Dean Close School

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Dean Close School
Shelburne Road

, ,
GL51 6HE

CoordinatesCoordinates: 51°53′34″N 2°6′18″W / 51.89278°N 2.10500°W / 51.89278; -2.10500
TypeIndependent day and boarding
MottoVerbum Dei Lucerna
("God's word, a guiding light")
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England[1]
PresidentLord Ribeiro, President of The Council[2]
Chairman of the TrusteesKathryn Carden CBE[2]
WardenEmma Taylor, MA, PGCE
HeadmasterBradley Salisbury MEd, PGCE
Age3 to 18
Enrolment900 pupils
Colour(s)  Maroon and   Navy
PublicationThe Quad, The Young Decanian and The CAG Mag
Former pupilsOld Decanians

Dean Close School is a co-educational day and boarding private 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. The Headmaster of the Senior School is Bradley Salisbury. Dean Close is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

The Headmaster of the Preparatory School is Paddy Moss. DCPS is a member of the IAPS and the Choir Schools' Association. Fees are currently £23,166 pa for day pupils and £33,780 pa for boarders in the senior school.[3] Fees in the prep school are up to £16,266 pa for day pupils and up to £23,910 pa for boarders.[4]


The school, originally "The Dean Close Memorial School", was founded in 1886 (79th of the 103 Victorian public schools in order of foundation)[5] 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 the Second World War[6] and the staff and pupils were removed 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.

The most recent additions to the school's property are a £3 million sports hall[7] and a £4.5 million prep school hall[8] which opened in October 2013.

In June 2015, Dean Close School announced the acquisition of a preparatory school, St John's on the Hill, Chepstow.[9]

Academic achievement[edit]

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.[10]

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.[11] 60% of pupils at Dean Close School also achieved GCSE level A & A* grades.


There are ten 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 Singing in the Rain, Chicago, South Pacific, 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 a Sell-out award on every occasion.

In 2013 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, Judi Dench, Patricia Routledge, Samuel West, Nigel Havers, Jamie Parker and Julian Fellowes.

In the last five years, pupils leaving DCS have gone on to RADA, LAMDA, Central, Mountview, Rose Bruford, ALRA and AADA (USA)[12] The school also achieves a high success rate at the Cheltenham Festival, winning many of the entered classes. They also have pupils acting semi-professionally at venues such as the Globe.


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.

Schola Cantorum[edit]

The Abbey School, Tewkesbury, was founded by Miles Amherst in 1973 as the choir school for Tewkesbury Abbey. When the school closed in 2006, its choir (The Choir of the Abbey School, Tewkesbury) was renamed Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum at Dean Close and given a home at Dean Close Prep School.[13] The choir of men and boys sings traditional choral evensong in the abbey on weekdays during term time, and special services on other occasions.

The choir has an extensive catalogue of recordings on the Delphian, Guild, Naxos, Priory, Regent, Hyperion and Signum labels.[14] It has performed widely in the UK and around the world, including with the BBC National Orchestra, and broadcasts choral evensong on BBC Radio 3.

The choir is widely travelled, including tours of the US, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden. Gabriel Jackson, Mark Blatchly, John Caldwell and Grayston Ives have all written for the choir, which, in 2007, also gave the first performance of Bob Chilcott's The Night He Was Born.[15]

Houses (Senior)[edit]

  • Brook Court — Boys' boarding (opened by 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 (renovation opened by Bear Grylls in 2005)
  • Turner — Girls' boarding (6th Form)

Houses (Prep school)[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Former pupils of the school are known as 'Old Decanians', decanus being the Latin for dean.


  1. ^ "School Overview: Dean Close School". DirectGov. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Governance". Dean Close School. Archived from the original on 12 April 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Fees". Dean Close. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Fees". Dean Close. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  5. ^ "School History". Dean Close. 1 January 1954. Archived from the original on 10 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  6. ^ "School History". 1 January 1954. Archived from the original on 10 December 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Facilities". Archived from the original on 10 December 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  8. ^ "New £4.5 million hall at Cheltenham's Dean Close Prep School". Archived from the original on 17 October 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  9. ^ Katharine Skellon (28 October 2015). "SCHOOL OF THE WEEK: St John's On-The-Hill, Chepstow (From South Wales Argus)". Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Results | Dean Close". 1 February 2015. Archived from the original on 1 February 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Best Schools, The Top 100 Co-Educational Senior Boarding Schools by A Levels". 31 October 2013. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Dean Close School". 20 June 2014. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Dean Close Preparatory School, Cheltenham - Choir Schools Association". 20 June 2014. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum - Abbey School Recordings". Archived from the original on 15 October 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  15. ^ "BCSD - Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum". Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Noteworthy Alumni". Dean Close School. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Distinguished Old Decanians. Dean Close School. 2017.
  18. ^ "English". Dean Close School. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Biography". AACO Community. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Honorary fellowships presented to five prominent surgeons: Citation for Mr. Bernard Ribeiro" (PDF). Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. 93 (11): 38–39. November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Major St Clair Tisdall - obituary". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2017.

External links[edit]