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Our Houses

“ We ensure our door is never closed and that pupils feel part of the family; they are able to approach us at any time.� Mr Richard Penny Senior Housemaster


Becoming part of the family

Houses are at the heart of life at College. They offer every pupil a true ‘home from home’ where they can study, relax and sleep in familiar surroundings under the watchful eye of their Housemaster or Housemistress. Run as extended families, they are small, close-knit communities within the larger overall community of the school; a place where every pupil is both cared for and cared about.

Contribution, commitment and kindness are valued equally alongside guiding principles of generosity, trust, and tolerance. There is a focus in Houses on the themes of service and manners, encouraging selflessness among pupils to produce well-rounded and grounded individuals. Each boarding House is run by a resident Housemaster or Housemistress and their family, supported by a network of both resident and non-resident tutors and matrons. In addition to the 24/7 academic and pastoral support this gives pupils, it also ensures that evenings and weekends are filled with opportunities for them both to participate in activities and to have that important downtime with friends.

Unlike many boarding schools, our day Houses are also run by resident staff and, just like the boarding Houses, are open from early in the morning until late in the evening with an equally varied programme of House events and trips. Through the House system, pupils are encouraged to develop responsibility for both themselves and others. They mix throughout the year groups with older pupils, and look out for and mentor the younger ones. Many Houses operate vertical House ‘families’. As a result, strong friendships and bonds are created, together with a deep-seated sense of House honour and loyalty. Parents are an integral part of this community, actively encouraged to take part in House life, from socials and events to keeping up to date with their child’s progress, both academically and pastorally.


Which House to make home There are 11 Houses at College, all located around the perimeter of the campus. Seven are boarding Houses Boyne House, Christowe, Hazelwell and Newick House for boys and Ashmead, Chandos and Westal for girls; two are day and boarding Houses - Leconfield for boys and College Lawn for girls; and two are day Houses - Queen’s for girls and Southwood for boys. Each House runs a vertical structure with an average of 12 pupils in each year group.

“ No matter what aspect you consider, there is always a sense of pride and belonging from every person in that House. I can say without doubt, that every member of every House, if asked, would happily fight for the title of being the best House.” Current pupil, Boyne House


The spirit of competition, community and equality runs through all our Houses. We work hard to ensure a broad mix of talents, interests, backgrounds and friendship groups within each one. As a result, each House can take pride in its community-wide set of achievements and each member can feel they firmly belong. Choosing the House that you think best suits your child is, of course, important and we will be happy to advise on this. Each House has its own unique character and history, but all are run by dedicated and committed staff who work tirelessly to ensure the best possible support and care for your child. No matter which House you choose, your child will thrive and be happy. When we arrange a visit for you, we will generally recommend two Houses for you to look around, but you are, of course, welcome to come back and look at more.

At the time of Registration we ask you to make both a first and a second House preference. We endeavour to meet all House preferences, but may sometimes need to make an alternative allocation due to space restrictions or to maintain the balance of talents and interests across the Houses. House allocations are confirmed around 18 months prior to entry but preferences may be expressed at any time before this. For more information, please do look at the Admissions and Information booklet at college-admissions-overview or contact the Admissions Office on 01242 265 600 or email: Each House also has its own web page so please do feel free to explore these at:

ASHMEAD Girls’ boarding

Ashmead is a modern, purpose-built boarding House built in 2000 within Boyne House’s former apple orchard. It is renowned for its vibrant and friendly environment, which allows girls to thrive and achieve their best. The community is incredibly close-knit and central to its ethos is that staff ensure it has a homely feel. This is exemplified in the ‘family’ structures within the House where new girls are assigned to a family (each named after a type of apple) and with Mrs Leach treating the girls as part of her own family. Evenings and weekends are filled with activities to appeal to all girls, from afternoon teas to cinema trips.

The Housemistress Mrs Ester Leach I started life at College in 2010 as an Ashmead tutor and Spanish teacher and in 2013, I became Head of Modern Languages and moved to Westal as a Resident Tutor with my husband, Matthew, and our twin girls, Zara and Tula. I spent most of my early academic life in Spain but then decided to study Modern Languages in the UK, following this with a PGCE. My family and I are passionate about food, not least due to my husband’s career as a chef. Food is

a key aspect of the Spanish culture and in our experience, any activity in House involving food is always a success! What attracts me most about boarding is being able to interact with pupils in different spheres of school life, be it sport, co-curricular, or in House. I feel very privileged to have returned to Ashmead and the warmth, the fun and the vibrancy that the girls bring to the House. Our aim is to nurture each individual girl so that she can achieve her best.

“There is a sense of inclusivity in all House events, be it House pots, socials or trips away. There is always something on at the weekends and we are very lucky to have a group of extremely supportive staff in House who are always there to help out if needs be.” Current pupil, Ashmead 5

BOYNE HOUSE Boys’ boarding

Established in 1843, Boyne House is the oldest boarding House, not just of Cheltenham College, but of the Victorian era. The symbol of the House is a wise owl, thought to derive from the founder Sir Matthew Wood, a wise man who was twice Mayor of London. The House now balances this noble tradition with a thoroughly modern outlook and a keen sense of community spirit. For the boys, it is a second home but, more than that, it is a lively and exciting environment in which they thrive. In House, the boys are prepared in their own way for the life beyond College, through the ever popular cookery lessons, clan competitions, dinner parties, outdoor pursuits and engagement with our House charity. Several alumni have returned to House to talk about their journey beyond College, ranging from professional rugby players and architects, to Army officers and fund managers.

The Housemaster Mr Richard Penny I joined College as Head of Geography in 2010 and was appointed Housemaster in 2014. My wife, Tamaryn, teaches Latin and Classics at College, and we, along with our children, Jemima and Jasper, consider ourselves incredibly privileged to be part of the Boyne House legacy. As a former Contingent Commander of the Combined Cadet Force at College and rugby coach, I appreciate the vital role of establishing challenging yet enjoyable activities and supportive communities outside the classroom. In 2016, I was appointed Senior Housemaster, with pastoral involvement across all Houses.

Popular House events include: climbing Pen y Fan, Clan Superstars, cross-country, building pizza ovens, barbecues and fishing. The system of Clans in the House encourages a very close-knit environment, and provides lots of opportunity for the boys to show leadership and to demonstrate the values and standards of the House. This student leadership is supported by a very experienced team of House tutors and matrons, as well as my family who play a central role in making Boyne House a ‘home away from home’.

“The amazingly close-knit community in Boyne House means that everyone feels part of the House, no matter what their interest or expertise.” Current pupil, Boyne House 6

CHANDOS Girls’ boarding

Chandos is the oldest and largest girls’ boarding House and has expanded from eight Sixth Form girls in 1981 to 80 girls today. It is difficult to define a typical Chandos girl, with karting champions, fencers, eventers, rowers, polo players, pianists, dancers, singers, artists, scientists and linguists all having played their role in the House. Valuing every girl as an individual and encouraging the girls to work together as a community is important to Chandos; every girl is responsible for helping make the House a successful and happy place. The girls enjoy a variety of weekend activities, including visits to the cinema, canoeing, horse riding and cooking. The House also enjoys fundraising significant amounts for charity, with the annual Chandos charity cake sale a firm favourite at College breaktime.

The Housemistress Mrs Annette Poulain I joined College in 2014 and became Housemistress of Chandos. I teach Sports Science and I am also Head of Girls’ Games. Before College, I spent two years at The Leys School, Cambridge as Head of Girls’ Games and Duty Tutor. I am passionate about sport, having been involved in national league athletics and I continue to play competitive netball, when time allows.

My husband, Mark, and I have three energetic children: Joshua and twins Lilly and Evie. Together, with our spirited and supportive House tutors and matrons, we are committed to ensuring that there is a positive and purposeful atmosphere, as well as creating a home for those in our care.

“Chandos is a really welcoming and friendly House where all the girls look out for each other and develop good friendships with pupils in other years, not just their own.” Current pupil, Chandos 7

CHRISTOWE Boys’ boarding

Christowe, with its piratical skull and crossbones emblem, is a House with a keen sense of history, blended with contemporary modifications. The boys socialise very well across all year groups and whilst the House’s reputation is founded upon high academic standards, fundamentally Christowe is a very rounded House, full of real individuals who all strive to excel in their own chosen fields. It provides an excellent level of pastoral care and support for the boys, with the matrons and tutors inevitably playing a key role. Christowe represents an eclectic community, united in their quest to enjoy, share, support and experience as much as possible together. Sport naturally plays an important role, with Christowe boys always competing with a keen sense of House spirit.

The Housemaster Mr Jonathan Mace I joined College in 2014 having previously been a boys’ Housemaster and Head of Economics and Business Studies at Warminster School. Beki, my wife, teaches TPE at College and our two children, Isobelle and Ben, attend Cheltenham Prep. After graduating with an Economics Degree from Durham University I taught at Malvern College and Warwick School prior to joining Warminster in 2009. I have always been involved in the sporting life of school and have run rugby, hockey, cricket and golf teams. Away from work

I pursue my own sporting interests, especially watching Gloucester Rugby and playing competitive golf. I also have a wide range of cultural interests and I firmly believe that boys in my care will achieve their academic potential through being encouraged to explore a range of pursuits and interests. Above all else though, we strive to ensure that boys in Christowe are happy, well-mannered and inquisitive young men who will look back at their time in House as an informative and contented time in their lives.

“ What I enjoy most is the spirit of unity and knowing that I have the opportunity to excel at what I do best without being worried about what other boys might say or think.” Current pupil, Christowe 8

COLLEGE LAWN Girls’ day and boarding

Opened in September 2017, College Lawn is our newest girls’ House and offers both day and boarding options. Occupying two beautiful Regency houses, it is set in a quiet, leafy road behind the main campus and overlooks the manicured green sporting fields and College’s stunning historic buildings. From the very first day, the House provides pupils with a cosy ‘home-fromhome’ experience, supporting each girl in a caring and welcoming environment. Alongside the Housemistress, a dedicated team of tutors and matrons ensure your daughter receives outstanding academic and pastoral care. The girls are inspired to try new opportunities, test their abilities and make their mark at College. Parents are encouraged to join in House social events when they can, and all day and boarding pupils can participate in organised evening and weekend activities, such as cinema trips and barbecues.

The Housemistress Mrs Jo Wintle I joined College Lawn from Cheltenham Ladies’ College, where I was a Housemistress and taught English. Prior to this I was Head of Higher Education and Careers there and I also taught at Sevenoaks School for three years. I have plenty of experience as a boarder myself before reading English Language and Literature at Oxford University. I live in College Lawn with my family, my husband, Simon, and our young son, Arthur, who is four. He loves living in a boarding house and is a firm favourite

amongst the girls. As an English teacher, my first love is reading and I am first in line for the National Theatre Live screenings in Cheltenham. I love cooking and baking and Arthur and I have a good repertoire of cakes and biscuits which we make regularly. The establishment of a new House is a huge opportunity for all of us who will share in it and College Lawn is a welcoming, friendly and happy place. I find living in a boarding house and sharing a home with the girls to be a hugely rewarding experience.

“All of the staff and pupils are really friendly and welcoming. I’m looking forward to meeting new friends, experiencing all the opportunities that the House offers, and becoming a part of the College Lawn family.” Current pupil, College Lawn 9

HAZELWELL Boys’ boarding

Established in 1866 by its first Housemaster, Mr Green, members are named ‘Greenites’ after the founder. The strength of the community in Hazelwell is well suited to the fabulous Victorian building in which it is housed. Visitors to the House always comment on the warm and homely atmosphere and the boys are encouraged to respect and support each other across the year groups, helped by the wide programme of activities and trips. Many Greenites return year on year to reunions or other functions, sporting old House colours. Traditional values such as good manners are encouraged and frequent dinners enable the boys to host friends, parents and members of staff.

The Housemaster Mr James Coull I joined College in 2008 and have been teaching Modern Languages since 1996. Prior to my appointment as Hazelwell Housemaster in 2014, I was a non-resident tutor at College. My wife, Charlotte, teaches French and has also been a Housemistress. We have two young children, Freya and Ruby, who are both at College. I love being involved in College sport, coaching hockey and athletics teams and I also run the annual ski trip.

Hazelwell has a strong boarding ethos and together we thrive on the busy energy and vibrant lifestyle that a house full of boys naturally creates. Along with an excellent team of matrons and marvellous tutors, we aim to provide stability, inspiration and encouragement that is needed for each boy to prosper.

“Hazelwell feels like a second home where we all work together, not just to achieve things, but to solve individual problems too.” Current pupil, Hazelwell 10


Boys’ day and boarding Leconfield is a warm, friendly and purposeful place to live. One of the major strengths of the House is that boys of all ages mix well, becoming part of the family very quickly and looking out for each other. Boys are expected to work hard, seize opportunities and take responsibility as they progress through College and the House. With the guidance of both the Housemaster and his House staff, boys are encouraged not only to reach their potential in all disciplines of life, but also to excel as individuals. They are also urged to have fun and make the most of their leisure time; whether it be karting and clay pigeon shooting or theatre and museum visits. Equally, parents are not forgotten – there are many opportunities for parents to meet each other and the House staff socially.

The Housemaster Mr Daniel Evans I joined Cheltenham College in 2013 as Deputy Head of Upper College. I teach History and History of Art and prior to this, I was Head of History of Art and Architecture at Wycombe Abbey School. I coach rowing, predominantly with the 2nd VIII, and I am the President of the Boat Club. Before my career in teaching, I spent nine years running an educational travel company and led residential gap year and school trips in Venice,

Florence and Rome - something that I still do during the school holidays. My wife, Becks, is the Higher Education and Careers Advisor at College and she worked as a headhunter and recruitment consultant in London for 15 years previously. We also have two young boys – Hector and Tobias. Together, we aim to run a happy house with the wellbeing of every boy at its heart and where each pupil’s talent is nurtured.

“The best thing about Leconfield is the strong sense of community between all pupils. All years in House know that they can talk to anybody else and feel at ease doing so.” Current pupil, Leconfield 11

NEWICK HOUSE Boys’ boarding

Newick boys or Mugglistonites, named after Newick’s longest serving housemaster Reverend John Mugliston, are well-rounded individuals who are fiercely loyal to the House. We aim to provide an environment where students can become independent individuals in a supportive family environment, with the ultimate aim to create accomplished young men fully prepared for life after College. Mugglistonites are particularly encouraged to participate fully in school life by involving themselves in a multitude of activities that are offered by College. No more is this the case than House competitions where Newick House boys pride themselves on giving their all and enjoying considerable success. The Newick House tutor team are integral in helping boys fulfil their academic potential whilst still participating fully in all other areas.

The Housemaster Mr James Hayden I joined College in 2015 having spent the last eight years at Stowe School as Assistant Housemaster and Head of History, as well as leading the Humanities Faculty. My particular academic interest is 16th century history, which I developed while at the University of Bristol. I went on to complete my PGCE at Oxford University. My other passion is sport, and I enjoyed coaching the 1st XV rugby while

at Stowe. I am joined by my wife, Sarah, our son, Alfie, and daughter, Rosanna. Newick House boys are well-rounded individuals who are fiercely loyal. We aim to provide an environment where pupils can become independent individuals in a supportive family environment, with the ultimate aim to create accomplished young men fully prepared for life after College.

“ Newick House is a thriving House that always tries to do the best it can in all aspects of House life. Whether it is in the House itself, on the various sports fields, in House Singing or at the House General Knowledge competition, we all aim to create a honest, cheery and successful atmosphere.” Current pupil, Newick House 12

QUEEN’S Girls’ day

Queen’s, the girls’ day House, is located in a beautiful Georgian building overlooking the main field and Chapel. Whilst performing well on the co-curricular front, Queen’s girls also achieve excellent academic results.  The girls are polite, bright, friendly and committed, and enjoy having what many of them term ‘the best of both worlds’ – a home at school and their own home to go to at night. Within the House there is a very strong sense of community, with girls bonding extremely well across year groups. A homely and caring base, Queen’s enables the girls to develop lifelong friendships. As a result, the ethos of the House is vibrant yet respectful, with each girl able to play her part in House life.

The Housemistress Mme Wandrille Bates I graduated from Paris with an MA in English and Media Studies, and joined Cheltenham College in 2008 to teach French. I was a resident tutor in one of the boys’ boarding Houses for a few years before becoming Housemistress of Queen’s in 2011. I, together with my husband, Will, a teacher of Geography at Cheltenham College, promote a strong

family spirit and high level of care, ensuring that the girls feel valued and are able to maximise their potential. As we both teach, run co-curricular clubs and coach games, we understand the busy but rewarding timetable that pupils at College have and we work hard to ensure that day girls get just as involved in College life as boarders do.

“ What I love about Queen’s is how friendly it is between the year groups. Mr and Mme Bates are the most fantastic Houseparents and the atmosphere is that of a household in which a family of 60 girls live together.” Current pupil, Queen’s 13


Southwood, the boys’ day House at College, offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with the boys feeling comfortable and, most importantly, happy. House spirit is strong and the boys excel in all areas of College life, from sport and outward-bound activities to academia and the arts. There is a great balance within the House and the boys are encouraged both to celebrate and to appreciate the talents and interests of their peers. Southwood boys are very much part of the overall strength of College, enjoying the benefits of being part of all that a boarding school has to offer, whilst also being able to enjoy their own home comforts at the end of the day.

The Housemaster Mr Matt Coley Having graduated from Leeds University with a degree in Physiology and Sports Science, I played professional rugby for Leeds Tykes before going to Cambridge University to gain my PGCE. My first teaching position was at Rugby School where I spent four years as Head of Boys’ Games and Assistant Housemaster in one of their boarding houses. I joined College in 2002 as Head of Physical Education and Master in Charge of Rugby before

becoming Housemaster of Southwood in 2012. As Housemaster, it is very important to me that day boys have just as many opportunities to play their part in College life as boarders do and I take great pride in supporting them in both their academic and extra-curricular commitments. My wife, Abi, teaches at Cheltenham Prep and we have two young children, Joseph and Tilly.

“There is always someone to talk to and ask help of, no matter how big or small the problem. Southwood is a place to relax and enjoy yourself, whether it be chatting to friends, playing football in the garden or rehearsing for the House play.” Current pupil, Southwood 14


Girls’ boarding Westal opened in September 2013 and represents a significant development in the history of co-educational boarding at Cheltenham College. The new custom-designed building, with many en-suite rooms, is located adjacent to the sports complex within the College campus. Westal now represents a complete modern girls’ boarding House, replacing the previous Sixth Form girls’ boarding House. The name, however, has been retained along with the penguin symbol, both treasured connections to former pupil and notable polar explorer Dr Edward Wilson, who died with Captain Scott in 1912. Westal is renowned for its close-knit community and warm, caring House spirit. It is a place where the girls feel part of the family and are supported in all that they do.

The Housemistress Mrs Jenny O’Bryan I joined College in 2010 as a teacher of Biology, after being Head of Year 7 at the King’s School, Worcester. I became Head of Lower College in 2011, before being appointed Housemistress of Westal, a role that I am immensely proud of. As a former Army officer, I have served with the British Army in Germany, Northern Ireland and Kenya. I then moved into the business world but once I realised that it did not make me happy, I retrained as a teacher.

My husband, Ian, and I have two boys, Charlie and Tom, and a dog called Tessa. My main passion continues to be horse riding and I enjoy training young horses and eventing. It is my mission to make Westal a ‘home from home’ where the girls feel supported and empowered to venture into new territories, whether that be academically, socially or through the enormous range of co-curricular activities we offer.

“At first, it’s hard to imagine the amazing friendships you will form by the end of the year. Westal is a really warm and supportive House, where it is easy to settle in and where all the girls are very accepting and friendly.” Current pupil, Westal 15

Cheltenham College Bath Road Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL53 7LD Tel: +44 (0) 1242 265 600 Fax: +44 (0) 1242 265 630 Email: Registered Charity No. 311720

Our Houses  
Our Houses