Magna Academy

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Coordinates: 50°44′54″N 1°57′56″W / 50.74833°N 1.96556°W / 50.74833; -1.96556

Magna Academy
Established 1989
Type Academy
Principal Richard Tutt
Founder Mrs. M. Snell, Ashley Cross Girls School, Seldown Boys School
Location Ashdown Close
Canford Heath

BH17 8RE
DfE URN 139711 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Students 708
Gender Coeducational
Ages 12–18
Houses None
Colours Black,Blue
Website Ashdown Homepage

Magna Academy is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in the Canford Heath area of Poole, Dorset, England.

It was first opened as Ashdown School on 7 July 1989 following the merger of Ashley Cross Girls School and Seldown Boys School. In 2001 it became Ashdown Technology College after being awarded specialist status in technology. The school converted to academy status on 1 September 2013 and was renamed Magna Academy.


Construction and opening[edit]

The construction of Ashdown School began in 1986 in a large field in Canford Heath, Poole, Dorset. The new secondary school would be the result of two closing schools, Seldown Boys School and Ashley Cross Girls School, fusing together. The name Ashdown is a combination of the school's names.

During construction, a time capsule was placed somewhere within the brick walls, the capsule being removed from its previous location in Seldown Boys School. Fifty ash trees were planted around the border of the school's field, to represent the school's new name. However, deliberately started fires have destroyed some of the trees, the most recently in 2003. A collage was made from drawings of the original two schools, that hangs in the entrance of the school.

On July 7, 1989, the new Ashdown School was opened by Princess Margaret and headteacher Mollie Snell. Six hundred students attended the opening of the school.

Events in 1990-1999[edit]

In 1990, Snell retired from her post as headteacher and passed it on to Ashley Pellegrini, who was previously deputy headteacher of Mellow Lane Comprehensive School in Hayes, Middlesex. The school also celebrated its first Sports Day on the school's field and running track; this became a yearly tradition for the school. New ICT facilities were also opened.

In 1991, the school performed its first Christmas pantomime, "The Magic Sword". School shows eventually disappeared from the yearly events, as did Drama. The school previously had a newspaper named the Ashdown Echo (a parody of the Echo newspaper), but it eventually ceased. The first Year 11 Prom was held. The School Council was created, to help improve the school's conditions.

In 1995, the Charter Mark Award was given to Ashdown for Excellence in Public Service.

On October 7 [1997], two arsonists set the school on fire at 2:00 a.m. and burnt down part of the school, destroying the music room. The school was closed for a week as police,teachers and Site Manager along with Council staff examined damage to the school. A new area was constructed in 1999, with a new music room and five new classrooms that would become Maths rooms. The school received a second Charter Mark Award in 1998.

Events in 2000-2013[edit]

In 2000, the school was presented a DfES School Improvement Award. In 2001, under the DfES; Specialist Schools programme, Ashdown became a Technology College and changed its name to Ashdown Technology College. New technology is added in several classrooms, including interactive whiteboards.

In 2005 Ashdown was recognised by the Specialist Schools Trust as one of the "Most Improved" and "Best Added Value" Schools in the country. The DfEs also designated Ashdown as a High Performing Specialist School. Near the end of the school term, In 2006 Ashdown was redesignated as a Technology College with Vocational Learning added to its specialisms. A Sixth Form was introduced. Headteacher Pellegrini was replaced in 2007 by Liz Jones. The new term that began in September, 2007, introduced a new school uniform to the school, replacing the school sweatshirts with jumpers and a blue polo shirt both with the school logo on it. Also bringing in the new P.E uniform which is red polo top with school logo and shorts or tracksuit bottoms with school logo on it. Parts of the school were refurbished in 2008, including heavy reconstruction to Ashdown Gym.

In 2012 Ashdown Technology College was placed in special measures after Ofsted assessed the school as "inadequate" for overall effectiveness.[1][2]

Renaming to Magna Academy[edit]

The school officially transferred from Ashdown Technology College to Magna Academy on 1 September 2013.[3]

In September 2015 the academy received national media attention after it removed pupils from classes for having miss-sized classroom equipment, such as too small pencil cases or rulers.[2][4]


  1. ^ Diana Henderson (10 August 2012). "Ashdown Technology College in Poole rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Dorset school praised by David Cameron 'isolates' up to 40 pupils for 'pencil case infringement'". Daily Telegraph. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Steph Cockroft (8 September 2015). "Anger as 40 children are put in detention because their rulers are too short or their pencil cases are too small". Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 

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