Dragon School

Dragon School
The Dragon School
Dragon logo wikipedia.png
Motto Arduus ad Solem
(Striving towards the Sun)
Established 1877
Type Preparatory School
Religion Anglican
Head Master John R. Baugh
Founder Rev. A. E. Clarke
Location Bardwell Road
Students 650 (approx.)
Gender Co-Educational
Ages 8–13
Houses 9
Colours Navy & Mustard
Publication The Draconian
Former pupils Old Dragons
Website dragonschool.org

Coordinates: 51°46′05″N 1°15′23″W / 51.76818°N 1.25639°W / 51.76818; -1.25639

The Dragon School is a British coeducational, preparatory school in the city of Oxford, founded in 1877 as the Oxford Preparatory School, or OPS. It is primarily known as a boarding school, although it also takes day pupils. Although established primarily as a boys' school, there have always been girls as day pupils at the school, and girls were first admitted as boarders in 1994.

The school accepts pupils from the age of 8 ("E Block") through to 13 ("A Block"), although an associated "pre-prep", Lynams, accepts children from age 4 to the age of 8. As of September 2001, the school had 840 pupils, of both sexes.



School House at the Dragon School, on Bardwell Road in North Oxford.

The Dragon School was founded in 1877, and was originally named the Preparatory School and sometimes called Lynam's Preparatory School. The school was started by a committee of Oxford dons. The school's original remit was to provide a high standard of academic grounding and pastoral care to the children of professors of the University of Oxford. Indeed, many early teachers were or had been 'dons' themselves. Among the most active of the dons was a Mr George, so the first pupils decided to call themselves "Dragons" after Saint George and the Dragon. The 'Dragon' name, which has been attributed to an off-hand quip by a teacher at rival school Summer Fields, gained popularity, and in time, the school was officially renamed to the Dragon School.

Teaching started in September 1877 at rooms in Balliol Hall, located in St Giles', central Oxford, under A. E. Clarke.[1] The school expanded and moved within two years to 17 Crick Road, which became known as "School House".[2] Charles Cotterill Lynam (known as the "Skipper") took over as headmaster in 1886. In 1894, C. C. Lynam took out a lease on land at the current site at Bardwell Road. £4,000 was quickly raised through subscriptions from local parents for the erection of new school buildings.[3] and the move was completed within a year. The school was known as Oxford Preparatory School and also Lynam's, but gradually its current name was adopted.

The present site in Bardwell Road in central North Oxford is just to the west of the River Cherwell. It became the second school to take part in the Harrow History Prize in 1895, and many of its pupils have won this over the years, an early winner being Miss Kit Lynam. The school was run for many years by the Lynam family.[4]


Dragon School playing fields off Bardwell Road.

Like many other prep schools, the Dragon has a number of long-standing traditions, among the more notable being the use of nicknames for teachers (to their faces — 'Inky', 'Guv', 'Smudge', 'Putty', 'Moocow', 'Lofty', 'Jumbo', 'Splash','PABS', etc.) and calling female teachers 'Ma' (e.g., "Ma Jones"). Previously, some male teachers had been called 'Pa' (e.g., Mr Wyeth-Webb, who was known affectionately as 'Pa Wa-Wa'). This nickname was feminised when male staff members' wives became important figures in their own right (e.g., 'Ma Wa-Wa'). Ultimately, the masculine form fell out of common use, but the female form has remained popular. Temporary teaching assistants (usually in their late teens or early twenties, often natives of former British colonies) are known as 'stooges'. As is the case at most boarding institutions, the Dragon has developed its own unique lexicon besides, incorporating a slang particular to the school ('pill' meaning ball, 'with you' meaning pass, and so on).


'Inky' as a young schoolmaster with his old Alvis car on the school playing fields.

The following have been headmasters of the school, several from the Lynam family:[4]

  • Rev A.E. Clarke 1877–1886
  • C.C. Lynam ('Skipper') 1886–1920
  • A.E. Lynam ('Hum') 1920–1942
  • J.H.R. Lynam ('Joc') 1942–1965
  • R.K. Ingram ('Inky') 1965–1989
  • M.W.A. Gover ('Guv') 1972–1989 (head of day pupils, co-headmaster with 'Inky')
  • N.P.V. Richardson 1989–1992
  • H.E.P. Woodcock 1992–1993
  • R.S. Trafford 1993–2002
  • J.R. Baugh 2002–


Lynams is the Dragon School pre-prep named after the first headmasters of the Dragon School. This is where children may start at the age of 4 and leave at the age of 8 (Year 3). From here they can move on to the main school or they may choose to move on to a different school. The current Headmistress is Mrs West.

Notable alumni and alumnae

Former pupils of the Dragon School are referred to as Old Dragons. The following people were students at one time:[5]


  • Gerd Sommerhoff


The dragon-like creature shown on the crest is technically a wyvern.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Jaques, C. H. (1977). "I: Beginnings". A Dragon Century: 1877 – 1977. Blackwell's. pp. 1–7. 
  2. ^ Jaques, C. H. (1977). "II: The Crick Road Era". A Dragon Century: 1877 – 1977. Blackwell's. pp. 7–21. 
  3. ^ Jaques, C. H. (1977). "III: To Bardwell Road". A Dragon Century: 1877 – 1977. Blackwell's. pp. 22–35. 
  4. ^ a b Jaques, C. H. (1977). A Dragon Century: 1877 – 1977. Blackwell's. pp. 10–11. 
  5. ^ "Eminent Dragons". Dragon School. http://www.dragonschool.org/old-dragons/alumni/our-history/eminent-dragons.html. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  6. ^ http://www.suttontrust.com/reports/Journalists-Backgrounds-final-report.pdf

External links

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