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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 230




Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

We have come to the end of another year, which has been a full one here at Sydenham School. I hope that the 6 weeks ahead include plans to rest and relax together. You may be going away on holiday or staying in London, which is of course still one of the global cities that millions of people want to visit every year. We ended the year on a wonderful note with the 8th (Infinity) Battle of the Bands Concert, which was as fantastic as ever. The ‘full house’ was treated to a bevy of 11 bands across the key stages who had practised hard and who performed well. Congratulations to all of the musicians who were great on the night and to the two bands who were placed 3rd (Karma) and 2nd (Vessels) as well of course to the winning band, Cypher. Oriana, Katherine, Ella and Dulcie were a fitting choice for first place.  Well done everyone.

We have spent the last few weeks speaking with students who have put themselves forwards to be part of the Student Leadership Team. I am delighted to be able to share with you the outcome of the process and to thank all of the students for taking part and for being so passionate about wanting to make Sydenham School better and better.

Head Girl- Abby
Senior Deputy Head Girls- Oriana, Irene & Joni
Deputy Head Girls- Michelle, Hadil & Hanifah
Assistant Head Girls- Rachel, Eva, Ifrah   & Savanna

Again, well done to all of the students.

Abby - Head Girl and Mrs Lowe

Finally, I hope that you have a lovely holiday and we look forward to welcoming the students back, in full school uniform, on the 5th of September.

Please see the staggered times of return for the various year groups here:

Kind regards

Mrs Lowe

_________________________________________________________________________________ _

High Performance Learning (HPL)


Dare To Be Challenged  

On Thursday 5th July, all our year seven students took part in their final Dare to be Challenged Day. This event gave students the opportunity to showcase the skills they have been practicing all year, and as a school we were very impressed with the levels of commitment the students showed.  The positivity of the day was overwhelming as the students all spoke very eloquently about the practice they have been undertaking at home over the last year.

All groups had a different programme of events. The bread making class had their own bake off where each student produced a signature bake.  Both dance groups went to the Laban Dance Centre, one of the top dance schools in the country for several talks and workshops.  Both our football and tennis groups went out to play tournaments on professional courts and pitches. Other groups combined together to share performances such as 'Shakespeare Monologues' and band performances. Some groups also taught their skills to each other which was a real test of knowledge and understanding. In all, the day was a fantastic experience, which allowed our students to really demonstrate the progress they have made in developing new skills.

Throughout the day,teachers nominated students for the Gold, Silver and Bronze HPL awards and these will be given out in the final End of Term assembly on Friday.

Well done to all the students for having such a positive approach to learning. We really hope that these are skills you will continue to learn.  It is our hope that you will also take away from this experience confidence about the way in which you learn and how you can overcome challenging situations in the future.  

Well done to all.


Language Leader Award

This was our third year running the Language Leader Award at Sydenham School. It all started with the simple idea that “the best way to learn is through teaching”. Additionally, our students have the opportunity to develop their confidence, leadership as well as their team working skills and to get involved in knowing and helping the community. 

At the beginning of this academic year award winner certificates and badges from “Routes into Languages” were presented to 10 exceptional students, by the Headteacher Gloria Lowe, to celebrate their success last year. We have been working in partnership with Eliot Bank Primary School for the last two years and our partnership has developed into other areas. As part of their Language Week celebrations, Sydenham students went to teach their mother tongue to younger students. They offered assemblies, tutorials, presentations and a flag quiz competition in addition to other activities during the Language Week celebrations. What a wonderful team! 

Our students were, and are, very pleased to have had the opportunity to go to Alexandra Junior school this year to teach Spanish and we will be doing many other activities next year with our primary aged students. 

We have visited various local primary schools twice so far and on the last occasion there was  substantial evidence of the benefits that the “learning through teaching” programme delivers. Our Sydenham students not only delivered exciting lessons which the primary school students enjoyed, but crucially the level of engagement including from students who had never participated before in Spanish lessons was due entirely  to the teaching of our Sydenham students.
Well done to our young Language Leaders!

My experience as a Language Leader so far has been an extremely positive one. I have enjoyed creating, planning and teaching various lessons. It has really boosted my confidence in both myself and my work. I have gained many transferable skills…”

“… it has been a really fun experience to come to weekly meetings and try out different lessons, I have gained many skills for example organisation and working to time limits. In the future,  I am looking forward to using harder vocabulary in lessons and at school…”

See you all next year when we will be working with our community languages and primary schools. Do have a wonderful summer!

Ms Ossa and Ms Fontenelle


Key Stage 3 Learning Journey Evenings and Key Stage 4 Study Skills Evenings

In September we are running a series of evening sessions to help explain more about our curriculum and how families can work in partnership with us to support learning at home.  They are specifically targeted at each year group.  We will write to you about them again in September, but you may wish to get the relevant date in your diary now: 
Year 11 GCSE Study Skills Evening - Wednesday 12th September, 5.30-7.15pm
Years 9 and 10 GCSE Study Skills Evening - Thursday 13th September, 5.30pm-7pm
Year 8 Learning Journey Evening - Wednesday 26th September, 5.30pm-7pm
Year 7 Learning Journey Evening - Thursday 27th September, 5.30pm-7pm

Year 10 into 11 Summer Learning and Year 11 Mock Exams

We have been delighted this week to meet with a large number of families to help guide revision over the summer holidays for students stepping up from Year 10 into Year 11.   Support from families over these six weeks is invaluable and we are very grateful to all parents for working with us on this. 
A wide range of resources to help support some steady revision over the holidays, including a video giving tips for revision in English, Maths and Science, can be found on our website at the following address:
To help families plan their calendars in advance, the dates for the two sets of Year 11 Mock Exams are as follows:
Autumn Term: 12th  – 23rd November 2018
Spring Term: 11th – 15th February 2019

Ms Gostling
Deputy Headteacher


Year 7 and 8 PSE: Mindfulness Tasters

As part of a taster session in positive mental health, I taught both my Year 7 and Year 8 classes some simple mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness can help to keep focus in class, enable students to let go of worries, support in preparing for exams and much more.
I taught them students a simple .B technique which is as follows.

During the day, there usually isn’t time to do a lengthy meditation exercise.
Instead, it is possible to do a brief .b to freshen your awareness, change mental gear, and be aware of exactly what’s going on in the moment.

Doing a .b is a quick way to help your brain change mode – from being busy and thinking and doing to sensing and being. The basics of mindfulness are summed up in this practice. Shifting mode, or changing the gear of the mind is the “Core Skill” of mindfulness.
Doing a “.b” is the way to achieve this. .b is a portable 4-step exercise which goes like this:
1.     STOP whatever you’re doing, maybe noticing you’ve been in autopilot.
2.     FEEL YOUR FEET on the ground. Let this ground/anchor you.
3.     FEEL THE SENSATIONS OF BREATHING as it moves through your body.
4.     Practice BEING – relaxing into the present moment and BEING HERE NOW!

We also had a lot of fun trying out how to eat a grape mindfully .
Here is what the feedback was from some Year 8 students
Alina: “I loved it, because it really made me taste  every single bit of the grape  which I have never done before “
Freya:” I thought that it was very interesting because it taught me not to take my food for granted and to truly enjoy it “

It is a great privilege to teach our students these relevant life skills,
Ms Pollard


Year 10 Work Experience

Alia had a wonderful time, making delicious cakes and pastries in a 5 star hotel in Central London.

She has been invited to come back to visit in the future and I think we can see why.  What a remarkable talent Alia has.

Well done to all of our Year 10 students who impressed employers across the capital.

Year 12 Media Studies Trip to Goldsmiths, University of London  

Goldsmiths University offers a vast range of taster lectures for students to get an authentic understanding of what learning is like in a university setting. Recently, Year 12 Media Studies students went to New Cross to get involved in the Goldsmith’s ‘gold class’ to gain a wider understanding of how certain subjects are delivered to students. The lecture was on race and ethnicity and how the media both portrays, as well as shapes thinking relating to these key areas.

The lecture was given by Dr Anamik Saha who has also published a book on the topic. The lecture was both well informed and enjoyable, giving the media students a positive experience of what learning at degree level is like. It left us both ‘inspired’ and ‘excited’ to embark on our journeys into higher education. The taster lecture was then followed by a tour around the campus, which was led by two very attentive University Ambassadors.

They not only showed us the grounds, but gave us a raw and honest opinion into life at Goldsmiths, University of London. The university as a whole is a collaborative and creative space that allows the students to really flourish in their fields. After talking to the participants of the gold class taster lecture, they stated that the whole experience was “very helpful’’ and made them consider studying at Goldsmiths, as well as exploring further education at other universities.

By Monet


Reading Achievements

Last week we celebrated the reading achievements of KS3 students during their assemblies. A large number of students received their Accelerated Reader Certificates, Word Millionaire Awards and Special Recognition Awards for their achievements in English. Between them, KS3 students have read an impressive 223, 397, 743 words so far this year in their AR lessons alone – a fantastic achievement!

Special congratulations to 7N, who had read the most words and earned the most points in Year 7! Similarly, in Year 8, well done to 8XA (Ms. Bridgman’s class) who had also read the most words and earned the most points.

The summer holidays are an excellent opportunity for students to try out a new book – remember any books borrowed from the library now are not due back until after the holidays. Happy reading!

Sydenham Arts Festival

On Saturday 30th June 2018, New Vision Dance Company performed three dances at Sydenham Arts Festival.  I have run the school's company for a few months and have worked on further developing the technical and performance skills of the dancers.  Watching them perform the dances at the festival showed me just how much progress they have made over the course of the few weeks rehearsing.  This has given me high hopes for everyone moving forward.

The festival had a lovely atmosphere and I was very pleased to see the audience so engaged in what they were watching, as well as how chuffed and proud the company members looked after their performances.  Overall, it was a very successful first performance for the company and I am excited to see what the dancers can achieve next if they keep up the dedication and hard work.

written by Louise


Year 7 Drop Down Day - Irish Dance and Tap Dance Trip

For the Year 7 drop down day the Irish Dancing and Tap Dancing groups visited the Laban Dance Centre of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. We had a tour of the building which was very insightful. We learnt about how the building was made to inspire you to move as well as the history of  Rudolf von Laban who established the Dance School.

We also learnt about Dance Science where we looked at different elements such as how strong we were and how good our balance was. We really liked learning Irish Dancing and Tap Dancing as it taught us a lot. Maybe one of us will end up going to Laban Centre in the future. This would be a dream come true.

By Chiamaka, Evie and Maisie 7H


Year 8 Residential Trip to the Battlefields

58 Year 8 students set off at 6.30am for their history tour of the Battlefields of France and Belgium.  In the areas of Ypres and the Somme, they visited Tyne Cot, Langemark and Essex Farm Cemeteries, Lochnagar Crater, Flanders' Field Museum and the Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval. The group also explored the remains of the British Front Line trenches at Sanctuary Wood.  Day Two was rounded off with a visit to the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, which the students found particularly moving. The shopping trip to the chocolate shops of Ypres was most welcome at the end of the two days.

It was a fantastic trip, the girls were brilliantly behaved and respectful at every site and the teaching staff were really impressed at how well they worked together as a group.
All of this was also topped off with a spontaneous girls v boys football match back at the accommodation. Year 8 Sydenham Radio kept us entertained on the coach and thankfully we were treated to the most glorious weather.

A great experience for everyone involved.
Mrs Egginton - Curriculum Leader for Humanities


News From The Library

Read for Good

The 'Read for Good' Sponsored Readathon came to a finish and we are thrilled to report that the students of Year 7 & 8 raised a staggering £1278.00.  We would like to thank you for your support in helping your daughter to raise this terrific amount of money for a very worthy cause which is to benefit children in hospital, giving them access to books and storytellers.

Puffin Publishers

Once again, we gave the opportunity for 10 more students to take part in the reading project with Puffin Publishers. Sydenham School along with Forest Hill Boys School have established a focus group to discuss and give their opinion on re-released YA modern classics.  Each student was given a free copy of the book 'Across The Barricades' written by Joan Lingard, before meeting with Emma Jones, Assistant Editor of Fiction at Penguin Random House Publishers.

The event was held at Forest Hill Boys School where students discussed the characters and content of the book which is a story of a young couple & their love across the religious divide during the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. As well as debating the literary content and comparing the story to Romeo & Juliet, the students also came away with an insight into the history of both Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland.

Library Monitor’s Picnic

On Friday at lunchtime, we took 12 Library Monitors for a picnic in Baxters Field behind the school. This was our way of saying thank you to the students who have given up their own time to help the Librarians  throughout the school year. Their service has been invaluable and much appreciated. The picnic blanket was laden with lovely food and the group enjoyed a range of upbeat activities but had no success in teaching the Library team to hula hoop. We will keep trying.

Summer Reading

All students are able to borrow 3 books to read over the summer holidays so we hope you will encourage your daughter to call into the Library during this last week of term to select her summer reading.

Happy reading

The Library Team


Maths Discovery Day

On Thursday 5th July, thirty Year 9 students went on a visit to Greenwich University for an educational Maths Discovery Day. The event involved a number of  interactive activities such as workshops, interactive exhibits, games and a treasure hunt. The two workshops we took part in were on encryption and codes by Cath Moore and the mathematics of games by Rob Eastaway. We learnt about different types of codes and coding machines and the second workshop showed us the relationship between luck and skill in different games such as Heads or Tails and Rock, Paper Scissors.

There was a treasure hunt in which we explored the university campus to answer questions which revealed a hidden code word, along with many other immersive activities such as a doodling challenge and the problem of the Seven Bridges of Königsberg. Overall, everyone really enjoyed themselves and learnt a lot about mathematical problem solving. We were given a Möbius strip wristband and a Rubik’s cube to remember our brilliant visit.

By Lily 9H


Summer Food Bank Information

click here for information


International Connections; Limitless possibilities

Sydenham School are forging the way in international connections, by taking part in a bilingual project with France and Belgium.

Click here to read more:


Eco Society Trip

On Thursday 12th July, the Eco Society went on a visit to Riddlesdown Common after all their hard work this year. After a journey filled by a heated debate on the conservation of pandas we were able to see the conservation work that goes on more locally.

We explored the area with the warden, Sarah Clifford, and saw the many different habitats and species they support. There were snails that smell like garlic in ancient woodland, to a deer that hastily ran away across a field and through the trees, as well as various insects and plants. We were incredibly lucky to see a dormouse, a rare mammal that requires a licence to handle, as well as learning all about the conservation that goes into preserving habitats to help ensure the survival of some animals and plants that are at risk .

"It was fantastic!" - Sarah, Year 8
"The dormouse was adorable!" - Monifa, Year 7
"It was really fun and we saw a tiny dormouse. I enjoyed it and it was very educational" - Edith, Year 7

Olga Olver year 13


Teen Summit Seminar

On Friday 16 July Year 9 students went to Catford Civic Suite for the Teen Summit Seminar. There were 7 Lewisham schools who attended in total. There were workshops and speeches from a range of speakers. The theme was that you need to work hard to achieve what you want. My favourite part was the spoken word workshop with Flo Vortex because at the end we all combined lines from our own poems to create one whole poem as a group." -  Lara Year 9.


Ride for Eamonn

Eamonn Power was our school NUT representative before his sudden death in 2013. Prior to this, Eamonn loved to get out on his bike and had enjoyed cycling trips around the south coast and in Italy. Every year since, we have remembered him by organising a social ride, the 'Ride for Eamonn', in the summer term. Following the tragic death of Mary Morton last year, we also raised a glass to her as another much loved colleague who is sadly no longer with us.


New Lunch Arrangements

When we return in September, we will have in place new lunchtime arrangements. We will have two lunch periods, with Years 9, 10 and 11 having lunch between 12.50pm and 1.30pm and Years 7 & 8 having lunch between 1.40pm and 2.30pm. With much smaller numbers of students having lunch during each period we will be able to accommodate all students having lunch in the Dining Hall during each sitting. This will be a real advantage in the colder, wetter months when students will be able to remain in the Dining Hall for the whole of their lunch time if needed.

Chartwells, our catering providers, will treat each lunch period as a separate lunchtime. The Dining Hall will be cleaned and food freshly cooked for each sitting.

We will review the arrangements at half term and again at the end of the term. Please do contact the school if you have any feedback as the term goes on.

Please provide your child with a re-usable water bottle

Students purchase over 500 single use plastic bottles at school each month. Students also bring in small water bottles they have bought outside of school. We would like to contribute to reduce the use of plastic and particularly to reduce the environmental impact of the use of bottled water.

We would like every student to return to school in September with a suitable, re-usable water bottle. We have water fountains around school to re-fill these. We also have a water station in the Dining Hall to re-fill bottles. We provide cups and jugs at lunchtime for students to have a drink with their meal. Please see the link below  - it also has helpful recommendations of which re-usable water bottles are best.

Badge for Blazers

We have been working on updating our logo with various members of our school community and we are delighted that we now have a new school badge. This will be rolled out over the next academic year and you will begin to see it on uniforms, headed paper and other personalised items.

The incoming Year 7 will have the new school badge already embroidered onto their blazers and we want Year 8 students to have the school badge on their blazers too. We will post  a school badge to each Year 8 student to be sewn onto their  blazer pocket ready for their return to school in September. Students in Years 8 -11 will not be expected to purchase new uniform or new school bags but Year 8 students will be expected to have the school badge sewn on their blazer pocket.

The new logo is based on the 100th Year Celebratory badge which was so popular we have used it as the school badge. It shows a DNA helix on the top right hand side, reflecting our STEM focus, an image from above of 4 students holding hands, reflecting the Sydenham family and at the bottom there is a student reaching up for an edelweiss flower, reflecting our 100 year old “Aim High” motto and the school flower. This shield was originally developed by students at the school and has proven to still be  popular.

We look forward to seeing all the Year 7 and Year 8 students with the school badge on their blazers at the start of the new academic year in September.

We would politely remind students of the rules regarding hair, nails and jewellery. False eyelashes, HD eyebrows, false or acrylic nails and nail varnish should not be worn. Hair must be worn in a simple style with no dyed hair.

One small single stud earring can be worn in the lower earlobe, no other piercings are acceptable. Socks and tights must be plain black.

Please click here for full details of the KS3 uniform policy:

Please click here for full details of the KS4 uniform policy:


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