Girls from Down Under are on a Sydenham High!

Two Australian teenagers have swapped student life ‘down under’ for the UK equivalent at Sydenham High GDST, as part of a unique new international educational and cultural exchange programme.

Molly Stafford and Ella Boetcher (seated on the left of the first photo), both aged 14, from St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls, Perth, Western Australia, have joined Sydenham High’s Year 10 this term for just over a month.

Unlike traditional exchange programmes, the experience will be totally immersive as the girls will be completely integrated into Sydenham High life: wearing school uniform, going to classes and taking part in House activities. During their stay they will also be able to explore London and go on excursions to popular UK tourist locations.

The girls are staying with the families of two Sydenham High Year 10 students, Beatrice Eades and Niamh O’Sullivan, who will head to Australia for 5 weeks in July in the second part of the exchange.  There they will enjoy the lifestyle, schooling and outstanding extra-curricular opportunities offered by St Hilda’s during its winter term, as well as everything that the city of Perth and its surrounding environment have to offer.

Sydenham High Headteacher Kathryn Pullen commented: “St Hilda’s is one of the most highly respected and well–resourced schools in Australia and was selected as an ideal partnership school because of its closely matched ethos to both Sydenham High and the Girls’ Day School Trust as a whole.  The girls always come first and the opportunities that are offered are tailored to give the students the best possible outcomes.”

Kim Kiepe, Principal of St Hilda’s, said: “Over many years we have been sending our students to experience incredible schools across the globe including New York, South Africa, Japan and New Zealand.  We are delighted to begin our partnership with Sydenham High in the UK – a place close to our heart and with historic links with St Hilda of Whitby.”

The exchange will also involve science teacher and Sixth Form tutor, Samantha Sookdeo, who will also be spending time at St Hilda’s. She will be studying St Hilda’s approach to personalised learning – particularly cross-curricular collaborations – and reviewing any differences to the UK approach to bring back useful best practice and ideas to share both at Sydenham High and within the GDST as a whole.  She will also be looking at equivalents of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) programme, which she co-ordinates at Sydenham High, with a view to setting up links with potential mentors and/or experts in particular subjects.

Kathryn Pullen concluded: “Everyone has so much to learn from this unique opportunity.  We hope that it will be the start of an expanding worldwide exchange programme for our school and for the whole GDST.”

About St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls, Perth
Founded in 1896, St Hilda’s is an independent Anglican Girls’ School located in Perth, Western Australia.  It has 1300 students from Junior Kindergarten to Year 12 between the ages of three and 18.  For more details visit

More news


Senior School choir captures Estonian hearts