Pate's Grammar School was founded by Richard Pate in 1578 as a boys grammar school, when it was located in the lower part of the High Street. This site has now long been given over to the shops and the school is now located on the western side of the town in a modern building.
Richard Pate was born in Cheltenham in 1516. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and eventually became Recorder of Gloucester. In 1572 he began constructing a new grammar school building in the High Street. Two years later Elizabeth I granted him lands which he used to endow the grammar shool. It opened to fifty pupils under the first master, Christopher Ocland. In 1585, three years before his death, Pate established the Pate Foundation, entrusting the Grammar School and Almshouses to Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
In July 1905 the Grammar School for Girls opened. It was located in Livorno Lodge, St. Margaret Road until 1939, when a new site was found in Albert Road where it remained until 1985, when it amalgamated with the boys' Grammar School, which since 1965 is located in Hester's Way.
As part of the government's Specialist Schools initiative Pate's became a Language College in September 2001. Pate's is one of only three hundred secondary Beacon Schools, a small number of schools across the country which were designated so by the government, because of the exceptional standards they achieve across the board.
Of the accomplished past pupils the most well known is perhaps the composer Gustav Holst, the cricketer Gilbert Laird Jessop, Dame Felicity Lott, the opera singer, and the founder of the Rolling Stones Brian Jones.
There is a very strong sporting tradition at Pate's, and the school has the nationally recognised Sportsmark Award. The school has its own Outdoor Pursuits Centre on site. The Outdoor Pursuits Department is run by two full time members of staff. The adjoining Arts Block is used for performance rehearsals, orchestra practices and as an exhibition space .