Unveiling Cheltenham Ladies’ College: A Comprehensive Review

Welcome to the comprehensive review of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, a venerable institution steeped in history and revered for its commitment to academic excellence and the empowerment of women. Join us as we embark on a journey to unveil the essence of this prestigious college, delving into its illustrious past, distinguished traditions, and the transformative experiences it offers to its students. 

Cheltenham Ladies' College Review

Table of Contents

Key Features of Cheltenham Ladies' College

  • Local authority: Gloucestershire
  • Pupils: 862; sixth formers: 314
  • Ages: 11-18
  • Gender: Female
  • Religion: Christian Inter-denominational
  • Fees: Day £29,700 – £33,900; Boarding £45,150 – £50,700 pa

Cheltenham Ladies' College Academic Results

GCSE Results (2023):

    • 88% achieved grades 9-7.

A Level Results (2023):

    • 72% achieved grades A/A*.
    • 90% achieved grades A-B*.

IB Results (2023):

    • Average score: 39.

GCSE Results (2019):

    • 90% achieved grades 9-7.

A Level Results (2019):

    • 72% achieved grades A/A*.

IB Results (2019):

    • IB average score: 40.

Boarding Experience in Cheltenham Ladies' College

The boarding experience at Cheltenham Ladies’ College is one of comfort, security, and community, with eleven houses spread throughout the town. Here’s what you can expect:

House Facilities:

    • Each house, whether for juniors or sixth formers, boasts a unique character yet follows a similar blueprint.
    • Sophisticated security systems ensure safety for all residents.
    • Common areas feature polished parquet floors, plush sofas, large televisions, and even grand pianos.
    • Junior girls have shared rooms accommodating 2-4 students, while sixth formers enjoy single bedrooms.
    • The accommodations, while not quite five-star, offer comfort and modern amenities, a significant departure from the dormitories of the past.

Dining Experience:

    • All meals are taken within the houses, fostering a familial atmosphere.
    • Dining resembles a civilised café setting, with round tables and small groupings, promoting camaraderie.
    • House events, competitions, and church services enhance the sense of belonging and provide a respite from the school day.

Housemistresses and Community:

    • Exceptional housemistresses, often recruited specifically for their role, contribute to a nurturing environment.
    • The school’s website describes the boarding houses as sanctuaries, echoing the sentiments of students and staff alike.

Boarding Options:

    • Historically, students chose between day and full boarding options.
    • However, a flexi-boarding option is being trialled, allowing day pupils to stay overnight during the week (excluding Saturdays).
    • Full boarders now have the freedom to go out on weekends, providing more flexibility in their schedules.

Extracurricular Activities in Cheltenham Ladies' College

At Cheltenham Ladies’ College, extracurricular activities thrive, particularly in the realm of arts and performance. Here’s a glimpse into the vibrant extracurricular scene:


    • Over 1,000 pupils participate in music lessons, carefully timetabled to ensure they never miss an academic class.
    • Each boarding house boasts its own practice rooms, some even featuring grand pianos for girls to practice or perform.
    • A plethora of orchestras, ensembles, and bands cater to a range of musical interests, from a full symphony orchestra to the vibrant Hellacappella.
    • Opportunities abound for performances at various concerts throughout the year, including house competitions and concerts known for their lively atmosphere and insider jokes.
    • Music scholars take on mentoring roles for younger students, fostering a supportive musical community.
    • The addition of a recording studio enhances opportunities for creativity and production.

Performing Arts:

    • The Parabola Arts Centre, a 325-seat auditorium, serves as a hub for performances, including those by the Cheltenham Festival.
    • Students not only showcase their talents on stage but also engage in theatre management, lighting, and stage design.
    • Outdoor spaces are creatively utilised for productions, with open-air performances of Shakespearean classics like “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and “Othello.”

Cheltenham Performing Arts Festival:

    • A highlight in the school calendar, offering students the chance to actively participate in an internationally renowned event.
    • Opportunities for involvement span drama, art, and music, with classes ranging from solo performances to world folk music.


    • Five drama productions each year provide opportunities for all girls to audition, with senior students taking on directing roles for younger peers.
    • Students are deeply involved in all aspects of production, from acting to behind-the-scenes work.

Sports Activities in Cheltenham Ladies' College

At Cheltenham Ladies’ College, sports facilities are top-notch, offering a wide array of activities to cater to diverse interests. Here’s a glimpse into what’s available:


    • State-of-the-art health and fitness centre, accessible to the public.
    • A 25-metre pool boasting modern hygiene standards, eliminating the need for chlorine.
    • Three sports halls, with the newest being versatile enough to be divided into a fourth hall or used for alternate purposes like events or social gatherings.
    • Ample astro hockey pitches, squash courts, and access to Cheltenham Rowing Club.
    • Aerobics and yoga studios, equipped with mirrors, large windows, and shiny floors, all adorned in a tidy purple colour scheme.

Sports Offered:

    • A comprehensive selection of 21 sports, ranging from traditional choices like hockey, tennis, lacrosse, and netball to alternative options such as trampolining and badminton.
    • University students contribute to the sports programme, running athletics sessions for junior girls, providing inspiration and mentorship.

Admissions Process: Entering Cheltenham Ladies' College

The main entry points are at 11+ into Year 7 and 13+ into Year 9, both of which are highly competitive with a high number of applicants. Interestingly, there has been an increase in applications during the pandemic, attributed to the college’s successful online provision. At 11+, there are 45 boarding places and 25 day places available, while at 13+, there are about 45 places in total. Additionally, candidates may apply for occasional places in Year 8 or Year 10, though these are considered on a case-by-case basis.

For entry into the sixth form, approximately 45 places are available each year. Success in exams, with up to four subjects for A level students or up to six for IB students, along with performance in interviews, are key factors in the selection process. Notably, existing pupils have the opportunity to progress into the sixth form as long as they have demonstrated their best efforts academically.

It’s important for parents to be aware that the admissions process places a significant emphasis on English proficiency, particularly for the 11- and 13-plus assessments. While excellence in maths is valued, proficiency in English is equally crucial. Furthermore, the interview process assesses both spoken and written English, alongside other criteria such as academic potential and personal qualities. Ultimately, the selection process aims to identify candidates who not only excel academically but also demonstrate the potential to thrive and contribute positively to the college community, embracing the multitude of opportunities available.

SEN Support at Cheltenham Ladies' College

The academic team at Cheltenham is able to support students with different special educational needs such as asperger and ADHD. For specific needs and inquiries, do contact the admissions team. 

Testimonials and Reviews

NIco NIco

The Best School in the World

Alessandro Ferrando

Perfect summer experience

Victoria Hsu
Nadirah Zakhir

Frequently Asked Questions about Cheltenham Ladies' College

Consistently ranked as one of the top all-girls’ schools nationally, the school was established in 1853 to provide “a sound academic education for girls”. It is also a member of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference.

Their excellent examination results at GCSE, A Level and IB might suggest that they accept only highly academic students; in fact, they are looking for those who have potential and a positive attitude to learning.

For the academic year 2023/24, College fees will be: £16,900 Boarding per term. £11,300 Day per term.

Their entry points are at 11+, 13+ and 16+. Occasionally mid-year places become available which may, for example, suit a family moving into the area.

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