Category: Sixth Form

Building skills for the future with year 12

This week has focused on future planning for year 12, be it University or their future careers. On Tuesday they visited the UCAS exhibition at Goldsmiths, University of London where they were able to speak with representatives from a wide range of universities and learn more about their degree and degree apprenticeship programmes. The afternoon saw them working on their university and higher education applications and learning how to construct an excellent personal statement.

On Wednesday they took part in a skills focused day. Ensuring students are prepared for the world of work is very important, and our year 12 Skills Day certainly ensured they are well on their way to having the necessary skills to succeed. The sessions saw students learning about the importance of not only their online presence, but also their personal presence as well.

The day was kicked off by a presentation from Ms Hooper, our Director of Marketing and Communications, highlighting the need to craft your personal brand and ensure your online presence reflects the right image to a potential employer. With social media growing in popularity and breadth, especially work related platforms such as LinkedIn, it has never been more important to ensure students can navigate this world carefully.

The morning continued with an interview skills workshop delivered by Amber Allan. Having worked with many corporate clients, Amber was well placed to help teach our students all about the skills needed to give a good interview. Strong handshakes, standing tall, speaking with confidence and using power poses were all invaluable strategies and tips.

Our afternoon saw all of the students put through their paces with individual interviews, allowing them to put into practice all of the key training they had received earlier in the day.

– Ms Parrish, Director of Sixth Form


Sydenham High showcases creative talent

On Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 May we held our Open Studios, showcasing the incredible talent of our artists and Design and Technology students from Junior School right through to A Level. Sydenham High has always buzzed with creativity and talent and this event is a perfect example of all the hard work and dedication of students as well as staff.

Having changed the format of the exhibition slightly, to allow greater light and space, we had three fantastic exhibition spaces where we showcased the outstanding work of our students across the ages, and particularly impressive was the high standard and aspirational work of our examination groups. We look forward to seeing what next year has to offer!

“Every visitor I spoke to praised the high quality of the work they saw. I am very proud of what our students have achieved” Mrs Woodcock

Sydenham High’s young entrepreneurs

Young Enterprise Company Programme enables students to experience what it’s like to set up and run a company. Throughout one academic year, students make all the decisions about their enterprise, from deciding on the name and product to creating a business plan, managing the student company finances and selling to the public at trade fairs.

On  Thursday 26 April the first of the two joint Sydenham High School and Dulwich College Young Enterprise teams took part in the Company of the Year Central London Finals at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, London Bridge. Having already progressed through the first round of the competition before Easter, team Elastalid, creators of silicone lids which stretch to fit most container sizes, were competing against six other Central London companies for one spot in the London Final in June. The team were judged and scrutinised on every area of the business, from their Trade Stand to their company report. With competition fierce, the team secured two awards on the night (Best Company Report & Most Creative Product), agonisingly finishing second and therefore sadly failing to progress.

A week later, the second Sydenham High/ Dulwich College team Recyclabag took part in the East London Finals at Citigroup, Canary Wharf. The team really had to raise their game at this level, and they did so remarkably, delivering an excellent presentation and standing up to the scrutiny of the judges in the interviews. Recyclabag took home the prestigious Citi Environmental Award for their hand-made washbags made from 100% recycled materials, but despite this, failed to progress.

“In an ever-changing world, entrepreneurship, innovation and resilience are key aspects for young people to develop and I am delighted to see our teams recognised for their hard work and ingenuity.” – Mrs Woodcock.

Every member of these two teams has worked extremely hard this year, and we are incredibly proud of how far they have come since September. They have certainly demonstrated excellent entrepreneurial spirit!

Both teams will continue to trade until July and would be keen to hear from you if you are interested in buying one of their products. Contact Ms Parrish to find out more.

Talk from alumna pilot leaves girls flying high

On Friday 20 April year 10-13 pupils were invited to hear from alumna, Olivia van Lieshout (nee Hudson), about her career as a pilot and the female pilot initiative operated by easyJet to increase their intake of female cadet pilots to 20% by 2020.

She began by showing an aerial video of all the flights in one average July day across Europe (that is 998 million miles flown!) and then talked the audience through the pathway from school to a pilot with 4 stripes. She clarified that you don’t need 20:20 vision nor an engineering background – simply 5 GCSEs and 2 A Levels before the indepth training – and then a test in the simulator every six months! We learnt about easyJet pilots’ favourite plane: the carrot and how an average day pans out as Captain of an airbus A320.

She walked us through the pre-flight checks including weather, equipment checks and the decision on how much fuel is required as well as the setting up of the flight deck and walk-around of the plane – including the importance of every latch and small dent as they can affect the drag of the aircraft, and how the number – and breakdown – of passengers affects the speed of the take-off and the necessary length of the runway.

Though she splits the flights with her first officer, she maintains responsibility for the safety of all those on board. Before every flight they brief each other on the minute detail of the take off and all potential scenarios and contingency plans. Even once the plane is in the air there is a great deal of flight management to monitor all the instruments and fuel consumption as well as the weather as even a small thunderstorm requires a wide berth and this affects other elements of the flight.

The girls got into the mindset of a pilot and completed a task scenario to decide which course of action they would take in the scenario of a passenger requiring emergency medical treatment, before the final Q&A session.

We learnt all about easyJet’s Amy Johnson initiative to address the gender imbalance in the pilot community and Olivia encouraged any girl who was thinking about training as a pilot to follow her ambition and hopefully help to raise the percentage of pilots who are women worldwide!

Thank you to Olivia for returning to talk to us and to Mrs Pett for coordinating the visit.



Sixthformers pit their wits for Generation Tech

Three sixth formers: Khadijah, Majura and Wissale entered the Generation Tech competition that was hosted by JP Morgan earlier this month.

The girls’ team decided to work on the UN goal for climate change with the task being to create an application that can stop climate change and present the idea within two and a half hours. The team’s concept was noticed as being an original and creative idea but unfortunately they did not make it to the finals.

We are very proud of the girls for participating and coming runners up in their category – we hear that they were really close to winning! They had a great time at the event and received a book about women in science and other merchandise gifts. We look forward to seeing their next endeavour.


Sydenham girl masterminds UK wide STEM Challenge

Monday 12th March saw 150 guests and five special guest judges gather for a fantastic evening in the Longton Hall at Sydenham High School, all in the name of the #700STEMChallenge. There has been much in the press lately about the gender gap in STEM and lack of girls participating in these subjects, but not at Sydenham High! This entire event was masterminded, and executed, by year 12 student, Annabelle Simmonds, outside of her already demanding timetable for A Level Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. As you can see, she has a passion for STEM subjects!

“The #700STEMChallenge is my proudest project, with the final exceeding all expectations of what I originally had imagined it would be. All of the judges and guest speakers gave such inspirational speeches and for that I am so grateful. It was a night that I will never forget and a competition that I hope will be continued for many years to come.”

38 finalists, hailing from nine different schools across the UK, congregated in eager anticipation to hear the results of their entries into the competition. Year 7-13 pupils from schools across the UK had been invited to enter, calling them to write an article of 700 words on a topic related to one of four categories: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and the finalists were selected within three sub-categories: under 14, under 16 and under 18. The judges all commented on the extraordinary level of knowledge from the entrants; the finalists did incredibly well as there were over 250 applications, all of which were judged on style, creativity and content.

The event was a great success, with presentations from the judges* describing their career paths, encouraging girls, as well as boys, to follow their passion for STEM, and the importance of choosing a pathway that is right for you, whether that be university or an apprenticeship. The audience thoroughly enjoyed hearing from our special guests before the winners were announced and the prizes were awarded, including a tour of the Engineering department at a major London airport and a copy of A Brief History of Time signed by the late Professor Stephen Hawking. All the articles will be published in a journal later in the year.

Headmistress, Mrs Katharine Woodcock, said: “We are bursting with pride for all that Annabelle has achieved in creating and running this event. She is an inspiration not only to her peers, but to us as educators and professionals, and I am delighted to see the enthusiasm for STEM developing in our next generation of young women.”


*The judges were Captain Al Bridger, Chief Pilot Boeing fleet, British Airways, Matthew Gardner, Engineer at British Airways, Rachel Thomas, Writer and editor, specialising in mathematics and science communication, Carrie Bennett, a 22 year old Audit Senior and Chartered Accountant at Ernst & Young, Jade Garner, a 19 year old Business Apprentice, Ernst & Young.

Year 10-13 receive powerful drugs education message

On Thursday, the Daniel Spargo Mabbs Foundation came to school to share their drugs awareness programme by putting on a play about the story of a local 16 year old boy who died following his consumption of MDMA. His parents set up the DSM Foundation to educate young people about the dangers of drugs as they believe that if it happened to Daniel – a boy who was bright, articulate, funny, chatty, popular and talented – it could happen to anyone.

It was a very moving performance and the girls had a workshop afterwards about making safer choices. This awareness programme has been shared in many schools and students are now more aware of the risks and how to make choices to keep themselves and their friends safe.

More information on the DSM Foundation and its programme can be found here: 


Exploring languages and cultures in MFL Society

Sydenham High Sixth Form students are currently presenting a series of lectures for the Senior School’s Modern Foreign Languages Society.

‘TWI: a Ghanaian language’ was the focus of this week’s lecture. Maya Rose in year 13 shared her cultural background with the audience, eloquently explaining the origins of the Twi language, as well as some of the Ghanaian traditions.

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