History & Alumni

Friends of Sydenham

The Friends of Sydenham School is a registered charity, set up in March 1993 to help advance the education of pupils of the school. Membership is open to parents, guardians, staff, governors and pupils – past and present.

We have about 160 members, many of whom are former pupils and former staff. By lending their support to the association, they have renewed links with their school and revived old friendships.

We publish two newsletters a year giving news of former pupils and staff as well as information about current activities of the school. We hold old pupils and staff reunions every two years. Donations to the school to date total over £20,000.

We have an enthusiastic committee, keen to arrange fund-raising and social events to bring old friends together in support of a school, which has served many girls so well for over 90 years.

You never stop  being a Sydenham girl

As you may know Sydenham School is working with the charity Future First to reconnect us with our former students and keep in touch with our school leavers from their last day. Our alumni can support us in so many ways, from volunteers and in-school speakers to work experience providers and fundraisers. We already have some fantastic former students signed up and would love to grow the network even more. It doesn’t matter when you left school, whether you ’re in further education or employment, whether you still live nearby or have moved further away, there are still ways you can help! If you are a former student or you know anyone who is; please visit here and join our alumni network!


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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