The Oratory Preparatory School
1925 (current school)
Day and boarding
|Religion||Roman Catholic (Oratorian)|
|Chair of Governors||M H R Hasslacher|
|Founder||John Henry Newman|
The Oratory Preparatory School traces its lineage to its affiliated school, The Oratory School, located nearby. The original school was founded on 1 May 1859 "for the education of [Catholic] boys not destined to ecclesiastical estate" in Edgbaston, a suburb in Birmingham. In 1922, it moved to Caversham Park near Reading. Three years later, The Oratory Preparatory School opened less than a mile away with just four boys at 'Rose Hill House', a Georgian-style mansion in Emmer Green. The first Headmaster was Father Sebastian Ritchie and by 1930 there were 30 boys. The Prep School is now a separate entity from its brother school, the all-boys The Oratory School. Both schools are part of The Oratory Schools Association and share a Chair of Governors.
The 1960s and beyond saw much development in the school's history. The preparatory school moved to its current site in 1969 and is located in 60 acres of grounds, amidst open countryside and woodland overlooking the Thames Valley, close to Reading. In 1977, the Pre-Preparatory Department opened with 21 pupils and accepted girls for the first time. Under headmaster Michael Randell, who took over in 1981, the school developed further and became fully coeducational.
The school accepts children of all faiths but maintains close ties with the Catholic church; Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and Cardinal Baum both sit on the Board of Governors. Pupils are also expected to attend assemblies and weekly services.
A majority of pupils sit for the Common Entrance Examination and have been accepted to nearby public schools such as The Oratory School, Eton College, Harrow School, Marlborough College, St Edward's School and Wellington College.
The 2010 ISI Inspection noted the school's broad curriculum and described the pupils' achievement and quality of teaching as "good".
Most children are day pupils but the school makes provisions for up to 60 boarders from Year 4 upwards. Boarders have the option to board full-time or part-time. There are seven boys’ dormitories and four girls’ dormitories. The current maximum number of beds in any one dorm is ten although most of the dorms sleep six children.