THE COOGEE PREP STORY
Coogee Boys’ Preparatory School (Coogee Prep) opened its doors in July 1914. On that day, 27 boys began their education in rooms adjacent to the Randwick Presbyterian Church on Alison Road. In over 100 years of education, Coogee Prep remains the only privately-owned boys’ preparatory school in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
Mr William Nimmo, the School’s Founder and first Headmaster, was a dedicated educator who believed that boys should be given a solid all-round education that incorporated the academic, physical and social aspects of schooling. He introduced speech and drama as a way for students to develop self-expression and confidence when speaking in public from an early age. Mr Nimmo built the reputation of Coogee Prep around the motto of ‘Gentleman Scholar Sportsman’.
Mr Nimmo saw his School as a preparatory school for both Sydney Grammar School and The Scots College. Therefore, he combined the colours of both these schools – the black and gold of Sydney Grammar and the blue and gold of Scots College – to create the Coogee Prep colours of black, gold and blue. The ‘A’ of the school crest is taken from the first letter of the Greek alphabet – Alpha – and signifies Coogee Prep’s role as the first step in a boy’s education.
After Mr Nimmo’s retirement in 1965, Mr Nicholas Brown (a former student) became the School’s second Headmaster. Under his leadership, enrolments grew and the House system was introduced in order to foster a greater understanding of teamwork and cooperation among the students. Mr Brown continued to focus on the basics to ensure that the students were well prepared for entry into Secondary school. During this period the school became one of the founding members of The Junior School Heads Association of NSW, which opened up sporting and cultural interactions with other independent schools in the Association.
In 1995, the School’s current Headmaster, Mr John Dicks, was appointed. John Dicks had already been teaching at the school for many years and so had a clear understanding of the basis on which Coogee Boys’ Preparatory was built, but equally so, all of those elements needed to future proof this dynamic learning environment for young boys. The School had always had composite classes K-6. However, as numbers grew and space in the building was made available Coogee Prep moved to a single stream, seven classroom scenario. Mr Dicks along with his team introduced new sporting codes, exciting co-curricular initiatives, a comprehensive learning support program and a rigorous academic curriculum based on sound teaching and learning principles.
In keeping with a strong focus on building a modern schooling environment, it was in 2010 that Coogee Prep underwent a significant renovation. New and larger classrooms were built, a Library/ IT space was established and a multi-purpose hall became the centre of many exciting assembly’s, school concerts, Easter Hat Parades and Mother’s and Father’s Day breakfasts. This renovation marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Coogee Prep. That was, until, the School celebrated its Centenary year in 2014 and truly marked a new chapter for this ever-evolving primary school environment.