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Dover Court 50th Anniversary, 1972 - 2022

Founded in 1972, Dover Court has developed into one of the leading inclusive International Schools in Southeast Asia. The school’s vibrant, diverse and welcoming community has been located on the same green, 12-acre site on Dover Road since the school’s inception although with the addition of new buildings and facilities. Dover Court is well-known for its inclusive ethos, delivering a British International education to over 1800 students aged 3-18. In April 2014 Dover Court joined the Nord Anglia Education family of schools which has brought many additional opportunities for both students and staff to participate in. We hope you enjoy reading more about our history on these pages and should you wish to contribute to this living document please contact us at dovercourtfifty@dovercourt.edu.sg.

Dover Court 50th Anniversary 1972-2022

Early history

Crest of the former Dover Court Preparatory School, Singapore.
Crest of the former Dover Court
Preparatory School, Singapore.

Dover Court International School was established in 1972 as Dover Court Preparatory School by Ernest E. Alliott. The brainchild of his wife Margaret Alliott, the school supervisor, Dover Court Preparatory School was established out of a shortage at the time of school places for children under the age of 13. Dover Court Preparatory School was first registered with the Ministry of Education of Singapore in 1972, owned and managed by International Preparatory Schools (Pte) Ltd, later known as Dover Court Preparatory School (Pte) Ltd. Both the school and the company, which was set up in April 1971, were founded by Alliott, who previously had been a British Government Headmaster in Singapore.

The campus was established in April 1972 on Dover Road, in the former Officer’s Mess of the Royal Corps of Signals and later the Mess of the 2nd-10th Princess Mary's Own Regiment, which was constructed by the British military in 1952. Following the British military withdrawal from Singapore in 1971, the land was repurposed and the former mess, a three story block, was renovated into classrooms fit for 450 students, although the school started with just 25 students enrolled. The crest of the Royal Corps of Signals can still be seen in the primary school building, as it is one of the original buildings from the former military base.

Ernest E. Alliott - Founder of Dover Court
Ernest E. Alliott - Founder of Dover Court

Ernest E. Alliott

Ernest E. Alliott came to Singapore in 1957 as an officer of the British Ministry of Defence education service. Until 1961 he was attached to the Royal Air Force schools in Changi and Seletar, before being transferred to the British Army schools division. From 1961 to 1975 he held the posts of Headmaster of the British Army School, Pulau Brani; the British Army School, Selarang; and the Alexandra School, Portsdown Road. After 1975, Alliott resigned from British government service to devote his full time to Dover Court, which he had established in 1972 - a project he had been able to undertake without conflict under the military Queen's Regulations as pertained at the time.

Alliott noted in a letter to parents and colleagues in 1989:

"The development and growth of land and buildings into a fine school is achieved only when the sum of its parts is viewed constantly as infinite. [...] My grateful thanks to all of you for your support and continued efforts to make Dover Court one of the finest schools of its kind in South East Asia."

  • Princess Mary Barracks Royal Signals (1968-1970, National Archive)
  • Princess Mary Barracks Royal Signals (1968-1970, National Archive)
  • Princess Mary Barracks Royal Signals (1968-1970, National Archive)
  • Princess Mary Barracks Royal Signals (1968-1970, National Archive)
  • Princess Mary Barracks Royal Signals (1968-1970, National Archive)
  • Princess Mary Barracks Royal Signals (1968-1970, National Archive)

In its early years, Dover Court Preparatory School was both a day and boarding school. The boarding house - the first of its kind in Singapore, operated by a boarding housemaster and housemistress, a matron and other staff, primarily accommodated students from ASEAN and neighbouring countries. Boarders took part in a wide variety of activities, including sports and excursions. Boarding, which continued until at least the early 1990s, was later discontinued.

Dover Court soon became one of the largest expatriate preparatory schools in Singapore. With the expatriate community in Singapore growing, Dover Court Preparatory School expanded in the 1980s to cope with the demand. With a growing number of students on its waiting list, a three-storey building, which now houses the secondary school and Department of Supportive Education, was built. This became known as the Ernest Alliott Foundation Block.

  • Morning Bus Arrival at Dover Court Preparatory School, circa 1970s
  • Tennis at Dover Court Preparatory School
  • Tree Swinging at Dover Court
  • Dover Court Preparatory School (1972-1982)
  • Dover Court Preparatory School (1972-1982)
  • Dover Court Preparatory School (1972-1982)

Department of Supportive Education

Under Maureen Roach, principal from the 1990 to 2015, the school underwent a restructuring and also developed its department for supportive education. In 2014, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her services to education in Singapore. The department is staffed by psychologists, speech therapists, physical therapists and teachers with qualifications in special needs. A great benefit of the Department extolled by Alliott is the inclusivity and integration of students with disabilities into main-school activities at Dover Court. This is a view shared by former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, whose first grandson attended the school. He noted in an interview in 2009 that Dover Court Preparatory School pioneered the field of supportive education in Singapore, providing the resources and expertise that other schools did not offer at the time.

The school is still known in Singapore for its inclusive approach to learning and the Department of Supportive Education is extensive and well-regarded. On September 12, 2002 the school was visited by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester. She took particular interest in the work of the Centre for Special Education. A plaque commemorating the visit is visible near to the main entrance to the school.

DCIS Aerial View

In April 2014, the school changed ownership from the Alliott family to Nord Anglia, becoming part of the Nord Anglia Education family of schools.

The school underwent an extensive refurbishment project during the 2014 summer period. In September 2014, the school changed its name from Dover Court Preparatory School to Dover Court International School, and in 2016, Christopher Short was appointed Principal.

Dover Court 50th Anniversary 1972-2022

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