Dean Close School
Opened in 1886, Dean Close was named by its founders after the Very Reverend Francis Close, Dean of Carlisle, a former Rector of Cheltenham. The School remains on its original site, situated on the outskirts of Cheltenham on a beautiful 50 acre plot. It is one of the oldest established co-educational independent senior schools, welcoming its first girl, Pamela Rowles, in 1967.
Dean Close School is a co-educational day and boarding school which provides continuity of education from age 2+ to 18. The School was established in 1886, and is set in 50 acres of parkland in the centre of Cheltenham. Visitors regularly comment on the atmosphere, saying how warm and friendly they find it and it is felt that this positive environment can be attributed directly to the Christian heart and principles of the School.
The School is renowned for focusing on individual development. Small classes, excellent learning facilities plus a 550-seater professional theatre, amphitheatre, 2 floodlit astro-turfs, 25m indoor pool, climbing wall, indoor rifle range, dance studio and fully equipped gymnasium all help to nurture each child’s strengths and talents. With around 260 pupils in the prep school and 500 in the senior school, Dean Close is small enough to allow everyone to know one another and to feel valued. It also allows everyone to get fully involved in the life of the School. However, it is large enough to have an extremely strong boarding community, vibrant and exciting creative arts, impressive academic results and great sports results across all ages.
Dean Close is a Christian school and community which aims to uphold the Christian faith as a positive force for all, including those who do not share this faith.
The School seeks to treat every member of its family as unique and equally valuable.
The ethos challenges selfishness and holds community, respect for others, relationship and service at the heart of the School.
Dean Close welcomes pupils with a broad range of abilities, aiming to give each and every one a well-rounded education, blending good academic performance with real achievement in their individually-discovered talents.
The School encourages independent thinking and the self-confidence to challenge the status quo.
Dean Close has a sympathetic blend of grand Victorian buildings and modern purpose-built facilities across its substantial 50 acre site. Over the last 20 years, the School has made a substantial investment in ambitious building and refurbishment projects. Some of these are detailed below.
Boarding pupils are housed in a mixture of traditional, refurbished and contemporary, new-build houses. Brook Court House was opened in 1999 by the Count and Countess of Wessex providing fresh, modern facilities for 64 boys. Tower House, also for boys, is located in the heart of the School and is one of the original buildings. In 2004 it was completely gutted, from ground to roof, and refurbished in a £1m project, after which it was officially opened by Bear Grylls. A brand new girls’ house, Shelburne Hall, was opened by Estelle Morris MP in 2003 featuring a skylight that runs the length of the House with glass tiles beneath, allowing natural light to filter through the floors. This complements the other girls’ boarding house, Fawley, a traditional Victorian House situated on the outskirts of the School grounds.
The exceptional two-storey Art School was purpose-built in 1995 and provides a versatile, spacious and creative environment. The entrance opens into the BonBernard Gallery, a light, lofty space that hosts a broad range of both pupil and visiting exhibitions. In the past these have include Picasso and Matisse. The facility also boasts excellent studio spaces for specialist work in 2 and 3 dimensions, with individually allocated work areas for Sixth form pupils.
Opened in 1997 by HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the Music School is an exciting purpose-built construction created solely for the purpose of making music. Its vibrant style comes from the young designer whose aim was to inspire artistic conception amongst its users using curved walls and exposed brick walls. As a specialist facility, the Music School has been able to accommodate every amenity from a hi-tech recording studio to an elegant concert hall. Further enhanced by its hand-made stained glass windows, banners and acoustic curtain, the overall effect is stunning.
Opened in 1991, the Bacon Theatre is a professional standard theatre which includes a two level 550-seat auditorium, a huge stage with hydraulic orchestra pit and state-of-the-art technical equipment. It is entered via a magnificent marbled-floored Orangery furnished with a licenced bar and tea/coffee counter. Below the stage sits a large Green Room equipped with lit-up make-up area and changing room facilities.
A £3m sports hall providing state-of-the-art facilities was officially opened by Sir Geoff Hurst in 2007. The new building accommodates basketball, football, hockey, badminton, tennis, volleyball, netball and cricket, enhancing wet weather programming and allowing a broader range of coaching techniques. A fitness suite fitted with hi-tech training equipment and weights, dance/aerobics studio, seminar room, a viewing gallery also feature. Most recently, an attractive sports pavilion has been erected opposite the sports hall. The School has many other excellent facilities for sport including two floodlit water based astro turfs, 25m indoor pool, tennis courts, athletics field including throwing cage, squash courts, rifle range and climbing wall.
The School Chapel was opened in 1923 as a memorial to Old Decanians who fell in the Great War, dedicated on 1st November, All Saints Day. It seats over 500 worshippers and is used by the Preparatory and Senior schools on a weekly basis.