Rendcomb College


Image for Rendcomb College

  • Category: Nursery / Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 206 (Boys) 195 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 3 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1920


£3.3 million Performing Arts Centre opened in 2017. Gold-standard science laboratories. Grade II listed boarding houses with modern amenities. The development of sports facilities is a priority for 2017/2018. Extensive Forest School area for Junior and Nursery pupils.

School Contact Details

Rendcomb College

[t]: 01285 832306

Location Description

The College is set in 230 acres of grounds in the heart of The Cotswolds, between Cheltenham and Cirencester and with easy access to M5 and A417.

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School News

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

Rendcomb College, the independent co-educational school in Gloucestershire for children aged 3 to 18 has today announced who their

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guest speaker will be for their 100th birthday celebrations in May this year.

Doug Ellison, a former student at Rendcomb College, works on NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity as their ECAM Team Lead and will be the College’s keynote speaker at the school’s Founder’s Day event for pupils, parents and staff on Friday, 22 May. Doug has commanded the acquisition of over 10,000 images by robotic spacecraft on the surface of Mars. Since landing on the Red Planet in August 2012, Curiosity has discovered evidence of an ancient habitable lake bed environment on Mars.

Speaking about going back to his old school, Doug said: “I am beyond thrilled to be returning to Rendcomb to help celebrate the College’s centenary on their Founder’s Day. 23 years after leaving, I still look upon my time there fondly. I’m looking forward to spending some time with students and hopefully inspiring them to reach for the stars.”

Head of Rendcomb College, Rob Jones said: “We are so excited that Doug is returning to speak at the College. Rendcomb puts the pupils at the centre of their education and encourages them to follow their passions. Doug is a wonderful example and role model of where the combination of creativity, imagination and adventure can lead you.”

Opened on 2nd June 1920 for just 12 boys, Rendcomb College will celebrate its centenary throughout 2020 with a number of events. The annual Founder’s Day each May remembers Frederick Noel Hamilton Wills who purchased the Rendcomb estate and surrounding grounds with the view of opening a school to provide a free and broad-ranging education for local boys. Now, 100 years on, Rendcomb College educates almost 400 boys and girls from across Gloucestershire, the UK and the world. A number of 100% funded school places continue to be offered to children whose families would otherwise be unable to afford the school fees. Full details of the programme of events can be found at:

Doug Ellison Biography

A space enthusiast from an early age, Doug left Rendcomb College in 1997 to study engineering at the University of Birmingham, but soon changed courses to study Multimedia Design at De Montfort University in Leicester. After graduating he spent 8 years as a Multimedia Producer for a medical education company. In his spare time he processed publicly available data from a variety of spacecraft exploring the solar system.

This work gained the attention of staff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California who invited him to talk about amateur contributions to space exploration at two conferences.

In 2010 he moved to Los Angeles to work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory full time. For 5 years he was a producer in a Visualization group dedicated to education and public outreach where his work included Technical direction for Eyes on the Solar System, the Spacecraft 3D AR App, DSN Now and the Mars Science Laboratory landing animation.

In 2015 he was producer on a Microsoft HoloLens project called “Destination: Mars” which enabled 28,000 visitors to the Kennedy Space Center to virtually ‘walk’ on Mars.

He moved into mission operations in 2016, as an Engineering Camera Payload Uplink Lead on both the Curiosity and Opportunity Mars Rovers. Since 2019, he has been the ECAM Team Lead for Curiosity, and has commanded the acquisition of over 10,000 images by robotic spacecraft on the surface of Mars.

In 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Design by his Alma mater, De Montfort University.


·         Doug Ellison headshot

·         A Navigation Camera mosaic taken by the rover on the 2,616th day of its mission. Parts of the rover, it’s shadow, and the 18,000ft tall Mt Sharp are all visible. Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

Rendcomb College Junior School’s Nursery and Early Years setting have once again been awarded the Bristol Standard Quality Improvement for Birth to Five

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certificate for the year 2019 –2020.

This is the 7th year that the nursery has received the award.

The Bristol Standard is recognised nationally as an outstanding self-evaluation framework, celebrating the strengths of the chosen schools setting and their future priorities. The Bristol Standard also permits the school to promote a knowledgeable conversation about what they do and the difference it is making to their pupils and families.

During the decision process, the Validation Panel stated: “We particularly appreciated how you really value both parents’ and children’s voices when making changes or asking for opinions…. gave us a real sense of how a child is supported in their learning and development.”

Head of Juniors at Rendcomb College, Gavin Roberts said: “We are very proud of our Nursery setting and the excellent provision it delivers. Our Nursery children are the youngest members of the Rendcomb family but it is fantastic to see the level of confidence they display on a daily basis. This award is testament to all of the hard work and dedication of our Nursery staff and we are of delighted to receive it.”

Photo: Nursery Manager and Head of EYFS, Kim Hardie, reading to nursery children

A Year 6 pupil at Rendcomb College Junior School, Ted Whitaker, has been longlisted for BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words 2019 short story

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Ted, who lives in Gloucester, titled his story ‘Stanley’ and it follows the journey of a WW1 soldier in the trenches who goes into ‘No Man’s Land’ each day to retrieve injured troops.

Speaking about his story, 11-year-old Ted said: “I really enjoyed writing my story, particularly when I added the twist in the storyline that Stanley is actually a dog!”

Head of Juniors at Rendcomb College, Gavin Roberts, said: “Ted should be very proud of his achievement. There were over 135,000 submissions this year and approximately only 1% made it through to the longlist so it is a fantastic accomplishment. I look forward to the 500 Words competition each year and reading all our pupils’ stories. Some even write more than one!”

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

 On Wednesday, 1 May, the day that MPs approved a motion to declare an environment and climate change emergency, 300 age 7 and

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8 children attended a thought-provoking opera performance about climate change performed by English Touring Opera and hosted by Rendcomb College.

The interactive opera, titled Paradise Planet, was written by Alex Groves and Rebecca Hanbury and is a collection of ocean stories for Key Stage 2 children which focuses on the impact of global warming. Using song, live musicians and sound-design wizardry, the performance showed the children that they have the power to change the world.

Clare McCarron, a teacher at Minchinhampton Primary said: “The children enjoyed it very much indeed and it was lovely to see how absorbed they were in something so different for them. We are doing a ‘Blue Planet’ topic at the moment so it lent itself very well to that.”

The singers explained a number of current environmental issues such as the floating islands of waste in the oceans and how important it is that rubbish is disposed of correctly and that our beaches are kept clean.

Children from across Gloucestershire and Wiltshire attended the performance which was held in Rendcomb College’s Griffin Theatre as part of the College’s outreach programme.

With a comprehensive teachers’ pack, the opera covered a number of curriculum-linked topics including the KS2 Science syllabus on ‘Living Things.’ The opera classified and named animals, food chains, changing natural environments, human impact, conservation, and looked at working scientifically. The children also had songs to learn prior to the performance so they could join in with the professional singers.

The schools who attended the performance at Rendcomb College were: Oaksey Primary, Wanborough Primary, Minchinhampton Primary, Cheltenham College Prep, St Margaret’s Prep, Pinewood Prep, Airthrie, Rendcomb College Junior School and The King’s School, Gloucester.

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

Work has begun work on the extension and refurbishment of a new boarding house which will welcome boys and girls from September 2019.

The building, known

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as Godman House, is currently home to girls aged 11-14 (Year 7 to 9), but from September the extended 40-bed house will be opened to both boys and girls. This will continue the co-education enjoyed by pupils in the Junior School.

Pupils Bella Roberts and William Wolton will both be among the first group of pupils to move into the house when they join Year 7 and 8 respectively in September. Bella said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the new house and being able to see my big brother more during the day.” William, who is currently in the boys’ house which is merging with the girls’ house in September said: “I’m looking forward to having much more space!”

The house will have separate boys’ and girls’ wings with a modern atrium-style common room in the centre. Study rooms, changing rooms, a kitchen and a games room will also add the necessary break-out spaces for busy and active teenagers. A full team of pastoral staff will live on-site in the house’s staff quarters and they will ensure that all of the children in the house are supported and feel at home.

The new accommodation will also provide families with plenty of flexibility. Children can be full, weekly or flexi boarders or they can stay over on ad-hoc occasions depending on availability. Day pupils will also be able to stay until 8pm.

Head of College, Rob Jones said: “Opening a co-educational house has many benefits for our pupils, not least the further development of the family atmosphere for which Rendcomb is rightly proud. By bringing the Year 7 to 9 pupils into one purpose-built building, the pupils can enjoy excellent facilities in an environment that is similar to family life. This building is another example of our commitment to outstanding pastoral care for boarding and day pupils at Rendcomb College.”

Co-educational boarding is not a new idea for Rendcomb College; the Sixth Form House has been home to boys and girls since girls were first introduced to the school in 1972.

The new layout and extension has been designed by local surveyors, James Slater and work on the ground is being led by building refurbishment and fit out specialists, CW Duke.

Once the boys move into the new house, their building will be converted into a new Sixth Form Centre to be opened in 2020.

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

12-year-old Tristan Baits-Tomlin, who is in Year 8, has been selected to join the Worcester Warriors U13 Development Player Pathway (DPP).

The DPP is the entry level

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into a long-term development programme at Worcester Warriors which in some cases will lead towards the very highest level of the game. The programme was launched in 2013 in order to find the next generation of first-team stars. There are now four centres for talented youngsters to train under the guidance of the best coaches in the West Midlands. From these centres, players can progress to the Player Development Groups, with the chance to join the Senior Academy at the age of 18.

Tristan, who plays in the outside centre or inside centre positions, said: “I’m really excited and looking forward to the training sessions. I’ve played rugby for around five years and I love running and tackling.”

Talking about his ambitions for his rugby career, Tristan said: “I’d like to be in the Worcester Warriors’ senior squad one day.”

Rendcomb College’s Lead Coach and Sport Co-ordinator, Matt Walton said: “Tristan has recently joined Rendcomb College and has already shown that he has plenty to offer in the sporting arena. He is an extremely strong athlete and will be a huge asset to any team he is involved in. To be selected for the Worcester Warriors U13 Development Player Pathway is a testament to his commitment and passion on the rugby field. It’s always exciting to see our pupils climb the development pathway and we look forward to supporting Tristan on his new journey.”

Worcester Warriors’ Academy Manager, Chim Gale said: “The DPP scheme is our first chance to identify the best young players in the area and offer them top-class coaching to aid their development. The best players will stay with us and progress through our system until they are ready to form part of our Academy at the age of 18. Our aim is to find players who will one day be good enough to represent the first-team.

Tristan joins a growing number of Rendcomb College pupils who are currently involved in development pathways including England Lacrosse; County Hockey; County Cricket; GB Junior Water-skiing; District Rugby; County Tennis; County School and Swindon Town ladies’ Football academy; South West Regional Swimming; and GB Padel.

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

The Arctic Explorer, Tim Oakley, visited Rendcomb College on Friday, 9 February to talk to Sixth Form students and visiting guests about his 700 mile

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journey across Canada and Alaska.

Tim Oakley with Head Girl, Rebeccah Breare and Head Boy, Will Vaughan.

Tim and his team braved -50c temperatures in their journey across the North West Passage, to recreate the route of explorer Roald Amundsen; a journey that has been unconquered for over 110 years.

Tim told the audience of his dog sled expedition in 2016 and the dangers he faced over the month long trek. During the 29 days, he experienced frostbite, ice overflow, high speed winds and hollow snow, all of which posed serious threats to their attempt and their lives.

Funded by the Royal Geographical Society, Tim’s quest aimed to raise awareness of the effects of global warming.

Tim Said: “The interest was to replicate a journey which was made by one of the most successful Arctic and Antarctic explorers there has ever been, and to raise the profile of the fragility of the Arctic region.”

While technology has evolved since Amundsen’s crossing, changes in the local economy meant his attempt was arguably less supported than in 1906.

Tim explained: “Herschel Island has no one living on it at all today. Back then, there was 1,500 people living on the island as the whaling industry was thriving.”

Amundsen original voyage was to successfully traverse the North West Passage for the first time in history. After a successful passage, Amundsen wished to contact the outside world, but to do so had to venture further to the village of Eagle. The route taken to Eagle was seen as so arduous that when he returned, Amundsen used a different route, which had remained unconquered until Tim and his team took on the challenge.

Tim explained: “When we arrived in Eagle, we tried to tell of our success to the Royal Geographical Society but unfortunately it was a bank holiday so nobody picked up!”

Tim’s tales finished with a key message to the students. “The message is to find something you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to explore and push yourselves. Explore the world and make the journeys you want in life.”

Alice Wyndow, Assistant Head of Sixth Form at Rendcomb College, said: “Tim’s inspirational story required determination and perseverance through difficult and challenging obstacles. He warmly advised our students to take every opportunity and to dream big to make their ambitions happen, which they can, with hard work and a drive for something they feel passionate about. “

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

Year 10 Rendcomb College pupil, Genichiro Horie, is looking toward the future with the Winter Olympics in full swing.

16-year-old Gen has been skiing for 12

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years in his native Japan and looks to continue his development in the United Kingdom with a view to representing Japan in the future.

Gen said: “My dream is to represent Japan at the Winter Olympics.”

With the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics beginning last week, and seeing Japan’s representatives in the competition, Gen has only re-affirmed his ambitions to follow in their footsteps.

“Skiing is my love and I will continue to practise to be the best.”

Gen recently competed in the largest all Japan Junior High competition where he finished 3rd out of more than 50 competitors. He said: “I am incredibly proud. It is one of my best achievements.”

This achievement did not go unnoticed, and Gen earnt himself a contract with Fischer Sports, one of the largest ski equipment manufacturers in the world, who now sponsor him and will oversee his progression.

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

The brand new £3.3m theatre complex at Rendcomb College, the Griffin Centre, was officially opened on Friday, 24 February by special guest and former pupil,

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Jonathan Suffolk, the National Theatre’s Technical Director.

Speaking in the Griffin Centre’s auditorium to a crowd of hundreds including The Rt. Hon. Countess Bathurst, in front of a dramatic backdrop from the school’s production of Agatha Christie’s stage adaptation of the murder mystery ‘And Then There Were None’ which is to be performed on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Suffolk attributed is interest in the arts to his time at Rendcomb College and spoke of the way the school had shaped his future. He said: “I had changed, I was ready for the new world of theatre…I’d learnt the value of collaboration.”

After leaving Rendcomb College in 1984, Suffolk followed what is now considered to be a meteoric rise from electrician’s mate to Technical Director; he now oversees 350 technicians who together realise the National Theatre’s 20 productions every year.

Commending the new Griffin Centre, which includes a 350-seat auditorium, mirrored dance studio with ballet barres and a sprung floor, dressing rooms, prop and set workshop and costume store, Suffolk offered some words of wisdom to pupils: “This is a brilliant building, but it is just a building, that has this evening been brought to life by this bold and wonderful performance, so grasp the opportunity this space has to offer, become more skilled, more cultured, and accomplished versions of yourselves.”

Quoting Theodore Roosevelt, Suffolk’s address echoed the ethos of Rendcomb College and the growth mind-set approach it adopts: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

He continued: “Enormous congratulations to those of you who have made this place possible, for your vision, your ambitions and your endeavour. And for those of you who will have the greatest of privileges to use the Griffin Centre; enjoy it, and dare greatly, this is your arena.”

The evening included performances from pupils throughout the 3 to 18 co-educational school. Guests watched ballet and contemporary dance in the bespoke dance studio, poems were performed dramatically in the drama classroom, pianists entertained in the foyer and in the main auditorium, an excerpt from this week’ play, the first full-scale production in the new Griffin Centre, was performed.

Rendcomb College’s Chair of Governors, Sir Francis Richards KCMG, CVO, DL and Head of College Rob Jones, thanked those who had supported and donated to the building project, the first major building to be constructed at the school for 27 years.

Rendcomb College independent day and boarding school Gloucestershire

Rendcomb College’s girls’ clay shooting A team were victorious, bringing home the winners’ trophy from yesterday’s Clay Shooting Competition hosted by Harrow School.


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girls’ team of Sixth Formers, Grace, Lizzie, Rebeccah and Maddy, scored the top spot against teams from Millfield and the hosts, Harrow.

Rendcomb’s shooting coach, Pete Cairns, said: “Despite storm Doris creating erratic conditions with the clay targets yesterday, our Rendcomb teams did fantastically. The challenge was heightened by the weather but that certainly didn’t dampen our spirits!”

He continued: “We’re now looking forward to welcoming Harrow, Millfield and other schools to the Rendcomb College Shooting Competition on 18th March.”

The boys’ team went up against equally tough opponents and put on a strong display.

Rendcomb College, the mixed independent school located between Cheltenham and Cirencester, has been approved as a member of a global education body for meeting strict

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requirements in its Junior School.

The Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) has welcomed Rendcomb College as a member of its 650, carefully selected schools from across the world.

IAPS represents world-class head teachers, who lead world-class schools which must reach a very high standard to be eligible for membership. With strict criteria on teaching a broad curriculum, maintaining excellent standards of pastoral care and keeping staff members’ professional development training up to date, gaining IAPS membership is a kite mark of quality.

Speaking about her membership acceptance, Rendcomb College’s Head of Juniors Victoria Beevers, said: “It is with great excitement that we can announce that Rendcomb College Junior School has achieved IAPS status. In order to achieve this, I had to present evidence that our Junior School meets the various requirements to become a member of this organisation; to have the school and head teacher validated in this way is a real feather in our cap.”

Victoria continued: “Through membership of IAPS, we have a raised profile within the prep and junior school world and we have greater access to training, competitions and information which will ensure that Rendcomb College continues to thrive and develop.”

In addition to membership of IAPS, Rendcomb College boasts HMC membership (the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) through Headmaster Rob Jones, which is another kitemark of global quality, innovation and excellence in education of which just 276 schools in the UK are approved.

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