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Cheltenham College
Cheltenham College
Cheltenham College
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Cheltenham College Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Visit
school
Cheltenham College
Cheltenham
734 pupils, ages 13-18
Mixed
Day and Boarding

Cheltenham College

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Our view

Cheltenham College has long held a reputation for academic success and the broad range of co-curricular opportunities it offers, but the arrival of Nicola Huggett as head in September 2018 has been the catalyst for renewed momentum. A stunning campus in Regency Cheltenham with state-of-the-art facilities provides the backdrop for this impressive and adaptable school – which, despite its size, maintains a very family feel.

Where is Cheltenham College?

If you were choosing a Cheltenham school on looks alone, this one would win hands down. The school was founded in 1841, and you can’t miss the glorious chapel as you drive through the town – the centrepiece of a campus filled with Victorian gothic architecture and flanked by the beautiful green expanse of College Field (which doubles up as a hallowed cricket pitch used by Gloucestershire’s county side).

But this is most definitely not a rural school. Pupils cross back and forth over busy roads to get to sports and boarding houses, yet the leafy campus in a town-centre setting delivers the best of both worlds. Accessed from the M5 or by train to Cheltenham Spa, it’s relatively accessible for the majority of families, who come from within a 90-mile radius, and day parents are supported by a network of bus routes from surrounding towns and villages. .

Head at Cheltenham College

Nicola Huggett is down to earth, approachable, friendly, relaxed, driven and evidently very clever: Blundell’s loss (where she arrived from) is most certainly Cheltenham’s gain. She describes the college as having ‘the look of a supertanker with the nippiness of a superyacht’ – traditional on the outside but adaptable and flexible on the inside.

Mrs Huggett says that the events of the past two years have made Cheltenham question the way it does things. She has made ‘evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes’, small but significant alterations that continue to positively affect this already successful school. While her attention to detail is exemplary and she has implemented stronger academic monitoring, scaffolding and support, she is also big on kindness, manners, discipline and boundaries. She is a visible and available head whose effect is palpable.

The admissions process at Cheltenham College

While Cheltenham College isn’t overly selective at entrance, it prides itself on value-added as pupils move up the school. Everyone registered for 13+ entry visits in Year 7 for a day of team-building, problem-solving and an informal chat with Mrs Huggett. After that, it’s Common Entrance or the school’s own exam. Lots opt in to the 24-hour taster stays, where everyone can have a go at boarding and get a real feel for the place while getting to know a few faces. Up to a third of 13+ arrivals come up from the prep school, but they are spread out in different houses to make sure everyone integrates fully.

Academics and university destinations

Cheltenham has been academically solid for quite some time but Mrs Huggett’s arrival has allowed for further aspiration. The campus is a lovely environment in which to learn, the library is amazing and the science labs are superb – equipped with every piece of kit you could imagine and a few you couldn’t.

Pupils were very proud to show us around these snazzy facilities, but even more evangelical about science teacher Miss Beere, who is credited with turning one of our guides from a 40 per cent to a 90 per cent achiever – ‘She brings out the best results,’ we were told. Similarly, we were enthusiastically informed of how Dr Samuels had spent time discussing and recommending philosophy books to a particular student who is now aiming to read the subject at Cambridge.

Pupils aren’t often this eager to tell us about their teachers (it’s usually the food or facilities for which they hold the front page), but these weren’t the only shout-outs for the staff. The pursuit of excellence in teaching is also evidenced by longer-term plans for a hi-tech innovation classroom with an observation gallery for staff development and best-practice sharing – not something we’ve seen before.

Most pupils take 10 GCSEs/iGCSEs, including English, English literature, maths and at least two sciences  and one modern foreign language, along with four other choices. Students then either do four A-levels or three A-levels and an EPQ. Refreshingly, options aren’t restricted by subject blocks, leaving room for more individuality (although staff will guide pupils towards making ‘logical’ choices).

As you might expect, results are pretty ace here: 71 per cent A*-As at GCSE last year, and 75 per cent A*-As at A-level – unsurprisingly, a similar percentage secured places at their first choice of university.

Co-curricular

When it comes to sport, Cheltonians regularly come out on top against much larger schools. There is a huge variety of sports on offer, but rugby at Cheltenham College definitely gets top billing for the boys, although the College has worked hard in recent years to put football on the menu for both boys and girls, partnering with Cheltenham Town Football Club Academy to give soccer nuts better opportunities.

The Cheltenham sports complex is vast, with an eye-boggling multitude of floor markings in the indoor hall, hinting at the sheer number of sports played there. There’s an indoor 25m pool, two Astros, a shooting range, tennis and rackets courts and plenty more.

Core sports are compulsory for the younger years, but as they get older, pupils can diversify according to their own preferences and ability. The sports scholarships and Talented Athlete Programme attract a good selection of very able sportspeople, and many of the specialist coaches are ex-professionals, which is motivating for pupils at all levels.

Music and drama are a key part of the mix, with larger productions taking place in the Big C theatre, and house drama is one of the most hotly contested annual events. Singing always gets a mention from parents and pupils alike, and much of Cheltenham’s musical reputation seems to rest on the fabulously boisterous hymn practices and thrice-weekly, whole-school chapel services – something lost from many schools either because of a change of focus or a lack of space. No such problems here.

The art block is very inspiring, especially for those with artistic leanings. Steve McQuitty (deputy head co-curricular) has been tasked with giving pupils the broadest possible exposure to art, music, sport and drama and he wants them to recognise their wider importance. Take sport as an example – it’s not just about playing the game, it’s also about recognising matches as community time, bringing parents and siblings together and enjoying the post-match sausage and chips every bit as much as the sport itself.

Monday evenings are dedicated to clubs and societies, most of which are pupil-led. ‘The number of opportunities is crazy,’ enthuses one girl – these include everything from clay-pigeon shooting to academic enrichment in philosophy, psychology or English literature. There’s a strong military tradition too, with an extremely well-attended CCF at Cheltenham College (Cheltenham is one of only three schools in the country to have its own military colours and dedicated war memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum).

Boarding at Cheltenham College

Cheltenham is keen on maintaining its seven-days-a-week ethos, and around 80 per cent of pupils board full-time (even though many live relatively locally – a compliment indeed). There’s also a day-boarding option, where pupils can stay over up to three nights a week, and day pupils have access to a handful of beds for occasional last-minute sleepovers.

Houses are a big part of school life, with six for boys and five for girls, and a new extension planned to girls’ house College Lawn to accommodate more female boarders.

Each house has a resident housemaster or housemistress and a team of tutors. House teams meet twice weekly, once for welfare and once for logistics, and have an annual away day to reflect and plan. Recently, steps have been taken to strengthen the in-house buddy system, and there’s the Runway to College introductory programme with Years 6, 7 and 8 pupils at Cheltenham College Prep School.

Although Sundays are flexible, it is preferred that boarders are at school more often than not at weekends – but it’s largely a moot point as most prefer to stay anyway, given the amount of activities. That said, house staff are well tuned in to pupils’ needs, and can recognise when they need a rest.

Cheltenham's school community

The pastoral programme is strong for boarders and day pupils alike, and pupils have dedicated time each week for self-development via the Floreat Programme. In-house, a tutor or resident staff member makes time for each pupil daily, and structured one-to-one sessions take place fortnightly. Confidence, respectfulness, kindness and tolerance are the buzzwords.

Cheltenham College is very proud of the way it communicates with families – care is personal and collaborative. But we were also impressed by the planned Enhanced Partnership Programme with All Saints' Academy Cheltenham which aims to share best practice and augment extracurricular provision for pupils.

And finally...

Polite, chatty and quietly confident, the children we met simply shone. Facilities are excellent, results impressive and pastoral care is robust and to the fore. Add in the galvanising presence of Nicola Huggett and a passionate and capable senior leadership team, and you have a force to be reckoned with.

FAQs

Is Cheltenham College the same as Ladies College?
No, Cheltenham College is a co-ed independent boarding and day school for children ages 13-18, whereas Cheltenham Ladies’ College is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11-18. However, they are both located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.   

Does Cheltenham College have Saturday school?

Yes, traditionally private schools have outstanding extra-curricular activities and so the school week is split a little differently to state schools. On Wednesday mornings, lessons take place as usual, however, the afternoon is reserved for sport (mostly matches against other schools). The missed afternoon of academia is then bolted onto Saturday morning, freeing up Saturday afternoons for yet even more sporting fixtures, creative activities, or simply free time to recover from the busy week.   

When was Cheltenham College's chapel built?
The Cheltenham College Chapel is one of the most outstanding and iconic pieces of architecture found on school grounds. Seating over 700 guests, it was built in 1896 by former pupil Henry Prothero, in celebration of the College’s 50th anniversary.

Is Cheltenham College a good school?
Cheltenham College received the highest score from their most recent ISI inspection, which marked the school 'excellent' in every category.  Cheltenham College is viewed as one of the most prominent independent schools in the UK for children ages 13-18, and it is part of the prestigious 'Rugby Group' of schools – which also includes the likes of Harrow School, Wellington College and Radley.  


Gallery

  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • Subjects offered

    GCSE

    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    Economics
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    German
    Government and Politics
    History
    Information Technology
    Italian
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Psychology
    Spanish

    A Level

    Ancient Greek
    Art & Design
    Biology
    Business Studies
    Chemistry
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    Economics
    English Language
    English Literature
    French
    Further Mathematics
    Geography
    German
    Government and Politics
    History
    History of Art
    Information Technology
    Italian
    Latin
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physical Education
    Physics
    Psychology
    Spanish
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8-
    Year 9£9,520
    Year 10£9,520
    Year 11£9,520
    Year 12£9,860
    Year 13£9,860
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8-
    Year 9-
    Year 10£12,690
    Year 11£12,690
    Year 12£13,030
    Year 13£13,030




    Bursaries
    Cheltenham College offers means-tested remission of up to 100 per cent of fees, and in exceptional circumstances covering extras too. The financial review is carried out by a third party and may involve a house visit, with annual subsequent reviews.

    The college has a strong connection with the armed forces and as such offers fee remission to children from military families, ranging from 15 per cent to 25 per cent of fees depending on rank. For more information, please visit:

    cheltenhamcollege.org/admissions/fees-bursaries-scholarships/scholarships-bursaries-and-awards

    cheltenhamcollege.org/bursarypolicy.pdf

    Bursary contact:
    Bursary/Finance Team admissions@cheltenhamcollege.org
    01242 265643
  • SEND

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    Where the school identifies the need for additional support, they provide learning support lessons. As well as building knowledge, these lessons  encourage independence by targeting specific skills and exploring a range of techniques and strategies for individual learning styles.  

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    Pupils have dedicated time every week for self-development using the Floreat programme and a dedicated tutor or resident staff member will have time with each pupil daily. Staff are trained in mental health first aid so, when required, they are equipped to offer practical advice and support. Many also have coaching and mindfulness training. Cheltenham College has supportive policies and structures to promote health and wellbeing. Welfare practices actively monitor pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. Many of their practices are sector-leading and based on the latest developments in pastoral care for young people. Pupils can also seek advice at the Health Centre, where counselling services are available for anyone who needs them.

    Co-ordinator: Suzanne Marquis s.marquis@cheltenhamcollege.org
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Cheltenham Spa
    Journey time to London by train: 120 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Bristol (51 miles)


  • Parents tell us

     

    'We chose the school due to their pastoral care, the head’s reputation and likeability, and the housemaster - the school had also been strongly recommended by the head and deputy head of my son’s prep school.

    The admissions team were engaged and helpful and they were very keen to attract our son. The process gave us the best access to get to know the school.

    Mrs Nicola Huggett, the head, was a defining factor in our choice. She has had a fabulous career, is a mum of four, a former event rider and is thoroughly human, down to earth yet focussed on her role as leader of this school that is really going places, I feel. She's just actually incredibly nice, lovely to talk to and knows the kids!

    James Hayden, the housemaster of Newick House, is great with the boys. He is respected and liked and is a strong leader who is very communicative when he needs to be with parents. Mr Nelson, an English teacher, is a very nice guy who is clearly passionate and inspiring.

    The school communicates with the parents very well. One gets the feeling that the school genuinely considers itself to be in partnership with parents in shaping the young people's lives in whose upbringing and education they have been entrusted. The communication around Covid-19 has been extremely good but even when - to a far lesser degree - our boys were doing rather less well than hoped at rugby and there were some nasty injuries, this was brought to the fore and handled, not swept under the carpet.

    The pastoral care is excellent - if there is a problem, it is dealt with. If a child has a problem, there is a strong medical team and mental health team, there is a good system of housemasters and tutors so that none falls through the net and I know my son has been asked to help boys who are struggling on occasion.

    There is a family feel. One gets the impression that pupils' wellbeing is central to all they do. The school including the head knows my child well and is realistic and complimentary in equal measure.

    The community is quite welcoming - however I have not been there long. There are social events a few times a term.

    I would advise any parent who wants a good rounded education with plenty of opportunity and good pastoral support for their child to consider Cheltenham College.

    We had plenty of opportunity to meet his future peers before we joined, as the prospective pupils are invited to a day and night at college to meet their new housemates and year group in a series of activities.'

School Updates

  • WATCH: Life at College as an international student

    WATCH:  Life at College as an international student
  • WATCH: Life at College as an international pupil

    WATCH:  Life at College as an international pupil
  • WATCH: Cheltenham College Spring Term Highlights

    WATCH:  Cheltenham College Spring Term Highlights
  • Building a Brighter Future: Works Begin on State-of-the-Art Nursery School at Cheltenham Prep

    Building a Brighter Future: Works Begin on State-of-the-Art Nursery School at Cheltenham Prep
  • WATCH: Cheltenham College Nursery Animation

    WATCH: Cheltenham College Nursery Animation
  • 'Watch: In Conversation: Nicola Huggett and Sarah Thompson'

    'Watch: In Conversation: Nicola Huggett and Sarah Thompson'

Essentials

Address
Bath Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7LD

Contact
info@cheltenhamcollege.org
01242 265600

Website
cheltenhamcollege.org

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates


Open Days

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