School History

Our History


The origins of the present day Sydenham School can be traced back as far as 1862. In this year a private school in Westbourne Road, Forest Hill was opened. The school soon became popular with local parents and so it was eventually relocated to Manor Mount off Honor Oak Road, where it flourished for nearly 40 years as a boarding and day school.

In 1905, Manor Mount School was purchased by the London County Council and established as Forest Hill County Secondary School. This school was one of London’s first County Secondary Schools (Grammar Schools) for girls.

In 1912, a new school was being built in Sydenham High Street now known as Dartmouth Road, to bring together both Manor Mount School and another local County Secondary School into one permanent building as one school. It took nearly five years to build and was opened in 1917 with a roll of 398 pupils; the school was named Sydenham, a name it has kept ever since.

Under the leadership of its first headmistress Miss Edith Turner, a serious and academically ambitious school developed, with modern ideas for the time including excursions into community service and a Parent-Teacher Association. The school was very successful, gradually reaching a roll of 500 students and having a notable record of university scholarships.

Sydenham School has continued to serve the community for over 95 years as an all girls’ school; each generation of girls has contributed to the good name and reputation of the school, always living up to the school motto adopted in 1917 ‘AIM HIGH’ and now we ‘Achieve Higher’ too.

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