The First Whole School Assembly of the Academic Year

As we begin this exciting new academic year, with greater possibilities and opportunities, during our first whole school assembly our Headmistress, Mrs Woodcock, both challenged and urged all of our students, to seize the moment, make the most of every day, every opportunity, make hay whilst the sun truly shines and never take for granted what they have.

Alongside this, she reminded them that this is a school where they should absolutely feel they can be themselves, and feel comfortable in all that they do and in their own skin. We are an inclusive school, a school that cares and a school where kindness should run through all our veins. As such we should be kind to ourselves and also to others. If we see something that is wrong, we should be that upstander, not a bystander. We should speak up and out and do something about it. We should also be mindful of our interactions with each other, verbal, online or simply with our gestures. A smile, a positive comment, a hello can go such a long way.

Looking ahead, Mrs Woodcock reminded us that we have work to do from an eco perspective, and next week we will be rolling out our new recycling bins. We are already a plastic free school in terms of what we use at lunch, and it is wonderful to see more and more of our students cycling, scootering and doing their bit. But we have so much more we can and will do!

She also shared with the Senior School community that this week we rediscovered a baton, bestowed to the school by Miss Ellen Birt, the violin and orchestra mistress at Sydenham High from 1894 until 1919. She bestowed a prize for Prize Giving, originally for the best violin or viola player in the orchestra – however the range of instruments was extended after 1943. This prize is given every year at Prize Giving. This invaluable and precious item is a reminder of our school’s rich history and over the course of the next few months we plan to share more of it. Our buildings are a fusion of old and new and are an important part of our culture and ethos. After all we have been through over the past 18 months, this academic year provides us all with the chance to create our own history and for our students to continue to forge their own paths.

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