On Wednesday 4 July, the Senior School gathered with friends, families and staff to celebrate the achievements of our pupils this year. There were some amazing music, dance and drama performances and every year group was represented in the prizes across subjects and disciplines. The afternoon was a wonderful showcase of all the talent and dedication at Sydenham High School and we were delighted to have GB Gold medallist and conservationist, Crista Cullen MBE, with us as our key note speaker.
She spoke about her journey to her career in hockey and her life in Africa, as well as her passion for conservation through her charitable foundation Tofauti. She told us about the setbacks she had along the way to achieving her gold medal and how important it is to have a positive attitude in life:
If you have a good attitude, you can be taught. Whether that is in the classroom or on a sports field, it’s no different. If you feel that you want to excel at something it’s up to you to seek that guidance. You have two choices: you can either sit in a corner and think your dream is over or you can take the bull by the horns and ask what do I need to practice.
– Crista Cullen MBE
After the ceremony we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea in the sunshine, where Crista was kind enough to allow people to hold her gold medal! We very much hope to see our girls bringing back their own medals in the future.
On the afternoon of Thursday 28 June, Mireille Fauchon, lecturer from the Royal College of Art, visited the Art department to run a workshop for art students in year 10 and year 12, introducing them to the methods of teaching used in an art school environment.
The workshop was based around the theme of Migration, and students had to work intuitively and independently in areas including collage, moving image, performance and 3D making. The focus of the afternoon was on risk taking and creating responsive ideas, rather than refined outcomes – a whole new way of working for SydArtists! Both year groups rose to the challenge, and showed how SydArtists really do ‘fear nothing’!
Well done to the participants for their energy and enthusiasm, and thank you to Mireille for planning and delivering such an inspiring workshop.
On Wednesday 27 June we were delighted to host our year 13 and their parents for a celebratory dinner now that their exams are finally over. It was wonderful evening of sunshine, delicious food, speeches and memories. Mrs Woodcock thanked the parents for their continued support throughout their daughter’s journey at Sydenham High and congratulated the students on having completed their exams and said how proud she was to see them now become alumnae. She reminded them to be true to themselves and grab every opportunity. The girls also gave a thoughtful speech and gift to Ms Parrish, after her two years guiding them through Sixth Form.
We look forward to the prom this evening and to seeing year 13 return for their exam results in August (remember the year group breakfast!) as well as for the alumnae events in the autumn and next spring.
We can’t wait to see where your next steps take you – thank you for being such a wonderful year group.
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.
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
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.
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.