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messageHarris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by argrahame 04 March, 2019 14:30

Apologies if everyone is bored of hearing about secondary school allocations...

We expected Sydenham, because in the past neighbours daughters have always got a place there. But of course catchment areas change from year to year, so we got Harris Girls ED instead.

Can anyone on the forum share any information on the relative merits of the two schools? Are they very different? Do they suit different sorts of pupils? They both look like good schools with great facilities and decent results, so I'm keen to hear people's opinions on them. Please feel free to PM me if you'd rather do that than post on a public forum. Thank you in advance.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by telemum 04 March, 2019 14:55

I don't know Harris I'm afraid, but my daughter is in Year 7 at Sydenham. It's been a lovely transition, and I can't recommend it highly enough - I thought it would seem big and impersonal, but she's been really excited and has taken them up on many opportunities from chess, to orchestra to lots of stuff run by the library - and has joined a band. Made lovely friends too. The academics are good and she enjoys the Latin and is keen to go in the morning. But from what everyone says Harris East Dulwich is great as well. My daughter does have one friend who moved from Harris to Sydenham when a place became available in mid September, but I think that was much more to do with the fact her primary friends were all at Sydenham rather than anything at all that was wrong with Harris. Good luck - the waiting lists do move if you decide you want to go for Syd, but from what people say both are good choices.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by kristymac1 04 March, 2019 15:22

We were in your position last year and our daughter is now at Harris Girls ED.
We are incredibly impressed with the school, its results are excellent (better than all others in the area) but it is also very pastoral and has an old school mix of firm discipline delivered with warmth. The teachers are excellent, very personable and they 'get' the kids. Our daughter has small group music lessons of instrument of choice (guitar for her) and is performing at the globe theatre later this year in Henry V.
There have been one or two friendship 'issues' which have been dealt with swiftly and well.
Our daughter is fairly academic and the lessons are challenging and she certainly grumbles about the amount of homework (I suspect that'd the same where-ever she is).
Happy to chat further if it'd help at all

Good luck where ever your daughter goes - we're very lucky to have a number of really good schools in this area

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by argrahame 04 March, 2019 15:23

Thank you so much. That's good to know.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by argrahame 04 March, 2019 16:06

Hi Kristymac1, that's very reassuring. We've asked to go an look at the school as my daughter hasn't seen it. After we've done that I might well take up your offer of a chat.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by Monkey 04 March, 2019 16:42

Harris Girls ED is the school my Year 5 daughter is most likely to attend.

Iíve seen a lot of secondary schools in the area and the teaching team at Harris ED is the one iím most impressed with.

Having seen the school in consecutive years, the improvements are visible. On my last visit, I was pleased to see how they had improved what was once a rather uninspiring library for example.

The only thing thatís a problem for me is the MFL provision, which currently includes Spanish and Italian. I really really hope theyíll add French, which is a must for me.

Hope this helps.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by lilaclou 11 March, 2019 17:44

Hello Monkey,

My daughter in yr 5 will most likely go to Harris Girls and when I spoke to the languages department I too was disappointed that French wasnít included. Though they did say if there is interest from a number of parents they will consider adding it as some of the language teachers are already qualified to teach it, in addition to Spanish. I have written to the school and expressed my interest in them adding it so if other parents do this it may build momentum.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2019:03:11:18:02:20 by lilaclou.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by Monkey 11 March, 2019 18:33

Hi, good to know, thank you! Iíve spoken to the head and deputy head about it directly two years in a row now and will follow up with an email - good idea. Itís good they added Spanish already. Weíve also registered her at a French school just in case. Letís keep in touch.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by argrahame 13 March, 2019 19:33

We went to see the school and I was very impressed - with the lessons, facilities, after school activities and enthusiasm of the teachers. The question of languages came up and the school said they were thinking of offering French if there is demand for it. I got the impression that the school will adapt the curriculum in line with needs/interests of the pupils.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by lilaclou 14 March, 2019 09:03

Just to let those who are interested know. I have received confirmation from Harris Girls that French will be offered in addition to Spanish from September 2019. Am very pleased by this news and a great sign parents are being listened too.

messageRe: Harris Girls ED v Sydenham
Posted by argrahame 14 March, 2019 15:08

That's brilliant - good work lilaclou! As you say it's a good sign that they are willing to listen to parents and respond to suggestions...

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