Our History

Woodard Schools

Denstone College Preparatory School is a member of the Woodard Group of Schools. The group was established in 1848 by Nathaniel Woodard, a priest who believed education was the only way to overcome social conflict, poverty, deprivation and a lack of aspiration. As a consequence he founded an incredible 11 schools in his lifetime.

Woodard Schools’ philosophy is encapsulated in three words; Faith, Unity and Vision.

  • Faith: while Woodard Schools have been built on a Christian ethos, we welcome all faiths and help develop our pupils both spiritually and morally so they grow into confident, well rounded individuals.
  • Unity: Woodard Schools work together, sharing best practice and expertise, which enables us to offer excellence in education as well as many inter-school opportunities.
  • Vision: Nathaniel Woodard believed that education is more than just teaching and learning skills, and instead is about unlocking the potential of the whole person, something that Woodard Schools practise to this day.

Today, the Woodard Group has grown to become the largest group of independent Church of England schools in England and Wales.

Denstone College Preparatory School

Denstone College Preparatory School first opened on the site of our senior school Denstone College in 1902, before moving in 1938 to Smallwood Manor, a country manor house built in 1886 and designed by Robert Edis.

The Manor itself still houses our Prep School, and although it has been modernised to meet the needs of a 21st Century school, many of its period features remain. Situated in the heart of the Estate, it provides a beautiful setting and a safe environment that has been a source of inspiration to countless Smallwoodians.

Naturally though there have been changes. The original stable quadrangle has been converted into a secure Pre-Prep department. Other facilities include our brand new astro sports pitch, newly refurbished pool, gymnasium and theatre, music and art facilities and extensive sports fields and tennis court.

In 2015 we changed our name from Smallwood Manor, to Denstone College Prep School in order to strengthen our already strong links with Denstone College.

Although originally a boys boarding school, Denstone College Preparatory School is now a day school catering for boys and girls from the ages of 4 to 11. We have an excellent reputation, with our children all gaining entrance to their chosen senior schools, many of whom also gain scholarships.