Category: Sixth Form

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.

Networking evening puts medical careers in the spotlight

Sydenham High’s first Medical Focus careers evening attracted an audience of over 120 students eager to learn about potential roles in medicine and allied medical fields.

Students from Sydenham High were joined by delegates from Dulwich College, Streatham & Clapham High and Sydenham Girls’ School to network informally with more than a dozen experts from different medical specialisms and find out more about these specific career paths.

The experts included: a GP registrar, a vet, a specialist in clinical radiology, a radiographer, a midwife, a chiropractor, a paediatric research nurse, a consultant periodontist, a dental hygienist and a speech therapist.

The event was part of the school’s Medical Focus Programme.  This offers lectures, talks and help with preparation for university applications from reading lists to interview practice supported by workshops run by the Drama department, as well as BMAT and UKCAT exam preparation.

Literary masterclass is pure poetry for sixth formers

The latest Literature masterclass went live as Sydenham High conducted its first conference via Skype, to speak with the poet Andy Hopkins about his anthology Dark Horse Pictures.

The A Level English class explored Hopkins’ work, focusing on one of three selected poems, ‘Dark Horse Pictures’, ‘Levee/Burgh-by-Sands’, and ‘Prefrogs/Unfrogs’. Analytical skills were certainly tested by the complex imagery and philosophical nature of these texts, and gave some insight into the challenging nature of contemporary poetry.

Next, students were afforded the rare opportunity to question the writer himself, as Andy Hopkins appeared live on-screen via Skype from Cumbria. Hopkins listened to the spirited discussion and appreciated the varied interpretations of his work. He then took time to discuss style and stimulus with his audience –  even offereing a few tips to the budding writers amongst the sixth formers.


Sydenham High sixth formers take crown at leadership challenge event

Sixth form students from Sydenham High School GDST have been crowned winners at the seventh annual Girls’ Day School Trust Young Leaders’ Conference after they were inspired and put through their paces by leaders from all walks of life at an ‘Apprentice-style’ charity challenge, designed to help this new generation of leaders prepare for their futures.

The three-day event, from 29 September – 1 October 2017, aimed to give students experience of real-life situations and develop crucial leadership skills, from negotiation to financial planning.

The 140 delegates, from across the GDST, were split into teams and given less than 36 hours to create a digital fundraising and awareness campaign for one of four charities:  Hope and Homes for Children; mothers2mothers; Room to Read and Rwandan Youth Information Community Organisation (RYICO). In previous years, ideas proposed by students have inspired award-winning charity initiatives.

The overall winning team, who came up with a highly creative and deliverable campaign for international literacy charity Room to Read, included Sydenham High sixth former Amelia Bourne.  Amelia is one of the school’s two marketing prefects and a Head of House.  A second Sydenham High sixth former and Head of House, Itoro Udoaka, was a member of the runner-up team, which created a campaign to promote a social enterprise programme run by Rwandan charity rYico supporting vulnerable and abused girls and women.

Prior to the challenge, Team GB Olympic hockey gold medal winner and former team captain Kate Richardson-Walsh was among those on hand to inspire students. Along with other leadership role models, including Chartered Management Institute (CMI) CEO Ann Francke, Kate spoke with students and offered her top tips on leading successful teams. British Army officers then led a series of team-building exercises.


Parliamentary visit proves ideal start to A Level Politics study

Year 12 Politics students took an individual group tour of the Houses of Parliament as part of their introduction to the A Level Politics course.

As part of the tour, they were able to see the Queen’s apartments, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. They were particularly taken with the Queen’s throne in the House of Lords from which the Queen’s speech is delivered. Along with the long history of the throne they learnt that it is rumoured that Michael Jackson had once offered to buy it for four million pounds!

The students also saw the statue to which a Suffragette had chained herself, in the Votes for Women campaign of the early 20th century. Another highlight was visiting the Great Hall where many dignitaries have addressed Parliament, including Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.

The students took part in a workshop where they were able to discuss the role of pressure groups in our democracy. They also had a stimulating debate about the effectiveness of the NUS and the Howard League for Penal Reform.

All the students agreed that the visit has given them a greater insight into the workings of Parliament and an ideal start to their A Level course..

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