Copthorne Preparatory School

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Copthorne Prep School
Motto Pervincet Vivida Virtus
(Lively manliness conquers all)
Established 1902
Type Preparatory School
Headmaster Chris Jones
Location Effingham Lane
West Sussex
RH10 3HR
Local authority West Sussex
Students c. 300
Gender Mixed
Ages 2–13
Houses Newton, Rendall, Sale and Workman
Colours Red and Black
Founder Bernard Rendall
School Years Preschool - Y8
Website Copthorne Prep School

Copthorne Preparatory School is situated near Crawley in West Sussex, for pupils aged between 2 and 13. It consists of a nursery for infants from 2½. A junior department is for children under the age of eight (reception to yr 2). Older pupils (ages 8 – 13) work in the two prep school buildings, the 'New Block' which is the main teaching building. The main building, or 'The Old Block', half of which consists of staff flats and boarding rooms, the other half contains facilities for acting, musical activities and the dining room as well as more classrooms.


Copthorne Preparatory School was first built as a private home called Emsworth House, and was owned by the Kensington Family. It first became a small girls' school in 1900 for a short time, and was then taken over by Bernard Rendall in 1902 as a boys' school, brother of the then Headmaster of Winchester College, the school designed as a place to prepare boys for Winchester. Rendall's brother-in-law was Dr Edward Wilson, who was one of the men who died in 1913, at the South Pole, whilst on Captain Scott's expedition. A stained glass window was put in the school Chapel remembering this event. Dr Wilson had used the school in preparation for his trip, and the boys had donated funds to provide huskies.

The school motto, Pervincet Vivida Virtus (Lively manliness conquers all) may be inspired by the lines of the Swiss writer Henricus Loritus Glareanus (1488–1563), in his poem Ad Erasmum Roterodamum[1] -

At longe tua me probitas, tua vivida virtus
Vincit, et est versu non bene picta meo.

In 1928, Edward Skeete Workman took over the running of the school in partnership with J.P. Howard. Tim Workman took over as Headmaster in 1952 on the death of his father, and was later joined as joint Headmaster by David Sale. Then Sale was joint Headmaster with David Cann and then with David Newton. Sale died in 1984, David Newton was the sole Headmaster until his retirement in 1999, then was followed by Charles Allen who was Headmaster for six years. The present Headmaster, Chris Jones, started at the school in September 2005.

During World War II, the school was evacuated to the Lee Bay Hotel in Ilfracombe. The school building was requisitioned for use by Army (the Buffs had it for six weeks) and then by the RAF. In 1976 the school was formed into a charitable trust, and in 1980 girls were admitted for the first time. The Pre-Prep was started in the late 1970s, and the Coach House Nursery was opened in 1997. The school is now predominantly a day school, although some children board weekly and others flexi-board.


Copthorne preparatory school is situated in 55 acres (220,000 m2) of the playing field and woodland .

Notable former pupils[edit]

See also Category:People educated at Copthorne Preparatory School

Old boys of the school, known as Old Copthornians, include:

Notable staff[edit]

  • Sarah Kennedy, radio and television presenter who was matron at the school for a time


  1. ^ HENRICI LORITI GLAREANI: Ad Erasmum Roterodamum at (accessed 13 January 2008)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°8′20.68″N 0°5′56.73″W / 51.1390778°N 0.0990917°W / 51.1390778; -0.0990917