Cheltenham College

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Cheltenham College
Cheltenham College Chapel and library.jpg
Cheltenham College chapel and library (Big Modern)
Cheltenham College
Bath Road

, ,
GL53 7LD

Coordinates Coordinates: 51°53′30″N2°4′30″W / 51.89167°N 2.07500°W / 51.89167; -2.07500
Type Public school
Independent School
Day and Boarding School
Motto Latin: Labor omnia vincit
("Work Conquers All")
Religious affiliation(s) Church of England
EstablishedJuly 1841;181 years ago (1841-07)
FounderG. S. Harcourt, J. S. Iredell
Local authority Gloucestershire
Department for Education URN 115795 Tables
Ofsted Reports
President of the CouncilW. J. Straker-Nesbit
HeadNicola Huggett
Staff88 [1]
Age13to 18
Enrolment720 [2]
Former studentsOld Cheltonians (OCs)
PublicationThe Cheltonian & Floreat

Cheltenham College is a public school (independent day and boarding school) for pupils aged 13–18 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. One of the public schools, it opened in 1841 as a Church of England foundation and is known for its classical, military, and sporting traditions.



Two Cheltenham residents, G. S. Harcourt and J. S. Iredell, founded Cheltenham College in July 1841 to educate the sons of gentlemen. It originally opened in three houses along Bays Hill Terrace in the centre of the town.

Within two years it had moved to its present site—with Boyne House as the first College Boarding House—and soon became known simply as Cheltenham College. Accepting both boarding and day boys, it was originally divided into Classical and Military sides until the mid-twentieth century. The 1893 book Great Public Schools by E. S. Skirving, S. R. James, and Henry Churchill Maxwell Lyte contained a chapter on each of what they considered England's ten greatest public schools; it included a chapter on Cheltenham College. It is now an independent fee paying school, governed by Cheltenham College Council. A few girls were admitted in 1969 and then in 1981 when the first girls' house opened, the Sixth Form became fully co educational. In 1998, girls were admitted to all other years, making the College fully co-educational.

In 1865, a Junior Department was added to the main College buildings. In 1993 it opened its doors to girls and also opened a pre-Prep department, Kingfishers, for 3- to 7-year-olds.

Work and service

In the First World War 702 Old Cheltonians (former pupils) were killed in the service of their country, and a further 363 died in World War II. Cheltenham's military past is recognised by the fact that it is one of only three schools in England (the others being Eton College, founded in 1440, and the Duke of York's Royal Military School, founded in 1803) to have its own military colours (last presented in 2000 by The Princess Royal). Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, Scotland, also has Colours.

The names of those Old Cheltonians killed in World War I are recorded in the College Chapel, completed in 1896, which to a degree resembles King's College Chapel, Cambridge and is one of the chapels of an English public school. The names of those killed in the World War II are displayed on the memorial in the College's dining hall.

Cheltenham has approximately 640 pupils (a fifth being day pupils) between the ages of 13 and 18. [3] The fees are upwards of approximately £30,000 per annum, making it amongst the most expensive schools in the United Kingdom. [4] The school is now co-educational and maintains a strong academic reputation, with the majority of pupils going to The Russell Group Universities, and around 7% going on to Oxford and Cambridge universities. Both GCSE and A Level results are among the highest in Gloucestershire. [5] [6]

There is also a prep school, Cheltenham College Preparatory School, most of whose pupils go on to the senior school.

Cheltenham has links with the Wynberg Boys' High School in Cape Town, South Africa—an all-boys boarding school coincidentally established in 1841, the same year as Cheltenham.


Cheltenham College consists of a preparatory school and senior school and educates students from ages 3 to 18. The boarding programme is also available to preparatory school students. The school offers the following courses:




The Rugby club dates back to 1844. Cheltenham compete with larger single gender schools. The first inter-school rugby football match was played between Rugby School and Cheltenham College, Cheltenham beating Rugby; and the "Cheltenham Rules" were adopted by the Rugby Football Union in 1887. Cheltenham's rugby XV was undefeated in the 1957, 2008 and 2017 seasons. [8] Eddie Butler, former Welsh, Babarian and British Lions International Rugby player, taught French at the school. The schools Director of Rugby is former Gloucester Rugby and England Rugby player Olly Morgan.


The Boat Club was founded in 1841. The Boat House itself is located at the foot of Tewkesbury Abbey on the banks of the River Severn. Key events in the rowing calendar are; Schools' Head of the River Race, The National Schools Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta. At the 2013 National School's Head of River, the 1st IV+ came first in their division. [9]


Cheltenham College plays Rackets where, at times, they have dominated the Queen's Club Public Schools Competition; Cheltenham has been National Champions three times from 2003 to 2011. Chris Stout won the Foster Cup (the individual championship for public schools) at Queen's Club in December 2011. The current World Champion, Jamie Stout (Chris's brother), is an Old Cheltonian as well. [10]


Cheltenham were National Schools Champions in 1997, 1998, 2004, & 2005 and Arena Champions in 2004, 2005 & 2006. [11]


Cricket is one of the main sports that is played in summer. Cheltenham College enjoys a longstanding tradition of cricket and is the home of the Cheltenham Cricket Festival. Gloucestershire County Cricket Club played its first game at the College cricket ground in 1872, making this the longest running cricket festival on an out-ground, in the world (Canterbury Cricket Week was first played in 1842, but the St Lawrence Ground is now Kent County Cricket Club's headquarters). [12]


There are eleven houses, two of which are day houses: Southwood for the boys and Queens for the girls. Ashmead, Chandos, College Lawn and Westal are the girls' boarding houses. The boys reside in Boyne House, Christowe, Hazelwell, Leconfield, and Newick House. Leconfield also hosts day students. The Senior Housemaster is Richard J. Penny.


Cheltenham College was used to film the majority of the school scenes in the popular 1968 British film If.... , starring Malcolm McDowell, although an agreement between the school's then Headmaster, David Ashcroft, and the film's director, Lindsay Anderson (who was a former pupil and Senior Prefect), prevented the filmmakers from crediting the school. Additional interior scenes were filmed at Aldenham School in Hertfordshire, which gained sole accreditation in the film's closing credit. Two Surrey public schools, Charterhouse School and Cranleigh School, had also negotiated to appear, but pulled out of negotiations once the subject matter of the film became clear.[ citation needed ]

Old Cheltonians

Victoria Cross recipients

Fourteen Victoria Crosses (VCs) have been won by Old Cheltonians, [13] with only Eton College (37), Harrow School (20), Haileybury College (17), and Wellington College (15), having higher totals.(Although it should be taken into account that the Duke of York's Royal Military School does not publish lists of recipients of bravery awards in order not to diminish the service of those several thousand former pupils who have fought in battle and not received the VC, but only lesser awards for gallantry).[ citation needed ] The list of names, with age and rank at the time of the deed that merited the award of the VC, is as follows:

George Cross recipient


Notable former pupils in other fields

Principals, headmasters and head

The current head of Cheltenham College is Nicola Huggett.

The full list of past principals and heads is contained in Cheltenham College Who's Who 5th edition, 2003, and is as follows:

See also

Related Research Articles

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