Sydenham High School

Admissions Guide

How to get into Sydenham High 11 plus admissions

Are you looking into Sydenham High School for the next step in your daughter’s education? Find out everything you need to know about the 11 plus admissions process, and how to help your daughter succeed.

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Introduction to Sydenham High

Sydenham High School is an independent day school for girls in South East London. It is part of the Girls Day School Trust. It is renowned for the warm, friendly, and ambitious atmosphere and genuine sense of community and belonging.

The ambition of the founders of Sydenham High in 1887 was to provide a first class education for girls, this remains the goal of Sydenham High to this day. At Sydenham High, academic and pastoral excellence go hand in hand, aiming for its pupils to both succeed and be happy. At Sydenham High, girls are taught resilience, confidence, independence and ambition.

While Sydenham High is highly successful academically, its top priority is the happiness, personal development and wellbeing of its girls. Sydenham High does not have the same “hothouse” reputation of similar schools such as JAGS or Wimbledon High, however it is not as academically focused or successful as those schools, rather directing its holistic approach on developing well rounded individuals. Sydenham High’s strength is its phenomenal pastoral support and co-curricular excellence. Being a smaller school, it is able to ensure that every student is visible so that every aspect of her education is personalised. Antonia Geldeard was appointed Headmistress of Sydenham High in 2022. Previously she was the Deputy Head of Trinity School, Croydon. 

Sydenham High School campus

The main entry points at Sydenham High are 4+, 7+, 11+, and 16+. The school has over 950 pupils aged 4-18. Sydenham High offer a wide variety of co-curricular opportunities and prides itself on having something to offer every girl that they will be passionate about and excel at. Home to a vibrant music community, over 200 instrumental lessons take place every week and there are a wide range of orchestras, ensembles, choirs and bands. Sydenham High’s Westwood Theatre and Longton Hall are home to highly professional productions, as well as a variety of drama clubs including: Year 7 Drama club; Musical Theatre club; Technical Theatre club; Masterclasses with professional actors; LAMDA and Stagecoach. However, sport is possibly the shining jewel at Sydenham High.

Its facilities include a large astroturf, a well-equipped sports hall, a fitness suite and ergos for rowing. It owns an eight-acre sports ground in Lower Sydenham and local facilities such as Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, Beckenham Spa and Dulwich College Boat House are utilised for water-based activities as well as fitness and athletics. The excellent facilities enable it to offer a wide range of sports; from hockey, netball, swimming, gymnastics and athletics to rugby, football, trampolining, fencing, cricket and rowing.

Sydenham High results

In 2022, 76% of GCSEs were achieved at Grade 9, 8 or 7 (A*-A), while 57% achieved at A*. In the same year, 63% of A Levels were achieved at A* or A. Sydenham High has a proven history of getting its girls into the top Russell Group universities in the UK.

Fees at Sydenham High

£6,619 per term for Years 7-13. Years 7-11 have compulsory school lunches at £283.21 per term. Sydenham High offer a sibling discount of 20% off school fees for the third (and any subsequent) child of parents with three or more children at the school at the same time. The discount will remain with the pupil until they leave the school.

11 plus open days at Sydenham High

Sydenham High offer a range of Open Events for prospective students and parents. Open Mornings give candidates a feel of what everyday life is like at Sydenham, they include an opportunity to meet the staff and Head, and to tour the school and facilities led by a current pupil. For 2023 applicants, these will be available on the 16th and 28th of September and the 9th of November. Sydenham also offer taster mornings where girls can patriciate in lessons and group activities. These are available for Year 5 students in May and Year 6 students in October, for 2023 applicants, they are scheduled for the 2nd and 6th of November. These are all available to book via the school website. We have found girls who attend Open Events are better prepared in interviews and more confident upon entering in September.

There is also a Virtual Tour available on the school website.

young girl smiling and holding her glasses

11 Plus admissions process at Sydenham High

Application for September 2024 entry is now open. The application deadline is the 13th of November 2023. Entry registration for 11 plus opens in April when your child is in Year 5 and closes at the beginning of November of her Year 6. The registration form requires you to pay a fee of £100 for UK based applicants and £125 for international applicants.

At 11 plus, Sydenham High accepts around 90 girls into the Senior School. A third of these places will go to girls at the Preparatory school, while the rest will come from a variety of state and independent schools. Odds of securing a place is usually around 1 in 4 but this number is subject to change year by year. Sydenham High does not give priority to siblings of current students.

11 plus interviews at Sydenham

Sydenham High interviews all candidates in addition to an examination. Each girl will sit a roughly 15 minute interview. The Sydenham High interview has a friendly and informal tone, they aim to put the girls at ease and have a relaxed, conversational style interview with them. The interviewer’s aim is to get to know your daughter and to see if she will be happy at Sydenham High. Your daughter will be asked to speak about something she is proud of and wants to discuss. It is key that she speaks passionately and confidently; she should express interest and enthusiasm about what she chooses to talk about. 2024 applicants will be interviewed on the 13th of January 2024.

Preparation is key if you want your daughter to be successful at the interview. It is a challenging prospect and without some practice she may easily get thrown on the day. However, it is also vital that she does not come across as rehearsed. Sydenham High will be unimpressed if she is reciting pre-made answers rather than answering the questions given.

The thought of an interview can be quite daunting for some children who find it harder to express their views. So, every year Mentor runs individual and group sessions to build confidence. Focusing on interview prep and what to expect, we encourage children to develop answers and present their best self.

Sydenham High 11 plus exam content

The Sydenham High entrance exam consists of a Maths paper, English paper, a short writing task and Verbal Reasoning paper. The Maths exam is 1 hour long and will assess girls’ numeracy, logic and ability to problem solve. The English exam is 1 hour long with an additional 10 minutes of writing time. This is a comprehension style exam, where girls will have to answer questions based on a given text and then do a creative writing task. The paper will assess girls’ ability to read, understand and respond to a given text. They are also judged on their aptitude at spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and ability to understand character. Girls will also have to complete a short written piece, that should take no longer than 20 minutes. Sydenham High will give applicants a selection of titles and styles on the examination day. 

For 2024 entry, exams will take place on the 4th of January 2024.

To help your child best prepare for these exams, download the Sydenham High sample papers:

There is an abundance of online resources, as well as our own practice papers which have been designed based on the competitive Independent Schools format. The Mentor 11 plus team can help advise you about many routes from reading lists to puzzle games to top revision tips, and we have also produced a White Paper which helps to illustrate the many ways you can help your child succeed.

If you want an experienced third party to help you stay on track with your preparation visit our tutors page which has a range of specialist 11 plus tutors with significant Sydenham High entrance experience.

11 plus scholarships at Sydenham High School

Many of our tutors have great success securing scholarships and are experienced with pushing the boundaries of learning for exceptional students. All applicants at Sydenham High are automatically eligible for an academic scholarship. Those who perform exceptionally well on the entrance exam and in interview will be awarded an academic scholarship.

Sydenham High also offers scholarships in Art, Drama, Music and Sport at 11 plus. Applications for scholarships are to be submitted separately to the registration form, the deadline is usually a week before the registration deadline in November to allow processing time. If your daughter’s application is shortlisted, she will be invited to an in-person assessment and interview at Sydenham High in December. Scholarships are usually worth 10% of the school fees and are awarded to girls who show passion, commitment, and skill in their chosen area.

Meet our tutors

To guarantee your daughter the best chance of admission to Sydenham High, offer her some additional support from one of our tutors. Many of our over 200 tutors are experts in the Sydenham High 11 plus and with bespoke one-to-one tuition, they can help children to achieve success at exams and interviews. 

With more than 40 years of experience in tutoring children to gain admission to some of London’s most competitive independent schools, we at Mentor have a wealth of knowledge on how best to prepare your daughter for entry to Sydenham High.

Over 80% of our tutors are qualified teachers, so they have an in-depth knowledge of their subject, the syllabus and the most effective teaching methods. Many have been heads of department, head teachers or examiners and all come with a wealth of experience and a great track record of success. All have up-to-date DBS certificates and references. Wherever possible we will match your daughter with a tutor who has a track record at Sydenham High themselves.

For some information on our tutors’ unique approach to testing children in preparation for exams, contact our team.

More information on Sydenham High

Address: Sydenham High School, 19 Westwood Hill, London, SE26 6BL

Telephone: 020 8557 7000

Email: [email protected] 

Website: www.sydenhamhighschool.gdst.net

Local Authority: Lewisham

School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 100757

Gender: Girls

Age Range: 4-18

Get in touch

We have many experts on entrance to Sydenham High School here at Mentor and are ready to guide you through the new entrance format during Covid-19 measures. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your daughter gain admission to Sydenham High at 11 plus, or for further information on admissions into the top London schools.

Unit 6C Hillgate Place
SW12 9ER

020 8883 2519

[email protected]

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