The history of St David’s Prep
St David’s Prep was founded in 1926. Its first principal was Mrs Gwenllian Davies, a graduate of Cardiff University, who was a gifted teacher and an excellent administrator.
The school began in Mr and Mrs Davies’ house and comprised just one room for a Kindergarten. By 1931 there were 32 pupils on the roll whose ages ranged from 5 to 10. Mrs Davies insisted that all children learnt to read before they were allowed to study any other subjects apart from number work!
Sometimes the pupils were able to play in the field beyond the garden of the house, and in 1935 the first Sports Day was held in this field. Sports Day is still an annual event in the field.
A photograph of the 1937 Sports Day shows children wearing the brown and gold blazers which are still part of the uniform for pupils today. The field was owned by the Schove family and in 1935 Mr and Mrs Davies sold the freehold premises known as St David’s, as well as the scholastic fixtures and fittings annexed to the property, to Mr Derek Justin Schove. The cost to Mr Schove was £900.
During the Second World War the number of pupils declined but the school opened its doors to students from the ages of 3 to 33. Mr Schove was a qualified meteorologist and he enlisted in the Royal Air Force so the school was carried on in his absence by Miss Jupp and Mrs Ramsden. After the War the numbers of pupils attending St David’s quickly grew and by 1949 the older pupils had moved into Justin Hall. This hall had been destroyed by a bomb during the War and had been rebuilt to provide classrooms on the street level and a hall down below.
In the early 1950s the House system was introduced to St David’s. A pupil became either a Beck or a Wick, depending on whether the family lived in Beckenham or West Wickham. This did not make it easy for pupils who lived in surrounding areas such as Croydon, so in 1978 the House classifications of David, Justin and Oak were initiated. Pupil numbers by the 1950s had risen to about 130 and an extension was built at Justin Hall. In 1958 Mr. Schove was awarded his Ph.D. but some pupils could never remember to say ‘Dr’ instead of ‘Mr’ Schove!
School numbers continued to grow and in 1968 the Little School opened on its new site in St David’s Close. The Golden Jubilee of the school was celebrated in 1976 and in 1983 the school was granted Accreditation by the Independent Schools Joint Council. Sadly Dr Schove died in 1986 shortly before the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Mrs Vera Schove took over as Principal and a Head Teacher was appointed. Mrs Schove was later joined as Principal by her eldest daughter, Mrs Ann Wagstaff.
In July 1996 celebrations, including a dinner dance, were organised for the Platinum Jubilee of the school. The whole school had an outing to Legoland, UK, and this was as much fun for the staff as it was for the pupils!
In June 2001 the school celebrated its 75th Anniversary. A splendid Summer Fair, organised by the PTA, was much enjoyed by Old Davidians, former members of staff, parents, friends as well as by all the current pupils and staff.
In 2006 the school celebrated its 80th anniversary with another wonderful PTA Summer Fair.
The school was owned by the Schove family until September 2015, when it became part of the Wishford Schools group. The family ethos, which is so ingrained in the school’s culture, remains as strong as ever and the future of the school has been safeguarded for many generations to come. We now look forward to our centenary celebrations in 2026!