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Ashfold School
Dorton House, Dorton, HP18 9NG, UK Aylesbury
+44 (0)1844 238237


Welcome to Ashfold School

If you have young children and want to learn more about our fine school, then the place to start is in VISITORS.  You will also find our latest School Inspection Report, Newsletters and other items for interest that will give you a flavour of life here at Ashfold School.

If you are parents of current pupils then visit PARENTS where you will find lots of useful information about, amongst other things, the school’s diary (Fasti), future events, policies, uniform lists and match reports.

Front of School

Headmaster's Welcome

HeadmasterOne of the most uplifting aspects of my job is talking to prospective parents after their tour of Ashfold because invariably they begin by telling me what a wonderful atmosphere we have created here.

This is of course hard to put across in a website or prospectus because it is a 'feeling' gained by witnessing how children and staff relate with one another.  Just as with families, at Ashfold the quality of relationships is of central importance to the happiness and success of children.  If they look forward to coming to school each morning, if they believe that their teachers really care for them and are interested in helping them to learn, and if they know that at break times wherever they go they will find others who will play with them, then children will gain confidence, learn and make spectacular progress. 

As you would expect from any great school, Ashfold has a challenging and broad curriculum, its children are well mannered, learning is fun and it has great and ever-improving facilities, but it is its atmosphere that makes it the very special place that it is today.  Do please come and see us to find out why we are all so tremendously proud of our school.

M.O.M Chitty, Headmaster 


Ashfold aims to give every child the firmest possible grounding in the core academic subjects, to develop their wider interests through the great breadth of our curriculum, and to ensure that they move on to their chosen secondary schools with the skills, values and habits that will enable them to thrive there.

Ashfold's magnificent Jacobean mansion, set in its own thirty acre estate in the  Buckinghamshire countryside, is at the very heart of all our daily lives. The privilege of being educated and growing up in such elegant surroundings is immense and cannot but leave a lasting impression upon all those fortunate enough to be part of the Ashfold family.

Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, and in making it, we are confident that you will be as ambitious for your children as we are for them. We cannot paint the whole picture of what Ashfold could offer your children in these pages, but hope that you will come to see us and allow us to share with you this very special place and its people.

  • Time to Learn
  • And to Experiment
  • Time to Create
  • And to play
  • Time to Compete
  • And to think
  • Time to unwind

  • FEES


    Termly Fees

    Weekly Boarding £4,370
    Day Fee £3,855
    Transition £2,700
    Pre Prep (whole day) £2,185
    Pre Prep (half day) £1,630
    Pre School (3 half days) £980
    Casual Boarding £23.00/night

    Payment of Fees

    Direct Debit

    This is the school’s preferred method of payment whereby fees are paid monthly by a direct debit from the parents’ to the school’s bank for 10 months of the year. The scheme is set up for new parents and adjusted for others annually in July and payments are made from August to May inclusive. An application form to join is available on request.

    Termly Payment

    For those who choose not to pay by direct debit, fees are payable by the first day of each term. To encourage prompt payment:

    • 1. Any fees not covered by the Direct Debit system or paid in full by the first day of term will incur daily interest charges at a rate decided by the governors, currently 2% per month, as soon as they become overdue.
    • 2. A fee statement will be sent to those that have not paid shortly after the start of each term.
    • 3. Unless special arrangements have been made, children whose fees remain outstanding will not be readmitted to the school after the half term holiday.

    Fees in advance

    Parents who may be in a position to pay fees early and out of capital should be aware of the benefits of our fees composition scheme which gives a discount set by governors according to current interest rate movements. Details are available on request for those whose children may be with us for two years or more.


    Parents who find themselves in financial difficulties, which may impinge on their ability to pay fees, should contact the school as soon as that situation arises. Such cases are best dealt with at the earliest possible moment when all the circumstances can be considered. All special arrangements entered into in these circumstances are considered by the finance Committee of the governing body.



    For Newsletters, general information or letters issued by the school, please select News and Events on the left.

    To view the school's ISI Report, please select Inspection Reports and follow the hyperlinks.

    Form Teachers/Tutors. The first person to contact on most matters relating to your child’s welfare should be the Form Teacher in both the Pre-Prep and Junior School Departments, and the Form Tutor in the Senior School.  If you require longer than a few minutes, then please make an appointment with them.

    The best times to catch staff are:
       In person immediately prior to Registration in the mornings
       By telephone (tel. 01844 238237) during morning break: 
             10.50 - 11.15am Pre-Prep, Junior & Senior School staff
       By telephone (tel. 01844 238237) during the post-lunch break:
             12.30 - 1.15pm Pre-Prep Department staff
             1.40 - 2.00 pm Junior & Senior School staff
       In person at normal school collection times

    Urgent Matters. Please contact the School Office (tel. 01844 238237)  at any time.

    General Matters. Mrs Costar and Mrs Murray in the School Reception Office and Mrs Floy in the Finance Office are happy to try to answer any questions you may have, or to pass messages on to staff.

    Other Matters. If matters are unresolved, or you need more help please contact either The Headmaster, or other staff directly as follows:
       Mr D Venn - serious matters of discipline
       Mrs G Venn - Pre-Prep Department issues
       Mr A Downie - Junior School issues
       Mr & Mrs A Bentley - boarding 
       Mr A Williams - music lessons
       Matron - health, medication, lost property
       Mrs T Tasker - uniform shop

    Formal opportunities to meet staff to discuss children’s work are provided twice a year for all parents and three times a year for parents of children in forms Transition, I, II and III. Dates are published in the Fasti.

    For Tutors’ Evenings formal appointments are made for one to one meetings with Form Teachers/Tutors.  

    At Parents’ Meetings parents have the chance to meet all those staff who teach their children, generally in the sports hall over a glass of wine.  

    At Parents’ Open Evenings Senior School parents have the opportunity of visiting Heads of Department to discuss their children’s subject work in detail.

    Childrens' work comes home at the end of each term and is available for discussion with teachers at Tutors’ Evenings in the Pre-Prep and Junior School and at Parents’ Open Evenings in the Senior School.

    Should parents wish to meet a teacher at another time to discuss their child’s work, it is helpful to give staff, particularly Tutors, a little notice.

    Parents' Handbook

    To download an Adobe version of the Main School Parents' Handbook 2006/07, click here.

    PrePrep Handbook

    Before Starting School

    It would be very helpful, if before joining us at school your child can carry out most of the following basic tasks: 

        a. be able to dress and undress themselves; put their shoes on the
             correct feet and we would recommend Velcro fastenings on shoes,
             trainers and plimsolls; 
        b. take themselves to the loo and be able to attend to their own
        c.  be able to wash their hands thoroughly; 
        d. hold and use a knife and fork effectively, especially for children
             in Pre Prep II and III; 
        e. be able to blow their nose.

    Young children do, of course, occasionally have ‘accidents’, so a spare set of pants/knickers in the PE bag is also a great help.

    We hope that your child will soon be a happy and confident member of their new form and school. It may be helpful for you to contact the parents of one or two children in your child’s form during the holiday prior to starting Ashfold. The Headmaster's PA will be able to give you contact details.

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    Children are allocated to forms based upon their age as at 1st September:
               5 year olds         Pre Prep III      Year 1
               4 year olds         Pre Prep II        Reception
               3 year olds         Pre Prep I          Nursery
               Rising 3s             Pre School         Nursery

    From Pre Prep II onwards we have two forms per year group. In allocating children to these forms we try to achieve a balance of ability, ages and sexes. Children stay in these forms throughout their time at Ashfold. Forms are identified by the initial of their Form Teacher, so for example PP III(V) is taught primarily by Mrs Venn.

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    On entry, the children are allocated to Houses for competition purposes: Lions (red), Gryphons (blue) and Dragons (green), and they stay in their House throughout their time at Ashfold. Brothers and sisters are always allocated to the same House. The Pre Prep Houses compete against each other at a number of event such as Sports Day and a fun Pancake Day Race. Every two to three weeks 'Credits' (see Achievement Awards and Discipline) for each House are totalled and a House Cup presented in Assembly. At the end of each term children in the winning house are awarded a small token prize.

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    The First Day

    On the first day of each term, Form Teachers wait in form rooms to meet and greet all the children and their parents when they arrive. Children who are new to the school should go to the School Reception Office inside the front door of the Main Mansion. Mrs Hartley (the Headmaster's PA) will escort you to the Pre Prep Department.

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    Daily Routine

    If required:
    8.15 a.m.      Early morning drop-offs in Playground
    8.30 a.m.     Quiet activities in classrooms

    The Pre Prep School Day:
    8.45 a.m.      Registration - the start of the school day
                              Lesson 1
    10am              Drink & biscuit
    10.10am       Playtime
    10.30am       Lesson 2
    11.25am       Assembly
    11.50am       Hand washing and loo
    12 noon         Lunch
    12.30pm       Lesson 3
    12.45pm       Break
    1.20pm         Registration and Lesson 4
    2.10pm         Lesson 5
    3pm                Story time
    3.15pm          Home

    When collecting your child at the end of the school day, you are asked to wait outside classrooms, otherwise these are likely to become over-congested, and staff will release your child individually when the parents and carers are seen.

    If your child has alternative arrangements for after school, for example that they are going home with a friend, we ask that you register this information on the Form notice board at the beginning of each day. Any child who has not been collected by 3.20 p.m. will be escorted to Crèche.

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    Morning Drop-off Arrangements

    No Pre Prep child should be dropped-off before 8.15 a.m.

    Between 8.15 a.m. and 8.30 a.m., a member of the Pre Prep staff will be ‘on duty’ on the playground to receive Pre Prep children who arrive between these time - invariably because they have older siblings in the Junior and Senior departments with an 8.15 a.m. registration.  We ask that having supervised children on their way to the playground, parents/carers then leave promptly so that there is no confusion about who is responsible for children's supervision on the playground.

    We prefer that children take responsibility for carrying their own book bags to and from school each day and for putting these neatly on the relevant Form mat (colour coded for each Form) when they arrive at the playground. This allows them to play freely without being encumbered by their book bags, and prevents the children putting them down anywhere and then losing them.

    Having dropped off their children, parents and carers are then free to pop into classrooms to admire the displays of children’s work, to sign up children on the ‘after school arrangements and Crèche’ list, to look at new notices and, of course, to talk to their child’s Form Teacher as necessary. This provides more opportunities for staff and parents to share important information regarding children’s daily medical, dietary and academic needs. It remains the case that more sensitive issues are best either put in writing, or discussed in a private meeting after school and staff are always happy to arrange mutually convenient appointments for such matters.

    At 8.30 a.m. children who have arrived earlier are brought into classrooms to undertake a range of quiet activities in the warm and dry while they wait for the rest of their classmates to arrive. In the event of wet weather, children arriving before 8.30 a.m. should be taken to the PPIII(H) classroom for a video.

    We ask that parents/carers who deliver children after 8.45am, report in to Matron who can be found in Surgery in the Main mansion. She maintains an up to the minute record of all children on-site.

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    Car Parking

    To help keep your children safe please use the footpaths, drive cautiously, and do not park in front of school by the cricket nets, around the Oval, or off the ends of either of the Main Mansion wings. The areas immediately off the ends of the two Main Mansion wings are 'pull-in' areas for parents who are dropping children off. Please do not park here. Car parks are generally busy, so if parents could drop-off/pick-up children quickly and where possible park on the Entrance Drive.

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    Crèche is a chargeable after school club available between 3.20 - 5.00 p.m. daily to all PPI, II & III children.

    The Créche provides after school care and supervision for children in Pre Prep and Transition Forms who are unable to be collected at the normal school finishing times.

    Although children can attend Créche, we do not encourage parents to use this facility on a daily basis because we firmly believe that the normal school day is the right length as it is.

    Sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Charged at £2.95 per session:

    3.00 - 4.15 p.m. Pre Prep
    4.15 - 5.00 p.m. Pre Prep and Transition children

    Sessions on Wednesdays
    3.20 - 4.00 p.m. £2.50 Pre Prep children
    3.30 - 4.00 p.m. £1.80 Transition children
    4.00 - 5.00 p.m. £3.60 Pre Prep and Transition children

    Créche is an after school club, hence activities are play-orientated and might encompass dressing up, role play, art and craft, toys, games and puzzles, TV and video, and free play both inside and outside. Children in Crèche are provided with drinks, biscuits and/or fruit, but children staying until 5.00 p.m. should be provided with a packed tea by parents.

    1.  Parents wanting to make use of Créche should inform their child's
         form teacher (notice of regular attendance should be given in writing
         please) and sign up on Form notice boards in the morning.
    2.  Please collect children promptly as when they are tired they can
         easily become distressed.  If you anticipate being late please call the
         school on 01844 238237 as soon as possible.
    3.  Parents are charged for each and any part of a session at the full
          session rate.
    4.  Parents/carers are asked to sign their children out of Créche when
          they pick them up.  Please ensure children know the person who is
          collecting them as we are unable to release children to unfamiliar

    After School Arrangements

    Children are often invited by others in their Year to play and have tea after school. Whilst this is, of course, a good opportunity to consolidate friendships, build confidence and independence and to develop social skills, we recommend that this is only done one evening a week as an over hectic social diary can cause children to be tired and tearful in school.

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    The Curriculum

    Language and Literacy is taught using a range of methods and all children are taught the basic skills to support reading and writing. Children develop self-confidence when speaking and opportunities to perform to a larger audience are provided through assemblies, drama based productions and concerts during the school year.

    In Mathematics there is an emphasis on counting, number recognition, and number operations using practical and mental maths. The Ginn Abacus Maths Scheme which we use allows for individual, group and whole class activities.

    Through cross-curricular topic work, all children develop a knowledge and understanding of the world. Practical activities investigating and examining are provided at every opportunity and children are encouraged to participate in discussions about their environment and their lives, both past and present.

    Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is used to support learning and opportunities are provided to develop confidence through computers and programmable toys.

    The children have at least one timetabled session for physical development and are taught to use large and small apparatus with skill whilst developing control and co-ordination.

    Many areas involved in creative development are supported and/or taught by specialist staff.  Children have opportunities to listen to and explore sound and rhythm in music and singing, to observe art and explore a range of tools and media through 2 and 3 dimensional work.

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    Children are taught phonics using a scheme called Jolly Phonics which we believe is a thorough foundation for reading and writing. It teaches letter sounds in an active, fun, multi-sensory way, and enables children to use them to read and write words. Children using the scheme tend to read much faster, working out words for themselves, independent writing starts much earlier and accurate spelling develops more quickly.

    The Jolly Phonics scheme teaches the five basic skills required for reading and writing which are:

        a. Learning letter sounds
        b. Learning letter formation
        c. Blending
        d. Identifying sounds in words
        e. Spelling tricky words

    In Jolly Phonics the forty-two main sounds of English are taught, not just the alphabet sounds. For each sound there is an action which helps the children to remember the sound the letter makes. The letters are not introduced in alphabetical order. The first group ‘satipn’ has been chosen because they make more simple words than any other six letters.

    Our intention is to introduce between one and three different sounds each week. Notification of each week’s sound can be found on the sound table and on Form notice boards. Although not all children find it easy to learn and blend sounds, any extra practice they can do at home is likely to help build their confidence and fluency in reading. We also encourage children to talk about the sound(s) of the week and to bring in objects from home to be placed on a 'Sound Table', kept in each Form Room.

    We hope you might be able to enjoy sharing this exciting scheme with your children. We have a video which explains the scheme in more detail, which you are welcome to borrow from the Head of Pre Prep.

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    So important is reading that we aim to hear children read on an individual basis at least three times each week and we hope that parents might also be able to listen to reading at home daily.

    We adopt many different methods to teach reading in school such as:
    a. Individual reading - reading carefully selected books appropriate for
         each child’s individual ability from reading schemes.
    b. Paired reading - sharing books with one other person, taking turns to
         read and talk about the books.
    c. Shared/group reading - using a variety of carefully monitored titles
         where each child in a small group has their own copy of a book and
         follows the story, joining in/reading where appropriate.
    d. Reading for a purpose - applying reading skills to read instructions
         on worksheets or in workbooks, rules etc
    e. Reading in the environment - reading names, labels, signs etc

    As children mature we encourage them to take a more active part in the reading process encouraging children to read on and to guess what a tricky word is by using the book’s illustrations, by word recognition and by applying their knowledge of sounds learned through Jolly Phonics.

    If mistakes are made, rather than telling the children what a word says, or saying ”No”, we find that children respond more positively to: “Have a closer look at that”, or “What went wrong there?”

    By the time children reach PPIII, we expect them to: 
    a. be able to discuss characters and events in stories as well as
         predicting what will happen.
    b. ask and answer more complex questions about the text to gauge
         whether children are merely reading a string of words, or
         understanding what is being read.
    c. demonstrate an increasing awareness of punctuation, pausing in
         appropriate places and varying their tone, while adding expression
         when reading aloud.

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    All children in the Pre Prep are encouraged to share topic related books, toys, pictures and stories with their parents. Occasionally, children will be asked to finish off, revise, or reinforce school activities at home.

    Sometimes children bring topic-related activities home for the weekend. These are usually fun, or practical assignments and may be completed with the support of an adult.

    Children in PPII & III are provided with letter cards, flashcards and/or books most nights and we are grateful for any support you can give in listening to your child read. Comments may be recorded in reading record books to enable staff to monitor progress.

    By the latter part of PPII and throughout PPIII children are given spellings to learn at home. These words need to be practised so that children can say the sounds and write them carefully.

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    Special Educational Needs

    At Ashfold regular assessment alerts staff to any child who may have learning difficulties. If we believe that your child needs extra support, you will be contacted by your Form Teacher and possibly also by the Pre Prep's Special Needs Coordinator. We may recommend that you to seek advice from outside agencies (e.g. medical, ophthalmic, speech and language assessments, or educational psychologists). We will then devise a course of extra tuition to best help your child. As staff-pupil ratios in Pre Prep are very high, we are usually able to accommodate these in class and at no charge to you.

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    Form Teachers are available daily in their classrooms between 8.15 and 8.45 a.m. for parents to discuss routine matters relating to their child's education and welfare. Staff are also happy, with a little notice, to make appointments to meet parents after school to discuss bigger issues. The School Reception Office (Tel. 01844 238237) which is situated on the left after entering the front door of the Main Mansion, is staffed daily between 9.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. They are happy to try to answer any questions you may have, or to pass messages on to staff. Outside these times any mail for the school and staff can be posted in the Office letterbox and telephone calls are routed via a number of different phones. We only have two incoming lines so it may take some time for us to answer your calls - please hold on and be patient!

    Book Bags are a useful method of communication. These need to be checked daily by parents as they may contain important communications from us regarding individual pupils, forms, Pre Prep department or whole school events. Letters relevant to the whole school are usually only given to the eldest member of each family to prevent over printing. When we communicate this way we call it 'Blazer Post'.

    Elync Post. Most general school communications, such as newsletters and reminders about school events, are emailed to you via an Elync website. If you have not subscribed to this service, please ask at the Reception Office for further details.

    Reading Record Books are another means of communication between Form Teachers and parents. However, more sensitive or confidential matters are better put in sealed envelopes and either handed directly to a teacher, or placed on their desk.

    The Fasti - Calendar of School Events. A calendar of events for each term, which we call the Fasti, will be sent to you before, or at the beginning of each term. It also contains future term dates and holidays. You will, of course, be specifically invited to certain school events which the Pre Prep department holds.

    Parent Newsletters. A regular newsletter keeps parents up to date with news, forthcoming events and any changes to the Fasti.

    Parents' Evenings. These are held twice a year in the Autumn and Summer terms, and provide staff and parents with formal opportunities to discuss children’s progress. These meetings are included in the school calendar (Fasti) and reminders are sent out nearer the time. Parents are asked to sign up for 10 minute appointments on lists published outside their child's form room. Parents who are unable to attend may make alternative arrangements with Form Teachers.

    Written Reports. Written reports are sent home after the end of each term for all children in the Pre Prep department. 

            Pre-School children receive a Form Teacher's report which
            includes comments on the six areas of learning (Communication,
            Language and Literacy, Numeracy, Knowledge and Understanding
            of the world, Physical Development, Creative Development and
            Personal and Social Development). 

            Pre Prep I children receive a number of reports dependent upon
            the number of sessions each child attends, but these generally
            include sections on each of the six areas of learning and a Form
            Teacher's report.

            Pre Prep II children receive a full report covering all six areas of
            learning and a Form Teacher's report.

            Pre Prep III children receive detailed reports outlining the work
            covered and children’s progress in English, Reading, Mathematics,
            Science, ICT, History, Geography, Music, PE, Art/DT and a Form
            Teacher's report.

    Parent Contact Details. It is obviously essential that we are able to contact parents of children at any time during the school day. We would therefore be grateful if any changes of address and telephone, especially mobile numbers, could be given to your child’s Form Teacher and the School Reception Office as soon as possible. 

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    Concerns or Problems

    It would be extremely unlikely if, during the course of your child's career at Ashfold, they did not experience some problems, or difficulties. If this happens a member of staff will contact you to discuss the situation.

    Similarly, if at any stage you have worries or concerns, or feel that your child may be experiencing some difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Form Teacher. In the event of a more delicate matter, the Head of the Pre Prep Department will always be happy to meet to discuss things. She is usually available to meet with parents on Monday mornings between 8.45 a.m. and 9.45 a.m. Prior appointment is not always necessary! NB. All medical matters should be referred to the School Matron.

    If matters are unresolved, or you need more help please contact the Headmaster.

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    The school has a formal complaints procedure; copies of which are obtainable from the School Reception Office. If having used the available communications channels, you feel that you have a complaint, please feel free to make use of this.

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    Absence from School & Time Off

    In emergencies, when your child is ill, or if they are going to be late in, please telephone Matron after 9.00 a.m. If they are ill, please follow this up the next day with a note to the Form Teacher.

    Please note that before 9.00 a.m. all staff on site will either be having breakfast with boarders and getting them ready for their school day, or will be making final preparations for their day’s teaching, so there is no one waiting by the phone to take your calls.

    For planned absence from school please write to us. In the case of dental or medical appointments, a note informing your child's Form Teacher is sufficient.

    For all other cases, please write to The Headmaster seeking permission for absence. Please be aware that the Headmaster too has a duty to ensure that you child attends school. He is legally required to keep a record and to report unauthorised absences. You would not expect him to be enthusiastic about children taking time off school to go on holiday, even if it does mean that you can get a cheaper holiday during term-time! He is also particularly keen that children attend ends of term, because it is then that we celebrate as a school the achievements of individual children and Houses. If children miss these opportunities to come up in front of the school to be congratulated, or if they do but half their friends are in the Bahamas, it somewhat undermines what we are trying achieve. That said, the Headmaster is a family man and he does understand the importance of being able to get together as a family to celebrate Great Aunt Enid’s 80th birthday in Scotland.

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    Achievement Awards and Discipline

    Discipline is maintained using a system of reward and praise for good behaviour, performance and effort. Teachers award Stickers and/or House Credits to individuals, not only for achievements in academic work, but also for acts of kindness, good manners and helpfulness, effort or perhaps for overcoming a particular problem. Each week, staff select one pupil from each form to be awarded, in assembly, a ‘Star of the Week’ certificate. As these certificates are usually awarded for other than academic reasons, all children have a chance to win one.

    If a child has to be disciplined we ensure that they understand how they have misbehaved, the impact of it and how they should behave in future. If more than a verbal reprimand is needed, a Stripe might be given. These can be rescinded by improved behaviour. We believe that children will make small mistakes and have them dealt with at school without necessarily involving parents. Parents are however always informed of more serious matters of unacceptable behaviour and, occasionally, if Stripes are awarded. We ask parents to support our decisions and to help their children to learn where the boundaries lie.

    Bullying. We have a very positive response to bullying and, although this is rarely relevant in the Pre Prep Department, you are welcome to a copy of our school anti-bullying policy. Please ask at the School Reception Office.

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    All children attend Pre Prep Assembly each day. During Assembly we celebrate principally Christian and some other Multi-cultural festivals, stories from the Bible, moral issues as well as issues associated with a chosen theme for the term.

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    This activity is an optional extra which takes place on Wednesday from 3.15 p.m.- 3.45 p.m. As this is an ‘after school’ activity notification of the term dance dates are the responsibility of the dance teacher and not the Form Teachers. Children change into their dance kit during the school day under the supervision of staff and are escorted to their lesson at 3.10 p.m. Dance usually takes place in the Performance Studio, but occasionally it is necessary to relocate this activity to either the Sports Hall, or Saloon.

    We ask that parents sign the Form notice boards to confirm their child's attendance for the dance class each week.

    Parents are expected to collect their children from dance at 3.45 p.m. Children who are not collected will be escorted to Crèche by the dance teacher.

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    Child Protection

    As a school we are well placed to help protect your children. Our Child Protection Policy, which is available to you from the School Reception Office, has three main elements:

    Prevention, through the teaching and pastoral support we offer children.

    Procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse. Because of our day to day contact with children, we are well placed, and trained, to observe outward signs of abuse. In addition to teachers, Matrons, Classroom Assistants, GAP Students and other Support staff can be the first point of disclosure for a child.

    Support to children who may have been abused. Our policy applies to all governors, staff and volunteers working in the school.

    If you are at all concerned about a possible Child Protection matter, please contact either the Headmaster, the Child Protection Officer (Mrs Gill Crampton Smith), or the school governor responsible for this area, Dr Bernie Whittington.

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    Classroom Equipment

    In the Pre Prep department the school provides all the equipment your child needs.

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    Direct Debit. We would prefer you to pay fees monthly by direct debit and ask that you see the Finance Bursar for an application form to set this up. Schemes are adjusted annually in July and payments are made from August to May inclusive.

    Fees in advance. Parents who may be in a position to pay fees early and out of capital should be aware of the benefits of our fees composition scheme which gives a discount set by Governors according to current interest rate movements. Details are available on request from the Finance Bursar. The scheme is offered for a minimum of two years.

    Termly Payment. For those who choose not to pay by direct debit, fees are payable by the first day of each term. Late payment causes considerable extra work for the Bursary staff and cash flow problems. Unless special arrangements have been made, children whose fees remain outstanding will not be permitted to return to school after the first full week of term until fees have been paid in full. A system of interest charges will apply to late payers.

    Extras. We have tried to reduce these to the absolute minimum and only add 'extras' to your bill after first seeking your permission in writing. This way there should be no uncomfortable surprises when the bill arrives.

    Fee Increases. We constantly strive to improve the quality of the education we provide for your children at Ashfold and inevitably this costs us more each year. However, we endeavour to keep fee increases to the absolute minimum and only raise fees once a year in September. The Chairman of Governors notifies parents in writing a term in advance of any fee increases.

    Hardship. Parents who find themselves in financial difficulties, which may impinge on their ability to pay fees, should contact the Finance Bursar or Headmaster as soon as possible. Short-term assistance with fees, in the form of bursaries, is sometimes available at the discretion of the Finance Committee of the Governing body.

    Notice. We will give a minimum term's notice of any fee increase. Equally, parents are required to give a full term’s notice in writing to the Headmaster of intention to withdraw a child from the school, or they will be liable for the full term's fees.

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    This is a parent and staff cricket team which plays a number of fixtures each summer at school against local teams. We are always of the lookout for new talent, so if you have played before and would like to join us, do please contact Mr John Miller (parent) on

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    Lost Property

    Children invariably lose things. If their possessions and clothes are named, then we stand a good chance of reuniting them with what they have lost, so please name everything.

    If they have lost something, the first place to look is in the lost property basket in the corridor behind the Bursar's Office. If it is not there, Matron will be more than happy to help.

    After this, a word to the Form Teacher will initiate a more thorough search.

    If, inadvertently, your child has returned home with someone else's belongings, please return them to Matron.

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    The School Magazine

    This is published annually before Christmas. We aim to ensure that every child is represented in photographs and articles, or by contributing creative pieces of writing or artwork. Only one copy is distributed per family. Extra copies are available from the School Reception Office.

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    The school provides a hot, healthy and nutritious two course meal at lunchtime which is served by and eaten under staff supervision. Children are encouraged to try new foods and to eat well, including vegetables. There is a varied dessert menu, but children are always offered a fresh fruit alternative. The term's menus are displayed on notice boards and if an individual is unable to eat a specific meal of food, we ask that you put this in writing to your child’s Form Teacher, so that a salad alternative can be provided.

    We do our very best to make sure that table manners are acceptable and parental reinforcement is always much appreciated.

    As a general rule, no sweets or food of any sort, even birthday cakes, should be brought to the school. We do not encourage children to walk around school eating. Sweet papers invariably cause litter and cakes can be dangerous for those with food allergies. Snacks and drinks (fruit, biscuits, milk and water) are provided at mid morning break times. However, children are encouraged to bring in water bottles for extra refreshment during the school day.

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    Medicines in School and sick children

    Although we appreciate that many parents have commitments whilst their child is in school, please do not send a sick or unwell child to school. It makes life difficult for both the child and for staff, and can spread sickness to other children, families and staff. As a rule we recommend that if a child is ill, they do not come to school for at least 24 hours and in the event of sickness and diarrhoea, 48 hours. It is essential that children in school are well enough to participate in all activities including outside play and that they are able to eat before returning to school.

    Children who are prescribed medication can be in school providing they are not infectious. Matron will hold and administer medication as required. Please could parents ensure that they take medicines to the Surgery at the start of the day and collect them before 3.15 p.m.

    If during the school day your child becomes unwell, we will monitor their condition and send them to Matron if we feel medical intervention is necessary. Matron assesses each case and if she feels that they would be better off recuperating at home then she will contact you as soon as possible. If you are not able to collect your sick child, then we will of course continue to care for your child in surgery. Matron is always happy to discuss any medical concerns and in particular any long-term medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes, which may require regular monitoring or medication.

    Head lice are a perennial problem in all schools. Please do not bring children into school if you discover they have head lice (or their eggs are present) until they have been treated. Matron has literature about the most effective treatments currently available.

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    As a general rule children should not bring money into school. Very occasionally they may need to do so, for example for a charitable event, in which case we will notify you.

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    Children are taught class music throughout their time at Ashfold. In addition in Pre Prep III children are taught Recorder in small groups.

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    Outings & Trips

    Each year we endeavour to ensure that every child goes on at least one educational school trip or outing. Parents are always notified of such trips in writing informing you of what the children will need on the day, departure times and end of day collection arrangements.

    Unless stated, children are requested not to bring food (including sweets), drinks or money from home.

    When we take children off-site for such trips, we like to increase the adult/child supervision ratio. Although we generally using teaching staff to do this, we occasionally ask if parents are able to help us.

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    Parents' Committee

    The Committee's main function is to organise social events for parents each term. Dates for these events are published in the Fasti, included in the Newsletter and are advertised via ‘Blazer Post’.

    Although a few of these events are fund-raisers (The Christmas Fayre and biennial May Ball), the majority are either free (Coffee Mornings) or run at cost (Quiz Night, Autumn Dance, Fireworks & Bonfire Night); the aim being for us all to meet each other and to celebrate being members of the Ashfold Family.

    Each year we organise a number of sporting events to enable staff and parents to get together to play sport. In the Autumn term we play hockey and netball. In the Spring term football and in the Summer, rounders, cricket and tennis. The aim is to have fun and generally all you need to join in is enthusiasm; the cricket and football matches tend to be more competitive; the rest are jolly free-for-alls! If you would like to play, please ask, or simply sign up on the sheets which are posted prior to the events.

    The Committee also provides an additional route for parent views to be represented to the Headmaster, so it tries to ensure that it has a representative from each Year group in the school on its body. It meets formally each term, so if you have any points that you would like raised at these meetings please contact the Chair, or your Year group representative. Parents new to Ashfold are invited to a drinks party at the start of each Autumn Term to meet the Committee and other new parents. A list of the current Committee is available in the School Reception Office.

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    Restraint Policy

    We are required by law to have a policy on the circumstances in which we might have to use force to restrain your child and to tell you about it. The full policy document is available from the School Reception Office, but broadly it is as follows.

    Staff are required to use all other means possible before using force. In the extremely unlikely event that they have to, they may only use the minimum reasonable force necessary. Circumstances in which this might be necessary are if they believe there is no other way of preventing a child hurting themselves or another person, or if they are about to commit a criminal offence. You should also know that if a member of staff has had to restrain a child, they are required to provide a detailed report to the Headmaster; he would immediately contact parents to discuss the situation.

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    Sports Day

    Pre Prep Sports Day takes place in the Summer term and is a competition between the three houses. Parents are encouraged to support their children and fellow pupils. At the end of the games tea is provided for Parents and school finishes after the awarding of prizes. If you can’t attend please make arrangements for an early pick up.

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    Sports Facilities - Parent Use

    If parents and their families wish to use the school swimming pool or tennis courts during the weekends and holidays, all you have to do is join our Parents Tennis or Swimming Clubs. There is a small charge for these and full details are available from the School Reception Office. I am afraid that other sports facilities, including the playgrounds, are not open for parents and families during the holidays and weekends.

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    All items of the Ashfold School uniform can be purchased from our on-site shop, which is situated opposite the Music block. Uniform lists are sent to parents at the start of each year, but further copies can be obtained from the School Reception Office. Mrs Carter, who runs the school’s uniform shop, also runs our second-hand shop. Shop opening times are published in the Fasti, although for new children she prefers to make an individual appointment. Her contact details can also be found in the Fasti.

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    Watches and Toys

    We would prefer children in the Pre Prep not to wear watches as they act as a distraction in class. Children are allowed to bring small, inexpensive toys to school to play with during playtimes. Children have to take full responsibility for their toys and are discouraged from lending them to friends to prevent damage, loss and disappointment. There are boxes in all cloakrooms where toys are stored during lessons and boxes in the Pre Prep play areas where lost, or abandoned toys are placed. We ask that ALL items of clothing are clearly named so that children are able to identify their own clothing.

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    Weather - Snow

    In the of bad weather continues, or that weather reports indicate that severe weather is forecast, the school will endeavour to get all children to go home by 3.30 p.m. so that parents do not have to battle to school in darkness and through bad weather.

    Being a boarding school, we have rarely needed to close the school, but have the following procedures in place should the need arise:

    If you hear nothing, you can safely assume that ‘we are open’. A company called Xpedite provides a service whereby one telephone call from me to them results in you all being called instantly with my recorded message. The service also sends me a status report indicating which parents had and had not answered the call, or where messages had been left on answer-phones, so that we could then follow these up as necessary by alternative means. We automatically send Xpedite your contact telephone numbers. Should you not wish for us to do so, please let us know. If you have not received details of this system, please ask at the School Reception Office.



    The games curriculum at Ashfold School aims to offer a traditional yet varied range of sports for all of our children.  Recent years have for example seen the introduction of Tag Rugby from the early years for both boys and girls, and far more inclusion and participation for all children in the end of year Sports Day.
    Whether it is hockey, cricket, football or rounders, the children are encouraged to participate, learn and develop at their own pace and level, both physically and socially, experiencing on the games field a completely different dynamic from the classroom.  As a reflection of this, another recent departure has been the inclusion of fixtures against other schools for the younger members of the Junior Department, allowing them to enjoy sports and games in a friendly atmosphere with boys and girls from other schools, and share their experiences (and excitement!) together. 

  • Activities and Boarding

    Boarding at Ashfold is an integral part of the education we offer your children and is open to Senior Department children. It teaches them valuable life skills about living together with other people. It helps them to gain greater independence and the chance for families to see whether boarding might be an option when choosing the next school. For those that do, the boarding experience at Ashfold provides invaluable preparation.

    After school each day, the Houseparents and boarding staff assume responsibility for looking after boarders until after breakfast the next day. They do their very best to ensure that children enjoy and learn from the experience in as homely an atmosphere as possible. That around 80% of all Senior Department children choose to board is a measure of their success.

    Towards the end of each term we publish a letter inviting Senior Department children to opt into the next term's Evening Activities Programme (see
    Evening Activities) and Boarding. They may choose to board regularly between one and four nights each week, but it is for you to decide how many nights you will allow them to stay with us. Generally, children start boarding one night each week and build this up as they, and their parents, become more confident.

    Further information about boarding is available in a 'Boarding at Ashfold' leaflet which is contained in the Boarding section.

    Boarding at Ashfold

    When you reach Form III you are able to choose to board regularly between one and four nights each week throughout the term.  Boarding nights are Monday to Thursday inclusive. 

    Boarding is arranged in conjunction with the Evening Activities programme at the end of each term for the term ahead.  Certain activities, due to their popularity, are for boarders only and these will be made clear to you in the ‘Hustings’ session run by Mr Bentley.

    The day begins at 7:30am followed by breakfast at 7:45am.  As well as a full cooked breakfast, cereals, toast and fruit are on offer.  After cleaning your teeth, you will call in to the flat for a final check and then go off to school.

    After prep you may change into home clothes before going to supper at 6:10pm.  Evening Activities then start at 7pm.  At 7:55pm, you will come back to the boarding wing for hot chocolate and biscuits.  After showers and shoe cleaning you can enjoy free time for games, puzzles, television and chats. 

    At bedtime, you will brush your teeth and have a little time to read silently before lights out.

    The House Parents and boarding staff will look after you when you are boarding to ensure your happiness, safety and well-being.

    What do I need to bring with me?

    Just a few essentials!
    Pyjamas, Dressing gown, Home clothes, Slippers, Towel, Reading book, Teddy and Wash kit (including shampoo & soap)

    Will I be able to phone home?

    Yes, of course.  You can phone anytime and do not have to ask permission.  There are three phones that you can use.  1) At the top of the boarders’ stairs.  2) In complete privacy in the Parents’ Room.  3)  School phone in the Houseparents’ flat.

    Who will be in my dorm?

    For the girls, Forms III and IV board together as do Forms V and VI.  For boys, there will usually just be other boys in your year.  Occasionally, Forms III and IV board together as do Forms V and VI.

    Which staff will be on duty?

    Mr and Mrs Bentley (the Houseparents) are always on duty as is the Assistant Matron.  The GAP students are also on duty with a member of the resident teaching staff.

    What time will I go to bed?

    There are two different bed times and they depend on which form you are in.  Forms III and IV go to bed at 8.45pm.  After brushing their teeth and getting into bed they read silently until lights out at 9pm.  Forms V and VI repeat this process at 9.15pm and 9.30pm respectively.

    Useful phone numbers

    Boarders’ phone :        01844 238227

    Rev. Tina Sterling (Independent Listener) :    01844 238325

    Mrs A. Henderson (Governor in charge of boarding) :  

    Childline :          0800 11 11


    Autumn Term 2007

    Wednesday 5 September                        Term starts
    Thursday 20 September                          Thame Show - no                                                         afternoon school
    Saturday 20 - Sunday 28 October            Half Term
    Monday 29 October                                Term resumes
    Friday 14 December                               Term ends

    Future Term Dates

    Spring Term 2008
    Wednesday 9 January                                        Term starts
    Saturday 9 - Sunday 17 February                        Half Term
    Monday 18 February                                          Term resumes
    Thursday 20 March                                            Term ends

    Summer Term 2008
    Wednesday 16 April                                               Term starts
    Monday 5 May                                                       Bank Holiday - no school
    Saturday 24 May - Sunday 1 June                           Half Term
    Monday 2 June                                                      Term resumes
    Saturday 5 July                                                      Term ends


    Pre-School & Pre-Prep I - Boys
    Pre-School & Pre-Prep I - Girls
    Pre-Prep II & III - Boys
    Pre-Prep II & III - Girls
    Transition - Form VI - Boys and Girls

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