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"Exploring the Excellence of Cheltenham College & Cheltenham College Prep"

Cheltenham College boarding school and prep school with building and bench
Cheltenham College

Cheltenham College and Prep

Headmaster: Prep Head, Tom O’Sullivan. College Head, Nicola Huggett

Co-educational: Full Boarding, Flexi-Boarding and Day Pupils

Ages: 3-13 (The Prep) & 13-18 years old (Cheltenham College)

Closest airport: Gloucestershire Airport 4 miles, Birmingham Airport 60 miles 

Train to Paddington London – From Cheltenham Spa: 2 hours

Cheltenham College & Prep is a co-educational, day and boarding school located in historic Cheltenham; a beautiful and vibrant Regency town in the heart of the Cotswolds with an abundance of charm and voted the Best Place to Live in the South West 2020 by The Sunday Times.  Formed in 1841, Cheltenham College consists of the Cheltenham Prep (for ages 3-13) and Cheltenham College (for ages 13-18).  The combined campuses are large and leafy with acres of playing and sports fields and an abundance of outstanding facilities for academics, sports, the Arts, and boarding.

Cheltenham College Prep

The Prep, with circa 420 pupils, stands in its own grounds a short, two-minute walk away from the College campus and, whilst exceptionally well equipped, also benefits from the shared use of the College Sports Hall and fields.  Under the leadership of Prep Head, Tom O’Sullivan, children are encouraged to get involved and try as many new activities or interests as possible, all with an emphasis on helping the individual find out what makes them ‘tick’ both in and out of the classroom and to foster a love for learning that will put them in good stead for their future studies at the College. 

Boarding opportunities at Cheltenham College Prep

Boarding in The Prep is situated in the heart of the main school building, Cade House is a co-educational Boarding House for children ages 7 to 13.  Under the care of well-respected Houseparent's Mr and Mrs Avery, Cade House, offers a bright, cosy and family-feel home-from-home.  Pastoral care is a topmost priority here and boarders see themselves as one big extended family.

The Prep is mildly selective and the admissions process works to ensure that children will be able to confidently access the curriculum and thrive, with learning support and EAL lessons available as required and a flexible approach to individual timetables.  The vast majority of Year 8 pupils transition to the College from Year 9.

Chapel at Cheltenham College

Cheltenham College Leadership

Mrs Nicola Huggett (formerly Head of Blundell’s School) took on the baton on as Head of the College in 2018 and is the first female Head in the College’s history. The College has developed over the past six years under the leadership of Mrs Huggett who, whilst maintaining the core ethos of the College, has worked with staff to remodel the offer as a dynamic, modern and thriving 750 strong pupil community which looks to the future whilst not forgetting its heritage.

“The school wholeheartedly fulfils its aim to equip pupils to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives by providing an excellent all-round education". - Independent Schools Inspectorate, 2023

Blending tradition with modernity

Despite the traditional exterior of the buildings, and the magnificent stain-glassed Chapel, the College’s facilities are extensive and in keeping with its innovative and forward-thinking approach to learning. A broad range of GCSEs and A Levels are on offer and from Third Form pupils begin to have conversations on their future aspirations through a dedicated full- time Higher Education and Careers Centre; pupils are encouraged to consider apprenticeships and international universities alongside the most prestigious UK institutions.

The College is investing in its future, having recently purchased additional buildings around the main campus with plans for development of a new Sixth Form Centre and enhanced teaching facilities.  The newly developed £1.5m dining servery is a delight and certainly more hotel than school in feel. 

Pupil views

My Third Form guide was keen to tell me that he has enjoyed trying everything available to him, from Rugby and Rackets to DT and Drama.  I was told that there is no ‘type’ of Cheltenham pupil and that the College offers something for every interest and need in a culture of inclusion where no subjects are off limits. 

Boarding at Cheltenham College

Boarding at the College (11 Houses) is well subscribed with around 80% of all students boarding in some form or other, offering a busy and active boarding experience for boarders seven days a week.  I toured the oldest boarding house, Hazelwell, which I was assured was indicative in interior design to the other boarding houses and that Houseparent's had worked to ensure parity across offers.  Hazelwell, whilst maintaining a wonderful traditional charm, was well furnished with modern furniture and large communal spaces including a lovely dining room where boarders gathered together for take-away treats and a good conversation – the Housemaster was keen to emphasise the importance of ensuring boarders had time away from their mobile devices.  Being centrally located in Cheltenham, boarders have the opportunity to regularly walk into town (10 minutes) where they can find a wealth of independent and branded stores, along with a huge range of restaurants, coffee houses, and leisure facilities. 

International pupils account for 20% of the community and represent over 30 countries. Applications for Sixth Form are aplenty with demand far outnumbering the available places. Similar to the Prep, the College’s selection process is designed to ensure students can readily access their curriculums with some flexibility offered for international pupils who receive timetabled EAL support to aid their studies. 

Library at Cheltenham college
Blending modern learning into traditional spaces

Cheltenham College & Prep is a vibrant and focussed place for children and young people to learn and grow, where ambition is supported across the College and underpinned by strong pastoral care.  The opportunities available here are extensive.


Leading boarding school advice from our education consultants

Here at The Independent Education Consultants, we know that making the decision to go to boarding school can sometimes be a difficult one. It can be hard to know which school is the right fit for your child. However, our education consultants will work alongside you and your family to discover which school will help your child achieve their true potential. If you require advice about Cheltenham College or have any other boarding school questions, please contact our friendly team of education experts today.

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