One of the UK's oldest schools, Charterhouse offers an all-round excellent, traditional British boarding school experience – and will become a fully co-ed school by the end of 2023.
It has always differed from its all-boy counterparts, particularly Eton and Winchester, in having a mixed gender sixth form and a school ethos which weights academic brilliance on an equal if lesser footing to whole child development. Its fundamental ethos is that academic excellence should not solely be measured by examinations which are only one aspect in the multi-dimensional development needs of the pupils under its care. In pursing this its whole school ethos is nearer to Eton than Winchester and more liberal than both.
Charterhouse School’s decision to open its sixth form to girls in 1971 to girls is seen as a fundamental component of this. The school is now moving towards becoming a fully co-ed school and welcomed its first girls into Year 9 in September 2021. There are plans to have girls in every year group from September 2023, and the school plans to grow to more than 1,000 students run the next three years.
The school also merged with Edgeborough prep school in September 2021 to create an all-through co-ed independent day and boarding school. The combined school, which remains on two separate campuses in Surrey, sees Edgeborough students benefit from Charterhouse's specialist teachers and coaches. They also have the opportunity to take on a wide range of subjects and activities using Charterhouse's facilities. Charterhouse students are given the opportunity to coach and mentor Edgeborough students, as well as support them in various co-curricular activities.
Students are drawn from a variety of nationalities and backgrounds. Around 10% of pupils come from overseas. 9% are students whose first language is not English. 50% of Winchester College pupils are drawn from its catchment area.
Special learning support is offered to students whose first language is not English on an individual basis. A separate Educational Support Department has a specially qualified staff of two with one part-time teacher. The department’s aim is to fill in gaps swiftly rather than separating a pupil from their peers. The broader gambit is that all teachers should incorporate SEN within their standard teaching practice. Around 1% of pupils have SEN and up to 3% of pupils receive additional educational support at any one time.
The school scores excellent or higher in the Independent School’s Inspectorate report across all main areas of investigation completed in 2011, but excels in the personal development of its pupils. Charterhouse was rated Excellent in its most recently available ISI Educational Quality report (2017).
The school’s focus on personal development rather than an exclusive focus on examinations is reflected in this. Pupil’s performance in examinations is nevertheless extremely high.
Charterhouse School has an above average teacher to pupil ratio of 9:1. It secures places for around 15% of its sixth form to Oxbridge which, whilst defining its status as a feeder school to the universities, is less than its more academically focused, all boy sixth form peers.
Sports provision is diverse, but focused on football, hockey and cricket.
Entrance to the school is by standard Common Entrance or Foundation Scholarship. Boys are admitted to Charterhouse in Year 9, between 12 and 14. Charterhouse has a series of bespoke tests in English, Mathematics and Science where Common Entrance is not available. Local children can attend without boarding proper, although are required to remain at school until at least 9:00pm, hence being referred to as day-boarders.
More than 100 pupils join the sixth form each year, around 70% of which are girls. Admission is by competitive examination and interview. Charterhouse is known for weighting performance in interview and looking for potential in examinations rather than purely high scoring.
The school’s religious focus is Christian and focused on the Schools ‘Chapel.’ Short services are held for the whole school three days a week and on Sundays. Some Roman Catholic provision is made on Sundays.
Charterhouse offers an extensive number of scholarships between £50 and £1,600 per annum. Of these, the most plentiful are Foundation Scholarships, of which there are never fewer than fifty in the school each year. Bursaries are provided up to 100% of fees according to means. Eligibility is based on both parents’ income and assets. Net assets, after provision for school fees, must not exceed the cost of an average house in the local area. Two special Year 9 bursaries are awarded each year with up to 100% fee waiver based on interviews and tests. Applications should be received by Christmas in Year 6.
A’ Level grades secured at A*/A/B (Pre U / IB equivalent): 94%
A’ Level Grades A*/A (Pre U / IB equivalent): 64%
IGCSE Grades A*: 42%
IGCSE Grade A/A*: 78%
Charterhouse School's more holistic view of education will appeal to parents looking for a less exam-focused academic approach that nevertheless still provides for some of the best examination results in the sector.
The school’s buildings and setting are inspirational and the school provides an impressive and historic environment for its pupils’ development. Music, sport and drama are treated as intrinsic to the school character, rather than add-ons, and this incorporation of the arts more broadly is reflected in the breadth of its curriculum.
Charterhouse has also been a successful pioneer in the move away from A Levels towards the Cambridge Pre U and International Baccalaureate; a move designed to allow the school to better meet the needs of its pupils and the Higher Education sector to which most will progress.
Focus on whole child personal development
Pioneer in International Baccalaureate and Pre-U
Excellent SEN provision
Best suited to the most academically gifted
Day provision compares poorly with some schools (Westminster)
Excellent EAL provision for international students
Sixth form education for girls
Top 5 performer in league tables
Seekers of a traditional all-boy, all boarding school
Those seeking an exclusively academic education
• 668 boys (13-18), 127 girls (16 – 18)
• Boarding number: 738 pupils
• Day number: 57 pupils (16 – 18)
• Sixth Form: 276 pupils
• Number of full-time teaching staff: 111
• Address: Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 2DJ, England
• ISI Rating Education: Excellent
• ISI Rating Personal Development: Outstanding
• ISI Rating Governance: Excellent
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