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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 209


Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

There is much to celebrate and applaud, once again, in the Newsletter this week. We have been fortunate to be able to welcome a number of visitors to the school during the week including a Headteacher from an international school in Spain. Dawn Akyurek toured the school, went into lessons and met with staff who spoke with her about the progress that the school is making in implementing the High Performance Learning framework that we introduced in September last year. Dawn was impressed with what she saw and we hope that there may be an ‘exchange’ visit to Madrid in the not too distant future.

Wednesday was Induction Day for our new Year 7 students who will be joining us in September. In the evening there was a separate event for new families who were able to learn a little bit more about the school and meet with me, Ms Emmanuel and Mr Ronson who is the newly appointed Year Learning Co-ordinator (YLC) for Year 7. Mr Ronson shared the ‘Dare to Be Challenged’ Year 7 High Performance Learning Project with families and explained that there would be a focus on 6 key areas : collaborate, contribute to community, be resilient, deliberate practice, be resourceful and be ready to learn. We are looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to school in September after what we hope will have been a restful and good holiday for all. The ‘Dare to be Challenged’ project involves our new Year 7 students challenging themselves to do something different (with their families) such as perhaps learning Origami, taking up a new sport or learning how to cook well.

I hope that you have plans to make the most of all of the wonderful events and activities that London has to offer. Many of these are free. We do after all, live in one of the greatest cities in the world. Please do also encourage your daughter to continue to read for pleasure. Research shows that children who are widely read do much better in exams than those who read for limited amounts of time only. Finally, please can you remember to ‘top up’ your child’s lunch account using either Parentpay or at a PayPoint. A few students have arrived in school this week without sufficient funds in their account. Whilst the school has managed to resolve these instances and enabled access to a meal, it is important that from now on there is enough money  in your child’s lunch account on a regular basis. The new cashless catering system is working well. Queues are shorter, there is increased uptake and it is much safer for your children, who no longer have to bring money with them to and from school.

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

Kind regards

Mrs Lowe


Dalmain Primary School E-Safety Presentation


On Monday 26th June, we visited Dalmain Primary School to give a presentation on e-safety and how to stay safe online. We could have not asked for a better audience. The Year 5 and 6 students were engaged and enthusiastic in answering all of our questions. They also asked us several insightful questions which we answered and gave advice on. It was a great experience for us as Digital Leaders and we have been asked by Dalmain School to come back again to give another presentation next academic year with a new set of Digital Leaders to whom we wish the very best of luck.

by Irene, Thagshiga, Grace.

Eco Society Visit to Riddlesdown  

On Tuesday 27th June, the Eco Society went on a field visit to Riddlesdown Common in Purley. We took part in some conservation work by helping the warden of the area, Sarah Clifford, who put out squares of carpet for slow worms (legless lizards) to live under in order to monitor their population growth.

We were also able to hold a female slow worm, as well as see many other rare species such as Skylarks (birds that are on the 'Red List'), Roesel’s Bush Crickets (which are found in very few areas around London), the Greater Yellow Rattle (a plant that is a parasite on grass), Pyramidal Orchids as well as Marbled White Butterflies to name but a few of the many species of plants and insects that we saw.

We were also very lucky to have the extremely rare opportunity of seeing a wild Dormouse, an elusive little mammal that is declining in number. Very few people have been privileged to see and weigh  a tiny Dormouse in a sandwich bag (which is entirely safe for the Dormouse), like we did.

Olga Olver  12S, Founder  of the Eco Society


“Write yourself in!”
Playwriting News Update!

You may remember from a recent edition of the SYD Newsletter that the Drama department hosted a writer's workshop here at Sydenham School from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The workshop was a creative session focusing on character creation and storytelling and was delivered to a group of Year 7 and 8 students in their Drama lessons. 16 schools in total took part in the project and over 60 students entered the competition writing stories in response to a given brief provided The Royal Central School.

The focus of the writing was to include A BOX. Either found, given or discovered. There were no parameters to what was in the box, the kind of box or what the box could do. The story was to include a maximum of 4 characters and in some way to incorporate the box.

Shortlisted stories were chosen based on:

*          Originality
*          Character building
*          Plot/Story
*          Distinctive written voice
I am pleased to announce that Lucy and Noura in 8S were shortlisted for the play writing competition and had their work read at a rehearsed reading on Wednesday evening on the 28th June 2017. The reading by a group of actors was held at Royal Central’s Embassy Theatre based in Central London. Both girls did exceptionally well to meet the very tight deadline and high standards of the competition and submitted two highly imaginative and creative storylines for their entries. Lucy’s play was entitled “Shadow,” and Noura’s play was entitled “The Misleading Diamond.”

Workshop leaders Jaime and Iris from Royal Central with the Actor Ade Oshineye with Noura Zampalagre 8S and her Mother and younger sibling.


The evening was inspiring and showed a wealth of talent from the young people that entered.
“It was strange to hear my words read aloud. In places it was weird as that’s not how I imagined it in my head when I wrote it. One character sounded different but it was both funny and unfamiliar at the same time.”
Noura. Well done to both girls on their achievement.
Ms M Catchpole
Subject Leader of Drama

Lucy and Noura, 8S.

Theatre Meets Science In a World of Passion, Secrecy and the Future of the Solar System  

A group of Year 9 students went to see The Life of Galileo on Wednesday 28th June 2017 at the Young Vic. The Brecht play tells the tale of Galileo and his struggles with learning and truth versus earning a living and appeasing his landlord.

The  theatre group outside the theatre before the performance.

The play was staged in the round with visually stunning projections and images to convey a sense of wonder about the earth and the stars. The audience was encouraged to interact in the style allowed for direct audience address as well as participate in some elements keeping true to Brecht’s style of alienated theatre that enables the audience to think about what they are watching rather than be swept up in the emotion of it.
Galileo was an important figure in the world of Science and astronomy. Galileo was accused of heresy when his views went against the religious teachings as he believed that the sun was at the centre of the solar system.

The unique staging with the audience at the centre of the action. A huge circular screen pivots above the audience.

“I loved the use of video and projections; it was like looking up at the stars and seeing the discoveries Galileo made for the first time.” Jasmine 9N

“Brendon performed with real passion and energy. You could tell he passionately believed his theories. It is a shame that the world often does not recognise genius in a lifetime, often instead only years later after an individual has been persecuted.” Eleanor 9A

Brendon Cowell who played Galileo.  

Ms Catchpole
Subject Leader for Drama



Basketball Inspiration Programme

On Thursday 29th June we had a fantastic, inspirational assembly about young women in sport, followed by a master class in basketball by 2 female Great Britain basketball players.
Michelle Moore has set up the Basketball Inspiration Programme (BIP) and secured funding to be able to encourage and support girls to be more involved in sport . We were one of three schools in Lewisham picked out for this unique project. Michelle, along with Rosalee Mason (former Great Britain Basketball Player) and Paige Robinson (Great Britain Basketball Player) gave a very moving and uplifting  assembly to Year 8 and 9 students about getting involved in sports and the benefits of doing so. We also heard  how Paige, a Lewisham girl herself got into professional basketball. Staff and students loved the assembly and it definitely has made an impact as already 10 students have asked for information about the Lewisham Thunder Basketball Programme.

After the assembly 20 students in Year 8 took part in a masterclass run by Rosalee and Paige and they thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fun, energetic and set at the right pace. These students will also be going to an afternoon session at Lewisham Thunder on Monday 10th July.
Over the past 3 years we have won at least one of the 2-year group competitions within the Lewisham Secondary Schools Sports Association and then gone on to represent Lewisham against other London boroughs. We are hoping this programme will help us to keep that fine record going, get more students involved in basketball and win even more trophies.


Staff vs Staff Rounders

On Wednesday lunchtime we had our last event to raise money to go towards our new team kits which was a staff vs staff rounders match. This was a fantastic event with a large number of staff members getting involved in the match but also coming to watch and support. It was Mr Ronson’s team vs Mr Freakes team. Both teams were highly competitive and wanting to win with one team even arranging a practice before hand!

In the first innings Mr Ronson’s team batted first and scored 2 ½ rounders with the fielding team managing to get 3 players out. Mr Freake's team scored an impressive 5 rounders with the fielding team getting 5 players out. We had a quick turnaround for the second innings and Mr Ronson’s team upped their batting and managed 3 huge hits out of the MUGA onto the Sports Hall roof! They scored 4 ½ rounders. Mr Freake's team came to bat for the second innings and also scored 4 ½ rounders but unfortunately for Mr Ronson’s team they lost 7 rounders to 9 ½ .
Most importantly we managed to raise a fantastic £108 from the event. This sum of money will allow us to buy at least 3 more kits for the school. A good outcome all round.


Duke of Edinburgh

This weekend a group of Year 12 and 13s travelled to the New Forest for their assessed expedition. Luckily, the weather had cooled since their practice expedition and the rain managed to hold off. Over the three days the group walked approximately 60km carrying all their clothes, tents, cooking equipment and food. Along the way the students also completed a project. The aims of this included looking at the impact of humans on the environment, the psychological effect of the expedition on the group and biodiversity i.e  the range of insects/plants and their habitats. The hard work paid off as everyone on the expedition passed. These points count towards one of four sections they needed to obtain the award. The awards ceremony for all students who have completed their award this year will be held on 18th December and we look forward to celebrating your achievements with you then.

News From The Library

The Readathon came to a finish on 16th June and I am happy to report that the students of year 7 & 8 raised £325.00.  We would like to thank you for your support in helping your daughter to raise money for a very good cause, which will benefit children in hospital, giving them access to books and storytellers.


Sydenham PTA Events in July and September

PTA drinks – Friday 7 JulyHonor Oak Pub at 19.30 – EVERYONE IS VERY WELCOME TO ATTEND to celebrate the end of another full year at Sydenham.

Year 7 Welcome Picnic – Sunday 17 September – 15.30 to 17.00 – at the Horniman Museum Gardens.  (Behind the Band Stand).  Come along with your family and friends to welcome the new Year 7 families to our school community.


The Royal Society – Summer Science Exhibition – Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July

A free festival of science and technology.  This event is highly recommended for all of our pupils if you are free this weekend.


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