The History of St George's Preparatory School
St. George’s was founded in 1929 by Harold Goodwin in a large Georgian terraced house in Rouge Bouillon. The School quickly established a reputation for academic excellence combined with strong pastoral and moral leadership and finished its first year with 22 boys enrolled. The School grew rapidly over the years and had 62 Boarding and Day boys (and one girl!) when Mr Goodwin died in 1955.
Following the death of Mr Goodwin, St. George’s was purchased by Pat Job, who was considered to be a far-sighted educationalist, and it continued to prosper, moving to new premises, St Ewolds, on Trinity Hill in 1956. This large, colonial-style house on the outskirts of St. Helier provided an ideal location with its extensive grounds and greatly improved opportunities for sport. In 1965, girls were admitted for the first time (apart from the solitary teacher’s daughter in the mid-fifties) and by the mid-seventies the school was a thriving, co-educational, day and boarding establishment with an excellent reputation throughout the Channel Islands and beyond. The original ethos of the school survives, academic and extra-curricular excellence combined with high expectations and strong moral leadership.
By 1979, with 104 boys and girls in the school it became clear that St. George’s was in need of larger premises yet again. This coincided with the handing over of the running of the School by Pat Job to his son Jonathon who purchased the substantial property, La Hague Manor, which houses St. George’s to this day. The old Manor House provides a fabulous environment for the nurturing of children, being blessed with stunning grounds extending to over thirty acres. At this time an educational charity, The Jersey Education Trust, was established to take ownership of the school and to administer it for the benefit of the pupils as a non-profit making organisation. Unfortunately, the 1980’s were not kind to St. George’s and pupil numbers collapsed from a high of 145 to only 35 in 1989. Although still maintaining its high educational and pastoral standards, the School faced closure but was saved by the remarkable efforts of a small group of parents led by Advocate Richard Michel and Mrs Jackie Collins.
Their appointment, in 1990, of Trevor Clare MBE, as Headmaster was inspired and he wrought a remarkable transformation, staying true to the original ethos of the School and building up the numbers to the amazing total of 144 by 1997. Trevor, and his wife Bridget, are still fondly remembered by many staff and parents for the gentle style combined with a steely determination to promote the School as a centre of excellence. On Trevor’s retirement in 1997, Charles Blackwell was appointed and St. George’s continued to flourish with pupil numbers peaking at 229 in 2002.
Colin Moore was appointed Headmaster in 2006 and under his Headship expansion of the facilities on offer at St. George’s continued with new technology, music, ICT and science rooms being created together with an enhancement of the Nursery facilities to allow the introduction of 2 -3 year olds in the Walled Garden.
Now, following Colin’s departure and the appointment of Cormac Timothy, St. George’s faces the future with confidence. Cormac brings a wealth of professional experience, both from his time at Jersey College for Girls and more recently as Deputy Head at St George’s and he will oversee a continuing review of the curriculum and how it is delivered and later this summer the opening of our new swimming pool complex. The Board has ambitious plans for the future aimed at securing St George’s reputation as an excellent choice for parents who want their children to enjoy the unique experience St George’s can offer as an independent, non-selective, co-educational prep school set in a listed manor house amid stunning grounds.
Through nearly 90 years the School has stayed true to the ethos of its founder whilst adapting to the demands of a twenty-first century curriculum. The School’s motto: Fortes Fortuna Adjuvat (Fortune Favours the Brave) aptly sums up the courage and commitment so often shown by its management and staff since 1929.