Dean Close School
|Motto||Latin: verbum dei lucerna
("God's word. A guiding light")
|Type||Independent day and boarding|
|Religion||Church of England|
|President||Caroline Cox, Baroness Cox |
|Headmaster||Jonathan Lancashire MA, FCA|
|Deputy Head||Bradley Salisbury BA, PGCE|
|Chairman/woman of the Board of Trustees||Patricia Napier|
|Colours||Maroon and NAvy
|Former pupils||Old Decanians|
|Website||Dean Close School website|
Dean Close School is a co-educational day and boarding public school in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. The School is divided into pre-prep, preparatory and senior schools located on separate but adjacent sites outside Cheltenham town centre, occupying the largest private land area in the town. Pupils may be enrolled as young as 3 in the pre-preparatory school, and continue through to 18 at the senior school. Dean Close is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.
The School, originally "The Dean Close Memorial School", was founded in 1886 (79th of the 103 Victorian public schools in order of foundation) and named after the Very Reverend Francis Close, Dean of Carlisle Cathedral. Alumni include the poet James Elroy Flecker, whose father was the School's first headmaster (the old Flecker Hall was named after him), and the artist Francis Bacon.
In the First World War more than 120 former pupils were killed; their names, along with the names of young men killed during the Second World War, are recorded in the School's memorial chapel which was consecrated in 1923.
The school buildings were requisitioned by the Home Office during World War II and the staff and pupils were relocated to nearby Monkton Combe School. Ultimately, the buildings were not required by the government, and were handed back in 1940. In December of the same year, the School was hit by five bombs during air raids. Two of the bombs caused substantial damage to the Junior School and shrapnel damage can be observed on what was the Careers building, now an administrative office.
In 1967, the first girl was admitted for tutorials, and by 1969 the School had started encouraging female applicants to study full-time. Enrolment increased over the next 35 years to create a balanced co-educational environment, with almost equal numbers of boys and girls.
In the past, many members of the British Royal Family had visited the school. The list includes Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth of York), Charles, Prince of Wales, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy.
A-Level results in 2007 saw the school achieve a 100% pass rate with 81% of exams graded A–B. These results have put Dean Close in the top 100 schools in England as ranked by UCAS points per candidate. A majority of pupils attend Russell Group universities, with almost one in six achieving places at Oxbridge in recent years.
In 2010, Dean Close pupils achieved the best GCSE results in the School's history with 62% attaining A/A*, and with an overall pass rate of 98%.
As of 2014, Dean Close School is ranked 61st in co-educational senior boarding schools by A Levels, with 43% of pupils achieving A level A & A* grades. 60% of pupils at Dean Close School also achieved GCSE level A & A* grades.
There are 10 drama productions every year on average, from whole school musicals to pupil-produced plays. These take place in either the Bacon Theatre (a 550-seat theatre) or in the drama studio. In recent years the whole school musicals have included Les Misérables, Cabaret and West Side Story. The school has visited the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their own theatre company, Close Up Theatre, every year since 2004, achieving Sell-out Status on every occasion. This year they performed Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, and were sold-out before the first performance. Visits from notable actors to Dean Close in the last few years include: Dominic West, Nathaniel Parker, Dame Judi Dench, Samuel West, Nigel Havers, Jamie Parker and Julian Fellowes. In the last 5 years, pupils have gone to RADA, LAMDA, Central, Mountview, Rose Bruford, ALRA and AADA (USA)
In February 2013, the U18 girls won the Schools National Hockey competition, and Silver Medallists in the final of the indoor format a month previously. In the summer of 2012 the U16 boys hockey team won the Schools National Hockey competition. In the summer of 2009, Dean Close U18 boys hockey team won the Schools National Hockey competition. They also reached the schools National Hockey Finals again in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, Dean Close equestrians won the National Schools Cross-Country Champions and the National Schools’ Two-Day Event.
- Brook Court — Boys' boarding (opened by His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex)
- Dale — Boys' day
- Fawley — Girls' boarding
- Field — Boys' day
- Gate — Boys' boarding (6th Form)
- Hatherley — Girls' day
- Mead — Girls' day
- Shelburne — Girls' boarding
- Tower — Boys' boarding (opened by Bear Grylls)
Houses (Prep school)
- Caledecote — Boarding boys (Year 6-8)
- Fortfield — Boarding girls (Year 6-8)
- Wilton — Boarding Junior (Boys & Girls) (Year 3-5)
- Oaksey — Day
- Deacon — Day
- Yeaman — Day
Notable Old Decanians
- Former students of the school are known as 'Old Decanians', decanus being the Latin for dean.
- George Adamson, environmentalist.
- Oliver Claude Allison, bishop.
- Francis Bacon, artist.
- Richard St. Barbe Baker, environmentalist, forester and writer.
- Francis Berry, poet and critic.
- Peter Browne, professional rugby union player for Harlequins
- Denis Burkitt, surgeon.
- Ernest Cossart, actor (and brother of composer Gustav Holst).
- Basil Dale, former Anglican Bishop of Jamaica.
- William Dimoline, British general.
- Verrier Elwin, missionary.
- Robert Evans, Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford.
- James Flecker, English poet, novelist and playwright.
- Jon Foster, English comedy writer.
- Andrew Goudie, geographer and Master of St Cross College, Oxford.
- Stanley Hoare, house master of Brook, hockey player for England, cricketer for Gloucestershire.
- Tom Johnson, professional rugby union player for Exeter Chiefs and England
- Brian Jones, musician, guitarist and founding member of The Rolling Stones.
- G. Wilson Knight, literary critic and academic.
- Gordon Luce, scholar and member of the Cambridge Apostles.
- Samer Majali, businessman.
- Ben Marsden, hockey player for England.
- Mpumelelo Mbangwa, cricketer and commentator.
- Will Merrick, actor.
- John Metcalf, composer.
- Robert Moreland, consultant and politician.
- Stephen Neill, Anglican missionary, Bishop of Tirunelveli & scholar
- Geoffrey Page, World War II fighter pilot.
- Hugh Quarshie, actor.
- Bernard Ribeiro, Baron Ribeiro, former president of the Royal College of Surgeons.
- John Simpson, Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary
- Jim Thompson, bishop.
- William Welch, bishop.
- Saqib Munir, businessman.
- "Honorary fellowships presented to five prominent surgeons: Citation for Mr. Bernard Ribeiro". Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons 93 (11): 38–39. November 2008.