History of Ashbourne College, Kensington, London

An independent college in Kensington, London, Ashbourne was founded in 1981 by its current Principal and Director Mr Mike Kirby.

Many of Ashbourne’s current competitors were established at the same time, and along with Ashbourne, were predominantly involved in A level re-sits with a soupçon of Oxbridge Entrance. (In those days, if students wished to try for Oxbridge they, in effect, had to take a compulsory gap year after attempting a ‘seventh term’ entrance examination in mid-November).

At that time Ashbourne specialised in Mathematics, Sciences and Economics, while it now has excellent teaching provision and student numbers in 35 subjects, including the humanities, social sciences and creative arts. In those earlier days, modules were still a gleam in the Department of Education’s eye, so in re-sitting, students had to redo everything. Most Ashbourne students at that time only stayed at the college for one term so it regularly lost over half of its students after January. Great fun! Things have definitely changed.

The backbone of Ashbourne is now formed by the two-year A-level programme, although the college also has a small but growing GCSE department, founded in the early 1990s. Over the years Ashbourne has attracted many enthusiastic, highly motivated students from both home and abroad, who have achieved excellent exam results and proceeded to top British universities.

Ashbourne’s rising reputation has been accompanied by significant development both in student numbers and in the size and quality of its buildings. The single room occupied by Ashbourne in 1981 has evolved into four floors, filled with state-of-the-art facilities. Other aspects of the school have nevertheless remained constant, above all the dedication to small classes, personal attention and emphasis on academic excellence. Ashbourne is currently fortunate to have a number of teachers who have taught at the college for well over a decade alongside a strong and dedicated administration team.

  Ashbourne College is a member of CIFE, the professional association for independent sixth-form colleges. All CIFE colleges share the belief that students come first and that education should adapt to the individual rather than the other way round. That belief is made real by staff who have the time to get to know students fast and to tailor their approach to each individual. This makes CIFE colleges particularly good at helping students change school successfully.