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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 171
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

Well, we are almost at the last week of term and the end of the year; and how the year has flown by. And yet, even though we are in the penultimate week, there is still a lot of events going on. On Thursday The Jimmy Mizen Project was in school to conclude its work with students on dealing the challenges that they might face in life. We also had our MP Jim Dowd in school today to be part of the ongoing launch and embedding of our Microsoft Sponsorship and specialized facilities.

Also ongoing is our Year 10 students on Work Experience  -they return next week.

Have a lovely weekend and regards

Ruth Holden


Caine Book Prize


Last week, a group of Year 9 students were selected to meet and talk to the authors shortlisted for the Caine Book Prize for African Writing. The girls had been given the five finalists’ short stories to read beforehand and were treated to a reading from each of the authors, before being given the opportunity to ask questions.

They discovered more about the inspiration behind each of the short stories and were given some useful tips about how they could begin to write their own novels. The girls had a really enjoyable afternoon and were able to vote at the end for their favourite story!

The girls have signed up in the library to a waiting list to read the anthology of all the stories.

Thank you to Diana and to Forest Hill School for hosting such as inspiring event.

Andalusia Trip  

This year our Language trip to Andalusia was between 27 June and 2nd July. Every time we make this trip it is full of surprises and fantastic discoveries both for students and teachers alike. This year we shared the hotel with Spanish students who had come to the Schools national games competitions. Our girls were able to interact and talk Spanish with them; they were so pleased to be able to communicate in Spanish. The first day the students went to their two first sessions of Spanish lessons to the “Colegio Las Maravillas”. They were placed in three groups by ability and they were supported in their work with their journals’ trip. In the afternoon we went to Granada where the girls had the opportunity to visit “La Alhambra”; the palace of the last powerful Arabic kingdom in the south of Spain. The guided tour was skilfully done and linked the Spanish history to that of Britain. This fantastic trip allowed students to see how interconnected the European history is and how much we share and have in common.

The second day our destination was Seville where the students enjoyed the famous “Parque Maria Luisa”, formerly gardens of the San Telmo Palace and now a public park.  We also visited Seville Cathedral and we all, 22 students and three teachers, climbed the 35 floors of the famous tower “La Giralda” from where we had a beautiful view of the city.

Back to the hotel some students had a relaxing time at the hotel swimming pool while others went to visit the little town shopping centre of Torremolinos.  Our third day was so packed with activities that we needed to leave some for the next day before departure.

After two more periods of lessons we went to Ronda, a wonderful town where the students enjoyed the astonishing view of “el Tajo” canyon. We also visited the “Plaza de Toros” bullfighting ring built in 1784 and the oldest in Spain.

We discussed this old tradition which has become a symbol of Spanish culture, and how controversial it now is, even within Spain due to the maltreatment and killing of bulls. We ended the day with our evening visit to the Trivoli theme park, where the students discussed how much they enjoyed their time in Spain, and obviously how much they have socialised with each other.


The great thing was that the students had the whole park almost to themselves, because there were not many Spaniards or tourists which meant that they had all the rides they could manage.

There were activities up until we boarded our flight to return home. On our last day students had breakfast and prepared their luggage whilst some of them enjoyed the swimming pool again. At 12 noon we checked out of the hotel and left our luggage in a secure store whilst students had their Flamenco lesson before departing to Mijas.

Mijas was their first opportunity for souvenir shopping. The wonderful washed white traditional town was glowing under the 35 degrees centigrade temperature, full of artisan and traditional shops, wonderful narrow cobbled streets and well-kept colonial houses.  We departed for Malaga our final destination, first we went to the Museum Picasso which was very educative.

The penultimate activity was around the Calle Larios in Malaga where the students spent some time in the big shops buying presents for friends and Family.  Finally, we entered fully into Spanish culture having dinner in Pepa y Pepe restaurant, where the group shared the famous Spanish tapas.

Thank you so very much to all parents for your support in enabling their daughters to enjoy this wonderful and unforgettable cultural experience. Thanks to the students who represented our school with such high standards of behaviour at all times.  Many thanks to Ms Douglass Knights and Mr Dottridge who gave their time, knowledge and support to ensure that our trip was so successful and memorable.

Muchas Gracias y hasta pronto!
Ms Ossa


Puffin Classics Club

Sydenham Girls And Forest Hill boys came together today in the Puffin Classics Club, with Puffin editor Alex AntScherl. This is a club that the school libraries have been running in partnership with Puffin for two years.
The students had all been given free copies of Beverley Naidoo's The Other Side Of Truth to read and review. The Puffin team wanted to find out from the students their opinions of the story and  characters,  if this book counts as a classic in their eyes and if it is as relevant today as when it was written in 2000.  There was a lively discussion of the novel and the students did feel the book was still relevant and they related it to situations occurring today.

"The Other Side of Truth is a novel about Nigerian political refugees,
It is set in the autumn of 1995 during the reign in Nigeria of the despot General Abacha, who is waging a campaign of suppression against journalists. A Nigerian girl and her younger brother must leave suddenly after their mother is killed in a failed assassination of their outspoken father. They are smuggled to London but abandoned and they must cope with the police, social services and school bullies. Naidoo won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject. It has also won the NESTLE SMARTIES SILVER AWARD 2000."


Eco Society

In the spring, the Eco Society held a year 7 daffodil competition, in which each tutor group had to care for a daffodil. It was very difficult to choose a winning tutor group as many of the daffodils flowered and looked great. However, due to their enthusiasm, as well as their flowering daffodil, we would like to announce that 7Y have won the year 7 daffodil competition and have been awarded a prize of some chocolates!
Olga (Year 11)

Lost Property  

All lost property not claimed by Friday 15 July, will be disposed of (with the exception of spectacles). Lost property is kept in the First Aid / Attendance Office on the first floor of the STEM Building (P103).



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