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Dean Close School is a co-educational independent school in Cheltenhammarker, Gloucestershiremarker, Englandmarker. 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 Cathedralmarker, 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), Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones and the artist Francis Bacon, who loathed the school so much that he ran away, and refused a request to donate any of his artworks for the school's centenary celebrations in 1986.

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. First World War deaths are recorded on the north wall behind the altar, and those from World War II on the south wall.

The school buildings were requisitioned by the Home Office during World War II and the staff and pupils were relocated to nearby Monkton Combe Schoolmarker. 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 admin 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.

Academic achievement

Dean Close's record has continued to improve in recent years. 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 the country 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 GSCE results in the School's history with 58.1% attaining A/A*, and with an overall pass rate of 97.6%.


There are 8 productions every year on average, from whole school musicals to pupil-produced play. The school visits the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their own theatre company, Close Up Theatre, every year since 2004. Every Close Up Theatre production has been awarded elite Sell-Out status by the Edinburgh Fringe.

Recent productions in the school include Les Misérables, Suddenly Last Summer, The Taming of the Shrew, Anything Goes and Black Comedy. Recent Fringe productions include Our Country's Good and Amadeus.


In the summer of 2009, Dean Close U18 hockey team won the Schools National Hockey competition.

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
  • Deacon — Day
  • Fortfield — Boarding girls
  • Oaksey — Day
  • Wilton — Boarding (co-ed)
  • Yeaman — Day

Notable Old Decanians


External links

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