CLC Named South West Independent Secondary School of the Decade

Cheltenham Ladies’ College has been named South West Independent Secondary School of the Decade by The Times and The Sunday Times. The awards, published in the ‘Parent Power’ Schools Guide 2021 on Sunday 29th November, commend schools that have achieved academic excellence and provided an outstanding education for the last decade.

Over the last 10 years, CLC’s academic results have been consistently outstanding, with 72% of pupils achieving A*/A grades at A Level and 92% of International Baccalaureate (IB) results awarded 7/6 points. Over this 10-year period, over two-thirds (67%) of GCSE results have been awarded an A*/9/8 grades. The most popular university destinations for leavers are UCL, Oxford, Bristol, Edinburgh and Cambridge in the UK, and NYU, UPenn, Columbia, Princeton and Georgetown in the US.

The guide also ranks the 2,000 highest-achieving schools in the UK in a searchable database. Alastair McCall, editor of Parent Power, said: “The reputation of Cheltenham Ladies’ College as one of the country’s leading girls’ independent schools is richly deserved. Academic results are outstanding: the school has been the top performer in the South West for all of the past decade – and for much longer. Girls are encouraged to achieve their best without being hot-housed under the caring and empathetic leadership of Eve Jardine-Young.

“An average International Baccalaureate score in excess of 40 points and more than 90% of A-level grades achieving A*-B grades are achievements that speak for themselves, but the school offers so much more with girls’ interests allowed to flourish wherever they may lie.

"The school has shone during the pandemic with staff and students sewing masks and gowns, using 3D printers to make face shields, and manufacturing and distributing hand sanitiser. This response is typical of a school aware of its wider responsibilities to community and society. Stellar facilities, beautiful buildings, great teaching and social awareness – there can be few better options when looking for an outstanding independent girls’ education.”

Principal Eve Jardine-Young said: “I speak for the whole College community in expressing our collective pride for this recognition. It has been a joy to lead the school since 2011, and I would like to pay tribute to all those who have provided initiative and momentum for change and development, as well as those who have helped us to sustain excellence.”

Academic achievement follows from the dynamic combination of an inspiring curriculum, exceptional teaching and facilities, and pupils’ engagement and dedication. Over the last 10 years, estates improvements have included academic and pastoral refurbishments and a new Health and Fitness Centre, while teaching innovations have introduced Engineering, a Wellbeing programme, and most recently the launch of a Virtual School across 47 countries in response to the restrictions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, CLC is also engaging in internal reflection and dialogue focused on diversity and inclusion, in response to perspectives and ideas raised by the Black Lives Matter campaign.

A holistic education relies on enriching co-curricular opportunities. CLC has been fortunate to welcome many inspirational speakers, including Malala Yousafzai, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Sir Jonathon Porritt CBE, as well as running a range of workshops, including Lord Robert Winston and Jim Al Khalili OBE, and performers, such as Laura Mvula and Jamie Cullum.

With over 140 clubs, there are opportunities for pupils to pursue any passion, from Maths Olympiads, Kit Car building, and Astronomy, to Public Speaking, Life Drawing and Upcycled Fashion. Sporting ambition is supported at every level, with CLC athletes performing nationally in many sports, from Tennis, Hockey, and Lacrosse, to Polo, Dance, Equestrian, Waterpolo, and more.

CLC has partnerships with 30 organisations for volunteering and outreach, hosting events for schools across the county, from Careers, Theory of Knowledge, RS and Chemistry Conferences, to StarLab workshops and Law Day seminars. Typically over 3,000 voluntary hours a year are undertaken at seven local primary schools, three special schools, care homes and charities focused on animal welfare and homelessness. During the pandemic, initiatives have also included volunteering at food banks, planting flowers for vulnerable communities, and giving virtual singing lessons.