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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 193


Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

I hope that you managed to make the opportunity to spend some quality time with your children over the half term. I am pleased to say that the students have come back enthusiastically and ready to learn. You will see from the Newsletter this week that there has been a lot of purposeful and enjoyable activity in the school. I would like to thank all of the adults who continue to give up their own time to enable the students to benefit from such great opportunities which open their eyes to the wider world and develop those all important social skills. I have spent most mornings this week speaking with students in assemblies about making the most of school and working hard. I was very pleased to be able to award students who have excelled in a number of areas.

These include excellent attendance, punctuality, effort and sporting achievements. I have also been speaking with students about the values which unite the school community and which we live by every day. In a world which at times seems to be less united and more fractured, it is very important that we actively demonstrate our shared values which include respect, kindness, self-discipline and courtesy. We are determined that some of the hatred and intolerance which is a feature of some aspects of society do not feature here. We are an inclusive school community and the diversity of the school community is in part what makes the school such a vibrant place.

Please do continue to speak with your children about making the most of the wonderful school that they attend and please also do continue to encourage them to soak up all that is on offer beyond the formal curriculum in terms of the many extracurricular activities that take place.

I do hope, as ever, that you have a restful and enjoyable weekend .

Kind regards

Gloria Lowe


Holocaust Survivor Visit


A group of Year 8, 9 and 10 students had the pleasure of meeting with a Holocaust survivor on Friday 10th February 2017. Local resident Mrs Rachel Levy, gave a talk to students about her experiences as an inmate of both the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps during World War Two. Mrs Levy spoke about losing some members of her family during the Nazi persecution and being reunited with her brother after the Second World War ended. Mrs Levy showed the students the one remaining photo that she had of her birth family all together.

The students were clearly moved by the recollection of her experiences and they had many questions to ask. One Year 8 student asked her about when she was able to tell her children about her experiences of the Holocaust. A Year 9 student asked her if she still kept in contact with her best friend who had suffered with her in both concentration camps. Mrs Levy was happy to answer all of our questions. She also encouraged us not to allow our peers to influence us negatively in any way. We were reminded about the importance of self-worth and the need for optimism even during difficult times. This was an excellent opportunity to bring History to life for our students.

Justin Fisher, author of Ned’s Circle of Marvels  

Photo left to right:
Alice, Hebe, Shanay, Ruby, Sumayah

This week, students from 7D along with one Year 8 student, were given the opportunity to meet Justin Fisher, author of Ned’s Circle of Marvels. This was as a reward for the high volume of books they have collectively read since the beginning the school year- a very impressive 685!
The event was organised by Sydenham School Library but held at Forest Hill Boys School and the students listened to Justin talk with great humour, about his career as a designer, illustrator and animator for both film and television and more recently as an author. The students were able to buy a copy of Justin’s book and to have it personally dedicated by him. To find out more about Justin please visit his web page:

Single student with Justin – Sophie


World Book Week

World Book Week is on Thursday 2nd March and the Library will be holding several events to celebrate. All students will be given a book token which can be used for a free World Book Day book or enable a student to benefit from £1 off any book or audiobook worth £2.99 or more at any local bookseller.

On Monday February 28th & Wednesday 1st March, book quiz heats will be held for Y7 & 8 students and the 2 top scoring teams will then go on to participate in the Lewisham book Award on March 24th, competing with students from across the borough. Sydenham School has been the proud winner of this event 5 times and we are looking forward again this year to putting in another stellar performance.

Also, on Tuesday 1st March, a ‘Book Swap’ will be held in the library. Students have been asked to bring in their unwanted books which do need to be in good condition. They will be given a ‘ticket’ in exchange for the books and then be able to take a book in exchange.
Thursday 2nd March, students will be able to come to school dressed as a character from a book. This can be either individually or as a group and they must register in advance to be able to participate. Any student not registering by Tuesday 28th February must wear full school uniform on the day. Students will be given written permission to come to school the next day in costume by the Library staff.  There will be judging on the day for the best individual and group. This has always proved a difficult task over the years as there have been so many outstanding costumes to choose from both students and staff. 

Volleyball at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre  

On Wednesday 1st of February, a select group of PE BTEC and GCSE students were invited to Crystal Palace National Sports centre for a Volleyball taster session with none other than the Team GB volleyball captain Ben Pipes.

Ben and his team mates took us through a number of drills focusing on digging, setting and spiking as well as some communication activitie.We had lots of fun. Ben offered us some advice at the end of our session and told us about his career so far in Volleyball. It was interesting to hear that he didn’t start playing volleyball until he was 15 years old. Ben told us that he instantly loved it and was delighted that he had found something he was passionate about and urged us all to do the same.

“Find your passion, work hard, you will soon be on your own journey and hopefully be at the front of your own queue”.
We were then lucky enough to watch a men’s Volleyball match between the London Polonia and the Netherlands Dynamo team. It was very exciting to see such skillful and powerful play up so close and we thoroughly every single moment. We are very grateful to Ms Cantrill for organising this memorable day.

From left: Charlotte, Florence, Bea, Chantelle, Esme, Rose, Aaliya, Charlotte, Ms Cantrill
Front: Acacia, Tamsin and Tia _________________________________________________________________________________

Indoor athletics

On Tuesday 21st February, the Year 8 indoor athletics team took part in the qualifying round of the London Youth Games 2017. The students were very excited to be at this competition as it is the first final that Sydenham school has been in. The students have been working extremely hard ensuring they attended every training session and have put in their own hard work in their spare time as well.
Every member of the team tried their best in all the events which included the relay, obstacle relay, 2 laps, 4 laps, 6 laps, 8 laps 2x4 relay, shot put, a vertical jump, standing long jump, standing triple jump and ‘speed bounce’.

Only the top 2 schools go through to the Spring Finals. Unfortunately, we did not achieve a place in the top 3 but we now have had a good taste of competing at a high level and gained a better idea of what more we need to do to improve our game for the next level.
Well done to: Matilda, Queenie, Hope, Abigail,


Bulgarian Ski Trip

Over recent years, February half term has become ski trip time at Sydenham School and last week was no exception! 13 students from Year 10, 12 and 13 met staff at Heathrow very early on the morning of Sunday 12th February. We flew to Sofia and then headed up into the Bulgarian mountains for a week on the snow. The weather was perfect all week in the resort of Pamporovo, getting down to about -10ᴼc in the morning but generally up to about 4ᴼc later on in the day.

As a small group, Sydenham would have only been able to have two instructors so we teamed up with students from Christ College in Guildford and divided up into four groups with an instructor each. Over the week everyone developed and improved their skiing. The total beginners were able to get off the nursery slope on day two and take the chair lift to the summit to ski green and blue pistes. The intermediate and advanced groups skied almost all of the resort and even took a mini bus over to a separate ski area later in the week.

Evening activities included bowling, 'bum boarding' and heading out to a pizza restaurant where dinner was accompanied by a Bulgarian folk band! Needless to say the students were a credit to the school and the trip was fantastic from start to finish. Year 9, 11 and 12 watch this space as a 6th Form and year 10 trip next year looks very likely! A huge thank you goes to Mr Hodgson and Ms Bauer for giving up all of their half term holiday to take the students skiing.



Lost Property

All lost property not claimed by Friday 3 March 2017, 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). If your daughter has lost anything since starting in September, please ask her to come and check if it has been handed in before or after school, during break or lunch time. Many thanks.


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