1938   F G Morgan becomes joint principal

1958   Mr Kenneth C Ely becomes head master

1978   Mr Edward Oatley becomes head master

1946   Mr Morgan leaves to buy a school in Hampshire

1968   Move to Godden Green

1921   Reverend C G Holland becomes head master

1928   M N Jukes MA buys the school

1919 Mrs Garrod, wife of head master of  Sevenoaks Grammar School (now Sevenoaks School) starts the Prep in The Cottage Block at the school.

1992  Mrs Marjorie Shea - Head of Junior School

2005 Mr Philip Oldroyd becomes headmaster

1947   Mr Jukes' accident

1957   Death of Mr Dukes

1984   Death of Mr Ely

1922 Sevenoaks Prep School moves to 4 Vine Court Road

1948   Mrs Agnes B Lang BA becomes head mistress

A History of the Prep

Begun by Angela Lucas

There is some uncertainty about the very beginnings of the school, but tradition has it that in 1919 Mrs Garrod, wife of the headmaster of Sevenoaks Grammar School, now Sevenoaks School, brought together a class of six boys who were too young to attend the main school.  She educated them herself in the Cottage Block until they were ready to move up.

In 1921 the Rev C G Holland became head master of an already expanding prep school.  He bought No. 4 Vine Court Road, to be known as Old School House, and moved there with thirty five boys.  The house consisted of a basement and three storeys, in the top one of which Mr Holland and his family lived.  The back garden on two levels became the playground, known from then on as the upper and lower Quad.  Education consisted of Latin, divinity, arithmetic, history, geography, English, French but no science. There was art, and dramatics with an annual school play on the lawn, singing and music, and some sport on Vine Cricket Ground and Hollybush Lane Recreation Ground.  Gym was mainly marching and turning conducted by an ex-Army Sergeant Major.  School caps, which were then maroon and black, were worn as a badge of honour and defended in many sore contests.

In 1928
Mr M N Jukes, MA, a wounded veteran of the Gallipoli campaign, bought the school, inheriting thirty boys.  He took in a few fatherless boys, as boarders and cared for them like sons. 

By 1931 there were seventy two pupils and by 1938 one hundred and two.  In this year Mr F G Morgan became joint headmaster moving on in 1946.

During World War Two the basement became an air-raid shelter.  Lessons continued while boys sat crowded on narrow benches.  Whenever possible boys watched the Battle of Britain daylight aerial combats.  The greatest thrill occurred when a pilot baled out and parachuted down into the lower Quad.  Fortunately he proved to be British.  Shortages of all essentials, even paper to write on, were not allowed to prevent the school's success in maintaining high teaching standards though plays and societies had to be abandoned.

During the later V-bomb raids a nearby explosion brought the ceiling down above Mr Jukes' desk, from which he had moved away seconds before.

Having survived two World Wars Mr Jukes fell a victim to increasing road traffic.  Mr Morgan having moved on in 1946, in 1947 Mr Jukes was seriously disabled when knocked down by a car. 

"The Half and Halfs"

In 1984
Peter Larcombe and Jeremy Crang, assisted by researchers: James Brampton, Alistair Cormack, Christopher Geer, Matthew Hammond, Robert Hartley, Ian Ivory, Guy Mitson, Clifford Mitchell, James Ryman, Russell Smart, Lawrence Springall, Jeremy Tidmarsh, Paul Thompson, Stuart Wallinger, Paul Wishart and Richard Wolfgang produced a detailed and scholarly history of the Prep entitled The Half and Halfs. (A reference to the segmented school cap.)

This manuscript book, complete with illustrations, runs to 200 pages and contains some 60,000 words.

*     *     *

From The Half and Halfs:

Chapter Five:
Men May Come and Men May Go (1946-58)

In 1947, Mr Jukes had a very serious road accident  - he was run over by a local doctor  - which incapacitated him, and he was never able to take a really active part in the school afterwards. Two women of character came to the rescue. Mr Jukes' sister, Mrs Mimi Grieves moved to Sevenoaks to look after him and in 1948 Mrs Agnes B Lang became headmistress and ran the school with the help of a very dedicated staff of men and women until Mr Jukes' death in 1957. Mrs Grieves was to become the chief guide at Knole where she emerged as one of its outstanding personalities, once broadcasting from the house with Richard Dimbleby.

John London remember small groups of boys climbing to the top of the school, to the headmaster's bedroom at the back of the flat overlooking the playground, where they would gather round his bed for a lesson. He had a great cradle over his legs, under the sheets, to protect them. Mr Jukes was, by now, a very heavy man and Tony Larcombe can remember still the squeaks from the stairs from the flat as the headmaster, with all his weight, would heave himself into each form room to announce some important news  - like that of 1952
'the King is dead. We now have a Queen'

*     *     *

A page from the manuscript.

From then until his death in 1957 Mr Jukes continued to supervise the school and even teach from his bed, while his able assistant teacher, Mrs A E Lang MA, became headmistress.  She maintained the school with all its high reputation until it was bought by Mr K C Ely in 1958.

For ten years Mr Ely developed the school to meet the increasing demands of education.  Averaging between a hundred and forty and a hundred and fifty boys between the ages of five and fourteen on the register, he hired the Carey Hall of the Vine Baptist Church.  It became a classroom, an Assembly Hall for morning prayers, parents' meetings, Prize Giving, and theatre for school plays.  The school magazine, The Acorn, became an annual publication. 

School outings, such as those to the Festival Hall for the Children' Concerts, and school holidays, including those to Austria and Switzerland became a feature of school life. 

But with all these activities and the increasing number of boys, the school remained confined to the house and Hall and a new science lab. and classroom which took up too much of the old Quads.  It was still without its own sports facilities.

Anxious for room to expand and, in particular, to have grounds and playing fields for his boys, Mr Ely took up the tenancy of Fawke Cottage at Godden Green together with one adjoining field.  At the end of the Christmas Term 1968 he conducted the last Assembly in the Carey Hall.  The little boys went home while the entire staff and all the older boys helped Quinnells to move the school 'lock, stock and barrel', including the science lab and the new classroom, to Sevenoaks Prep. at Godden Green.  The same team worked on many of the days throughout the Christmas holidays to prepare the school for the Spring Term.  So, on a snowy January day in 1969 all was ready when a Davis coach load of boys disembarked at their new Sevenoaks Prep, with all its welcome expanse of grounds awaiting them.

The school blossomed in this greatly enlarged environment at Godden Green.  Extra classrooms, then a mini theatre, the venue of a whole range of successful plays, a better equipped science lab. were all added.  The Concert on the lawn was reinstated.  Football, cricket, athletics, and cross-country began to flourish and outdoor clubs were founded. 

The school was divided into four houses.  Vine, Weald, Knole and Seal and house competition in work and sport took on greater importance.  The school came under the wing of Seal Parish Church in which the Carol Service and the end of year service were held annually.  Many boys moved on as they had traditionally done to Sevenoaks School, but many too went further afield to an increasing range of senior schools.

In 1978
Mr Ely retired, handing the school on to the present headmaster, Mr E Oatley, who came from his post as deputy head at Winchester House.

A further hall was built in 1982 with a Kindergarten attached and Rosemary Cooke, who ran a nursery school in her home in Seal, brought her children up to Godden Green and became part of Sevenoaks Prep.  She began with 18 boys and girls under 5. 

In 1986 when the school took over the lease of Stake Farm the Kindergarten moved over there and became part of the Junior School.  The Kindergarten room then became the music room.

The playing fields were greatly extended, with athletics track, floodlit seven-a-side pitch and all-weather cricket nets.

In 1987 a larger car park was built and a new Reception block was put up in the back garden of Stake Farm to enable the school to run two classes in each year group. 
Penny Spencer-Allen joined the school to run a pre KG group and finally the senior art room and maths room were moved over to the senior side.  A new Portacabin science lab and English room were put in and extra changing rooms built on the site of the old science lab.

The 16th of October was of course the night of the infamous hurricane.  In the morning large oak trees lay on their side across the playing fields and access to the school was completely cut off from all directions.  The last telephone call before the lines went dead was from The New Beacon asking whether the football match was still on that afternoon!

Luckily the school building remained intact and the only damage to buildings was a tree through the games shed and across the roof of the hall.  All the panes of glass in the greenhouse in Stake Farm were smashed and the caravan beside
Mr. Heal's shed was upside down.  Complete devastation surrounded us and it was a week before we were able to start getting back to normal.  There was no electricity and when it did come back it was spasmodic - we had our first group of Japanese teachers visiting the school in the cold and dark! 

This was quite a year with regard to the weather as in the January we had been cut off for two weeks following the worst snowfall for years.  A few people struggled into school in snowboots and two boys even managed to ski across Knole Park!  Once again no electricity; but in true British spirit we put on extra sweaters and soldiered on.

In 1991 the decision was made to become co-ed and the first 6 girls moved up into Mrs. Perks' Form 1. 

With the demand for places in Kindergarten growing all the time Form 3 and
Mrs. Lewis moved over into the senior music room and a new music room was constructed where the computer room is now housed.

The two Reception classes moved into the main Stake Farm building,
Mrs. Cooke retired and Barbara Lloyd, Cheryl Ruphrect and Penny Spencer-Allen moved into the two outside Reception classrooms.  The Kindergarten was split into three with Sue Binnie joining the school to start the Nursery with Vanessa Dussek.  So from 18 under-5s in 1982 there were now 80!

As the larger numbers in the Junior School started moving over to the senior side it was obvious that more facilities were needed, especially with girls moving into Form 3.  So on with the building programme!  The old loos opposite the back door were demolished and the urinals became the cleaner's cupboard.  A new girls changing room and toilets and new boys toilets took their place.  Form 3 moved again and became two classes in the old Form 4 rooms with
Angie Pickering joining the staff again to become class teacher with Sue Lewis.  Form 3 became the boys changing room.  Forms 5 and 6 became Mr. Morrow's geography/history room and an enormous new Portacabin block appeared after a team of staff and parents had demolished the old changing room block - very sad for those who felt the last bastions of the original buildings were fast disappearing but it was time for 'out with the old and in with the new'.

So the present Form 4 and 5 form rooms and the art/DT and music rooms were brought in during the summer holidays of 1995.  The music room became the computer room and 18 months later
Mme Homer and Mr. Oldroyd moved into new premises for French and maths. The old French room became the library and the old maths room was remodelled as a much improved school shop - we even had carpet on the floor! The old school shop went to Stonepits Farm, home of the Clews family, to become their strawberry shop.  Previously they had had our first ever hall which was converted into stables!

The long tradition of sound, friendly teaching and learning remains the basis for the contemporary curriculum for the present 320 pupils, whose ages range from 2 to 13. All pupils between four and seven can, if they wish, enjoy Little Oaks club, and all the older pupils can stay on at school to do supervised prep and society activities.

In 2000 the new Sports Hall was begun. The squash court was converted into changing rooms. There are 326 children on the school role. 

Please note:
Reuse of text on this page under the GFDL is permitted.

In 2001 the new hall was constructed to the left of the tennis court.  The floodlit court was extended, necessitating the re-positioning of the cricket nets on the Pre-prep side of the cricket field

In 2002 work began on a new classroom block for Forms 3 and 4.

In 2005 Mr Oatley retired; he was honoured with an MBE for services to education and the community; Mr Philip Oldroyd became headmaster.

By 2008 the school role had reached 390; the next year The Oakery, a new dining room, was opened with a state-of-the-art performance studio and practice rooms on the floor above.