History of Prior Park Preparatory School

In 1946 a preparatory school was needed for Prior Park College. Nothing suitable was available in Bath so the Christian Brothers obtained the Cotswold stone 'Manor House', largely rebuilt in the 19th century, known as The Hermitage, at Calcutt Street in Cricklade. It was said to have been built on the site of a mediaeval hermitage. The land comprised about 31 acres including vegetable gardens, greenhouses, an orchard and land suitable for playing fields. The house would take 62 boys and it was intended to build an extension so that a total of 100 could be accommodated.

The Christian Brothers took over the house on 26th August and opened the school on 18th September 1946. There was a Headmaster and four teaching brothers and these were later supplemented by Brother Novices, who spent two years at the school to gain experience before moving to teacher training college, and lay staff, for subjects that were not specialisms of the available brothers.

The drawing room of the original house was converted to a chapel (now the school library) and blessed by the Bishop of Clifton when he opened the school. In 1947 more classrooms, a refectory and recreation rooms were built. New dormitories were built in 1962 and in the mid 1960s there were 100 boarders. A new chapel and hall were added in 1967. In the 1970s day boys were taken.

Unexpectedly on 7th March 1980 the Christian Brothers told the lay members of staff that they would be leaving Cricklade and Bath immediately. The school was sold and from 1981 was under lay management under the Headship of John Bogie. Day girls were later admitted and it then became a fully co-educational boarding and day preparatory school. Gerard Hobern took up the Headship in 1994 and under his leadership opened an ICT suite, fully equipped sports hall in 2000 and astro-turf pitch in 2008. In 2009 the school opened its own Pre-Prep department in the walled garden. Mr Mark Pearce became Head in January 2011 and the school now has around 250 pupils from age 3 – 13.

1946 On the 18th September the School opened
1962 New dormitories were built
1967 School Chapel was extended and refurbished
1981 School sold by Christian Brothers into Lay Administration, girls admitted for first time
1996 ICT suite was built
2000 Fully equipped new sports hall opened
2008 Astroturf new pitch opened
2009 New Pre-Prep department opened
2011 In October the new Conservation Area/Outdoor Classroom opened