Latest Letters Home I Sydenham Website I SIMS I My Maths I Sam Learning
Follow us on: Twitter
Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 221


Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

I hope that your half term went well and that you and your family had a relaxing break. It is remarkable that we are now in the second half of the academic year. Much has been achieved and we are excited about the on-going work that is occurring to make Sydenham School an even better place to learn. Below is a copy of the High Performance Learning (HPL) flyer that has been produced to explain to families what learning and behaviour looks and feels like for our students. We believe that  HPL is an essential element in raising standards across the school and ensuring that teaching becomes consistently outstanding over time.

We hope that the SYD Newsletter increasingly reflects the inclusive school that we are and that you are now more aware of the many opportunities that are in place for all of our students. We are increasingly focusing on ensuring that students in Key Stage 3, Years 7 and 8, are also given experiences that widen their horizons and expand their thinking. The Year 8 Careers Convention that took place last week and involved 16 employers is an excellent case in point. Ms Taylor, our Careers Coordinator , is working incredibly hard to open up the world of work to our students. Year 10  and 12 will be going onto Work Experience later on this academic year. If you can support on offering any high quality work experience placements yourself or indeed know of any employers who might be able to help, please do let Ms Taylor know.

As ever, I hope that you have a restful and enjoyable weekend when you get there.

Kind regards

Mrs Lowe



A Schools Tour of “Cuttin’ It” by The Royal Court Theatre


On the 2nd of February 2018, The Royal Court Theatre came to Sydenham School to present a play around the sensitive topic of Female Genital Mutilation, a very current issue in Britain today and part of the Personal and Social Education curriculum.
The play called ‘Cuttin’ It’ was written by Charlene James and directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour. The tour involved pre- show workshops for students, a Question and Answer session with the cast and creative team and a wonderful and professional show.
“The workshop was very informative and gave an insight into what the performance ‘Cuttin’ it’ would be about. It helped me understand exactly the different types of FGM.” Megan Macmahon 10E

The touring production was as professional as a major theatre production and was the same high standard of work that we would have seen on the main stage at The Royal Court. This quality of work gave the students a remarkable theatre experience in terms of style of work and production values.

A number of students were emotional as the storyline really allowed them to connect with the characters and their journey. The language and expression of the text was very relevant to young people today and showed the two sides of a very delicate but important topic.

“I thought the performance was fantastic; the set was very creative and the acting was extremely well performed and engaging. The cast took the subject very seriously which I appreciated since not enough people know about the subject of FGM. The fact that the whole scenario was so realistic really added to the overall effect. It was incredibly emotional and moving. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend this tour to others. “ Lola 10H

“It was an extremely piece that was performed exceptionally well. The two actors were outstanding. They were able to transform into teenage girls every effectively and made the play very believable. I am glad I had the chance to see it.” Megan 10E

Ms Catchpole
Subject Leader of Drama

Pancake Workshop  

In preparation for Spring half term, a group of Year 7 students took part in a pancake making workshop before school one morning. They learnt how to make pancakes, and why we eat pancakes on this day.

Did you know?

Shrove Tuesday is the day in February or March immediately preceding Ash Wednesday, which is celebrated in some countries by eating pancakes. Shrove comes from the word ‘Shrive’ which means  ‘to fast’.
The custom of eating pancakes on this day goes back over a thousand years.
It started as Shrove Tuesday which was the day before a period of fasting, which Christians call ‘Lent’ and all the ‘fatty’ ingredients such as butter, eggs and milk had to be used up before the fasting started.

The students made over 30 pancakes and filled them with combinations of nutella, fresh strawberries, bananas, cream and maltesers. They also tried flipping them and as you can see from the pictures, they were mostly successful!
Here is their recipe for you to try- do note the extra special secret ingredient which adds more bubbles to the batter!

For the pancake mixture
·         110g/4oz plain flour, sifted
·         pinch of salt
·         1 egg
·         200ml/7fl oz milk
·         75ml/3fl oz sparkling water
·         Oil for frying
1.       Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs - any sort of whisk or even a fork will do - incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.
2.       Next gradually add small quantities of the milk and water, still whisking (don't worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream.
3.       Now get the pan really hot and add a tbsp of oil, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you're using the correct amount of batter. I find 2 tbsp is about right for an 18cm/7in pan. It's also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife - the other side will need a few seconds only - then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.
4.       Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate.
5.       To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra sections of lemon.


Parent Forum Spring Term 1

Tuesday 30 January 2018
Thank you very much for all those families who attended the Parent Forum meeting on Tuesday.
It was great to see some familiar faces as well as some new ones. For those of you who missed it, we had a presentation from Chartwells, our school caterers.

The evening began with a talk from the nutritionist at Chartwells on how the menus are devised, and information about nutrition and allergens. This was followed by a talk on how the food is sourced and cooked as well as cashless catering and recycling.

And finally, we all got to sample a typical Tuesday Menu, a genuine experience akin to the daily experience of the students.

It was evident from your feedback that you enjoyed all three parts to the evening, particularly the tasting session!

We will be working through your suggestions with both Chartwells and the Senior Leadership Team at Sydenham School in order to improve the food offer as well as to get best value for money.

Some of your feedback was:

  • Sharing the menus via an email link so that you can discuss the choices with your child- we will speak to Chartwells about placing an updated version of the menu onto our website
  • For the nutritionist at Chartwell's to deliver an assembly to all year groups
  • Make pricing more explicit so that students can make an informed choice and at the same time improve their mental arithmetic
  • Look at what is included in the Meal Deal and discuss the pros and cons of ‘autonomous spending’
  • Offer more vegan/vegetarian options.

We will also be working closely with the School Council to ensure we capture and act on our invaluable Student Voice.


  • No salt is used in cooking in the kitchens
  • Pastry puddings are only allowed once per week
  • None of the drinks served have any added sugar. They are all fruit based
  • Fresh salad is available every day for every student and it is FREE if it is accompanied by a main meal or pizza
  • Jugs of water are available daily and there are 7 water fountains in the school for students to fill up their water bottles.
  • ‘Thank you for a really well presented evening, the excellent quality of food and good information on nutrition’.
  • The next Parent Forum will be on 17 April 2018between  6.30-7.30pm where the topic for discussion will be:  ………………………………

Oxford Brooks University  

On the 7th of February we had a visitor from Oxford Brooks University, Nicholas Beale (pictured in the back) who is the trial manager for the Year 8 "Fit To study Programme". This is a year long study that we are undertaking with 90 other schools around the country. The study is looking at the link between physical activity and cognitive development.

Nicholas handed out a number of 'movement watches' for the students to put on. This was to check the amount of activity the students in 8H are undertaking in their typical PE lesson. Nicholas has fed back to us since and our data seems to show that there has been an improvement from the baseline data he had gathered  from earlier in the year. We were all very pleased to hear that!

To meet the requirements of the study the PE Department has been instructed to have all our year 8 classes complete 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity for every hour of Physical Education that we provide for them. This includes a number of 'infusions' such as lunges, squats, fast feet and fast arms to name just a few.

We are very much looking forward to the outcome of the study and how our school progresses in comparison to the rest of the country.


News From the Library

Encouraging a Love of Reading
Before the half term, we wrapped a selection of books in brown paper, added a few keys words on the cover to give a clue about the genre and included instructions that the book was not to be opened until the holidays.

This proved to be much more popular than expected and over 100 books flew off the shelves within a day! The feedback has been very positive with students saying how the unusual display had widened their reading as it led them to engage in a book that they may had never considered before.

World Book Day - Thursday 1st March
In the Library, we are holding a week of events to celebrate World Book Day.
All students will receive a book token to exchange for a free ‘World Book Day’ book or £1.00 off a selection of popular books priced at only £2.50 from booksellers.

Monday February 26th & Wednesday 28th February: Book quiz heats will be held for Years 7 & Y8 and the two top scoring teams will then go in to participate in the Lewisham Book Award on March 23rd at Addey & Stanhope School. There they will compete with students from across the borough. Sydenham School has been the proud winner of this event 3 times!

Tuesday 27th February: A ‘Book Swap’ is being  held in the Library. Students can bring in their unwanted books, which need to be in good condition. They will be given a ‘voucher’ in exchange for the books and then able to take a book in exchange. We hope that you will support this initiative and take this opportunity to have a clear out!

Thursday 1st 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. Any participating student  must register in the Library and in advance.. Any student not registering by Wednesday 28th February must wear full school uniform on the day.  We also ask that students who are dressing up, make a £1.00 voluntary donation towards the charity 'Book Aid'.  There will be judging on the day for the best individual and group and this has always proved a difficult task over the years, having to choose from some great costumes from both student and staff. 

Friday 2nd March: Ms. Malin’s Craft Extravaganza. Students will have fun making bookmarks, origami, drawing and anything else that Ms Malin can conjure up from her vast array of crafty ideas.
All students and staff will be participating in D.E.A.R “Drop Everything and Read” on the 1st and there will be an announcement during the day to stop what you are doing and pick up your book. As ever, please ensure that your daughter. It would be appreciated if you could ensure that your child comes to school equipped for the day with her book in her bag ready to Drop Everything and Read!
Happy Reading!
The Library Team


Cross Country Race for Year 7 and 8

On Thursday 8th February a group of Year 7 and 8 students were picked to take part in a 1.5mile race. We got on the minibus, excited and nervous about the outcome of the race. It was a sunny but freezing day. The Year 7 team got to race first. They all tried really hard and came in the top 20 out of about 40 students, which was an admirable achievement.

Then it was the turn of the Year 8 team. I was a bit nervous as I had never competed in a cross country race before and there were over 30 competitors in the race, but we all completed the race and everyone was pleased with where they were placed. It was a really energising day and we are looking forward to the next race. The top 10 placed athletes get to go through to the next round which is where we compete to go into the mini marathon.

Report written by Ruby Year 8


Safer Schools

You may have seen a police officer in or around the building if you have visited us recently.
We would like to introduce P.C. Aaron Bawden, our Safer Schools Officer, who works with us as part of the Safer Schools Partnership (SSP)

Before SSPs were introduced, police presence in most schools amounted to little more than the provision of occasional lessons and responding to calls about incidents. The introduction of SSPs has resulted in good school-police relations.

There are now roughly 450 SSPs operating throughout England and Wales, mostly as an integral part of Neighbourhood Policing.

In practice, SSPs are part of an inter-agency network to keep young people safe, reduce crime and the fear of crime as well as to improve behaviour in and around a school or cluster of schools. The thinking is that by reducing any anti -social behaviour and exclusions from school, SSPs will impact on developing positive community relations.

P.C. Bawden has been into school recently to deliver some Personal, Social Education (PSE) talks to years 7 -9. The topics covered were:

Working positively with others

Community safety

Restorative Justice

The impact of social media.

P.C. Bawden works with us on a Tuesday and his main school is Forest Hill School. In addition to his work in school, P.C. Bawden also runs the Police Cadets at Sydenham School.

In the next few weeks, he will be meeting with the School Council to see how he can develop his role further.
P.C. Bawden is a very visible presence at Sydenham and we are delighted that he is part of our team. If any parent would like to speak with P.C. Bawden, then please do get in touch via the school Reception who will make contact with him  on your behalf.


Sydenham School PTA

Dear Parents and Carers,

Sydenham School PTA has been running since 2013, when a group of parents got together to talk about how their children were doing and how they could support the school further.

Some members have been involved in previous PTAs at primary school; whilst others have not. But everyone is keen to get involved (to varying degrees) in supporting the school and our children. We meet every half term to talk about events and activities and to catch up. As well as raising money for the school the PTA is a great way of meeting and keeping in touch with other parents, now that the school gate has become a distant memory!

We support Sydenham’s plays and concerts by running a bar and refreshment stall and we have provided refreshments at school Open Days.  Such events occur about once or twice a term.

Since we were set up, we have raised money for sports equipment, school music visits and sports coaching. We are currently raising money for a greenhouse for the school garden and hopefully, in the future, for outdoor gym equipment.

But we can’t do this on our own. We need more people to come along and take part. We’re not asking for a huge involvement - one meeting every half term and to help out at some of the school events that run throughout the year. We would also love your ideas and support for things we could do to get more of the school community involved.

We really need new members. Most of the families involved have children in Year 10 or 11 and the PTA needs to recruit families with children in the lower years. Without new members the PTA is in real danger of ending.  This would mean the loss of a valuable resource for the school and a great place for families to meet.

With that in mind we invite you to:




We look forward to seeing you there.

 Thank you very much and if you have any questions please do contact me or anyone else in the PTA.

Best Wishes

Lois Robinson.
Co-Chair Sydenham PTA



Careers talk from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Tuesday 06 March, 3.30 to 4.30pm, Sixth Form Common Room

Do you want to travel the world and represent your country as an ambassador?  Why not consider a career as a Diplomat?
Tanya Collingridge, soon to be Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Romania, will be speaking to us about her career with the FCO and apprenticeships available with the FCO.  All students welcome.

Careers in Hair and Beauty – Tuesday 20 March, 3.30 to 4.30pm, Sixth Form Common Room

Careers in hair, beauty and being a personal trainer are expanding rapidly. 
On Tuesday 20 March Daniel Galvin, high fashion hairdressers, are coming to talk about their apprenticeships.  Bromley College will tell us about vocational courses in hair, beauty and becoming a personal trainer.  Please put the date in your diary now.  All students welcome.

Year 9 and 10 visit to the Livery Careers Showcase Event, Guildhall, City of London

On Tuesday 06 February we took thirty four Year 9 and 10 pupils to the annual Livery Showcase Event at the Guildhall.  At this inspirational event we spoke to apprentices and exhibitors from thirty two Liveries. Bakers, upholsterers, architects, hotel and catering training organisations and many more were represented.  Did you know that Dr Martin shoes run an apprenticeship scheme?  All the girls found it an interesting and enjoyable visit.  Find out more at:

Year 8 Careers Carousel on 8 February 2018

Sixteen enthusiastic employers arrived early on the Thursday before half term.  They left two hours later impressed and excited about meeting our wonderful Year 8 students.  The employers really enjoyed meeting your daughters.  They were intrigued by their questions and mature behaviour.  All sixteen have said that they would be delighted to work with our students again.  Even more importantly, the employers have inspired our students to think about some of the exciting careers that they can pursue in the future. The feedback from the students was very positive.

FREE Lawyer Portal Event for future Lawyers – SATURDAY 17 March 2018

If you are interested in a career in Law -  “The Lawyer Portal’s Free National Apprenticeship Conference at Latymer Upper School in London on the 17th March 2018 is a must-attend event! Law apprenticeships are taking the market by storm. It is the brand new ‘earn as you learn’ pathway to becoming a fully qualified solicitor. We will have representatives from top law firms who are keen to make students aware of the law apprenticeship opportunities available to them. The event will unlock this amazing opportunity for its attendees; illuminating how best to succeed in securing a law apprenticeship, from making the application, to attending the interview, through to signing on the dotted line.
By way of background, the The Lawyer Portal is the definitive resource for students who are interested in pursuing a career in law. We are in official partnership with the two main governing bodies of the industry - the Bar Council and CILEx and are working with high profile law firms such as Dentons and Charles Russell Speechlys”.   (Under 16 year olds must be accompanied by an adult).  Book now as these events are very popular.


Please reply directly to this email if you would like to unsubscribe to our school newsletters.