Admissions Policy

The aims of this policy are to identify and admit students who will benefit from an academic education and who will contribute to and benefit from the ethos and activities of our college community. We will only admit a student who has met the academic and other criteria. Ashbourne College is a selective college for students for GCSE and A level, although the great majority of its students are aged between 16 and 19 years of age and study at A level.

Equal Treatment

We welcome students from many different ethnic groups, backgrounds and creeds. Human rights and freedoms are respected but must be balanced with the lawful needs and rules of our college community and the rights and freedoms of others. All candidates for admission will be treated equally, irrespective of their, or their parents’ race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, orientation, property, birth or other status.

Disability and Special Educational Needs

The College has limited facilities for the disabled but will do all that is reasonable to comply with its legal and moral responsibilities under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 in order to accommodate the needs of applicants who have disabilities for which, with reasonable adjustments, the College can cater adequately.
The College needs to be aware of any known disability or special educational need which may affect a child’s ability to take full advantage of the education provided at the College. Parents of a child who has any disability or special educational needs should provide the College with full written details at registration, or subsequently before accepting the offer of a place.
The College needs this information so that, in the case of any child with particular needs, we can assess those needs and consult with parents about the adjustments which can reasonably be made to cater adequately for the child’s needs both during the admission process and if an offer of a place is made.
Similarly, if special education needs or a disability become apparent after admission, the College will consult with parents about reasonable adjustments that may allow the child to continue at the College.


Our admission procedure has the following elements:

    1) competitive entry tests;
    2) interviews (either face to face or by telephone);
    3) character references;
    4) academic records from previous institutions;
    5) personal statement;
    6) disability assessments (if applicable)

Entry Points

Ashbourne can accommodate students applying to the College for entry into any year group (year 10, year 11, year 12, year 13 or any of our intensive programmes (e.g. one-year A-level which combines years 12 and 13).

Age Restrictions

A levels – Almost all students will be 16/17 years of age in their first year of study. About 5% of our students join us each year for a one year A level course. It is not uncommon for these students to be a year older than their cohort.
GCSEs – We rarely accept students who are older than a typical in their year group; eg year 10, 14/15 years and year 11, 15/16 years. However applications from younger students are welcome


These are of two kinds:
1) general interviews: in all cases there will be a general interview to explore the candidate’s interests, attitude to college, personal qualities, ability to contribute to the college community, support available at home and any relevant connection with the college; and
2) option interviews: at 16+ there may also be an “option interview” to explore a candidate’s academic ability in a particular subject. This interview may form part of a candidate’s general interview. For certain option subjects (such as Art) candidates may be asked to submit samples of their work. Candidates applying for Drama and Theatre Studies will be asked to audition either at our auditions evening or as part of their academic interview.
We prefer inteviews to take place face-to-face but are happy to proceed via telephone or Skype. All interviews will be accompanied by an admissions’ test in one or all of Mathematics, English and Critical Thinking.

Character reference

The Head of the candidate’s current college will be asked to provide a written reference as to the candidate’s academic ability, attitude and behaviour, involvement in the college community, talents and interest, and any other special circumstances such as special education needs, or a disability. The reference may also include the results of tests taken at the college (such as NFER or SATs). If a candidate from within the UK does not have GCSE results, predicted grades at GCSE should be provided.

Candidate’s age

Very occasionally, we may offer places to students one year ahead or behind their standard year group, if we consider, as a matter of professional judgement, that this would be in the best interests of the student and the College.

Other considerations and special circumstances

Before formal acceptance, all candidates must provide a personal statement of their interests, achievements and ambitions; a copy of any previous examinations results; and a copy of their passport.

We recognise that a candidate’s performance may be affected by particular circumstances, for example:

  • if he/she is unwell when taking tests or has had a lengthy absence from his/her college;
  • if there are particular family circumstances such as a recent bereavement;
  • if there is a relevant educational history, for example education outside the British system;
  • if the candidate has a disability or specific learning difficulties;
  • if English is not the candidate’s first language.

In any of these cases, we may request further information such as a medical certificate or educational psychologist’s report and any associated correspondence or details from the student’s current college (including samples of work) or any family history of dyslexia, as we consider necessary to make a fair assessment.
Disclosures: Parents must as soon as possible disclose any particular known or suspected circumstances relating to their child’s health, allergies, disabilities or learning difficulties.

Post interview

We may reject a candidate who, in the opinion of the interviewer or member of the admissions team, has a poor record of behaviour or who is likely to cause disciplinary problems at the College. We may also reject a candidate who we feel is unlikely to be able to benefit from attending the College.
We may also ask a candidate to delay their entry to January, should they be unable to join at the start of the academic year in September. Ultimately it is at the discretion of the College to accept a student who wishes to start at a date other than the first day of term.
Occasionally, especially for those students applying for scholarships or bursaries, we may make the offer of a place conditional upon the achievement of certain results on examinations.
After a place has been offered and accepted, the client is automatically liable for the first term’s fees, regardless of attendance. Subsequent withdrawal from the College must be accompanied by one full term’s notice; otherwise the fees of the term following withdrawal become payable. For example if one wishes to leave in the spring term notice must be given prior to the start of the autumn term.

Authorised by The Principal
Date June 2018
Effective date of the policy June 2018
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2019