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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 226


Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

The Newsletter this week reflects a number of trips that our students have been on. Many of these have been to the West End where students have been able to enjoy shows that tourists travel across the world to see! Students continue to take part in sporting events too and you will see from the Newsletter that we were recently engaged in a cricket match with Sydenham High School.

I was very pleased to be able to welcome Katharine Woodcock, Headteacher at Sydenham High School, to our school on Tuesday 1st May. It was lovely to be able to take Katharine on a tour of our school and later on to talk about how we could strengthen informal links between the two schools. It makes perfectly good sense to develop these connections as well as those of course with the wider ‘family’ of Lewisham Schools.

An opportunity of that sort presented itself to us this week when it was our pleasure on Thursday 17th May to host the regional final of the Jack Petchey ‘Speak Out’ competition. This involved all of the secondary schools in the borough sending students to compete by speaking for up to 3 minutes on a topic that they felt  passionately about. Irene Dam and Boo Godfrey represented Sydenham School very well and we were delighted that they were able to perform with such confidence in front of a large audience and a panel of formidable judges. Congratulations to the winner Michael Oppong-Siaw from St Mathews Academy.

Please can you continue to ensure that your children behave impeccably in the local community. The vast majority of students of course do. However, a few students recently, have behaved in a way that falls below the standards that we expect of our students and they should expect of themselves. As a school, we recognise that our job includes developing young people to be responsible and good citizens. The school has a vital role to play in strengthening the local community. Please can you support us in reinforcing this message to your children, as a pleasant and safe community is a benefit to us all.

Finally, please can I remind you that the half term break begins on Monday 28th May and ends on Friday 1st June. All year groups return to school on Monday 4th June. We expect all students to arrive to school in good time i.e. by 8.40am every day.

As ever, I hope that you have a lovely and restful weekend with your family.

Kind regards

Mrs Lowe


Debate Mate UDL Competition


After months of preparation, with over 240 schools and 6000+ students involved in the Debate Mate UDL competition, it all came to an end on Monday 14 May 2018. Sydenham School’s Debate Team won all their matches at Code Node to book their place in the Grand Final at the House of Lords. We  debated against Cardinal Pole RC in the finals who became the eventual worthy winners. I would like to congratulate all of our competitors for their brilliant effort, hard work and performance through these competitions. Second place in the country-what a remarkable but well-deserved achievement.


Margaret McCabe Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Debate Mate with our team at Code Node. From left to right- Nancy, Zara, Maya, Margaret, Saidah, Nayah and Abby.

Our team planning their session.

We will now prepare for the Debate Mate Cup Finals on Friday 22 June. We wish the team every success.

Well done Sydenham School. This is a true reflection of our motto-’Aim High’
Ms Virgo-Furrs
Debate Mate Lead Teacher

High Performance Learning  


Parent Forum

Dear Families,
Our next Parent Forum is on the 5 June 6.30-7.30pm. We would like your views on the subject reports and the short reports that our sent out by the school, as well as any feedback on our reporting system and procedures overall.  We look forward to seeing you all.
Yours sincerely,

Janet Emmanuel
Assistant Headteacher


Safe Travel

As more students are walking to and from school now the weather has improved, we are aware of the increased need for students to be mindful of the risks around them.

For students walking to and from school, some points to consider are:

  • Make sure they stick to a safe route to school and one with safe places to cross the road
  • Make sure your child is aware of potential danger points - looking carefully before crossing busy roads, taking extra care at bus stops and whilst getting on and off trains
  • Ideally, they should walk with at least one other student or an older sibling

Make sure they know how to respond if someone they don’t know approaches them, for example offers a ride and that they know they should yell and run for help if needed
Talk with your child about what they should do if they felt threatened, e.g if they felt an adult was following them or behaving oddly on public transport or in the street

  • Explain to them that it is not safe to use a cell phone or text while walking, which makes them less aware of traffic
  • Talk with your child about what they would do if something unexpected happened, e.g if there was a security alert on their train and passengers were asked to leave the train.

Do remember however – walking to and from school is an excellent way to improve health and wellbeing  - it is healthy, free and doesn't create pollution. It also reduces traffic congestion during the 'school run'. Walking to school also gives older children independence.

Cricket Fixture vs Sydenham High School  

On the 1st of May we hit off the summer season with our first cricket fixture for the term against Sydenham High School. It was a tight game with some developing bowling skills amongst the Year 7’s and some decent batting shown from the whole team. In the end we were victorious with 126 runs to 111.
Well done to the following members of the team for showing great teamwork and claiming our first win of the season;
Shaye, Shannon, Maya, Ellie-May, Aaliyah, Izzy, Wilhelmina and Leah.


LSSSA Athletics Championships

On Thursday 11th May we took some year 7, 8 and 9 students to the borough Athletics Competition. This is the biggest competition of the year where the majority of schools in Lewisham go to compete. Students who do well in this competition get to go through to the London Youth Athletics, where they will compete against all London schools. We were able to take part in many track and field events such as the 100m, 200m, 300m, 800m, 1500m, long jump, triple jump, high jump, shot put, discus and javelin disciplines. There were also some heats for the track events e.g. the 100m and 200m had two heats.

Hope in Year 9 came first in the second heat with a time of 30.5 seconds. Matilda in Year 9 came 2nd in the 800m and 1st in long jump. Matilda will be going through to the next round of the competition. Dolly in Year 9 came 3rd in the 1500m. Imogen in Year 8 came 1st in the high jump and will also be going through to the next round of the competition. Izzi in Year 7 came 2nd in the triple jump, Mikah in Year 8 came 2nd in the triple jump, Elodie in Year 8 came 3rd in discus and Jada Year 8 came 2nd in shot put. All the students had a great day and enjoyed competing. Well done to all that took part. These are excellent results.


The Royal Court- Talking Taboos!

Year 12 and 13 A Level Drama students went to watch a performance of 'The Prudes', which was a modern twist on relationships, male patriarchy and guilt. The play by Anthony Nielson, was sharp and witty and took the audience on an intimate journey of character, discovery and exploration. ‘The Prudes’ was shown at The Royal Court and will form part of the students’ analysis of the LIVE theatre for the A Level written exam in summer 2018. The Royal Court Young Court Department then came into Sydenham School to deliver a workshop on how the writer and director worked on the production and how the play was devised in rehearsal. This helped the students gain a detailed knowledge of the playwright and an insight into how rehearsals can evolve for a major production.

A Familiar Tale, told from a Different Perspective!

‘Wicked’ is the untold story of the witches of Oz and turns all that you know about 'Dorothy' and her band of friends on its head. The Drama Department took a group of  Year 8 students to see the West End spectacular and despite the weather, everyone had a very good time. Seeing a major West End musical was a real treat for some as they had never been to the theatre before and it gave students a real opportunity to see a range of performance and production skills in action. Many of the students were dazzled by the high quality singing and dancing by the actors.

Some of the comments from the students were:
That is the best thing I have ever seen.” “That was fantastic” “I thought the songs were great.”
“I never knew that was behind the Wicked Witch and that they manipulated her good intentions.”
“Wow that was epic!”

A classic Tale of Murder and Madness

A group of Year 10 students got to witness Shakespeare’s classic tale of murder, witchcraft and premonitions, in an epic production of  Macbeth at The Royal National Theatre on the Southbank last week.
 “The ruined aftermath of a bloody civil war. Ruthlessly fighting to survive, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness.

Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy is directed by Rufus Norris. This article was written by Rory.

The play was visually dynamic as it was set in a futuristic ‘Mad Max’ like world of vagabonds and vagrants with a huge ramp -like runway that dominated the stage to dynamically show the landscape the characters inhabited as well as Macbeth’s ascension and collapse into madness and murder.
The costume was futuristic and dynamic and looked like a post-apocalyptic world of disaster and survival.” by Oriana

The performance will help support students gain insight into the text, which is studied for GCSE English, as well as look at key performance elements in relation to the new Drama GCSE specification. The students will then spend time in lesson analysing and decoding its theatrical interpretation and begin to answer mock exam questions about the performance.

Year 10 - Employability Day – 10 May 2018

Last week 30 employers came to school to give mock interviews to all our Year 10 students.  The students really enjoyed the experience of practising their interview skills. The employers were extremely impressed by the maturity and “polish” of our students.

Dr Jean O’Hara spoke to the whole year group about growing up in Hong Kong and the formative experiences that made her decide to train as a doctor.  She reminded us of the remarkable medical advances that the NHS has achieved over its 70 years. dr O'Hara predicted that we will be seeing with bionic eyes within the next five years.

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