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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 178


Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

It has been another wonderful week at Sydenham School. I am pleased to be able to write that our students are continuing to work hard and with great enthusiasm. They are also  beginning to wrap up more warmly as the cold weather approaches. Please do make sure that you have purchased suitable outdoor wear for your child  in the required school colours in good time before the real chill sets in.

This week, we were privileged to have been chosen from many other schools to host the world famous physicist, Professor Carlo Rovelli. On Monday,  Professor Rovelli delivered two beautifully pitched lectures. His engagement with the students was superb and it was a pleasure to meet someone of such international renown who was nevertheless generous and humble. Professor Rovelli made us all think hard about the natural world and our relationship to it. This event and others such as the visit to the Guardian Newspaper by the A Level Media group towards the end of the week, reflects our ongoing commitment to ensuring that all of our students are given wider opportunities to take part in activities that enrich the formal curriculum. The ‘Big Draw’ event that took place on Saturday 8th October was also very successful and enabled students from Sydenham School and local primaries to join together to express themselves through the medium of art. It was yet another really uplifting experience and thanks go again to the Performing Arts team  here in  school for arranging the event.

As ever, I wish you a restful weekend.

Kind regards

Gloria Lowe


Carlo Rovelli


Monday 10th October witnessed the much-anticipated arrival of Professor Carlo Rovelli, theoretical physicist and, in recent years, author of two world-renowned books.
Professor Rovelli works mainly in the field of quantum gravity; his lecture on Monday was on a different topic entirely. Welcomed by a plethora of keen students from Year 10, 11 and from the 6th Form, Professor Rovelli gave a concise and inspiring lecture on Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity, outlined in his publication “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”.

In the presence of the Channel 4 News crew and journalists from the Telegraph, Professor Rovelli proceeded to first talk us through Anaximander’s theory- the world was not composed of a flat earth with the sky above it, but that the sky was all around. While this seems obvious to us now in the 21st century, at the time it wasn’t widely accepted as people around the world did not understand how the Earth would stay suspended in the sky. Anaximander proved himself right by claiming that ‘up’ and ‘down’ were relative, as it depends on where you are.

Professor Rovelli then proceeded to apply the same principle of relative terms to plainly explain perhaps the most exciting theory of all: Special Relativity, the brainchild of Albert Einstein. By this point it was astonishingly clear just how passionate Professor Rovelli is about physics, and how fortunate we all were to partake in that moment.  The professor further expanded on the topic by comparing it to Anaximander’s theory: just as ‘up’ and ‘down’ are relative concepts, in the eyes of Einstein, the same applied to ‘past’ and ‘future’.  Students asked questions and we theorised about what general and Special Relativity could mean for science as a whole. For a while, there was talk of black holes and quantum physics.

We had the privilege to receive signed copies of Carlo Rovelli’s aforementioned “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics” and had the opportunity to talk to him in person. At the same time, some students were interviewed for the various media outlets that had come to document the lecture including Radio 4.  After the media crew had left, a few students remained to ask further questions. This particular experience left us feeling empowered and excited about science all over again, as if we were not excited enough already. Personally, I felt the occasion had been very enriching and had definitely given me an insight into the world of physics that I hope to one day be a part of.
I would like to thank Professor Rovelli for coming and all those involved in arranging the visit, especially the science department and Mr Ronson.

By Maja Zielinska, 11S

Celebrating Ada Lovelace  

This week the Maths and Digital Technologies Faculty celebrated the work of Ada Lovelace. In Maths lessons the girls carried out activities and were awarded Ada stickers and in Code Club the girls learnt to programme a poem generator using resources from the UK Code Club website (see link below). The activities were aimed at raising the profile of women in science, technology, engineering  and mathematics (STEM) and the girls were encouraged to focus on Ada’s achievements, as well as the achievements of other women in technology.

Ada Lovelace was a pioneer, who first saw the potential of computers in the Industrial  Revolution over 160 years ago. Her notes became  one of the critical documents to inspire Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing’s work  on the first modern computers in the 1940s. With women making up only 17% of the technology workforce in Britain, we hope that Ada Lovelace and other women might inspire the next generation of women into careers in Technology.

Code Club Ada Poem Generator:


The year 8 Netball team competed in the LSSSA netball Tournament on Thursday the 12th October at Conisborough College. They played against 5 different schools including Bonus Pastor, Haberdasher Aske's Knights Academy, Trinity, Hatcham and Conisborough College. The intensity of the games was high and the team worked really hard. Annabelle received a certificate for perseverance from the school who was running the event, Bonus Pastor. They kept their energy up and persevered through 5 games lasting 12 minutes each.

Well done to the year 8 netball team.

The participating students were

Rachael 8M
Annabelle 8Y
Kezia 8E
Tiuerhe 8E
Isobel 8S
Nancy 8A
Miah 8N
Queenie 8H
Abbie 8N.


Sports Leader Award

On Wednesday 12th October the 9 students who had been working towards their Sports Leaders Award used all the skills they had acquired over the last year to organise and run a King Ball Tournament for the year 8’s. This went very well with the sports leaders visiting tutor groups, putting on practice sessions, deciding how the competition would run, making certificates and going into assembly.

Below is a report from Yasmine Osbourne 10S
We as young leaders who are working towards out Sports Leaders Award decided to come together to put on a King Ball event for the year 8’s. We got each tutor group to choose 10 people to represent them. 2 weeks before the competition we offered training to help the year 8s find the best strategies for the event. Group D attended both the Friday training sessions that we offered and this must have supported them because they won the competition.

Overall, the event went well, we developed our leadership skills and we had a fun and rewarding time.


U16 Kent Netball Tournament

On Tuesday the U16 team travelled to Rainham Girls School in Kent to compete in the annual Kent Netball Tournament. There were 38 schools that competed and 4 groups. We played eight, 14 minute matches throughout the day and the students played fantastically well.

They improved with each game and picked up the changes to the new rules well. The stand out players were Iris for improving her defending skills and really making it hard for the opposition to score and Hatice for controlling the game and keeping her fitness up throughout all 8 matches. We won 2 of our 8 games so won’t be going through to the final round but the day has taught the girls a lot about resilience, patience and team work.

Left to right back row: Marvellous, Kiara, Christel, Iris, Haniah and Anna-May
Left to right front row: Jill, Mariam, Charlotte  and Hatice


Southbank Centre visit

On Tuesday, a group of year 10 students visited the Southbank Centre to see Caitlin Moran speak and read from her book “Moranifesto”
Caitlin Moran is a renowned Journalist and Author famous for books such as "How to be a Woman and How to build a girl" as well as “Moranifesto.”
This visit was part of the WOW (Women of the World) celebration and more specifically to celebrate The Day of the Girl.

Caitlin spoke to lots of different school groups about feminism is and what they can achieve as a young woman. She spoke about her own personal experiences and read some really inspiring parts from her Moranifesto including 10 things a teenage girl should do and how to accept compliments. The group also heard from two 18-year-old students. One of whom was responsible for campaigning to keep Feminism on A ‘Level Syllabuses by setting up a petition that 50,000 people have signed.

The visit was an inspiration, and helped our students to understand the idea that young women should realise that this is their moment to shine.
Eliza Wentworth Year 10


Parent Forum

Click here to read a letter about our Parent Forum on Thursday 20th October

from 7-8.00PM. Please do come along and have your voice heard!


Health and wellbeing

Earlier in the week myself and the Headteacher met with a nutritionist from Chartwells who will be working with us during the year. We will be running a joint programme of events, for students and families focusing on diet and exercise. We will be extending the learning already taking place in various areas of the curriculum and bringing it together, working with each year group in turn to develop student’s knowledge and skills in making healthy choices for lunch, in understanding the relationship between diet and good health and promoting exercise as a vital part of everyone’s life. Good habits stay with us for life and can have such a big impact on our health and well- being. We want to support our students in both their understanding and in taking them up to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

We look forward to beginning this work over the next half term

Joanne Smith
Assistant Headteacher


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