Ashbourne aims to be the best private college for A levels in the UK and has been one of the top two colleges in London by A level results for many years. Our students consistently achieve outstanding exam results with half attaining A or A* at A level (66% A*A in 2021) and 57% going on to Russell Group universities.

Ashbourne’s students’ results far exceed the national average, as measured by value added, placing the college in the top 5% of schools and colleges in the country.  Not surprisingly we work best for those students who are at B grade standard but are ambitious to improve to A or A*. We achieve this by instilling confidence and offering comprehensive support opportunities including Personal Tutors, subject specific clinics, timetabled support with subject teachers outside class and peer group mentoring. Attendance and homework submission are strictly monitored as is performance in mock exams which take place each half term.

Our ethos is informal and the relationship between teachers and students is founded on mutual respect. There are no uniforms and there is much more freedom than found at a typical school. It suits those who want more independence but at the same time want their school to guide and support them when necessary. Most importantly the personal Tutors encourage their students to become independent learners. Those students who do best are those who take full responsibility for their success in education

Principal

MICHAEL KIRBY

MSc (London), BApSc (Toronto)

Mike founded Ashbourne College in 1981 and has since presided over its continuing academic development and success. Mike is a key figure in the promotion of independent education in the UK through organisations like the Council for Independent Education (CIFE). He was formerly a lay member of the Admissions Panel for Medicine at UCL and is Head of Faculty for Mathematics and Physics, one of Ashbourne’s most successful departments. Mike studied Aerospace Engineering and Statistics at the Universities of Toronto and London.

A level results 2011 – 2020

University Destinations

The list below shows the most popular destinations of our A level graduates over the past five years. In that time 54% of our students have won a place at one of the Russell Group universities.

Top Ten University Destinations 2016–2020

University College London (UCL) 44
King’s College 40
Queen Mary University 21
University of Arts London 20
University of Cambridge 17
University of Manchester 17
University of Warwick 16
University of Bristol 15
City University 15
Imperial College 14

Personal Tutors

Each student is assigned to a Personal Tutor with whom they will meet once per week. These seminars will deal with issues related to academic performance such as time management, research skills and physical and mental health. These meetings also present the opportunity to discuss academic progress, promote the many clubs, societies and special events we have at Ashbourne and raise any nonacademic concerns such as personal relationships or, where appropriate, issues surrounding accommodation.

The Personal Tutor acts as a hub in a network of communication between parents, teachers and students. It is never necessary to wait for half-term reports or parents’ evenings to discuss any concerns about a student. The Personal Tutor will also spend as much time as necessary, including many one to one sessions, making sure that each student in their care makes a confident and effective application to university (UCAS). This begins with ensuring that a student is doing the appropriate reading, work experience, research and possibly an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) to strengthen their application to university.

But the most important responsibility of the Personal Tutor is to motivate students to achieve their academic personal best. They are the lynch pin of our system of individual attention. Their principal responsibility is to support and encourage each of their students to become independent learners not only to achieve immediate academic success but also to set a stage for success at university and beyond.

Individual Attention

Academic progress is accelerated by individual attention. By restricting our class sizes to 10 students or fewer, Ashbourne gives each student and teacher the opportunity to engage and interact.

Individual attention extends beyond the classroom. Students may get help with difficulties from teachers at specific times during each week, attend clinics or get help from student mentors. Our objective is to help all students to become independent learners, and so we also encourage students to form study groups in their free time.

Our teachers also have high expectations for themselves; through appraisal and continuous professional development, we strive constantly to make a better school.

Parents and students are rarely disappointed when results are published, because of the commitment of the college to constant feedback and communication. We monitor attendance and completion of work assiduously and accept nothing less than total diligence. Through the parents’ portal on our website, parents and guardians may track performance and communicate any concerns directly to each student’s Personal Tutor. The Personal Tutor will always intervene if performance fails to match potential.

Every half term each teacher will issue a report on each of the students in their care. This will include comments on working and target grades, the quality and quantity of submitted work, the promptness of attendance and achievement in half-termly mock (practice) examinations.

Welfare

Welfare is the most important aspect of a student’s education. Good academic results depend on appropriate support which begins with a careful process of selection at admission. This ensures that each student is in company with others of the same ability, ambition and attitude. Our Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) reviews each application, after registration, to ensure that Ashbourne can provide the appropriate emotional, psychological and physical support for each and every student. The DSL works with our Special Assessor for Access Arrangements to ensure that any student who is entitled to extra time in examinations receives it.

Ashbourne has a zero tolerance policy for such things as racial abuse, bullying, homophobia, drugs and violence. Students may report any concerns they might have about their physical, emotional or psychological well being to the DSL directly, their Personal Tutor or any member of staff. All staff involved directly with reports of safeguarding concerns are responsible for following up to ensure that the problem has been dealt with satisfactorily.

As part of their continuing professional development (CPD), all staff must train and retrain throughout each academic year to keep abreast of safeguarding legislation and guidance. The DSL is responsible for coordinating this training as well as overseeing our Personal Safety Health and Economic Education (PSHEE) programme in which all students of Years 11 and 12 participate.

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