Socrates Programme

Every school should have a Socrates programme or something similar. The idea of allowing pupils to develop key learning skills through whatever interests them most lies at the heart of a modern, relevant approach to developing a life-long love of learning. Nothing matters more. Bravo to the educators at Sydenham High.

– Christopher Lloyd, author, lecturer and CEO, What on Earth Publishing

Past Lecture Reviews

  • Cutting Edge Chemistry by Annabelle (year 12)

    Mikkaila Mckeever-Willis from Imperial College London Department of Chemistry, came to Sydenham High to give a fascinating talk on ‘Cutting Edge Chemistry’.

    Mikkaila narrated her story, from when she was choosing her A Levels, to when she became a cookery teacher and science technician at our school, to her now completing her Masters at Imperial College London.

    When Mikkaila was in Sixth Form, she did not intend to go down a science route and only found her passion for Chemistry at University. She enrolled as a chef in a restaurant during her time as a student. Due to her prior knowledge of science, her colleagues often asked her for her advice, on what was the best way, scientifically, to make the food. It was at this point that her love for science began, as she realised her passion for cooking was very much driven by scientific concepts.

    Mikkaila is now following a very different path to what she had originally planned and ended up working at our school, helping our girls this time with their cooking and science skills. She taught the lower school and always helped every student enrich their science knowledge. Along with this, she ran various cooking clubs, including DofE Cookery, which many people attended. After teaching us all so much, it was sadly time for her to move on to complete her Masters and return to her studies.

    At Imperial College London, Mikkaila decided to base her Masters around Super Acids, where she uses computer programmes to clearly show the behaviour of an acidic proton in ionic liquids, with her main focus on hydrogen bonding interactions. For the Sixth Form scientists, this was particularly interesting, as this topic is touched on at A Level, so we able to extend our current knowledge further. For the girls in the lower school, it showed them what they would be studying, if they decide to take science beyond their GCSE years, and the demonstration of key acid principles using apparatus made them even more excited about the years to come.

    Overall, the lecture was extremely fascinating for all of the girls, no matter what year they were in – everybody was engrossed in the lecture from start to finish. We all learned so much and took advice that we will never forget. Most importantly, we now all realise that we must take up as many opportunities as we can, as we never know what may come from it – we could also find a passion in a subject area that we had never even considered before!

  • ‘The world’s most talented and ambitious people should be founders’ by Tiffany (year 7)

    I was really lucky to be able to listen to Ms Jervier, from Entrepreneur First, who came to talk to us about entrepreneurship. I found the talk really inspiring and it was just what I needed to motivate me to start taking more interest in possibly investing in a start-up.  The main points were : explaining what EF is, how new start-ups can override old companies, why we should look into entrepreneurship and the impact of technology on our world today. I was also able to take some key things from the presentation and I think that they will be quite useful in the future. They were: You don’t need money or a lot of resources to start a successful business; failing is okay and it could even be viewed as good, and that if you find what you’re good at (your “edge”) then you can use it to your advantage and that would be the best place for you to start. It was really interesting to see Ms Jeriver’s views on topics such as AI,  machine learning and cryptocurrencies although we didn’t have enough time to finish the conversation and I’d like to find out a little more on this.

    I learnt a lot from this talk and I will be able to take certain things from this and apply them to my Socrates program and even my life. I thoroughly enjoyed it and after taking a look on their website I think I could be a possible recruit when I’m older

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