Cheltenham Ladies' College

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Cheltenham Ladies' College
Cheltenham Ladies' College.jpg
Bayshill Road

, ,
GL50 3EP

CoordinatesCoordinates: 51°53′52″N 2°4′53″W / 51.89778°N 2.08139°W / 51.89778; -2.08139
TypeIndependent school
Boarding and day school
MottoCœlesti Luce Crescat (May she grow in Heavenly light)
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1853; 169 years ago (1853)
PrincipalEve Jardine-Young
Age11 to 18
Colour(s)CLC Green

Cheltenham Ladies' College is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Consistently ranked as one of the top all-girls' schools nationally, the school was established in 1853 to provide "a sound academic education for girls".[1] It is also a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

The school badge depicts two pigeons, taken from the Cheltenham town coat of arms,[2] above three stars, which are in turn above a daisy, a school symbol.

In 2020, Cheltenham Ladies' College was named Southwest Independent School of the Decade by The Times and The Sunday Times.


The school was founded in 1853 after six individuals, including the Principal and Vice-Principal of Cheltenham College for Boys and four other men, decided to create a girls' school that would be similar to Cheltenham College for Boys. On 13 February 1854, the first 82 pupils began attending the school, with Annie Procter serving as the school's Principal.[3] In 1858, upon Procter resigning from her position, the Principal's post was taken by Dorothea Beale, a prominent suffragist educator. who later founded St Hilda's College, Oxford.[1] She was commemorated by a Cheltenham Civic Society blue plaque in 2017.[4]

Structure and academic results[edit]

The school is divided into three divisions, Lower College (KS3), Upper College (KS4) and Sixth Form College (KS5). The school gives pupils a choice in what they study. A range of subject combinations is available to Upper College girls at GCSE, and for Sixth Form girls at A-level or International Baccalaureate (IB). Tutors are full-time academic members of staff and advise girls on matters relating to their academic work and progress, while the Professional Guidance Centre gives advice on career options and university applications.[5] Most pupils go on to continue higher education.

The school's academic results are high, both compared to the national average and within the independent sector. From 2014 to 2017, the school reported that over two thirds of A-level results and approximately 90% of GCSE results were A* or A grades.[6] Since 2015, the school has been the top girls boarding school in the country for IB results for three consecutive years.[7] In 2019, 71% of students scored A*/A for their A-level examinations awhile 90% scored A*/A for GCSE.[8]

Members of an alumnae association of over 9,000 former pupils, across 80 different countries, keep in contact and offer work placements and careers advice.[9]

According to Vicky Tuck, the school's Principal in 2011, the school's pupils succeed in "chemistry, physics, economics and maths".[10]


Entrance to the school

The school is made up of around 80% boarders and 20% day girls. Whether boarders or day girls, pupils are part of a junior or senior house and are supervised by a Housemistress and a team of House Staff.

Girls who board live in one of eleven boarding houses. There are six junior houses for 11- to 16-year-olds, and five senior houses for sixth form girls. The junior houses are Farnley Lodge, Glenlee, Sidney Lodge, St. Austin's, St. Helen's, and St. Margaret's. At Sixth Form, all girls move to a senior house. The senior houses are Beale, Cambray, Elizabeth, Roderic and St. Hilda's.[11] Each house is run by a housemistress and several resident staff. The housemistresses have a lighter teaching load with a full-time commitment supervising their boarders.

Junior day girls have their own base in Eversleigh, where the three junior houses, Bellairs, Glengar and St Clare, are located. The senior day girl house, Bayshill, is situated in the main college site.[12]


Over 160 co-curricular activities are available.

Music and Drama[edit]

The Music and Drama departments offer productions and concerts each year involving all age groups. Over 1,000 individual instrumental lessons take place each week.[13]

In October 2009, Sir Richard Eyre opened the school's new drama building, The Parabola Arts Centre (PAC). The building was built by Foster Wilson Architects and cost over £12.5 million, funded by donations. The school is a major sponsor of the Cheltenham Music, Literature, Jazz and Science Festivals and events are hosted at the centre annually.[14] The PAC building was awarded the RIBA award. In 2010, Sharman Macdonald (Keira Knightley's mother) was commissioned to write the college's play.[15] In 2016, the school also invested in a new recording studio.


In 2018, the school opened a new Health and Fitness Centre.[16]

Sports facilities include a 25-metre six-lane swimming-pool, netball courts, tennis courts, squash courts, AstroTurf fields, lacrosse pitches, a spin studio, two dance studios and two sports halls.[17]

Over 30 sports are offered, and students are encouraged to maintain their fitness and wellbeing through physical exercise.[18] The main sports are Netball, Lacrosse and Hockey in the winter, and Tennis, Swimming and Athletics in the Summer. The school also has a well-established Rowing Club, and Equestrian and Ski teams.


The school is one of the hardest UK private schools to get into, with competition for places at sixth form being "fierce".[19] Entry to Cheltenham Ladies' College is by examination for girls aged 11+, 13+ and 16+ (Sixth Form), as well as occasionally at 12+ and 14+ where only a few students are admitted.[20]


The school was last inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in October 2014.[21] It achieved the grade "Excellent" in all areas.

In the Financial Times' secondary school ranking,[22] Cheltenham Ladies College was placed at no. 14 in 2010 and no. 34 in 2011. The college was the top girls boarding school and 6th overall in UK rankings for the International Baccalaureate Diploma in 2017.[23]

The Tatler School Guide 2018 notes that "confident, resilient, clever girls flourish" at the college.[15] The Good Schools Guide described the school as "a top flight school with strong traditional values and a clear sense of purpose. For the bright and energetic all rounder this school offers an exceptional education that is both broad and deep, with endless opportunities for fun and enrichment along the way."[24]

In 2020, Cheltenham Ladies' College was named South West Independent Secondary School of the Decade by The Times and The Sunday Times. The awards, published in the "Parent Power" schools guide, commend schools that have achieved academic excellence and provided an outstanding education over the previous decade.[25]

In popular culture[edit]

As one of the oldest and most prestigious all-girls' boarding schools in the UK, the school has often been referred to as "the girls' Eton". However, the school has worked hard to play down this reputation.[26]

BBC Four made a three-part documentary series titled My New Best Friend to emphasize the importance and nature of friendship among children. The first episode tracked the journey of four young girls starting at Cheltenham Ladies' College.[27]

Cheltenham Ladies' College is mentioned in the film St Trinian's (2007) as the previous school of the main character.

List of Principals[edit]

Notable staff[edit]

Notable pupils[edit]

Guild is the association of College's former pupils.

The arts[edit]

Politics, law and civil service[edit]

Sciences, technology, engineering[edit]

Journalism and authors[edit]




  1. ^ a b "History of College". CLC. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Arms of Insignia of the Borough". Retrieved 1 December 2022.
  3. ^ "BBC – Legacies – Work – England – Gloucestershire – Those who can't, teach: Dorothea Beale & Cheltenham Ladies' College – Article Page 2". BBC. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Robin (9 September 2017). "Blue plaque honours "extraordinary" county woman but who was she?". gloucestershirelive. Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Professional Guidance". Cheltenham Ladies' College. Cheltenham Ladies' College. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Exam Results". Cheltenham Ladies' College. Cheltenham Ladies' College. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Cheltenham Ladies' College celebrates outstanding IB results". UK Boarding Schools. Metropolis. UK Boarding Schools News. 9 July 2018. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Cheltenham Ladies' College - The Complete UK Boarding School Guide". Britannia StudyLink Malaysia: UK Study Expert. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Eve Jardine-Young - Principal's Welcome 2015". CLC Guild. The Incorporated Guild of Cheltenham Ladies' College. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  10. ^ Wilby, Peter (1 August 2011). "Cheltenham Ladies' College: 'This isn't a pink, frilly school'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Boarding – Cheltenham Ladies' College". Archived from the original on 6 August 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Day Girls – Cheltenham Ladies' College". Archived from the original on 6 August 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  13. ^ "The Arts". Cheltenham Ladies' College. Cheltenham Ladies' College. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Partners and supporters". Cheltenham Festivals. Cheltenham Festivals. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Tatler School Guide - Cheltenham Ladies' College". Tatler School's Guide. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017.
  16. ^ SoGlos. "Cheltenham Ladies' College to open new Health and Fitness Centre - SoGlos". SoGlos. Archived from the original on 6 August 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Facilities". Health and Fitness Centre. CLC Health and Fitness Centre. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Interview with Cheltenham Ladies' College's Director of Sports Development". SoGlos. SoGlos. SoGlos Magazine. 5 October 2017. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  19. ^ Hancock, Edith. "The 15 private schools that are hardest to get into in the UK". Business Insider. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Admissions Overview". Cheltenham Ladies' College. Cheltenham Ladies' College. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  21. ^ Inspection Report on The Cheltenham Ladies' College Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine Independent Schools Inspectorate, 2014
  22. ^ "Financial Times Secondary School Ranking". Archived from the original on 27 June 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Top IB Schools (Large Cohort)". Archived from the original on 9 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Cheltenham Ladies' College, Cheltenham | The Good Schools Guide". The Good Schools Guide. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Regional Independent Secondary Schools of the Decade". Sunday Times. 29 November 2020. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  26. ^ Salmans, Sandra (7 July 1979). "English Girls Have Their Eton, Too". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  27. ^ "BBC Four - My New Best Friend, Cheltenham". BBC. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  28. ^ Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service". Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  29. ^ "Farnley Lodge". CLC Guild. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  30. ^ "History of College". CLC. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  31. ^ Creese, Mary R. S. (2019) [2004]. "Reid, Eleanor Mary (1860–1953)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/46432. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  32. ^ Hodge, Gavanndra (21 February 2020). "Kristin Scott Thomas: 'It was very uncool to be middle class... I got bullied because of the way I spoke'". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 May 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  33. ^ Eyre, Hermione (12 October 2008). "Katherine Hamnett: Katherine the great". Independent. Archived from the original on 22 December 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  34. ^ "Amanda Wakeley Spring/Summer 16 - Cerno Capital - Investment Management". Archived from the original on 22 March 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  35. ^ 'GASS, Elizabeth Periam Acland Hood, (Lady Gass)', in Who's Who 2012 (London: A. & C. Black, 2012)
  36. ^ "Lady Mayhew | The Times & The Sunday Times". The Times. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  37. ^ Jenkins, Robin (18 November 2018). "Ten of the most famous former Cheltenham Ladies' College pupils". Gloucestershire Live. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  38. ^ "COOKSEY, Janet Clouston Bewley (Poppy)" in Debrett's People of Today (Debrett's, 2002), p. 419
  39. ^ "Girls in Sport". Cheltenham Ladies' College. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  40. ^ Interview With Jean Westwood, Skate Guard, 7 February 2015
  41. ^ Buxton, M (2010). "The High Flying Duchess" Archived 6 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Woodperry Books. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  42. ^ "Girls in the Arts". Cheltenham Ladies' College. Retrieved 18 July 2020.

External links[edit]