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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 210


Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

This is the last school Newsletter of this academic year and a fitting one that includes many examples of the sorts of opportunities that have been on offer for students throughout the year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students and staff for all of their hard work this year and for making the year a successful as well as an enjoyable, one. I would also like to thank you for your ongoing support of your children and the school in general. On Friday evening some Year 11 parents organised a small event on the Sixth Form roof terrace to say ‘thank you’ to staff for the 5 years that their daughters have been at Sydenham so far. This was a lovely gesture and I would like to thank Maggie Hammond and all of the other families that were involved in making this happen and for organising this celebratory event on behalf of staff. Thank you as well to our Governors who give up their time selflessly to support the school so willingly and ably.

Good wishes go to those colleagues who are leaving the school at the end of this term. I would like to confirm that the new Year Learning Co-ordinator (YLC) for Year 11 will be Ms Bailey, a long standing and experienced YLC. Mrs Alexander, another long standing and experienced member of staff, will be leading Year 9 during Mrs Reid’s maternity leave.  Mr Ronson, an experienced and long standing Science teacher in the school, has been appointed as the new YLC for Year 7.

I hope that you have a good summer and that you are able to rest and spend some quality time together. Please do note the return to school dates that are contained in this Newsletter. We are aiming for 100% punctuality and as close to 100% attendance as possible next year. Please can you actively support the school and your child in reaching this target.

Kind regards

Mrs Lowe


Year 11 Prom


On the evening of 29th June, 150 Year 11 students came together to celebrate in one of the most eagerly awaited social events of the year, the Year 11 Prom 2017! It was difficult not to be impressed by the effort and attention to detail that the students put into their glamourous outfits- they looked absolutely wonderful. It was fitting, therefore, that the venue was the Bromley Court Hotel. The Year 11s enjoyed a delicious gourmet buffet, sumptuous cakes, sweets and treats. They danced the night away through the pain of their blistered feet and clearly had a fantastic time together. Thank you very much to Ms Bailey and Ms White for leading the event as well as to Ms Cameron for making the fine cupcakes.

To see the full gallery and purchase images please visit Nick Reynolds Photography here: Password is, bromley

Thank you to the Year 11s of 2017 and to all the staff that attended this event and for making it a very special night to remember. We look forwrad to seeing you again on Results Day in August.

Prom Cakes by Millie Cameron                      

The Garden Suite, Bromley Court Hotel.


Year 9 Spanish Andalusia Visit 2017


In front of Colon´s Tomb

Travelling to learn. A group of 25 Sydenham students eager to immerse themselves in the Spanish culture, accompanied by three of their teachers travelled, from 27 June to 1 July to Andalusia in southern Spain. And, indeed the immersion was intense although the weather was very kind. It was an absolute delight to take part in all the activities relating to the diverse cultural aspects of the region. Our first stop was the world heritage “Alhambra Palace”, where the girls had the opportunity to enjoy this spectacular Arabic cultural legacy. Arabic culture mixed with Christianity, along with other religions and cultures have contributed to form what we now know as the  diverse cultural heritage of the south of Spain.

Estudiando español

The sumptuous constructions surrounded by wonderful gardens and crisscrossed by fountains and water channels bringing to life an arid and hot landscape, transported our minds to its ancient history and even, beyond, to a magic world.  The next stop was “Sevilla” (Seville) the capital city of the region. After having lunch in the famous “Parque Maria Luisa” (Maria Luisa Park) we visited “La Plaza España” (Spain´s square) and the Cathedral.

Another magical place where the mind is transported to the wonders of the world history was Cristobal Colon’s tomb (Cristopher Columbus). There was time to think about the first expedition by Columbus in 1492  in three very small ships called “La Pinta”, “La Niña”, and La “Santa Maria”. Of course the land was already inhabited by indigenous peoples who were eventually largely replaced by the Spanish invaders. Spanish is one of the fastest growing languages in the world, with America being the country with the second largest amount of Spanish speaking people. It was a wonderful visit. Thank you to Ms Ossa for leading the trip and to Ms Lorens and Mr Dotteridge for accompanying the students too.

Jardines de la Alhambra: photographer Rosie

We also had the opportunity to have a glimpse at legendary gold brought from America that enriched so much of the Spanish Empire, England and Europe, as the main altar of the cathedral is made of it.  Every day was a new wonder. The next day we went to two very traditional Spanish towns, Ronda where we had the opportunity to visit a “Plaza de Toros” (a bull ring) and learn about this controverted tradition and Mijas, a traditional town of white buildings with rich ceramics and artisan products. On the last day of our trip we went to Malaga, another big city in the region where we visited the “Museo Picasso” (Picasso Museum). We learnt about the famous painter and enjoyed his work. This intense learning by travelling was also complemented with four hours of language learning in a school, where the girls worked so well and were so motivated that the teachers of the school commended them for their excellence. We even had time for some leisure activities which included a theme park, enjoying the hotel summing pool and some souvenir shopping. We also took part in flamenco dancing lessons and ate 'tapas', which is traditional Spanish food, in small bite sizes! What a trip… wow! We came back, not tired, but loaded with renewed energy and motivated to continue learning as the best way to enrich and enjoy the whole world around us.


UKMT Maths Challenge – Our Best Results Ever!

The UKMT Mathematics Challenges aim to develop and inspire interest in Mathematics.  They encourage students to think for themselves and develop critical reasoning and problem-solving.  Year 7 and Year 8 girls from Sydenham School took part in the Junior Challenge on 27th April, along with over a quarter of a million students from across the UK! We had a record number of students achieving certificates this year: 28 girls from Year 7 and 32 girls from Year 8.

Year 7 High Achievers:
We are immensely proud of Zoë, Efa and Charlotte who did really  well and achieved Gold Certificates.
Commendable praise goes to Ella, Caoimhe, Imogen, Jada, Elspeth, Angharad, Iris, Maisy, Belle, Daisy, Sophie, Sofia and Teagan who all did wonderfully well in gaining Silver Certificates.
Cai-Lin, Kiarna, Lucy, Dija, Rhianna, Lily, Nerissa, Nina, Florence, Mikah, Isabel and Amelie also did very well for achieving Bronze Certificates.

Year 8 High Achievers:
We are tremendously proud of Maryam, Ummu and Chloe who achieved Gold Certificates.
Admirable praise goes to Simi, Anna, Sola, Florrie, Roha, Lily, Aminata, Polly, Aoife, Keisha and Jasmine who all received Silver Certificates.
For achieving Bronze Certificates praiseworthy mention goes to Leila, Miah, Ruby (B), Ruby (H), Catherine, Lilian, Morag, Zara, Annabelle, Izabella, Abi, Grace, Khamani, Ellie, Lalitha, Maya, Isobel and Rebecca.
Congratulations once again to all of these girls and well done to everyone else who took part. Thanks must go to Ms Smith for leading this event and giving our students access to this great opportunity.

Follow-On Rounds.
Maryam (8S) and Zoë (7S) did amazingly well and had the prestigious honour of taking part in the Junior Kangaroo Challenge paper which was sat by young Mathematicians across Europe and beyond last month.

Fit To Study Programme  

The Year 7’s have been busily taking part in their fit to study programme. Our first round of questionnaires is now complete and we have been recording each students’ cardiovascular fitness with a Bleep test. We will assess cardiovascular fitness again in September and then at the end of Year 8.

We have had a number of visits from Jack Posse a researcher at Oxford Brookes University . Students have had monitors attached to their wrists to track their movement in PE lessons.

We look forward to the findings at the conclusion of next year to assess the impact that Physical Education and physical activity have on health and well-being.

If any student has not completed the questionnaire or the bleep test it is important to come to the PE office to see Ms Cantrill.

BIP – Masterclass

On Monday 10th July students competed their Basketball Inspiration Programme with a masterclass being held at Lewisham Thunder.

We took 15 students to participate along with the other schools who had been involved in the programme. It was a fantastic event and our students were mixed up with the other schools which was really positive as we were able to make some new friends.

There was practice on shooting, dribbling and passing,  all run by professional female basketball players. There was also a skillful demonstration from the professionals which was mesmerising to watch as their shooting and passing were so accurate.

The girls were thoroughly inspired by the end of the session and some even received prizes for MVP (most valued player) and great focus/effort. The players were split into 4 working groups. Students who won prizes were Maya and Jade for effort and focus and Shannon for MVP.
The programme looks like it is going to be a success with at least 5 of our girls wanting to sign up to join the club. Well done everyone!


SFH6 Enrolment: 24th August
We are looking forward to welcoming Year 11 into our Sixth Form (SFH6) on GCSE Results Day - 24th August. A letter has been sent home with details about enrolment but please note that students will be able to enroll on 24th August once they have collected their GCSE results. This will take place in the Main School Hall. We look forward to seeing you then.

AS and A Level Results Day: Thursday 17th August
Results will be available for Year 12 and Year 13 students to collect from 9.00am at Sydenham and Forest Hill Schools. Sixth Form staff will be present to support Year 13 students with any university queries.


Jack Petchey Faraday Challenge Celebration Event

In March, a group of six Year 8 students won the Faraday Challenge hosted in school. As a result, they were invited to a Jack Petchey Celebration Event at the Institution of Engineering and Technology last week.

Our students were asked to develop a product which would improve performance for the Land Rover BAR team and to present their product at the celebration event. The product had to be based around the BBC micro:bit devices, which meant that students also had to write code for their product.
The team, which includes Ummu-Lkhay, Michelle, Florrie, Chloe, Hadil and Gracie, worked hard to meet the brief and met up in the school library at lunch time to design their product, write their code and produce resources that would make their team stand out.
On the day of the event, we travelled to central London and the girls set up their table. At first, they were somewhat overwhelmed by how many teams there were from other schools but they need not have been anxious.
All of the teams at the event were given a certificate, a pin badge and a Jack Petchey 'goodie bag' as a celebration for reaching the finals.

Then the judging began. The teams were scored out of 10 for each of the six awards, which were:

  • Team spirit
  • Innovation
  • Product design
  • Most promising engineers
  • Best pitch
  • Team we would most like to spend a day with.

The girls held their own when the judges reached their table and they clearly able to articulate their thinking brilliantly and answered all of the judges’ questions confidently and eloquently.

Before the judges announced the winners, there was also an inspiring lecture from Rob Tolfts, an engineer from the Land Rover BAR team.
Finally, the results were announced and the girls sat on tenterhooks, hopeful that they would be chosen for one of the awards out of the 30-plus schools present at the event. We were over the moon when Sydenham School were announced as the winners of the “Most Promising Engineers” award.

It was a fantastic day and we could not have been more proud of the girls’ hard work and achievement. Well done to everyone. This is a fantastic achievement which we will build on in our ongoing  exploration in the field of engineering.

News From The Library

Puffin Publishers
Over the past month, seven students across the various year groups, along with students from Forest Hill Boys School, took part in an exciting reading project with Puffin publishers.
Puffin are rereleasing modern classics and asked our school to establish a focus group to help them gauge how popular the books may be.  Each student was given a free copy of the book 'Abomination' by Robert Swindells along with a list of questions for discussion before meeting with Puffin representatives in our Library.
They discussed the characters and content and debated the moral aspects of the book, which gave students the chance to delve deeper into the meaning behind the story. As well as giving feedback on the design for the new cover, everyone agreed unanimously that the book was still relevant. 

Library Monitor’s Picnic
On Friday at lunchtime, we took 20 Library Monitors for a picnic in Baxter Field which is just behind the school.

This was our way of saying thank you to the students who have given up their own time to help us throughout the school year. Their service has been invaluable and much appreciated.
The picnic blanket was laden with lots of delicious food and the girls enjoyed a range of activities.

Summer Reading
All students are able to borrow 3 books to read over the holidays so we hope you will encourage your daughter to call into the Library next week to select her summer reading.
Many thanks

Mrs Joseph
Library Officer


Congratulations to the Year 9 and Year 10 Students Who Have Just Returned From Work Experience

In June, eight Year 9 students went to the National Theatre for four days of tours, workshops and careers talks.  The girls had a wonderful time.  They said:  “We enjoyed doing tours around the theatre and experiencing working with new people” and “We enjoyed learning about the way a theatre is run and discovering what it takes to make a production”.

All of our Year 10 students have been out on two weeks of work experience.  They returned to school this week with glowing reports from their employers as well as from the Sydenham staff who visited them. Employers are keen to have Sydenham students again next year.  One said of a Sydenham student:  “Her design work is like that of a graduate. I cannot believe that she can produce this standard of work at 15 years old”.  Well done to ALL of our girls. You have been great ambassadors for our school.

Summer 2018 - Work Experience for Year 10 and Year 12

Next summer the Year 10 students will be on work experience from 02 – 13 July and Year 12 pupils will be on work experience from 16 - 20 July 2018.  We have found that the earlier you look for work experience the easier it is to secure quality placements.  (Some employers like Glaxo Smith Kline insist that pupils apply by October).  So please start working with your daughters now to secure interesting, enjoyable placements for next summer.

Barclays offer work experience to 14 to 19 year olds -

One for Year 12’s to look out for (when they update it) -  

Young People and Part Time Paid Work

Young people can start part time work from the age of 13 in the UK.  See the Government restrictions concerning the hours and type of work that they can undertake –

An employer who employs a 13 to 16 year old has a statutory responsibility to inform Lewisham Child Employment Section -

Have a lovely summer, Fiona Taylor, Careers and Enterprise Coordinator


Feminism Deep Learning Day – Wednesday 12th July

As part of our commitment to equality we have had a Feminism Deep Learning Day over the last few years when students get to look at and think about feminist issues in more depth. This year the event was tied in with our Centenary and girls learnt about the history of women’s rights and how the changes have affected the history of Sydenham School.
Students in Year 7 and 8 had the opportunity to study extracts from the school Log Book and find out about what life was like for students during the two World Wars and after the school became comprehensive in the 1950s. They were interested to learn that in 1917 a main part of the curriculum seems to be growing and harvesting food in the gardens while in 1944 students still had to take exams despite spending most nights sheltering from the flying bombs falling on South London.

A Centenary film was made by 6th Form Media Studies students with the support of Mr Marcus, Head of Media Studies, and was shown to all year groups in assemblies or lesson time. The film includes interviews with teachers who were also students here and some amazing aerial footage of the school showing our fantastic new site. The film will be on our website soon so that parents can see it too.

A highlight of the day was when Year 7 and 8 had the opportunity to watch a show debate put on by our highly successful Debate Mate teams. Year 7 heard them debate the proposition ‘This house believes that the music industry objectifies and degrades women’ and Year 8 watched them debate ‘This house believes that Barbie is an enemy of feminism.’. The debates were very high quality and students contributed lots of good questions from the floor. In both cases the proposers were judged to have won the debate but students left the hall still discussing the issues as both teams put forward strong arguments.

Finally in the afternoon Rebecca Manson Jones, a Sydenham Governor and a founder of the Women’s Equality Party, delivered a workshop to Year 9 Drama students looking at ‘Women in Politics and public life’ and inspired many of them to think about how they might organise campaigns to change things they were passionate about.

Erika Podmore
Deputy Headteacher


Sports Leaders Festival – Assessment Day

The Sports Leaders have been working hard to develop their leadership skills since January 2017. They have given up their Friday lunch times to try and get this qualification. Some Leaders have gone into other primary schools to lead mini sessions, some leaders have planned and taken after school clubs and they have lead sessions for each other.

This Qualification was not all practical they had to all fill in a Sports Leader booklet, which consisted of skills and behaviours a leader should have, how to work in a team, an audit of their own skills form the beginning of the award to the end of the award, three session plans and reviews and finally their leading activity log. On Wednesday the 12th July the Sports Leaders had to put all their skills to the test for their final assessment. They had planned and organised a fun Sports Leader festival which meant that they had to organise younger pupils from primary schools to come in, plan how the session would run, what they were going to do in the session, a point system and certificates.

The primary school kids had lots of fun and their teachers said it was a brilliant event. I am pleased to say that all 20 Sports Leaders have passed and are now qualified Sports Leaders. This means that they can now plan and run their own clubs. Next year from September all 20 Sports Leaders will be running their own lunch clubs every day of the week. The activities they will be planning and running are Football, Volleyball, Netball, Netball shooting and Indoor Athletics.

Well Done Shermya, Sharifa, Florence, Eva, Chantelle, Bea, Ruth, Greta, Esme, Marvellous, Irene, Boo, Eleanor, Piper, Charlotte, Jill, Anna, Melissa, Jodie, Maddison


Discovery Day, Microsoft

On Tuesday 11th July four year 8 students went on a trip to the Microsoft office in Paddington. These students worked creatively with Microsoft staff, other schools, parents and teachers to present ideas based on different discussion points. One of the discussion points our group explored was developing an idea of a piece of technology which could help save the world!

By the end of the day our girls came up with an imaginative invention of a flying car to be used by emergency services. Our girls confidently pitched their idea to everyone else, and also had a prototype designed using a newly released software called Paint 3D.


PE Fundraising

So, we have come to the end of the year and I will like to say a massive thank you to all the pupils for helping to raise funds for the new PE team kits. Especially the Physical Education and Performing Arts ambassadors for giving up their time to help run events.
To re-cap the events we have run are: the sponsored mile run in PE lessons, staff car wash, team photos, selling of tickets to an event and the staff v staff rounders match. Also thanks again to the PTA for their donation.
The final total is £1,136.36. This is a fantastic amount and means we can now order the new netball dresses and the football/basketball kit.


Lost Property
All lost property not claimed by Wednesday 19 July 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). Students should come and check if their belongings have been handed in if they have lost anything since September, before or after school, during break or lunch time.


Sydenham PTA Events in July and September

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.



Thank you for all your support this year in ensuring the highest possible standards of uniform.  Please check the Uniform and Equipment list on the website carefully before your son/daughter returns to us in September.  Please note the following points in particular:

1.       Hair
Please ensure that your son/daughter’s hair is a natural colour before the start of term and remember that extreme hairstyles (eg with shaved sections) are not permitted.

2.       Jewellery
Students may wear one small pair of studs (one stud in each lower earlobe) and a watch.  No other jewellery of any type is permitted.  Please ensure that any additional jewellery has been removed before the start of term as plasters over piercings will not be allowed from September.

3.       Shoes/Coats
Shoes must be black and polishable (suede/canvas shoes are not permitted).
Coats must be plain black or dark navy blue and without visible logos or patterns.


Parent Forum

Thank you to all parents who attended the Parent Forum meeting earlier this term, where we discussed the school's recent “Good” Ofsted inspection.

During that meeting, we explored the possibility of another Parent Forum, focussing on High Performance Learning, happening before the end of the Summer Term. Unfortunately, this was not possible to arrange this term, but we would like to give you early notice of our next Parent Forum. This will happen on Thursday 19th October, from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.  Further details will be shared at the start of next academic year.

We look forward to welcoming parents to this event.


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