Since 1885, Dulwich Prep London has been at the forefront of preparatory schooling in England. Generations of boys and Nursery-aged girls have benefited from a school that has embraced change, keeping pace with pedagogy and technology, and keeping the school’s values at the forefront of everything we do.
We are a selective school in two important ways. Firstly, our pupils generally sit in the top 10% nationally based on their scores in standardised tests. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, we look for children who will thrive at the Prep and make the best of everything we have to offer.
Situated in Dulwich, a leafy village within easy striking distance of the bright lights of one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, everyone at Dulwich Prep London takes pride in inspiring excellence. Our school values underpin the rich diversity of curricular and co-curricular opportunities available to our pupils.
Through strong links to our community, alumni and local schools, we model our values in everything we do; nurturing independent thinkers with a sense for justice, who go on to be thoughtful citizens of the world, equipped with a strong moral compass and the ability to adapt to our rapidly changing environment.
Our Governors strive to maintain Dulwich Prep London’s position in a competitive market by sharing their broad expertise to provide our pupils with the highest quality education. Through this investment, we can attract excellent staff, provide up-to-date technology and continue to create modern facilities within our stunning South London home.
At the suggestion of the Master of Dulwich College, Thomas Mason opened Dulwich College Preparatory School (DCPS) for 13 pupils in January 1885. Links with the College remain strong, however, Dulwich Prep London has always been a standalone entity. Such was the school’s reputation that within two years pupil numbers had risen to over a hundred. Today, known simply as Dulwich Prep London, it has become one of the most prestigious, and largest boys preparatory schools in the country.
The school moved to its present site in 1893 and enjoyed a period of steady growth and stability during the first part of the last century. Events marking the centenary of World War 1, especially the installation of our wall of plaques commemorating former pupils and staff who gave their lives for their country, brought to life the sacrifices made during this period of the school’s history.
From 1891, pupils who boarded lived in the homes of the Headmaster and members of staff, but during the war, a home for boarders was acquired at Brightlands on Gallery Road. Although boarding was discontinued in 2018, Brightlands remained a central part of our wrap-around care provision for pupils until 2020. In 2023, the school introduced Flexi-boarding at 38 Alleyn Park.
In 1938 the then Headmaster, John Leakey, devised a plan should evacuation from London become necessary. He established a campus in the orchard on his father-in-law’s land at Coursehorn, near Cranbrook, Kent. In 1939 the school evacuated to Cranbrook however, due to the risk of invasion it moved again, and spent the rest of World War 2 in Betws-y-Coed in North Wales. The affiliated school, Dulwich Cranbrook, is still there today.
A small sub-section of the school reopened in London in 1940. Despite considerable upheaval and the hardships of the time, the school returned to Dulwich in 1945 and steadily regained its pre-war reputation.
In 1957 the school became a Charitable Educational Trust, thus securing its future. Since then more land has been acquired, new buildings constructed and old ones totally renovated. All levels of the school now have modern facilities.
In 1995, the Betws Building was opened followed by a self-contained music school in 1989 and a fully equipped sports hall in 2008. A new Early Years building was opened on Gallery Road in 2007 and continues to flourish.
On 1 September 2011, the school’s name was changed to Dulwich Prep London, launching a new and exciting era in its growth and development.
In 2015, The Pennock Centre was opened, named after the former Chairman of Governors, David Pennock. A fantastic Science, Design Technology and Cookery building, complete with a rooftop observatory, wildflower garden and photovoltaic cell roof panelling. This wonderful facility is full of living examples of sustainability and everyday science for our pupils to explore.
We have continued to inspire excellence with the opening of our new Lower School building and Dining Hall linking the Drama Studio and Middle and Upper School buildings, providing our pupils with large, dynamic spaces and impressive functionality. In 2019 we welcomed our current Head Master, Miss Louise Davidson, to the Dulwich Prep London community.
In May 2023, the school announced that it would be opening a senior school, starting with Year 9, in September 2025.