Category: General

Fantastic careers event sparks creative energy

On Wednesday 18 April the Longton Hall was staged for a Creative Careers Event with over 20 exhibitors from the creative industries and further education. Pupils from year 9-13 in GDST schools, Sydenham School and Dulwich College were invited to meet and network with experts in a plethora of professions to discuss opportunities for their future career paths.

We were fortunate enough to have professionals from the fields of:

  • architecture
  • brand design
  • community arts
  • fashion
  • film/ tv set design
  • journalism
  • marketing
  • museums
  • music
  • photography
  • publishing
  • theatre

as well as seven further education institutions.

We were delighted that we had an alumna and several parents on the exhibitor list and we are very grateful to everyone who gave up their time to make it such a success – especially on such a blisteringly hot day! There was a real buzz in the hall and it was so exciting to see the girls feeling so passionate about their futures.

Special thanks to Mrs Pett for organising the whole event.

Junior School staff become well versed!

To celebrate World Book Day 2018, we invited local spoken word company Well Versed Ink to deliver poetry workshops to our girls. ‘Inspirational Women’ was our theme and it was a true delight to see the girls both writing and performing poems about women who inspire them. In light of the collaborative and creative endeavour at Junior School this term, staff experienced a taster of what the girls participated in by coming together for a session themselves!

As the staff feel it is important to encourage our girls to take risks, go outside their comfort zone what better way to demonstrate that by writing and performing poetry themselves! Staff gathered in the outdoor classroom and had a fantastic experience. They commented on how they gained a new perspective on poetry, with a chance to introduce new ideas into the classroom. It was also a poignant and emotional experience as many of them drew upon personal experiences of inspirational women i.e. grandmothers, daughters and partners. This was also heightened by the warmth of the facilitator and the sunshine!

There was also an opportunity for staff to reflect on their own successes as teachers and the impact they have on the lives of the girls that they teach.

Thank you to Miss Spence for organising and to Darren from Well Versed Ink for running the session.


Junior School’s smash hit performance of The Iron Man

On Tuesday 27 March, year 4 staged a fabulous original production of The Iron Man at the Westwood Theatre. The auditorium was packed with family and friends and the production was the summation of their study of the classic Ted Hughes book. The girls had been working incredibly hard on a collaborative approach to sculpture, music composition, stock animation and puppetry.

This project was fully embedded into our CONNECT+ Curriculum. It brought together learning across English, Design & Technology, Dance, Music and Computing to illustrate the power of what can be achieved when you work to apply skills, knowledge and understanding across learning. Their dedication paid off as it was a huge success and a highly imaginative production. One parent commented on the cohesiveness of the company of actors all working together: “an exciting venture for my girl to be part of”. What a memorable way to end the term!

The Iron Man sculpture created by the girls will live on in the foyer of the Westwood Theatre as a symbol of what the Sydenham Spirit can achieve.

Current parents and students can login and visit the blog here.

Sydenham sporting update

Last week was a busy one for PE:

On Monday Year 8 beat the Strood Academy and St Dunstans at U13 Kent netball tournament. Tuesday saw pupils and teachers from Blackheath High and South Hampstead High enjoy a voyage of cricket discovery with our girls, hosted by Lydia Greenway (International cricketer and founder of ‘Cricket for Girls’), along with the U12 B & C netball teams beating Woodmansterne and KS3 & KS4 competing at the Badminton London Youth Games. Wednesday was a win against Sedgehill for both year 7 and 9 and the first of the Unity Through Diversity Dance Shows, and Thursday  saw year 7 beat Radnor Place, Hayes School, Maidstone Grammar, Colfe’s, King’s Rochester at the U12 Kent Netball Tournament. They lost to Tonbridge School in the quarter finals but are now one of the top 8 teams in Kent: a fantastic achievement!  Friday was a well deserved rest.


The PE department are delighted that three Sydenham girls did very well in the trials for Lewisham Mini Marathon on Saturday with Ellie 1st , Amelia 3rd and India 4th . Hopefully that means they will all qualify to run! They are also very pleased that Frances Newe has been selected to swim representing ESSA London, at the English Schools Swimming Association National Inter – Divisional Championships!

What talented, hard working sportswomen we have at Sydenham!

Sydenham dancers hit UDance regionals!

On Sunday 18th March, 14 students belonging to Sydenham High School’s Senior Contemporary Dance Company (consisting of dancers from years 9, 12 and 13) performed in the regional finals of UDance 2018 at Laban. They participated in two dance workshops, one House and one Contemporary and then had a careers talk with question and answer session. The evening saw eight dance companies competing for for a place in the UDance finals which will be held in Suffolk in July.

The Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban partnership organised the U.Dance 2018: London Regional Platform. Staff commented that it was fantastic to see so many energised young people in the Laban Building and the varied and diverse programme in the evening was a true reflection of the exceptional dance talent across the region.

Sydenham students not only performed at a brilliant standard, but demonstrated complete professionalism throughout the day.

Fingers firmly crossed for the outcome of the panel discussion later this week.

Sydenham student invited to 10 Downing Street

Year 12 student, Khadijah, was lucky enough to visit 10 Downing Street recently. She spent 2 hours inside networking and talking to other small charity leaders. She was invited as a representative of a horse riding youth club charity, Ebony Horse Club, alongside the manager. She was chosen for this having been a senior member there for 4 years. Khadijah is in charge of the youth council and currently also in charge of a renovation project at Ebony.

The event was designed for networking and recognising the work of small charities. The MP hosting the event was the Right Honourable Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which also encompasses charity work. Khadijah spoke to him briefly about her charity and her role. She also spoke to the founder of St. John’s Ambulance Service and is hoping to start volunteering in the holiday for them.

Khadijah was the only non-adult representative and we are very proud of the hard work and dedication she has shown to her charity in order to receive this prestigious invitation.


Sydenham launches whole school Sense of Self programme

From next Monday the Junior, Senior and Sixth Form will be focusing on Sense of Self (SOS), a new bespoke personal development programme rooted in the core values of Sydenham High School and the GDST.

We aim to combine Academic and Pastoral excellence to ensure girls are equipped to deal with both school life and the world beyond. We will ensure the girls have a wealth of skills and emotional tools to promote a greater sense of well-being and self-worth. The environment we create will ensure every girl achieves according to her full abilities and prepare her for the future where nothing holds her back and she fears nothing.

Sense of Self (SOS) is the cornerstone of our Sydenham High ethos in forging a contemporary, innovative understanding of what it means to educate the ‘whole girl’. It inextricably links academic pedagogy and psychology research with the pastoral experiences of every pupil in our care, facilitating our girls to thrive throughout each chapter of their learning journey.

SOS is an approach, an attitude and an ethos to considering how we forge our own purpose and identity, both as staff and pupils. By considering the impact of the different meanings that our pupils attach to their sense of self, we are better able to create learning environments that equip and inspire our girls to soar academically, socially and emotionally.

SOS strives to create a culture for both staff and girls where we seek to uncover a greater understanding of who we are, what tendencies and preferences we have, and how we can most effectively channel them into meaningful and purposeful outcomes.

“If we are to educate young people for the newly emerging global landscape there are only two things we can predict: the unpredictable and the unexpected. Considering this, the requirements for children and young people rest in an awareness of how they need to know and understand , what they need t o be able to do and how they need to be .” Zoe Elder, Full on Learning

The first-class education we offer at Sydenham High is centered upon educating, understanding and developing every girl, and personal growth and development are the cornerstones of our pedagogical approach. By giving our girls a rich offering of opportunity, both inside and outside of the classroom, we strive to deepen their levels of resilience, resourcefulness and perhaps most critically, their quality of discernment. In an ever-changing world, where relentless choices and communications demand immediate responses, coupled with a ‘like-for-like’ social identity, it is clear that, more than ever, a greater sense of understanding of who we are and what we stand for is necessary. Through all of the changes that we have and will face, our constant companion is our ‘self’.

Sense of Self is a blueprint for personal development, where as a school, we can ensure that our girls are challenged, yet nurtured to flourish throughout their learning journey with us. Our pupils have the freedom to be ambitious for the future and strive to be who and what they want to be, all of which is is wrapped up in their notion of how capable they are and of their own understanding of personal identity; in short, themselves. By considering the impact of the different meanings that our girls attach to their sense of self, we are better able to create learning environments that equip and inspire our pupils to flourish.

Watch this space to how the programme unfolds!

The Elements Exhibition is a hit with pupils and parents!

Junior School were pleased to present ‘The Elements’’ Exhibition of art, music and dance to Reception and Key Stage 1 parents.

The four elements of fire, earth, air and water were incorporated into each subject area.

Art workshops focused on ‘earth’. Reception found a large ‘hole’ in the Art studio, and holes eaten from pieces of paper. Girls discussed how the hole might have got there and what would happen if we went into the hole. Where could it take us? Who made it? The girls created chalk drawings to illustrate their ideas.

Reception, year 1 and year 2 were introduced to work by Andy Goldsworthy, a sculptor who uses natural materials in his work. His most famous pieces involve circular, ‘hole’ or ‘eye’ shaped patterns. Reception created art installations in water using coloured paper leaves and let them freeze overnight. They also used the snow and sticks to make Goldsworthy inspired circular ice sculptures.

Year 1 produced animal collages using natural materials and focused on the idea of camouflage within the natural environment. The girls painted patterns found on animals onto branches.

A colourful Goldsworthy ‘eye’ sculpture was created by year 1 and 2, using branches and coloured wool  to make the bleak winter environment come alive!

Year 2 made leaf impressions into clay to make sculptural pebbles. They carefully painted them in shades of grey and placed them in concentric circles to produce a striking sculpture.

In Music, girls learnt a song about the four elements which incorporated makaton sign language. This was performed on the day around the campfire. In class pupils also made a water xylophone- working out how to add a different amount of water to each bottle to make a different pitch. In P.E girls were encouraged to perform ribbon dances inspired by the different elements and to perform simple dances to Mozart’s Flute Concerto to express their feelings through different actions.

During the experience, a fire was lit and hot chocolate served with spicy ginger biscuits to create the feeling of ‘fire’ and ‘earth’ for the pupils and parents who came to visit.


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