounders, they won 9 ½ rounders to 4 ½ .

Back Row (left to right): Ella, Katherine, Florence, Shannon, Greta and Isabella. Front Row: Bea, Tia, Chantelle, Joni.


Speak Out Success

On Wednesday 11th May Abigail Huruy 10D and Tasha Mhakayakora 10A represented Sydenham at the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge Regional Final for Lewisham.

Abigail and Tasha were selected from 25 Year 10 students who took part in the Speak Out Challenge workshop organised by the English Faculty before Easter and competed against 18 other finalists from 10 different Lewisham secondary schools.

Each student delivered a two minute speech on a topic of their choice - with no notes whatsoever. The standard was extremely high and Tasha and Abigail should be proud of themselves for delivering such accomplished and confident speeches.

We were thrilled that Abigail was awarded second place for her speech titled 'Amazing Children' - you can watch a video of it here . We are now determined to come first next year so get practising Year 9!



A borough-wide award scheme designed to get Lewisham secondary school pupils buried into the latest and the best in young people’s fiction celebrated its tenth birthday this week.  A team made up of keen readers from three of the participating six schools won the competition on the day but all were praised for their commitment.  It was the culmination of two terms’ of reading and reviewing for all involved. 

“It was not really about winners and losers,” explained Bonus Pastor Catholic College’s librarian Linda Baverstock – who hosted the event.  “Every one of the 34 school students taking part in the Tenth annual Lewisham Book Awards have jumped considerable hurdles to make it to the final.”  Since Christmas all had had to read and review a selection of recently published young adult novels chosen for the scheme by local school librarians.  But in the end it was a team made up of year 7 and 8 pupils from Forest Hill, Sydenham and Conisborough Schools that won over the judges, coming up in lightening time with a persuasive presentation about one of the novels: I Predict A Riot by Catherine Bruton. 

On the day there were nine teams drawn from six schools:  Bonus Pastor Catholic College; Sydenham School; Addey and Stanhope School; Prendergast (Hilly Fields); Forest Hill School and Conisborough College.  The teams, made up of a combination of students from each of the schools, only learnt which book they were responsible for at the beginning of the event.    “You are members of a publisher’s marketing division,” explained librarian Linda Baverstock.   “and your mission is to create a group presentation in just over an hour that can convince a team of school staff and a guest author in role as book-shop buyers that your book is the one they should take for their stores.  They can only choose one.”

The students were challenged to come up with ‘pitches’ that discussed the author, the cover, the blurb, any narrative ‘hooks’ they could find in the early pages of their book, and the characters.  They also had to come up with a marketing ‘offer’ to the ‘buyers’ intended to make their novel even more enticing a commercial prospect.  The groups representing If You Were Me by Lambeth-based writer Sam Hepburn enjoyed the advantage of having the author with them to interview before she assumed her role as one of the judges. 

The winning team comprising Rohan Kurian and Matty Moore from Forest Hill School; Ruth-Simone Lee and Megan Brown from Sydenham School and Senthur Sarvaswaran and Harry Ruyonga from Conisborough College (all in Year 8) were praised for their authoritative and ‘tight’ presentation.   Praising all the teams, Sam Hepburn highlighted the speed with which they had pulled their pitches together and the variety of methods employed including short drama pieces that some teams used to highlight incidents in their stories: “It was very had to decide on a winning team – the decision was very close.” 

Shadow Heath Secretary and Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander due to be the guest of honour, was prevented from attending by Parliamentary business.  Instead she sent a message of support and praise:  “I grew up with a love of books,” she said, “and the Lewisham Award idea deserves congratulation for promoting reading.  Books are crucial in widening people’s horizons and helping young people understand the world around them.”  Her words chimed with Addey and Stanhope librarian Kristabelle Williams: “This is a fantastic scheme – resulting from co-operation among schools across the borough.   The young people involved have had a great time discussing books with their contemporaries from other schools. –they did not even stop for the allotted break.  It is a reminder too of how important school libraries are at a time when the public ones are having their budgets cut or being closed altogether.”

The students had a full and exciting morning.  For Iona Caldwell a year 7 pupil for Prendergast Hilly Fields the highlight was interviewing Sam Hepburn. “I enjoyed hearing about what had inspired her to write her book about an Afghan refugee in London.  The book taught me a lot about Afghanistan too.”  For Ruby Buckley in Year 7 at Sydenham School, the challenge had been building team-spirit in so short a time: “It was hard at the start, because we all felt a bit awkward, but we managed to become friends quickly, though it was a rush getting the presentation done on time.”

The winning team received £10 book prizes, medals and certificates and there were books and certificates for all participants. 

The event ended with a presentation for Elizabeth Bentley Elizabeth whose 33 year-career make her one of the longest-serving school librarians in Lewisham until her recent retirement.  Her last post was at Addey & Stanhope School. It was she that helped set up the Lewisham Book Awards ten years ago as well as helping champion another favourite event in the school calendar:  the Lewisham Book Quiz.  



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