Cheltenham College

Cheltenham College is a co-educational independent school, located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. One of the public schools of the Victorian period, it was opened in July 1841. A Church of England foundation, it is well known for its classical, military and sporting traditions, and currently has approximately 640 pupils.


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 3–7-year olds.

Work and service

In the First World War 702 Old Cheltonians 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 to have its own military colours. 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 between the ages of 13 and 18. The fees are upwards of approximately £30,000 per annum, making it amongst the most expensive schools in the United Kingdom. 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.
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.



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 reached the final of The National Schools 7s Festival four times, winning the competition in 1998, 2003 and 2004; Cheltenham Prep's 7s team were joint winners of the Rosslyn Park National 7s Prep-school tournament in 2017. Cheltenham's rugby XV was undefeated in the 2008 and 2017 season.
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.


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 at Queen's Club in December 2011. The current World Champion, Jamie Stout, is an Old Cheltonian as well.


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


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.


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 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, 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.

Old Cheltonians

Victoria Cross recipients

Fourteen Victoria Crosses have been won by Old Cheltonians, with only Eton College, Harrow School, Haileybury College, and Wellington College, having higher totals..
The list of names, with age and rank at the time of the deed that merited the award of the VC, is as follows:
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: