Vision, Values and Ethos
History of Ashmole Academy
Ashmole Academy was named in 2013 by The Guardian newspaper as one of the best nine schools in the country for sustained outstanding results taking a whole series of measures into account. The Evening Standard during 2014 described Ashmole as one of the capital’s ‘Superstate’ schools. As a school of that national standing, Ashmole Academy seeks to build a primary school on its site, as a sponsored Free School, to meet the basic needs for primary school places locally, as well as extending its educational excellence into primary education. In addition, Ashmole wishes to develop a primary provision that is also innovatory in its delivery as well as outstanding in all its features.
Ashmole Academy was formed in October 2010 as one of the early ‘Academy Converters’ created by the Government allowing outstanding schools to convert to academy status thereby taking advantages of the additional ‘freedoms’ that an academy school would have compared to a maintained school.
Prior to ‘conversion’ Ashmole School had a long history of developing its governance and leadership to an exceptionally high standard enabling the school to operate very much as a self-reliant organisation. The school became grant maintained in 1993, then converted to Foundation status in 2000. The school, therefore, has a long history of being responsible for its staffing, its admissions policy and its buildings and grounds. This determined business-like approach to providing a high quality educational service led the Head Teacher and the governors more than ten years ago to propose the complete re-building of the school buildings, condemned as unsatisfactory by two previous Ofsted inspections. The project, which the Head Teacher and the governors managed themselves, involved the selling off of 6 acres of a brown field site within the school grounds to fund a completely newly built secondary school building with all the latest facilities. The project was cost effective; the building was built on time and to budget. The ‘new’ school building was completed in 2004 and at the time of the next inspection, the school became outstanding.
Ashmole School’s performance in terms of attendance and examination results at all key stages has been for many years outstanding. It is a particular strength of the school and, as such, has gained a well established reputation for providing the very best in educational performance. The Head Teacher is a National Leader of Education and has worked previously with the London Challenge supporting the improvements in three London schools. The Head Teacher was also a former School Improvement Partner working with improving schools in Hertfordshire and Enfield. He is a coach for newly appointed Head Teachers and has coached two schools in the North London area to be outstanding.
Ashmole Academy has had a long history of working with local primary schools. As a former specialist school for many years part of that arrangement when it existed was to have secondary school teachers supporting primary education, particularly with regard Language teaching, Science, PE, English, Maths and Music.
Ashmole Academy has continued to flourish since becoming an academy. It has translated those freedoms into developing not only a highly successful school, in terms of academic strength, but also one that is run very much as a business providing the highest quality service to its community in all that it does. Academy freedoms has allowed the Academy to have its own pay and conditions which, whilst reflecting the national pay and conditions provides flexibility to deal effectively with poor performance and, most importantly, to reward and motivate highly talented and successful staff. The school has used its financial freedoms to be particularly cost effective raising sufficient funds to pay for the construction of a new £1.5 million Sixth Form Centre. The freedoms with longer school days and highly motivated staff have led the school to be outstandingly successful in examination performance. Ashmole Academy is a diverse school with around 30% of students for whom English is a second language. These students, as well as those with children of special needs, Pupil Premium and Gifted and Talented students, all perform extremely well at Ashmole Academy.
Ashmole Academy sees itself as championing school developments. For example, the school is a registered lead school, School Direct provider in liaison with the Institute of Education and a registered sponsor of schools with the Department for Education.
Ashmole Academy, on conversion, agreed that it would be a sponsor of schools to play a major role in improving the quality of education. The Head Teacher and the Chair of Governors met the Director of Children Services of Barnet in 2012 outlining the Academy’s vision that as a sponsor of schools it was seeking to play a role in both primary and secondary education. The desire of the Academy to improve locally the quality of education remains high.
Recent educational policy has seen a drive to lift educational standards at both primary and secondary. For example, for secondary schools, there has been a focus on making examinations more demanding so that performance truly reflects achievement rather than using alternative examination approaches that lead to grade inflation. As a high performing secondary school whose approach has always been to deliver high achievement through a structured, purposeful and productive education the school wishes to maintain that achievement in a more difficult climate by more thoroughly delivering sustained achievement throughout the school, starting the preparation as early as possible. One aspect of that commitment is to work with local primary schools to achieve a higher starting point on entry to secondary school for those pupils, especially within those curriculum areas where an earlier start can make a substantial difference in subsequent secondary achievement. For example, Literacy, Numeracy, Languages, Music and Science. Ashmole Academy seeks to encourage the development of a primary curriculum that, in addition to being outstanding in all aspects of primary education, carefully prepares pupils for transfer to secondary school building in long term and sustained achievement and that the interruption that can sometimes occur in progress at this transition stage is overcome by a particularly strong partnership between Ashmole Academy and its partner primary schools. Currently, although most students who join the Academy live within about a mile of the school, the number of primary schools from where these pupils come is as many as 56, making such close working relationships impossible to achieve.
With the particular pressure of primary school places growing and parents having great difficulty in getting their children into local primary schools, the Governors and the Head Teacher were asked what Ashmole could do to help. Ashmole Academy is uniquely advantaged in this regard. It has a 28 acre site, one of the largest open spaces in the area. Within these 28 acres, the school has said previously to Barnet that a space could be found for a primary school. Ashmole Academy is located on the boundary between two local education authorities, Enfield and Barnet. The boundary between the two authorities is the school boundary. The school is situated in Barnet but 52% of its intake comes from Barnet and the remaining 48% from Enfield.
Ashmole Primary School is in a unique geographical location in London having 28 acres of grounds. It proposes to take full advantage of its physical environment by creating an educational campus of outstanding educational establishments within its grounds, all of which are in close proximity to each other. The Academy already is an eight form outstanding 11-16 secondary school with a large and outstanding Sixth Form of 370 students. The main 11-16 school has all purpose built accommodation. The Sixth Form has recently benefitted from a state of the art Sixth Form Centre. The Academy seeks to develop this trend further by providing a private nursery school, funded by the Academy, and a sponsored Free School primary school on its site. It seeks to maximise the educational advantages of all the buildings and the physical environment of the site. It seeks to create the Ashmole Academy Education Campus as a centre of excellence in education from pre-school through to the end of compulsory schooling at the age of 18 with the Academy Trust taking responsibility for ensuring that all such provisions within the campus deliver and continue to deliver an outstanding educational service and performance. It will be an educational campus of an outstanding nature servicing the local community with many of its children, pupils, students and parent/carers living within walking distance of the campus. The campus will have the benefits of the various institutions being within walking distance of each other, enabling the effective provision of resources, school improvement, teacher training and facilities to be maximised.
Ashmole Academy has formed a partnership with Eversley Primary School with its Head Teacher being the primary school lead on the Ashmole project. Eversley School is a large three form entry outstanding primary school. The Ashmole Academy and Eversley Primary School partnership will develop the model for the primary curriculum building upon the successful practices at Eversley and at Ashmole. The primary model will be implemented in a new two form entry feeder primary free school that Ashmole Academy seeks to develop on its site. The Ashmole-Eversley partnership will bring benefit to the partners themselves helping both to develop their school improvement programmes as well as creating a vehicle for innovation and collaboration.
Ashmole Academy seeks to develop a nursery school that, with other local providers, may feed into the Ashmole Primary School. This development is likely to occur after the Free School has started.
We consider it important to have an onsite nursery class to establish a strong foundation to the Ashmole experience. As a private setting, the 26 place nursery would also give parents access to wrap around care beyond the core 15 hours of funded early education. In due course we may extend this offer to disadvantaged 2 year olds.
The aims of the nursery class would align with those of the school so that from their earliest days there would be high expectations for children to enable them to achieve highly and develop exemplary standards of behaviour based on mutual respect and creativity. The early year’s curriculum would develop children’s learning holistically by promoting challenging experiences both indoors and outdoors. The nursery class would reap the benefit of using excellent shared school facilities, in particular the extensive grounds, unique in a densely populated London borough. Communication and literacy skills would be strongly developed by introducing signing and encouraging children to articulate their ideas through a variety of media in preparation for a skills-based primary curriculum. Exceptional levels of school readiness would be achieved having followed an enriched, purposeful early year’s curriculum. Each child’s progress would be rigorously tracked by skilful and experienced staff, led by a Qualified Teacher. Staff would benefit from access to exceptional cross phase, professional learning opportunities so common themes and expectations would be established from the outset.
Ashmole Academy seeks to develop a feeder school criterion to its admission criteria with regard to Ashmole Primary School. The Academy had such a criteria a number of years ago. Feeder school criteria need to be reasonable and transparent. Ashmole Primary School will be a feeder school to Ashmole Academy because the Ashmole Academy Trust will be responsible for its school improvement, ensuring that the primary school is outstanding or well on its way to being outstanding. Furthermore, the primary school will be teaching an ‘enhanced’ primary curriculum that better prepares its pupils to transfer to the Ashmole Academy curriculum.
The Academy recognises that its admissions must keep capacity for other admissions to the school from other local primary schools.
The aims of the Trust will be:
Aims of the Ashmole Academy Trust
At Ashmole Academy Trust we aim to enable pupils and students to develop to their fullest potential in all areas of school in order to prepare them as far as are practicable to be responsible members of society in modern day Britain. We encourage them to work hard, have self-belief and the determination to succeed. We create a safe, caring and friendly environment which is values based and with high standards of behaviour, respect and courtesy. We provide an inclusive school community which is rich in variety and diversity, where children and young people of all abilities and backgrounds work together to achieve their personal best.
To this end, whilst recognising the importance of the home and society in the learning process for children, pupils and students, we seek to:
- Ensure that every child, pupil and student achieves their very best, in terms of academic success, personal development, creative expression and sporting achievements.
- Equip each and every child, pupil and student with the skills and knowledge to become a full citizen in the 21st Century through work, leisure, community involvement and life-long learning.
- Provide a safe and caring school for children, pupils and students to grow and develop, in a community that promotes learning as a partnership between teachers, parents, children, pupils and students and the community as a whole.
- Provide a scientific & culturally enriched learning environment.
To achieve this we will:
- Maximise Achievement;
- Promote excellence in all teaching;
- Demand the best from each child, pupil and student in every area of school life;
- Foster personal qualities of hard work, determination and initiative;
- Value success and achievement, and challenge underachievement;
- Encourage the development of lively and enquiring minds.
Provide a School Fit for the 21st Century:
- Provide a broad and balanced education for each student enabling them to excel in all that they do;
- Help each pupil and student to develop the skills to continue to learn throughout life, including communication skills, literacy, numeracy, IT capability, problem solving, independence and the ability to work with others;
- Appreciate the international and technological nature of human relationships in the 21st Century;
- Provide a learning environment fit for teaching in the 21st Century in a school which is at the forefront of good educational practice.
Develop Civic Responsibility, British Values and Community Involvement:
- Respect the cultural diversity of our British society;
- Build relationships within school upon trust, understanding, tolerance, care, consideration, respect and responsibility for oneself and others;
- Provide opportunities for children, pupils and students to develop self-discipline, initiative and responsibility, and to contribute to society;
- Develop a working partnership with the local community and business;
- Develop a working partnership with parents, which involve them fully in the education of their children.
Provide a Scientific & Culturally Enriched Learning Environment:
- To help pupils and students become scientifically well informed citizens so that they can contribute to environmental and ethical debates in a world in which the influence of Science is constantly increasing;
- To develop Science, Mathematics, Languages, Humanities, Music and other curriculum opportunities within the school so that children, pupils and students of all abilities can understand the range and possibilities of the subject for informed career choices;
- To make extensive use of technology to increase learning and to develop skills that will prepare our children and young people for independent life-long learning;
- To create resources that will extend the knowledge and experience of our children, pupils and students so that their attainments in essential core areas will improve providing an excellent basis for success throughout their career;
- To raise standards of achievement in all areas of the curriculum for all children, pupils and students across the ability range, and to increase Sixth Form participation in Science and Mathematics;
- To enrich subjects and activities within the curriculum with innovative, creative, cultural and competitive opportunities that extends and culturally enriches the educational experiences of the children, pupils and students;
- To provide a centre for educational activities for the use of members of the local community.
Ashmole Academy Trust in sponsoring this Free School primary school seeks to achieve the following:
- To meet local basic needs for primary education places in the area. The school believes that there is a shortfall of primary school places in both Barnet and Enfield in the area of the school. The creation of a two form primary school will significantly increase parental choice as well as addressing the basic needs issue.
- Ashmole Academy Trust has built a distinctive ethos around its vision to provide excellence in educational provision. The Academy has a motto ‘Excellence is a Habit not an Event’. That commitment to success through stressing traditional educational standards by driving up performance with regards to English and Literacy, Maths and Numeracy, Science, Languages, History and Geography and Music can be seen in the success the secondary school achieves. The data from 2014 shows that 61% obtained a grade C or higher pass in the English Baccalaureate, significantly above the national average, with 37% gaining top grades at GCSE (A/A*). Ashmole Academy will extend this motto with the emphasis on the highest educational performance possible through the best teaching into the primary school. As these pupils move through to secondary school, the success of those individuals will be significantly enhanced.
- Ashmole Academy Trust will develop aspects of a primary school curriculum, starting from Infants and increasingly so in the Junior stage, that enables the pupils on reaching Year 6 to be more ready for transfer to secondary education and, for many, that transfer being into Ashmole Academy. The school will innovate particularly with the teaching of Literacy, Numeracy, Languages, Science, Music and PE taking advantage of secondary teachers to deliver lessons in the primary Free School, for example delivering complex themes and/or teaching the most able in order to provide stretch and challenge in those areas. Traditionally the lack of specialist teachers in certain areas has been a barrier to students making progress at both primary and secondary in those subjects. The Academy will also innovate through developing a more ‘shared’ and collaborative approach to the planning and delivery of the education in Year 6 and 7 between the schools ensuring that pupil progress is maintained throughout the KS2 and KS3 transition.
- The Ashmole-Eversley Partnership will help to raise achievement at KS2 and GCSE in the partnership schools through maintaining and supporting all the partnership schools to remain or become outstanding.
- Ashmole Academy will co-ordinate aspects of the timetables of the schools within the Ashmole campus enabling staff to work at each school to maximise pupil success and curriculum innovation as well as maximising the efficiency of resources. Similarly the schools within the partnership will have some jointly shared professional development activities enabling primary teachers to work at the secondary school and for secondary teachers to be trained to teach at the primary level.
- Ashmole Academy has played a major role in supporting school improvement working in close partnership with many other professional organisations. This tradition of strong networking will continue with the creation of the primary school and the formation of the Ashmole and Eversley Partnership enabling the partnership and its associated Teaching Alliances to act as a hub of outstanding practice and professional development to the local community, as well as a resource centre for use by other local primary schools.
Ashmole Academy has a strong tradition for working in close partnership with its parents/carers. This tradition will be further enhanced by creating an educational campus for students from aged 3 through to 18 delivering an outstanding education provision based on a commitment to work closely with parents and carers to achieve that success.
Ashmole Primary School
At Ashmole Primary School we want all children to enjoy school and have a love of learning. We encourage them to persevere, to have self-belief and the determination to succeed in all they do in order to be the best that they can be.
At Ashmole Primary School we expect pupils to:
•Be kind, helpful, respectful and polite
•Always try your best
•Be proud to be yourself
•Treat others as you would like to be treated