||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
|Type||Preparatory day and boarding|
|Chairman of the Governors||The Rt. Hon. Lord Wakeham,PC, DL|
|Local authority||Brighton and Hove|
|DfE URN||114617 Tables|
St. Aubyns School is a co-educational preparatory school in Rottingdean, East Sussex, England, catering for children from the ages of 3 to 13. The school was formally founded in 1895 but has origins in educational establishments founded in the 18th century by the then vicar of Rottingdean, Dr Thomas Hooker.
By tradition the school does not use the apostrophe in its name.
St Aubyns was founded by Mr CEF Stanford in 1895 as a boys' boarding prep school. Mr Stanford had been a housemaster of Kingsgate School in Winchester and moved with his wife, his deputy (Mr RCV Lang), a maintenance man and six pupils to start a new school.
The premises which he occupied had been a school for much of the 19th Century. Revd Thomas Hooker, Vicar of Rottingdean from 1790s to 1830s, was well known as an educator of pupils who lodged with him at the vicarage. He then rented rooms in the former Rottingdean Manor House and employed a second master as an extension to the school. After his death this continued as a school which changed hands several times. From 1863 a Mr Hewitt ran a school on this site called Field House School – here Ralph Vaughan Williams and the later Earl Jellicoe were educated. The school was bought in 1887 by two brothers called Mason; they gave the name Rottingdean School to their establishment. They vacated the site in 1894 and moved Rottingdean School to another site in the village. Thus Mr Stanford came upon an empty site when he arrived in 1895.
The school remained in essence unchanged for its first 100 years, with numbers between 60 and 100 pupils for most of that time. A chapel was built in 1912 and dedicated the following year. This records the names of 102 old boys who died in the First and Second World Wars.
The school was privately owned by Mr Stanford who passed it on to Mr Lang who succeeded him as Headmaster in 1919. Mr Lang in turn passed the school on to his successor Mr WH Gervis in 1940. One of the other masters, Mr EK Webber, had a financial share in the business. The school became a limited company and a charitable trust in 1969.
During the Second World War the school was evacuated to North Wales. A family called Wynne Finch made their mansion, Voelas near Pentrefoelas, available to the school in 1940. Here school life continued as if unchanged, including sporting fixtures against other prep schools evacuated to the area. The Voelas Cup is still awarded each year to a pupil who has gained the most section marks.
In 1995 a Pre-Prep Department was opened and with this came an increase in the proportion of day pupils. Girls were first admitted to the school in 1996 (although the first girl was Molly Stanford, daughter of Mr Stanford, in the first decade of the 1900s). In 2002 a Nursery was opened. Full boarding ended in 2003, although weekly- and flexi-boarding continue.
In 2012 St Aubyns joined the Cothill Educational Trust.
Mr Stanford founded the school as St Aubyn's. The reason for the choice of name is not known. The apostrophe was used in the name until 1940. Without any explanation or comment the apostrophe was dropped after the Spring Term 1940. This can be seen in the school magazines for the Spring and Summer Terms of that year. The change coincided with the new Headmaster, Mr Gervis, and with the school's evacuation from Rottingdean at the start of the war. The name St Aubyns has been used consistently by the school ever since.
The Independent Schools Inspectorate highlights a "stimulating and tolerant atmosphere", "outstanding" pastoral care, and the focus on personalised learning as "an area of outstanding practice". "Achievement in drama, art and sport ... is outstanding for a school of its size", the report states. The behaviour of the children and the excellent relationship between pupils and staff are also singled out for praise. The Nursery Inspection (Ofsted 2008) emphasises the outstanding nature of the provision at that level. The boarding provision was judged to be outstanding in the Boarding Inspection (Ofsted 2009). A recent press article described the school as having 'the intoxicating combination of small classes and a big heart".
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