Sacred Heart High School (London)
|Headteacher||Dr. Christine Carpenter|
|Founder||Madeleine Sophie Barat|
|Location||212 Hammersmith Road
|DfE URN||137935 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|Trusteeship||Society of the Heart Charitable Trust|
Sacred Heart is a popular girls' school for ages 11–16, located in Hammersmith. The former convent only accepts girls of the Catholic faith and a uniform is obligatory for all girls during the five years at Sacred Heart. Approximately 800 girls attend the school. The headteacher is Dr. Christine Carpenter and has been so for many years. The entrance is via Bute Gardens.
The school was founded by nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1893. One of the school buildings is named after the order's founder Madeleine Sophie Barat. It is built on an historic site with a long Catholic tradition dating back to 1609. In 1869 Archbishop Manning decided to convert the convent into a seminary but the original buildings were found to be unsuitable. By January 1876 John Francis Bentley, the architect of Westminster Cathedral, had completed the plans for the current Tudor styled buildings. By July 1884 the seminary was complete, consisting of a chapel, library, school, refectory, common room and upwards of sixty study bedrooms for staff and students.
In 1948 the convent school was reorganised as a secondary grammar school, continuing as a grammar school, the Convent of Sacred Heart High School, until 1976.
The school received its first comprehensive intake in 1976, gradually becoming comprehensive one year at a time until 1981, as the London Sacred Heart High School. It had around 550 girls in 1980. In 1989, a gradual change began to dispose of the sixth form, and by 1991, it was an 11-16 school, with A-levels being taken at the new St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College, in Kensington and Chelsea. From 1990, it was the responsibility of Hammersmith and Fulham, and since 1991 the headteacher has been Christine Carpenter, who replaced Moira Russell.
Apart from the twenty years as a seminary in the late nineteenth century, this site has a 330 year tradition of contributing to the education of young women. The school building was designed by John Francis Bentley, also responsible for Westminster Cathedral. In 1993 Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, visited the school for a Mass to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
From September 2006, the school has improved nutrition by taking away the chocolate vending machines and not allowing girls to bring in that kind of food. Fruits and vegetables should be eaten during lunch. A new fruit juice machine has been introduced. Both the pupils and the teachers are encouraged to take part in regular activities both within and outside the school community, and all the years contribute to raising money and awareness of political, social and economic status' around the world. The school raises large amounts of money each year for various charities around the world.
On 1 March 2012, Sacred Heart High School officially gained academy status.
From September 2013, a sixth form will be introduced and the school will be then be a 11-18.
It gets exceptionally good GCSE results.
Notable former pupils
- Kathryn Blair, daughter of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Cherie Booth, QC.
- Marion Brewis, Lord Lieutenant of Wigtown since 2006
- Pauline Collins, actress (very briefly)
- June Flewett, actress and theatre director
- Mel Martin, actress
In July 1999 the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) upheld a complaint against the Mail on Sunday, from Tony and Cherie Blair, who had claimed that the Blairs had improperly used their influence to secure the admission of Kathryn Blair to Sacred Heart High School, some six miles from where they live, when other local girls were rejected. The PCC said: "There was no evidence to support the allegation that Kathryn Blair was unfairly admitted or had received special treatment, and the newspaper did not provide any."
- "Education - Blairs' school complaint upheld", BBC, 16 July 1999
- "The Prime Minister and Mrs Blair", Report 47, Press Complaints Commission