Copies of the history of the School, written by Pat Earlam, are available on request. Please send a donation (suggested donation of £20) for our Bursary Fund made payable to Ashford School Association Charitable Trust to the Alumni & Development Office, Ashford School, East Hill, Ashford, TN24 8PB.
In 1898, Mrs Thimann opened a small school for "ladies" in Queens Road, Ashford. Nothing much is known of this school except that, before long, it was necessary to move to larger premises; first in Wellesley Road in 1903 and then to two houses in the High Street in 1905.
In 1910, Mrs Edwards bought the school and renamed it "The Modern High School for Girls". Within a short time the school expanded into another, adjacent house in the High Street and then finally moved to yet again bigger premises on East Hill in 1913.
The move to Alfred House at East Hill with its large gardens offered the opportunity of further growth and development. Then as now the school's aim was to afford a "sound education...under Christian influence" giving careful attention to "the training and development of character".
In 1928, when Mrs Edwards retired and was succeeded by Miss Brake there were over 250 pupils in the school. Miss Brake led the school through the war years and its evacuation to Devon and then presided over a sustained period of development and growth, finally retiring in 1955.
After Miss Brake's retirement, Miss Nightingale took over and set about updating the facilities to cope with the large number of pupils and growing demand. The Jubilee Building, Brake Hall and classrooms were all added while Somerville, Cranmer and Brooke were all remodelled. By the time she retired in 1971 pupil numbers had risen to over 750.
In 1972 Miss Thompson took over as Head and continued the development of the school by building the Octagons, Sports Hall, New Alfred and extending the junior school and Cranmer. The Refectory was added in 1978.
In 1984, Mrs Macaire took over as Head and introduced changes to the curriculum when the National Curriculum was launched. Brabourne was opened as a boarding house.
Mrs Metham succeeded Mrs Macaire in 1992 and stayed for five years. During this period the pupils achieved consistently highly and the school stood high in the league tables.
In 1997 Mrs Burnett joined to lead the school, followed by Mrs Holloway in 2001. These were difficult years for the school as the number of boarders declined.
In 1998, the School Council took the decision to join the United Church Schools Trust (then known as the Church Schools Company). In doing so, they secured the future of the school. In 1998 a Centenary History of Ashford School was written by Patricia Earlham and published for sale. See top for more information.
In 2005, the current Head, Mike Buchanan, was appointed as the first male Head of the school. Ashford School merged with Friars Prep School in Great Chart and relaunched itself as a co-educational school for boys and girls from age 3 months to 18 years.
The first boys arrived in the Senior School in September 2006 and boy boarders joined in the following year. Since Mike Buchanan took over as Head, pupil numbers have risen again and now stand at over 750. At the same time, the Prep School was relocated to Great Chart in new buildings, the Learning Centre was created in Somerville, the Atrium Cafe installed in Coronation together with new maths classrooms and new boarding houses opened in Brooke and Alfred.
In late 2009, the Pre-Prep School moved to Great Chart after the completion of a major new building including 18 new classrooms, new hall, entrance area and dining hall. With the addition of 25 acres of playing fields for all at Great Chart the School is well set for a vibrant future.
In November 2010, the School was voted "The Independent School of the Year" beating competition from a strong field of high-performing independent schools from across the country including University College School London, the Royal Grammar School Guildford, Sheffield High School, the Manchester Grammar School and King Edward's School Birmingham.
The United Church Schools Trust and its sister charity the United Learning Trust were combined under a single trading name of United Learning.