Dean Close School

Dean Close School
Dean Close School

Latin: verbum dei lucerna

("God's word. A guiding light")
Established 1886
Type Independent
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Jonathan Lancashire
Location Shelburne Road
GL51 6HE
Students 511
Gender co-educational
Ages 2+–18
Website Dean Close School website

Dean Close School is a co-educational independent 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. Students may be enrolled as young as 3 in the pre-preparatory school, and continue through to 18 at the senior school. The school adheres to National Curriculum guidelines, while retaining independent status as a selective, fee-paying institution. Dean Close is a public school, and a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.



The school, originally "The Dean Close Memorial School", was founded in 1886 in memory of local former Rector of Cheltenham and Dean of Carlisle Cathedral, Rev Francis Close (1797–1882). 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 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 equal numbers of boys and girls in boarding and day houses.

Dean Close hit headlines in 2008 when the media and parents discovered that headmaster Rev Timothy Hastie-Smith, (1998 – 10 October 2008) had appointed a teacher despite knowing that he had been involved in a scandal at his former school, Shrewsbury School.[1][2] He was elected Chairman of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference for the 2008–09 academic year but relinquished both positions as a consequence of the scandal.

Academic achievement

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 2009, Dean Close pupils achieved the best GCSE results in the School's history with 58.1% attaining A/A*, and with an overall pass rate of 97.6%.

However, in 2010, the same record was yet again broken, with 61.7% of pupils achieving A/A* , with an overall pass rate of 98.3%


There are 10 drama productions every year on average,[citation needed] from whole school musicals to pupil-produced plays. The school has visited the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their own theatre company, Close Up Theatre, every year since 2004.[citation needed][as of?]


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.

Houses (Senior)

  • Brook Court — Boys' boarding
  • Dale — Boys' day
  • Fawley — Girls' boarding
  • Field — Boys' day
  • Gate — Boys' boarding
  • Mead — Girls' day
  • Shelburne — Girls' boarding
  • Tower — Boys' boarding

Houses (Prep school)

  • Caledecote — Boarding boys (Year 6-8)
  • Fortfield — Boarding girls (Year 6-8)
  • Wilton — Boarding Junior (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.

See also Category:Old Decanians.


External links

Coordinates: 51°53′34″N 2°6′18″W / 51.89278°N 2.105°W / 51.89278; -2.105

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