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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 165
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

A-level and GCSE exams are well under way now and students are being very courageous going into the exam hall and dong their very best. It is an incredibly pressured time for them and for staff please keep students in your thoughts during this time.

Other news – it was fantastic to see all of the Year 6 students and parents at the school on Tuesday afternoon for their Induction interview. Our new Headteacher Mrs Lowe was present as well which made the occasion an extra special one. Well done to Ms Emmanuel for organizing the whole event.

Gold Award Assemblies have been taking place last week and this week – lots of girls have received their stars to wear for excellent standards of attendance, punctuality and academic progress – well done to Mr Guest for leading on this.

I wish everyone a very lovely weekend.

Ruth Holden


Spelling Bee


After completing their knock out rounds in form time this week, the Year 7 Spelling Bee Form Winners gathered in their assembly for the dramatic final.

The spellers were all on top form and the competition was fierce! A big congratulations to the winner, Lily (7H) and to all the Spelling Bee finalists; Chloe (7M), Eva (7E), Jessica (7Y), Polly (7A), Storm (7D), Maddy (7S) and Ummu (7N).

We were so impressed with how confident all the participants were and the fantastic spelling ability that they all demonstrated! We will be organising another Spelling Bee before the end of term, so keep practising and working hard in English!

Ms Johnson and Ms Robinson

Author Visit  

Last week, a group of budding year eight writers had the opportunity to attend an author visit at Forest Hill School.  Students from 8E, 8S, 8D and 8Y had the chance to meet Sara Grant, author of the best-selling action-adventure series “Chasing Danger”.

Students listened to an authentic reading of the latest murder-mystery novel, participated in an engaging story-building workshop and had a valuable opportunity to ask Sara Grant about the inspiration behind her writing. Students left feeling inspired, informed and enthusiastic about creative writing! A big thank you to Mrs Adams, the library team at Sydenham and the staff at Forest Hill for organising such a fantastic event.


Year 7 LSSSA Rounders Tournament

The Team Captain Queenie Miller Says “On Wednesday, the year 7 Rounders team travelled to Sydenham High School to take part in the tournament. We played 3 games, against, Knight Academy, Bonus Pastor and Sydenham High.

Out of the three games we won one. Although we would have liked to have won more games, it was our first time playing as a team and winning will come with experience. We all enjoyed our evening and learnt lots of new skills to practice, as well as evaluating our competition. We hope to compete in other Rounders events in the near future as the loved the whole evening. Thank you to our coaches for this amazing experience”.

This Wednesday we took 8 year 7 students to Sydenham High School for their Lewisham Rounders Tournament. There were 8 teams entered spilt into 2 pools. In other teams in the group were Sydenham High B, HAKA and Bonus Pastor.

The girls started off lacking a little confidence in their first game against Sydenham High. They soon found their form in the second game and beat Bonus Pastor 6 ½ rounders to 5 ½ rounders. The girls really enjoyed themselves and this was a great experience for them all.


Last weekend we took 28 year 10 pupils to Dorking for their practice expedition for the Duke of Edinburgh Award. They had to navigate themselves from Dorking train station to Etherley Farm, stopping off at check points along the way to make sure all was ok. Most groups managed this well or even if they didn’t they knew where they had gone wrong and managed to correct themselves.

When they got to the campsite they had to set up their tents and cook their own food for that evening. They did well with this and managed to sort themselves and all be in bed by 10pm! They didn’t get the best night’s sleep with the other campers around being loud and it being very cold but they were all up and about by 6.30am then next morning ready to trek back to Dorking train station.

The pupils found it harder than they thought it would be but managed to meet the standards and will hopefully be raring to go for the assessed expedition in June.

The Pink group having a well-earned rest at the top by Leith Hill Tower just before they did the last part of their walk to the campsite.

Also thanks to Ms Fullilove and Mrs Bailey for giving up their weekend.

Mrs Molligoda


Trip to Cambridge

When it comes to planning for life after school, the process can’t start too early, especially if those plans include ambitions to go to Oxbridge. So, last week, a 28-strong contingent of Year 10s and one Year 9 pupil, set off for a day in Cambridge.  And because they were all students taking Latin courses at Sydenham, the day had a distinct Classics focus. 

It was a day of revelations, pleasures and encouragement!  Among the first, were a fascinating lecture on the representation of the East as filtered through Ancient Greek playwrights and historians and which still have a bearing on Western thought today.  Then there was a gripping tour of the extensive display of 19th Century full-size plaster replicas of Greek and Roman sculpture held in the Faculty of Classics conducted by our host for the day Jennie Thornber, the Faculty’s education and outreach coordinator. 

The pleasures included wafting around Selwyn College and other parts of Cambridge on a beautiful Summer’s day, and tucking into a most delicious lunch in the College’s beautiful wood-panelled refectory. 

And as for the encouragement, that was largely down to Schools’ Liaison Officer Emma Smith  - a recent archaeology graduate – whose own quite ordinary background and state school education made her the perfect foil for any thoughts our Sydenham delegation might have been harbouring about Oxbridge being not for them.  Her cheerful and informative talk covered everything from the application process to student finance and included the special advantages that studying, for example at Selwyn College, can bring with it, including a free laundry service, easy access to fantastic libraries and other educational and leisure facilities, and even the provision of bouncy-castles and animal-petting sessions as outlets for tension during examination periods.

Emma was full of good advice, without underplaying the main challenge our girls face in getting the necessary grades to win a place.  Standards may be high, but the days when Cambridge was purely the preserve of wealthy, privately educated young people are long gone, she explained.  Over 60% of students at Cambridge are from state schools we learnt, and Emma was also persuasive when she outlined the many bursaries on offer to students going to Cambridge as well as the subsidized educational opportunities to be had, including, in her case, paid-for trips to take part in archaeological digs in the Orkneys!

The day proved popular and enticing for the girls.  “I really enjoyed the trip,” said Arielta Hodcroft (14).  “It was great to meet a recent student and hear her experiences.  She said we should give it a go.”  For Nadia Bouhlaoui (15), Emma’s talk also proved persuasive: “Although it is quite a long way off, it was good to hear how the application process works.  I have definitely started to think about Oxridge and what I would have to do in terms of grades to have a chance of getting in.”  Meanwhile, the day did nothing to dent 15-year-old Jess Taylor’s hopes for the future.  “I would love to get into Oxford or Cambridge or perhaps Durham.  I am interested in the Classics and so today has been really interesting.  I enjoyed experiencing a university-style lecture, and the time in the Faculty Museum was terrific too.



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