Ashton Middle School

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Ashton (VA) Middle School
Established 1973 (1887)
Type Voluntary aided middle school
Religion Church of England
Founder Frances Ashton
Location Bedfordshire
Coordinates: 51°53′22″N 0°31′30″W / 51.889514°N 0.525129°W / 51.889514; -0.525129
Local authority Central Bedfordshire
DfE number 823/5410
DfE URN 109714 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Gender Coeducational
Ages 9–13
Houses Ely, York, Lincoln & Wells
Colours Navy blue and white          

Ashton (Church of England) Middle School is Middle school in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England, under the Central Bedfordshire Local Education Authority.

Intake comes from lower schools in the town and surrounding villages. The majority of graduates move up to one of the upper schools in the town: All Saints Academy, Queensbury Academy or Manshead School

In August 2014 Central Bedfordshire Council made the decision to close the school in 2016.


Ashton Middle School

Ashton's main building and grounds began as Dunstable Grammar School, founded by Frances Ashton in 1728 and built in 1887. It officially took on its middle school name and status in 1973.

Bedfordshire changed from a two-tier school system to a three-tier system (lower, middle and upper) in 1972, the concept of middle schools originally being mooted in the 1967 Plowden Report.[1] It is now one of fewer than 200 middle schools in England.

In August 2014 Central Bedfordshire Council made the decision to close Ashton Middle School in 2016. The council claims that falling pupil numbers are making the school financially unviable, however the Church of England Diocese of St Albans is currently consulting on whether to appeal the closure. The closure of the school is part of a reorganisation of schooling in Dubstable which is expected to ultimately lead to closure of three middle schools in the area.[2]


The school has five buildings, the "A" block being the largest and oldest, situated parallel to Watling Street, mainly used for maths and French lessons and secretary duties. It also houses a matrons office, a library, the main hall and school chapel. The "B" block is primarily for the new intake form classes. The "C" block is multipurpose but includes science labs and design-technology rooms. The "D" block is used for history, geography and music teaching; and the "E" block contains lockers and storage.

Other facilities include an astroturf pitch, PE block with an indoor gym, and a ball court for the children.

School houses[edit]

The school has a house system named after four English cathedrals.

House Colours

Competition between the houses includes a sports day, swimming gala and merit marks, and football, hockey, cricket, rugby, tag rugby and athletics (long jump, high jump, javelin, shot put and track events). The school garden is being rebuilt as a memorial to a former year 8 student, Hayley Spokes.

Ofsted report[edit]

A section 5 Ofsted inspection was carried out and the report published on 16 March 2011. In the report the school was deemed "inadequate" by education watchdog Ofsted.[3][4] The report stated "Significant improvement is required in relation to the progress of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities, and the use of assessment to provide individual pupils with appropriate guidance, challenge and support."

The Ofsted inspection of March 2012 found the school to be "satisfactory and improving, with good features".[5]


  1. ^ Derek Gillard. "Plowden Report 1967 - notes on the text". Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  2. ^ "BBC News - CofE looks at Bedfordshire school closure plan". Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "'Inadequate' school caned by inspectors". Dunstable Today. 9 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Ashton CofE VA Middle School". Ofsted. Retrieved 24 April 2014.