Full Coeducation

Full coeducation at Charterhouse is an important decision that the Governing Body has taken as part of its development strategy for the School.

Building on the success of our coeducational Sixth Form, we are moving to full coeducation from the age of 13. We look forward to welcoming our first girls into the Fourth Form (Year 9) in September 2021, the year in which we will celebrate half a century of girls at Charterhouse. There will be girls in every year group from September 2023. As the School is currently full, the School roll will grow over the next decade to around 1,000 pupils, the increase representing additional places for girls.

Building on our strengths

We have all seen first-hand the benefits of coeducation in our Sixth Form. We want to extend those social, cultural and academic advantages to the whole community of the School. Charterhouse’s educational approach has stood the test of time. Younger girls will thrive, as do our boys and older girls, on our commitment to care, independent learning, pupil leadership, and both academic and extra-curricular challenge and breadth.

A strategy for the unfolding world

The world of work is changing profoundly and at great speed. We believe the best preparation for a rewarding and fulfilling life in this exciting future is a first class education for boys and girls learning together as partners and equals – just as they will work together as adults to take on opportunities and tackle challenges.

The responsibility of our Governing Body is to put in place, and to oversee delivery of, a long-term strategy that supports and benefits our pupils. The move to coeducation is a fundamental part of that strategy.

Further information

Our 'New Tomorrow' brochure (available using the link below) sets out our plans for modernisation as the School expands and moves to full coeducation. We hope that our FAQ section below answers any queries you may have, but please do contact our Director of Admissions should you like any further information: admissions@charterhouse.org.uk.


FAQs Moving to Coeducation

Why are you going fully coeducational?

The governors have taken this decision as part of Charterhouse’s strategic development. Going fully coeducational is a key part of a cohesive plan to grow and develop the School, one that has been evolving over the last few years. We want to extend the considerable opportunities of a 5-year education at Charterhouse to girls as well as boys.

Going full coeducational is a natural extension of our current approach. Coeducation has a long history at Charterhouse: in 2021 we will be celebrating 50 years of boys and girls studying together in the Sixth Form.

We believe that learning together in the classroom will benefit both boys and girls. Working together intellectually and socially will build confidence and help develop realistic relationships for the future.

Why now?

The world and work is undergoing a transformation unlike anything seen before in its scale, scope and complexity. The next generation will need new levels of intellectual engagement, flexibility and individual resourcefulness.

We believe the mindset for a rewarding and fulfilling life in this uncertain future is best developed by girls and boys learning together as partners and equals – just as they will work together as adults to take on opportunities and tackle challenges.

Our new Headmaster, Alex Peterken who joins in January 2018 is leading this programme and has experience of successfully growing the coed offering at his current school, Cheltenham College.

When will girls arrive in the School?

They are already here! We have nearly 50 years of experience in providing coeducation and there are currently 150 girls in our Sixth Form. Younger girls will be able to join the Fourth Form (Year 9) at 13+ in September 2021. From September 2023 there will be girls in every year group. 

How many places will there be for girls? Will this reduce the number of places for boys?

Over the next decade, our pupil roll will grow from 800 today to over 1,000 to accommodate more girls. This carefully planned and coordinated growth will come from new places for girls – the number of boys’ places will stay broadly the same.

How many girls will there be in the first year of this scheme?

We are aiming for a cohort that is large enough to retain a clear identity and create a healthy social mix and extra curricular opportunities for the girls. It is likely tht there will be around 40 girls in Year 9 in 2021 out of our 200 girls in the School overall.

What will the girl / boy ratio be?

As we grow to become fully coeducational we will seek to achieve a strong and diverse mixed gender environment for both sexes. We are always subject to market demand, especially for boarding places, however our initial aim is to achieve a 60:40 (male:female) split in the long term.

How will year groups grow?

There will be a gradual increase in the size of the Under School over the first three years as girls join the School.

How will going fully coeducational change the School?

The values and ethos of the School will not change. The fundamentals of a Charterhouse education has stood the test of time and it is just as relevant today as it was when the School was founded more than 400 years ago.

Younger girls will thrive as well as our boys and older girls on our commitment to care, independent learning, pupil leadership, and academic and extra-curricular challenge and breadth. Indeed, because they will contribute fresh perspectives and new interests, our new girls will help and extend all that we offer even further, for everyone’s benefit.

Academic tuition will be coeducational. The vast array of extra-curricular activities will be open to all and, being partly pupil driven, the offer is expected to broaden further with the arrival of younger girls.Boarding houses will be single sex from 2019. We are establishing new girls’ houses and making improvements to the existing boys’ houses.

FAQs School Life & Curriculum

What will going fully coeducational mean for academic learning?

We are already quite rightly proud of the consistently high standards of academic achievement that boys and girls demonstrate – at (I)GCSE, AA Level and in the IB Diploma. We believe that this environment will be strengthened further by the arrival of girls in all year groups. An intake of additional able pupils with broadly the same academic range as the boys consolidates the strength in depth at all ability levels and in all subjects.

Healthy competition across a wider range of subjects in the Under School will add to the academic environment and encourage greater achievement.

We already carefully monitor the size of class, which varies by subject and year group. We intend to continue that approach. 

Which subjects will be offered to girls?

Charterhouse will be a coeducational school, all subjects will be offered to boys and girls equally and take up of each subject will be a matter of guided choice, where appropriate. Boys and girls will be taught together. Our curriculum evolves to offer new subjects as they become valuable and relevant in the changing world, but there will not be subjects that are only open to boys or girls.

We regularly review our curriculum provision to ensure that it is always appropriately engaging and stimulating for all of our pupil body.

What are the key benefits of going fully coeducational?

We have seen first-hand the benefits for both genders of our coeducational Sixth Form, which is highly regarded by both boys and girls. There are clear social, cultural and academic advantages, and we want to extend them to the whole community. With our move to full coeducation we aim to bring out the very best in both girls and boys, in all years.

The move to full coeducation involves an increase in the pupil roll. In itself, this brings benefits for pupils. With scale comes opportunity: yet more breadth and challenge for pupils. Varied perspectives and interests will flourish – to everyone’s benefit.

What will set your coed offer apart from all the others?

The same thing that sets a Charterhouse education apart from all others – a singular focus on equipping all our children with the mindset that helps them contribute something new to the world. 

FAQs Co-curricular & Pastoral Care

What will going fully coeducational mean for co-curricular activities?

All of our arts, music, cultural and outward bound activities are already open to boys and girls and most sports are offered to all. Girls’ sports will be strengthened by the arrival of girls at 13 and we will be able to extend the sporting choice to all.

We already have a full range of sports and activities available for girls to participate in – including hockey and lacrosse, football, tennis and other racquet sports, athletics and swimming, to name a few.  We will extend this sporting choice to the younger girls.

Many of our clubs and societies are pupil led, and with the arrival of girls into the Under School will come new enthusiasms, interests and pastimes. Girls will be encouraged to take leadership roles in areas of interest to them – this could either be in existing activities or to start new clubs and societies.

How will my son / daughter be able to socialise with girls / boys?

Your son and daughter will be able to mix informally for much of the day – with boys and girls. Lessons, extra-curricular activities and a host of School trips will be mixed. We have a popular programme of weekend activities too, that again will be mixed. Time spent in boarding houses overnight will of course be separate (but in a coed school the best opportunities to mix are those that are not consciously organised).

There will be numerous social opportunities between girls’ and boys’ boarding houses, year group events and more informal occasions during the course of the busy School week.

What does going full coeducational mean for pastoral care?

Our deep concern for each and every individual ensures that everyone, boy or girl, feels known and valued at Charterhouse. The younger girls will benefit from male and female role models to look up to, and pastoral staff to talk to – as the boys and older girls have today. Every girl will have a Housemistress, Matron and Personal Tutor.

Boarding houses will move to being single sex from September 2019, with new girls houses established. New houses will be built as the School grows in size. 

What will the new houses look like?

There are a number of attributes of boarding at Charterhouse that are well established and will form the basis of design:

  • The House will accommodate around 60-65 pupils in a combination of shared, en-suite rooms and single rooms for older pupils.
  • There will be ample communal space for relaxing and socialising in the house with common rooms, games rooms and small kitchen provision.
  • Houses will have a resident Housemistress, Assistant Housemistress and Matron. The House Tutor teams will include several non-resident members of staff who will provide additional support and supervision in evenings and get to know the members of the House very well.

View our House section and meet the Housemistresses of the girls' Houses.

How do we choose my daughter’s Housemistress? When will we be able to meet her?

We have appointed our new Housemistresses, and families will be regularly invited to events to meet their Housemistress before joining the house. Following consultation, we will seek to ensure a good mix of girls in each house with which the girls and their parents are happy.

Read more about the girls' houses in our House section of the website.

How will the changes affect existing pupils?

We have the time to ensure a smooth and orderly transition to full coeducation and our Senior Leadership Team is developing detailed plans with that as a priority. Daily life at the School will continue uninterrupted for current pupils during the gradual transition.

Pupils will not experience any change in the composition of their year group other than when they become Specialists, as has been the case for many years. The 2017 Fourth Form intake will be in their final year by the time the first girls arrive in the Fourth Form.

How will the changes affect pupils who have registered for places?

The vast majority of those registered for places will see no change to the education they have chosen.

Sixth Form girls entering in September 2018 will spend their first year in the current system. They are members of a mixed boarding house that allows full and prompt integration into the life of the School and a broad network of socialising opportunities, but with separate overnight accommodation elsewhere on the campus. They will then move into the new girls’ boarding houses in their second year. They will have the unique opportunity to shape the girls’ boarding house experience for the benefit of the incoming girls in the years below them, with all the leadership responsibilities that will afford.

FAQs Leadership & Financing

Is this move to coed a financially driven decision?

No – this is about the educational experience. The School is currently full and with more pupils than ever before; there is a healthy demand for the quality of education that we deliver. We are creating extra places rather than trying to fill existing ones. This gives the School the opportunity to take a confident and measured approach to changes, and the ability to invest in the necessary infrastructure to ensure success.

How much will this all cost and how will you finance it?

Our plans are wide ranging and span the next ten years. Costs will only be incurred for each phase when we have the correct funding and final plans in place. 

This ambitious plan will be funded via various sources to provide working capital as the School grows to its new size. It will not be funded by high fee increases but better management of resources, the development of non-fee income streams and where possible, donations.

As with all businesses, growth will give us increasing financial security and the ability to invest and respond to the changing demands that are placed on us as an educational establishment.

How is this process being managed?

The School has significant expertise within the Governing Body and the Executive Team, as well as the ability to call on external expertise where necessary. Over the past year, all aspects of the plan have been reviewed and the School has set up a group to manage the various work streams. Where necessary additional resources or expertise will be provided to support the Executive. The School has in place the expertise and resources in the Governing Body and executive team to plan and manage the investment and growth required.

What impact on demand do you think BREXIT will have?

The consequences of Brexit – and indeed the strength of our wider economy – will obviously have an impact on all schools. They are difficult to predict with any degree of certainty at this early stage of negotiations. We do not believe that leaving the European Union, if that is what ultimately happens, will materially affect our ability to attract top pupils and staff to the School. The School is in a position of strength to ensure that it remains one of the region's and the world’s leading schools and a part of one of the UK’s strongest export sectors.

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