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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 196


Dear Families

I hope that your week has gone well. As you will be aware from the letter that the school sent home on Monday via your child, the school was subject to a Section 8 OFSTED Inspection this week. The two Inspectors observed numerous lessons, met with staff, students and Governors and scrutinised school documents. We were pleased to be able to show them our school community at work and at play. The day was a positive one. OFSTED will write a letter outlining their findings . We will publish this letter on the school website and also ensure that we email a copy home to each family. Thank you very much for responding to the OFSTED Parent Survey in healthy numbers. The vast majority of responses  recognised the very good work that the school is doing in providing a meaningful education for the students in the school.

As we draw towards the end of this Spring term you will see that much continues to take place across Sydenham School beyond the formal curriculum. We were fortunate this week to be able to welcome Liona Boyd to the school. Liona is a highly accomplished classical guitarist who is an ex student of the school. I was pleased to be able to welcome Liona to the school  and show her the many changes that have taken place since she was here as a student in 1961. This year is our 100 Year centenary of being a girls' school on this site. We look forward to celebrating this momentous fact through a series of events and will be sharing the details of this with you in the near future.

Indeed, as you can see from the Newsletter this week, students have been given a number of great opportunities to experience 'the Arts' outside of school. I know that they have both benefitted from and appreciated all of these activities and I would like to thank the teachers who have organised and led these events so well.

As ever, I hope that you have a restful weekend.

Kind regards

Mrs Lowe



I am delighted to be able to let you know that Ms Podmore, Deputy Headteacher, has been appointed as Headteacher at Eltham Hill School. This is a wonderful and well deserved appointment. Ms Podmore will take up her new post at Eltham Hill in September of this year.

We are delighted for Ms Podmore, and of course for Eltham Hill School, but equally there is no doubt that Ms Podmore’s departure from Sydenham will be a great loss for our school. We will be formally saying goodbye to Ms Podmore at the end of the summer term and I am sure that families will join me in offering Ms Podmore our congratulations. Further details will follow.


Visit of Liona Boyd, First Lady of Guitar


We were delighted to host Liona Boyd, a former student of Sydenham School, who is a world famous classical guitar player. She has performed for Presidents and other World Leaders, played to the Royal Family at Windsor Castle and for two British Prime Ministers. Liona has won five Juno awards (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) and has featured on many TV shows, written pieces for films and music videos.

Liona played for the whole of Year 7, read a chapter from her autobiography about her time at Sydenham School and then very kindly met with a large group of our Year 7 musicians for a question and answer session. Liona has led an exciting life, made possible by her career in music, and was an inspiring guest for our pupils.

Lewisham Live  

On 15th March the Year 12 AS Dancers performed in the annual Lewisham Schools Dance Showcase 'Lewisham Live'. The students took part in a technical dress rehearsal and live performance. They received a great deal of positive feedback about their work from the organisers from the Laban Centre who declared that their work was "beautiful ". The students also found the experience to be enriching and fulfilling. Here are just a few quotes from students:
"It was nice to be given the opportunity to be around like minded people with inspiring and passionate energy". (India, Kyle and Jim ).

"I like the fact that we could dance on a professional stage with professional lighting and technical effects." (Tahira and Alice).

"It was a great opportunity to showcase our art form amongst talent in a similar age group."( Lydia)


Young Musician of the Year Performance

On Wednesday 8th March a group of lucky students were privileged enough to go and see the young musician of the year, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, perform at a top law firm (Clifford Chance) in Canary Wharf. Sheku Kanneh-Mason performed three very different piano trios with two of his siblings. His elder sister, Isata Kanneh-Mason played piano and his elder brother, Mraimah Kenneh-Mason played violin with Sheku on cello. The three piano trios were by Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich.

Each of the three piano trios had a story behind them. The final piece, Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op, 67 by Shostakovich, were a product of personal and national events. It was dedicated to a close friend who had passed away and in the Spring of 1944 and  when it was written, conditions in Russia were difficult with the horrors of the death camps and fate of the Jewish people beginning to surface. It really was quite an intense piece of music! At the end of the performance we got to have our picture taken with all three siblings and were able to ask them questions. All of us at Sydenham School wish to go and see more education performances to inspire us. It was a great evening.

By Emmanuelle and Keisha


Live Voices

On the 9th March, Sydenham's Madrigal Group performed at Catford Broadway as part of Lewisham Live's music festival that is taking place across this month. We performed Lift Thine Eyes and Down Town - two very contrasting songs! We were the only group that sang a capella and it was really fun to see other primary and secondary school choirs perform from across the borough. I particularly enjoyed seeing Sedghill School's choir 'Vocalize' perform a 1975 and Adele song with a live band.

By Eliza

Live At The Halls

On 14th March, Sydenham's Guitar Ensemble performed at Blackheath Halls in another event that is part of Lewisham Live. We performed Canion de Cuna and the Super Mario Bros' theme tune. I really enjoyed performing the Super Mario Bros'  theme tune because the audience started clapping along! Many other local primary and secondary schools performed and I really enjoyed seeing the new primary school choirs that had never performed before.

By Amelia

Language Leader Award  

Some of our language students are so enthusiastic about their subject that they signed up for an out-of-hours programme to extend their skills, and then use them to teach other children. We have been working hard with our nine Year 8 students preparing their first 20-minute lesson for Eliot Primary School. The quality of their lessons has left us speech-less! Our students have practised their lessons amongst themselves and received professional feedback. They have responded so positively, and their lessons consist of such extremely professional material that we are donating the lesson resources to the primary school.

The project has provided a great opportunity for us as teachers to see the lessons from the point of view of the students, and enabled us to obtain excellent feedback about good language teaching and learning strategies.  The demand for the award has been so great that we have had to open it for our year 10s and we now have two new Year 10 members. It is so exciting to see Year 8 and Year 10 working together and helping each other! But also it has been so rewarding for all concerned to see our Year 10 students teaching Year 7, and how much our Year 7 students have enjoyed their teaching and support. We are delighted to see how our leader award activities are strengthening the community ties within and outside our school! …more to come next issue!


Careers in Writing - Wednesday 29 March - 16.00 to 17.00 - in the LRC

All of our students are invited to attend the Careers in Writing event after school on Wednesday 29 March.  Four literary professionals will be speaking about how to make a living putting pen to paper.  Please put the date in your child's planner and let me know if she is interested in attending.  More details to follow.  Many thanks,  Fiona Taylor, Careers and Enterprise Coordinator,



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