A full History of Sevenoaks Prep written by David Williams was published in July 2019 to mark our Centenary. Copies are available from the school office or from Liz.Reading@theprep.org.uk
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. 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 bailed 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.
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.
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.
In 1986 when the school took over the lease of Stake Farm the Kindergarten moved over there and became part of the Junior School.
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
On October 16th, the night of the infamous hurricane, large oak trees lay on their side across the playing fields and access to the school was completely cut off from all directions. 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. Complete devastation surrounded us and it was a week before we were able to start getting back to normal
In 1991 the decision was made to become co-ed and the first 6 girls moved up into Mrs. Perks' Form 1.
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!
In 2000 the new Sports Hall was begun. The squash court was converted into changing rooms.
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 2009 The Oakery, a new dining room, was opened with a state-of-the-art performance studio and practice rooms on the floor above.
In 2012 Luke Harrison became Headmaster, setting up the Development Office in 2013. Since 2013, the Pre-Prep has undergone significant refurbishment including the construction of new classrooms and a large extension to the Pre-Prep Hall. Our forest school has been developed within our woodland and a sports pavilion was constructed in 2017.
In 2019, we are celebrating our centenary with a series of events and our most ambitious building project to date: The Centenary Centre.