Gloucestershire is home to some of the most prestigious and historical independent schools in the country, offering outstanding academic and pastoral excellence, not to mention first-class facilities.
Whether you’re looking for a co-educational, a boys or girls school; a day or boarding school; a pre-preparatory, preparatory, senior or Sixth Form; SoGlos’s comprehensive guide spans some truly exceptional institutions for children aged from two to 18.
Parents looking for a stunning location, a strong faith foundation, diverse extra-curricular programmes, and of course, outstanding academic results, are spoilt for choice by the range of independent schools in Gloucestershire – which pride themselves on producing nurtured, confident, well-rounded pupils – and even some famous alumni.
The world-renowned Cheltenham Ladies’ College has been educating girls from across the globe for more than 160 years. The boarding and day school welcomes girls from 11 through to 18 to its diverse community of approximately 840 pupils. By creating an educational environment that’s supportive, challenging, innovative and creative, CLC helps pupils achieve success both inside and outside the classroom.
From September 2021, both day girls and boarding pupils can benefit from flexible boarding options – allowing day girls to stay at school overnight on selected nights and boarders to leave school on Saturday afternoons to spend time with friends and family.
The independent school consistently achieves outstanding results in GCSE, A Level and International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations; with the school being named the top boarding school in the world for IB in 2019 and achieving its best ever IB results in 2021. Class sizes are small and encourage active participation, while expert teaching and regular feedback help girls realise their full potential. Pupils can also benefit from the extensive range of co-curricular activities, from music clubs and creative societies to sports.
Pupils are invited to pursue a broad and varied curriculum, with engineering, enterprise and technology, language acquisition, and philosophical enquiry offered alongside the core subjects of maths, English language and literature, sciences and modern languages.
Cheltenham Ladies’ College students benefit from a state-of-the-art Health and Fitness Centre, complete with two sports halls; a 58-station fitness gym with free weights and spin area; multi-purpose activity and dance studio; squash courts; swimming pool; and climbing wall too.
From 11 to 18 years old.
Fees are £13,260 for boarding and £8,900 for day pupils per term.
Bayshill Road, Cheltenham, GL50 3EP
Actress Dame Kristin Scott Thomas; artist Bridget Riley; scientist and chair of the Science Museum Group, Dame Mary Archer; and Rt Hon Amber Rudd, former MP, Home Secretary, and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Providing a well-rounded education for boys and girls aged three to 18, Cheltenham College is a leading independent day and boarding school with separate preparatory and senior school facilities.
Set in 72 acres of grounds in the heart of Cheltenham, the school engenders a vibrant sense of community, whilst consistently delivering academic excellence at both prep and senior school level.
Both Cheltenham College schools offer a broad curriculum with personalised support from specialist teachers. Senior students are encouraged to develop their academic interests across the arts, humanities and sciences – and there are plenty of co-curricular opportunities for students of all ages to pursue outside of the classroom too.
With first-class sporting facilities and outstanding coaching, delivered by ex-professional players, Cheltenham College students are given the level of support and attention needed to excel in a variety of sports including rugby, equestrian, cricket and rifle shooting.
Cheltenham College also offers a talented athlete programme, providing structured training, mentoring and nutritional guidance for elite sporting students – helping them to succeed in their chosen field, from club to international level.
With a diverse range of co-curricular clubs and activities on offer, Cheltenham College Prep students are encouraged to follow their passions. From skiing and street dancing to baking and creative writing, there’s something for everyone to get involved in.
At the senior school, voluntary work is actively encouraged and Wednesday afternoons are set aside for Cheltenham College students to take part in community activities and pursue charitable causes, if they wish. Students are also given the chance to join the Combined Cadet Force, a testament to the college’s long connection with the military.
Cheltenham College Pre-Prep runs from three to seven, while Cheltenham College Prep welcomes pupils aged seven to 13. Cheltenham College Seniors is for 13 to 18-year olds.
For Cheltenham College Prep school students, fees per term start at £4,135 for day students and £6,300 for boarders; while the cost for Cheltenham College Senior students starts at £9,520 for day students and £12,690 for boarders.
Gloucester Rugby player Ollie Thorley; journalist and broadcaster Rageh Omaar; and Gloucestershire’s favourite farmer, tv presenter and owner of Cotswold Farm Park, Adam Henson.
Cheltenham College Preparatory School is on Thirlestaine Road in Cheltenham, GL53 7AB, while Cheltenham College is on Bath Road in Cheltenham, GL53 7LD.
For Cheltenham College Preparatory School, call (01242) 522697 and for Cheltenham College, call (01242) 265600.
Dean Close School is a co-educational day and boarding school, located in the heart of Cheltenham. Situated in 50 acres of picturesque grounds, with a blend of original Victorian buildings and modern purpose-built facilities, the school offers fantastic academic and extra-curricular opportunities for pupils aged two to 18.
The school aims to get the best out of students academically, while also broadening their horizons through access to its exceptional facilities and varied clubs and societies.
With a strong Christian ethos, Dean Close seeks to provide a supportive environment for learning and self-discovery, encouraging each member of its community to realise their greatest potential.
Students can benefit from the school’s multimillion-pound sports hall, which accommodates everything from basketball to cricket and features a hi-tech fitness suite. Other sporting facilities include a 25-metre indoor pool, a climbing wall and rifle range – with Dean Close also boasting a national reputation in hockey and equestrianism.
Meanwhile, the two-story art school provides specialist studio spaces for creative students; music lovers have access to a range of amenities, from a recording studio to a concert hall; and, renowned for its drama, Dean Close is also home to the Bacon Theatre.
With around 300 preparatory school pupils and 500 senior school students, Dean Close is small enough for everyone to get to know each other, forming close bonds with their peers and getting fully involved in school life. At the same time, it’s large enough to have a strong community of boarders and day pupils, as well as first-class sporting and creative arts opportunities.
From two to 18 years old.
Per term, full day fees for the 2020/21 academic year range from £4,000 for preparatory school students, £8,300 for senior school students and £8,800 for sixth formers.
Dean Close also offers day, flexi and international boarding options.
Issy Bailey, Paralympian GB pistol shooter; Lloyd Evans, Gloucester Rugby player; and Brian Jones, musician and founding member of The Rolling Stones.
Dean Close Pre-Preparatory and Preparatory Schools are on Lansdown Road, Cheltenham, GL51 6QS. Dean Close Senior School is on Shelburne Road, Cheltenham, GL51 6HE.
Call Dean Close Pre-Preparatory School on (01242) 258079; Dean Close Preparatory School on (01242) 512217 and Dean Close Senior School on (01242) 258000.
For Dean Close Pre-Preparatory School, email firstname.lastname@example.org, for Dean Close Preparatory School, email email@example.com and for Dean Close Senior School, email firstname.lastname@example.org
With 45 acres of grounds located in the Charlton Kings area of Cheltenham, St Edward’s is set in superb surroundings. Welcoming both boys and girls to its Preparatory and Senior school, which are just five minutes from each other, with the aim to help its students ‘believe, strive and achieve.’
St Edward’s has a strong nurturing environment to aid academic achievement, with small class sizes ensuring that teachers really get to know every pupil, their individual strengths and their talents. The school also encourages pupils to develop their social skills, grow in confidence and thrive in life beyond school.
St Edward’s inclusive school community is built on Christian values and welcomes children of all faiths. Pastoral care is based on principles of compassion, ethics and morals, encouraging pupils to grow spiritually, as well as academically.
The range of co-curricular activities at St Edward’s include water polo, golf, drama, music and the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – encouraging students to grow in confidence and build lifelong skills.
From one to 18 years old.
St Edward’s Prep School fees range from £2,715 to £4,540 per term, while St Edward’s Senior School fees cost from £5,090 to £6,210 per term. St Edward’s Sixth Form fees are £6,210 per term.
St Edward’s Preparatory School is on London Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, GL52 6NR, while St Edward’s Senior School is on Cirencester Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, GL53 8EY.
Call St Edward’s Preparatory School on (01242) 388550 and St Edward’s Senior School on (01242) 388555.
The Richard Pate School is a co-educational independent day school for three to 11-year-olds, with approximately 300 pupils across its Nursery, Prep and Junior departments. It teaches all national curriculum foundation subjects, with a strong special educational needs provision.
Set on an idyllic, semi-rural campus in Leckhampton, the school benefits from 11 and a half acres of space and impressive educational facilities, with plenty of opportunities to explore the natural world through its adventure playground, woodland area and dedicated conservation space for environmental studies.
Celebrating each individual student’s strengths and attributes, the school also works closely with parents to help them choose the right onward destination for their child, with a large percentage of pupils progressing to achieve places and scholarships at leading grammar and independent schools.
The Richard Pate School has invested in its specialist facilities over the years, which include an art studio, science laboratory, music centre and all-weather, floodlit astro pitch – allowing teachers to offer a broad and varied education to its pupils.
The school also has a diverse programme of extracurricular activities to help children develop their passions. From coding to ukulele, sessions operate during lunch and after school – not to mention competitive sport.
While its academic offering is certainly appealing to families seeking an enriching education, The Richard Pate School prides itself on its sense of community above all. There’s a great family atmosphere between pupils, teachers and parents, as children are taught to value and respect themselves and others in a supportive educational environment.
From three to 11 years old.
Per term, fees start at £2,795 for reception, with an increase in price per year group. Current fees for year 6 pupils per term are £3,964. Fees are inclusive of equipment, school lunches and swimming lessons.
Double Olympic gold medallist and rower Alex Gregory MBE; children’s author Vivian French; and Amy Weaver, the youngest female trainer in UK horse racing history.
Southern Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, GL53 9RP.
Situated on an estate on the outskirts of Cirencester, Rendcomb College is an independent day and boarding school for boys and girls, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020. Although the school has evolved since its inception in 1920, it remains true to founder Frederick Wills’ original values of providing an inclusive and broad-ranging education for its pupils, while working with families to ensure students have realistic academic ambitions.
Sport and music co-curricular activities include choir, fencing, orchestra, martial arts and drama, while Rendcomb’s Performing Arts Centre provides an industry standard performance and rehearsal space for students. The school’s curriculum helps pupils identify their strengths and aptitudes, nurture respect for individualism and promote collaboration, while providing a pastoral framework that fosters physical, emotional and spiritual well-being to help prepare pupils for life beyond school.
Encouraging respect for the environment is part of Rendcomb College’s ethos and its 230 acres of parkland provide ample room for pupils to play, explore and learn outdoors, with the Forest School for Junior School pupils and a dedicated Outdoor Education area for Senior School pupils.
From three to 18 years-old.
The Junior School ranges between £2,250 and £4,315 per term; and the Senior School between £6,150 and £8,150 per term for day students and £9,775 and £12,650 per term for boarders; while day fees for Sixth Form students are £5,800 per term and £12,650 for boarders. Occasional boarding is also available for an additional £39 to £54 per night.
Chairman of Sainsbury’s David Tyler; veteran jockey Richard Dunwoody; historian David Vaisey and yacht designer Angus Primrose.
Rendcomb College, Cirencester, GL7 7HA
Westonbirt is a unique co-educational day and boarding school in the heart of Gloucestershire for students from two to 18 years old. Rated excellent by the ISI, the school is in the top five per cent of schools in the UK for Value Added. Small class sizes, great pastoral care, excellent learning support and a warm and encouraging environment are celebrated at Westonbirt to help children reach their full potential. Westonbirt places a great importance on building children’s confidence and on motivating and encouraging its students so that they can pursue their interests. The Headmistress, Mrs Natasha Dangerfield, who was voted the runner-up for the Head of the Year Award, believes in recognising every student’s individuality and creating personalised learning experiences for students that are in line with their strengths and preferences. This ethos influences every decision of the school and manifests itself in the diversity of the school’s activities and initiatives, from a great range of sports and extracurricular activities the school has on offer, to its varied global engagement opportunities.
Westonbirt School believes that motivation and love for learning are key to its students’ success, happiness, and wellbeing. Therefore, providing excellent pastoral care and learning support, and building students’ confidence is what Westonbirt is well known for.
The school offers students beautiful grounds and buildings to explore. With cows, peacocks, foxes, Italian gardens and a grotto.
From two to 18 years old.
Fees are £10,150 for boarding and from £2,785 for day pupils per term.
Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QG
The King’s School Gloucester is an independent day school for girls and boys aged three to 18. The impressive campus of historic buildings and state-of-the art performing arts and sports facilities are adjacent to Gloucester Cathedral, which is the inspirational setting for daily assemblies. Welcoming pupils of all religious faiths, and of none, the school offers academic excellence together with a wide range of co-curricular activities and outstanding pastoral care.
Founded in 1541, the historic school has 680 pupils across its Kindergarten, Junior and Senior Schools and Sixth Form. It creates a pupil-centred environment, where students benefit from small class sizes and a broad range of academic subjects and co-curricular activities, allowing each pupil to reach their full potential.
The King’s School Gloucester instils a love of learning by presenting stimulating and engaging lessons, while also encouraging pupils to pursue their interests through the wide range of co-curricular activities on offer. The school’s specialist teaching staff have the time to stretch the gifted and talented pupils while offering extra support to those pupils who need it. King’s has a wide choice of sports, music and performing arts lessons and clubs to ensure that there is something on offer for everyone to enjoy.
The King’s School Gloucester’s scholarship programme recognises and rewards academic excellence, in addition to artistic, musical, dramatic and sporting ability. Providing a significant reduction in school fees, the scholarships run annually and offer entry into Years 5, 7, 9 and Year 12.
The King’s School Sixth Form has recently undergone a £2.5 million redevelopment to transform the 13th century building into state-of-the-art Sixth Form Centre too.
From three to 18 years old.
Per term, fees are from £2,645 for Reception to £6,905 for Year 11, with Sixth Form fees also at £6,905.
Pitt Street, Gloucester, GL1 2BG
Actor Simon Pegg; BBC Breakfast presenter, Charlie Stayt; conductor with the English National Opera, Edward Gardner; and rugby player, John Brain.
Please note, Wynstones School is temporarily closed.
Wynstones is a progressive Steiner Waldorf school set on 11 acres of land on the outskirts of Gloucester, which delivers a holistic education to children aged three to 11 – with plans to expand year-by-year to cater for secondary students when it reopens.
Inspired, but not constrained, by Rudolf Steiner’s approach to education, Wynstones’ curriculum is focused on developing its students’ interests across academic, social, moral and creative spheres, as well as supporting them in becoming well-rounded people and independent thinkers. It offers small class sizes, as well as an excellent special needs provision.
Wynstones passionately believes that learning is different for everyone. Its Steiner-inspired education programme encourages all students to drive their own learning and discover what they’re passionate about – whether that’s writing or art, learning languages or sport and movement.
Its holistic curriculum values academic, active and affective development equally, with its content organised to meet and progress students’ growth in all areas; and all subjects taught with an integrated approach. Plus, each student benefits from an individual development plan, created with their class teacher and guardian.
Mandarin Chinese and Spanish are Wynstones’ chosen modern foreign languages, giving pupils the opportunity to learn the two most spoken languages worldwide from early years, through songs and rhymes, through to GCSE-level.
What’s more, there are plans to include British Sign Language in the curriculum, further promoting inclusivity in education.
When it reopens, Wynstones will take three to 11-year-olds with plans to expand into the secondary provision year-on-year to cater for children aged three to 16.
Per term, fees start at £2,995 for early years students; £3,675 for lower school students; and £5,075 for middle and upper school students.
Actor and acting professor, Peter Bridgmont.
Wynstones School, Church Lane, Whaddon, GL4 0UF.
Founded in 1882, Wycliffe College in Stonehouse is a co-educational day and boarding school offering all the advantages of a contemporary environment in a beautiful rural location just 90 minutes from London. The school boasts a broad curriculum mixing traditional and modern subjects to help all students achieve their full potential and encourages each child to pursue an interest outside of the classroom – whether it’s on stage, in the choir, on the sports field or up a mountain.
Wycliffe College’s facilities include a library that’s a haven for independent learning; chapel; floodlit Astroturf sports surface; swimming pool; high-tech gym; two basketball courts; tennis courts; performing arts centre; and even a boat house for its strong rowing programme. It also has an impressive squash programme with support from renowned coaches. Wycliffe is proud to offer its students support from an exceptional pastoral team too, as well as a house system which promotes a strong sense of community, friendship and healthy competition among students.
Wycliffe College boasts excellent sports performance alongside an impressive music, drama and art provision. The school places strong emphasis on personal development, pastoral care and pupil performance across the board, with high ratings from the Good Schools Guide.
The diversity of subjects offered at Wycliffe, which includes GCSE Japanese; Fine Art, Music and Psychology A Levels; BTEC National Diplomas (equivalent to two A Levels) in Business; Digital Production; and Sport. Plus, Wycliffe also provides ACT and SAT preparation, required to gain entry to American universities.
From three to 19 years old.
Wycliffe Preparatory School costs from £3,400 per term for day pupils and from £7,700 per term for boarders; while Wycliffe Senior School is from £7,645 per term for day pupils and from £13,345 per term for boarders.
Rugby player Charlie Sharples; actor William Moseley; cricketer Alex Gidman; and singer-songwriter Al Stewart.
Bristol Road, Stonehouse, GL10 2AF.
Set at the foot of the beautiful Malvern Hills, Malvern St James is a leading independent day and boarding school for girls aged four to 18. Advocating for women’s education since 1893, the school encourages its girls to be ambitious and confident, to follow their passions, and thrive beyond school.
The school is renowned for its academic prowess, with MSJ girls consistently achieving top A Level and GCSE results – with many progressing to study STEM subjects at university.
The prep school is based in the same building as the senior school, meaning MSJ girls of all ages are able to benefit from the specialist educational facilities and resources. From science laboratories to top-class art and sporting amenities, there is something for everyone at Malvern St James.
Offering an all-through education, Malvern St James supports its students from pre-prep to Sixth Form, with class sizes kept small at a ratio of one teacher to eight girls. The school engenders a supportive ‘home from home’ environment, with MSJ girls able to build meaningful, long-term relationships with staff both academically and pastorally.
The school prepares its girls for fulfilling careers, all while encouraging them to cultivate a range of interests and lead a balanced and happy lifestyle.
Its vast enrichment programme helps every girl to discover her passion, offering extra-curricular languages, leadership opportunities, music, photography and clubs for aspiring engineers and scientists – to name a few.
Making it a fantastic choice for local families, Malvern St James operates a minibus service which has routes in Gloucestershire. And, in addition to the main school bus which departs at around 6pm, the school is offering an earlier minibus home, too.
Departing at 4.10pm, the new service has been created for the convenience of parents, allowing their daughters to return home earlier if they need to.
Places on the school bus are available on a termly basis and can be shared between two families if pupils only need to use the route one way.
From four to 18 years old.
For the 2021/22 academic year, day pupil fees range from £2,550 per term in Reception through to £6,580 per term in Sixth Form; while full boarding fees range from £8,160 per term in Year 3 through to £13,470 per term in Sixth Form.
Malvern St James also offers flexi and weekly boarding options to suit individual family needs.
Great Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3BA.
School name: Airthrie School
Description: This co-educational day school and nursery in Cheltenham prides itself on its homely and caring atmosphere, with a strong focus on small teaching groups and one-to-one teaching.
Age range: From three to 11 years old
Fees: Nursery is free for up to 15 hours per week, £6.50 per-hour thereafter; while school fees range between £2,023 and £2,930 per term.
Address: Airthrie School, Christ Church Road, Cheltenham, GL50 2NY
Telephone: (01242) 512837
School name: Beaudesert Park School
Description: This unique, co-educational prep school in Minchinhampton offers academically aspiring education and a flexible approach to after school care and boarding.
Age range: From three to 13 years old
Fees: Pre-Prep school fees range between £1,675 and £2,820 per term; and the Prep school between £3,680 and £6,900 per term.
Address: Beaudesert Park School, Minchinhampton, near Stroud, GL6 9AF
Telephone: (01453) 832072
School name: Berkhampstead School
Description: Approximately 250 girls and boys currently attend Berkhampstead School, which opened in 1945 with the aim of providing a centre of educational excellence where children would be happy.
Age range: From three to 11 years old
Fees: Pre-Prep school fees range between £2,110 and £2,400 per term; and the Prep school between £2,615 and £3,055 per term.
Address: Pittville Circus Road, Cheltenham, GL52 2QA
Telephone: (01242) 523263
School name: Dormer House School
Description: Situated in Moreton-in-Marsh is this prep school comprising a nursery and primary, which encourage creativity and individuality through a mix of traditional values and modern techniques.
Age range: From two to 11 years old
Fees: Nursery fees range between £5 and £6 per hour; and primary school costs £2,475 per term.
Address: Dormer House School, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0AD
Telephone: (01608) 650758
School name: Edward Jenner School
Description: Housed in the former Probate Office of Gloucestershire, Edward Jenner School is a small-scale, secular school with no religious or ideological affiliations, which concentrates on the educational, social and emotional needs of each child.
Age range: From seven to 14 years old
Fees: £2,400 per term
Address: Edward Jenner School, 4 Pitt Street, Gloucester, GL1 2BH
Telephone: (01452) 380808
School name: Gloucestershire International School
Description: Gloucestershire International School was founded in 2016 to provide children with a holistic approach to learning, that focuses on the idea that education is not just the responsibility of the teacher, but of the wider community as well. The school, located in Gloucester, is part of the International Village Education group, which was started by Dr Daniel Sturdy and draws on the ethos that not all learning should be taught in the classroom, with its vision incorporating outdoor education as an integral part of a child’s school experience.
Age range: From 11 to 16 years old
Fees: £4,549 per term for Year 7 to Year 9; £4,949 per term for Year 10 and 11, with Sixth Form not yet open for admissions.
Address: Horton Road, Gloucester, GL1 3PR
Telephone: (01452) 764248
School name: Hatherop Castle School
Description: Set in charming Cotswold countryside, this is a mixed preparatory day and boarding school aiming to successfully prepare all children for their first choice senior school.
Age range: From two to 13 years old
Fees: Nursery fees cost £28 per morning or £49 per day; Pre-Prep school fees range between £2,045 and £3,245 per term; Prep school between £3,675 and £4,495 per term; and boarding between £5,975 and 6,795 per term.
Address: Hatherop Castle School, Hatherop, Cirencester, GL7 3NB
Telephone: (01285) 750206
School name: Kitebrook House
Description: Established for 60 years, Kitebrook House is a mixed preparatory school with academically high standards and an emphasis on providing care, trust and self-confidence to pupils.
Age range: From three to 13 years old
Fees: The Pre-Prep day school costs £3,250 per term; Prep day school from £3,970 per term; and boarding £5,490 per term.
Address: Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0RP
Telephone: (01608) 674350
School name: Malvern College
Description: Founded in 1865, the leading co-educational boarding and day school is set on a stunning 250-acre campus in Malvern and offers pupils a broad curriculum supported by extensive musical, dramatic, artistic and sporting co-curricular activities.
Age range: From 13 to 18.
Fees: From £7,512 for day pupils and £11,338 for boarders, per term
Address: College Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3DF
Telephone number: (01684) 581500
School name: The Acorn School
Description: A co-educational lower school, encompassing the main elements of the Steiner Curriculum, and upper school offering a stimulating and highly academic programme, which is supported by its own internal examination and assessment system.
Age range: From six to 18 years old
Fees: Lower school fees range between £1,960 and £2,350 per term; and Upper school between £2,750 and £3,500 per term.
Address: Church Street, Nailsworth, GL6 0BP
Telephone: (01453) 836508
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