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Welcome to the Sydenham School weekly e-newsletter: Edition 235


Message from the Headteacher

Dear Families

As you will be aware, this year is the 100th anniversary commemorating the ending of World War 1. Today in school, we held a very moving Memorial Service in remembrance of all the soldiers and civilians who died because of that war and for all those people who have continued to be victims since. Mrs Colgan, Deputy Headteacher, led this event and we were very pleased to be able to invite guests including staff and students from Stillness Primary School.

There was a moving rendition of Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, sung by members of the Senior Choir as well as a beautiful and stirring piece played by Ms Glass and Mr Dottridge. There were many lovely readings by students. The readings were of poems written by the War Poets as well as many thoughtful original pieces written by the students themselves. Red and white poppy petals were dropped on the stage throughout the service in order to symbolically represent lives lost.

As you can see from the High Performance Learning extract below, we offer the students many opportunities to reflect on world events that may result in suffering and loss. Making sense of the world around us, responding with charity to the consequences of these events as well as being kind, tolerant and respectful of each other every day are all important values that we hold and demonstrate in our Sydenham School community.

As ever, I do hope that you have a lovely and restful weekend.

Kind regards

Mrs Lowe



Remembrance Day

This morning we held our first year 7 Remembrance Day service at Sydenham to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
100 years ago on Sunday, that is the 11th day of the 11th month at 11am the end of the First World War was declared.
We welcomed guests:

  • Jackie Jones – Service Manager for School Improvement, Intervention, Educational Standards and Inclusion at Lewisham LA – Here on behalf of Sara Williams – Executive Director of Children and Young People

•         Reverend Dee Yeadon - Minister of Forest Hill Methodist Church and Welsey Hall.
•         Frances Downey – Governor
•         Fi Redpath – Governor
•         Students and staff from Stillness Primary School

Year 7 wrote their own poems and made poppies from recycled materials.
The Key Stage 4 choir sang tears in heaven by Eric Clapton accompanied by the Guitar Teacher Mr Lisco and we finished with Ms Glass and Mr Dottridge playing Schindler's list.
The whole school observed a 2 minutes silence, to commemorate and remember all those who have lost their lives through war across the world.


Remembrance poems:

She sat there tapping the photo in the delicate glass case, a tear rolled down her cheek.

She remembered how they used to play running through the crowded, crowded streets and how that one sentence changed everything.

He was going to war....

Maisie 7N.

Poppy poppy what do you say? Wear me on remembrance day.

Poppy poppy what do you tell? Many soldiers in battle fell.

Poppy poppy what should we know? That peace on earth should grow, grow, grow.

Freya 7A.


Presentation Evening  

We were delighted to hold the first Presentation Evening in some years last week, to celebrate the hard work and success of students throughout Sydenham during the previous academic year. In total over 95 prizes and certificates were awarded and we hugely enjoyed music performances from our student body including our excellent Senior Choir and sixth form individual musicians. 

The certificates were presented by our visiting speaker, the science writer Vanessa Potter, who inspired us all with her story of how sudden sight loss sent her on a journey with the University of Cambridge to better understand the neurological functioning of her brain.  If would you like to learn more about her, you can watch her TEDx talk via this link:  The prize winners will be awarded with books related to their subject areas in assemblies over the coming weeks.




“On Wednesday we got to carve pumpkins.  It was great because I got to do something that I have never done before as I don’t really celebrate Halloween, but I did this year. We cut out our pumpkins face to look like a cat. We had to take all the slimy pulp out of the middle of pumpkin which was a bit messy but also fun. Our pumpkin was highly commended, which made me feel really good.
Alicia 8A


Eco Society Bulb Planting

On Wednesday 31st October the Eco Society held Sydenham School's third bulb planting event. In just an hour and 40 minutes, Year 8, Year 9 and Sixth Form students from the Eco Society and the Year 7 gardening club (plus a few members of staff!) planted approximately 1500 daffodil bulbs.

We were helped by the brilliant Sarah Clifford from the Downlands Partnership, who provided us with both tools and expertise.

Hopefully, in the Spring our hard work will be evident as hundreds of gold, blue & white daffodils flower, not only making the School look brighter but providing vital nectar for many pollinators.

Olga, Year 13

SYD Fest 2018  

Join us for an exciting evening of musical talent at SydFest 2018 on Friday 16 November at 7.30pm. Fantastic bands from hosts Sydenham School - including this year's Battle of the Bands winners Cypher - Forest Hill School, Prendergast, the BRIT School and St Dunstan's College will be competing to win the first-ever SydFest title.

There will be raffle prizes, plus a cracking bar. All proceeds to be shared equally between the Music Department and Sydenham School PTA, with the latter's going towards a school trim trail and other playground resources. Tickets are limited, so get yours before they're gone!



News From The Library

Book Launch – #Merky Books

This week, we took Year 13 students to the Barbican for the launch of Stormzy’s book Rise Up: and a celebration of #Merky Books, a collaboration between Stormzy and Penguin Random House Publishers.

The event was hosted by journalist, author & poet Akala who lead a discussion between acclaimed authors Benjamin Zephaniah, Malorie Blackman, Chelsea Kwakye & Ore Ogunbiyi authors of Taking Up Space and Jude Yawson co-writer and editor of Rise Up.

The evening explored the role of literature in our lives, inspiring a new generation of readers and writers. We also enjoyed spoken word from 3 poets. Akala then took to the stage with Stormzy and delved into the journey that has led him to become not only an applauded artist, but how he uses his platform to give back to the community and inspire others.

Library Events
This month in the Library we been featuring several important events: the centenary of WW1 and Remembrance Day as well as Anti-Bullying Week and Black History month.

Happy reading!
The Library Team


Xmas Forest

Our school Christmas tree has been provided by The Christmas Forest, who is opening their pop-up shop in Dulwich on 21st November.  They will be selling a fabulous selection of sustainably grown, freshly cut Christmas trees all handpicked for their quality. There will be different varieties and a huge range of sizes all displayed in a forest-like setting.  Holly, wreaths and mistletoe will be on sale. 

For every tree sold, The Christmas Forest donate to plant a tree in the African drylands through Tree Aid.  251,000 trees planted to date changing lives for thousands of some of the poorest families in the world.  Come and wander through and pick your perfect Christmas tree and enjoy an extra festive glow knowing your trees means something more, not just Christmas.  Parking and delivery available.  020 3953 8794 8am - 10pm, Monday to Sunday until December 24th. 


The Talk

Performance of ‘The Talk’ at Sydenham School on Tuesday 13th November at 4.30pm

Too much, too little, or just right? What do you wish you’d been taught (or, not taught) about relationships? Created from interviews with almost 100 people, ‘The Talk’ is a headphone verbatim play that asks these questions, and shares people’s answers.

From parents, teachers and doctors, to inquisitive 11-year-olds and angry 15-year-olds and – the play represents voices from people in their teens to their nineties. These very personal interviews form the content for a 35-minute play that will be followed by a short Q&A about the play’s themes.  

The Talk was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ at the VAULT Festival 2018 and is currently touring using public funding by the National Lottery through the Arts Council England.

It will be shown at Sydenham School on the 13th November 2018 at 4.30pm in the Drama Studio. Due to the themes of the play, this show is only recommended for audiences aged 14 and up.  Parents are welcome to attend.  There is a contribution of £1.50.  This will go to Sydenham School Drama Department and will support their work with professional companies.

‘The Talk’ was created by playwright Neela Doležalová. The cast includes Ken Birk, Calum Callaghan, Eloise Joseph, Samia LaVirgne and Josephine Starte. The Associate Director for the tour is Sarah Meadows; award-winning director of ‘Where Do Little Birds Go?’, ‘Mr. Incredible’ and ‘You’.

What is headphone verbatim? Headphone verbatim theatre is an intimate storytelling method. The actors perform the edited interviews whilst listening to the recorded material through headphones. In effect this means the audience watch the actors as they keep up with the pace/tone/intonation of the voice they hear. The audience only hear the actor’s voice, not the original speaker.

‘'The Talk' gives voice, literally, to those not often heard in the current debates about sex and relationships education, notably young people and their parents.’ – Jane Lees, Chair of the Sex Ed Forum.

‘The Talk couldn’t be more timely. Not only does it raise vitally important issues… but it is an incredibly powerful piece of theatre in its own right – funny, sad, moving and thought-provoking in equal measure.’ – Jenny Barksfield, Deputy CEO of the PSHE Association.

NB:  The play and Q&A will contain topics of a sexual nature.

Year 9 - Parents' Evening Booking System is now open to book appointments for Wed 21st November 4-7pm.

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