Virtual Visit


Ashton School is a Church of Ireland Post-Primary School in the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

You are invited to participate in a virtual visit of our school. The online visit is intended to offer prospective students and their parents the opportunity to learn more about our ethos, facilities, programmes, activities, academic performance, pastoral and discipline systems, the student experience, and the school’s admission policy and application process.

Begin your visit by watching a short animated slideshow of images describing a day in the life of an Ashton student.

A Day in the Life


Ashton School was established in 1972 by the amalgamation of Cork Grammar School and Rochelle School. Ashton is a Church of Ireland co-educational school under the patronage of the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, and Cork Education and Training Board. Ashton serves the Protestant Community in Cork, but not just the Protestant Community. Where the availability of places allows, Ashton serves many others in the wider community also. The school seeks to provide a Christian environment in which students develop moral values, personal and social skills and achieve the highest standard of excellence they can attain. As a comprehensive school Ashton caters for children of all abilities and provides a broad range of subjects spanning a broad curriculum which goes far beyond subjects alone.

Ashton has an enrolment of approximately 520 students and a teaching staff of approximately forty-five. Ashton teachers demonstrate competence, commitment and professionalism in their approach to their teaching duties. Students benefit from the wide range of competencies, interests and experience of the teaching staff in all programmes but particularly in the Transition Year Programme.

Ashton School is a state-funded school, funded through the Department of Education and Skills. There are no tuition fees. The school has an active Parents’ Committee and a Development Committee. The Development Committee invites each family to make an annual voluntary contribution to the School Development Fund. The funds accumulated by the Development Committee are used to supplement department funds to improve the educational experience of our students. Most recently the Development Committee has part-funded a development project to replace the synthetic grass surface on our hockey pitch. Many students will benefit from that development in years to come.


Ashton is a school that is proud of its history. The school is 48 years old but its roots and traditions extend much further into the past through the schools which were amalgamated when Ashton School was formed. You might like to know that the school published its history in print a number of years ago. “A History of Ashton School” is written by past pupil and historian Alicia St Leger. It makes interesting reading for anyone with a connection to the school in recent times or in years gone by. 

You might also be interested to know that Ashton has a connection with the newest bridge in Cork – the Mary Elmes bridge – which was officially opened on Friday, 27th September, 2019. Mary Elmes was a past pupil of Rochelle school and was inducted into the Ashton School Hall of Fame on the same day the bridge was opened. She was given her place in the Hall of Fame gallery with the many other Ashton past pupils whose outstanding achievements have in recent times been formally acknowledged by the school’s Board of Management.

Learn more by viewing some video footage of the official openings of our current building (2015), Ashton School (1975), and Cork Grammar School (1955).


Our school campus consists of a three-storey teaching block with modern laboratories, workshops and information technology facilities, a Georgian House which is used mainly for administration but also houses a few small classrooms and the school chapel, a sports hall, a multi-purpose synthetic grass pitch, a grass soccer pitch, synthetic grass tennis courts, tarmacadam tennis courts and an extensive perimeter of green area containing many mature trees.

Junior Cycle

Students take a number of core subjects in the Junior Cycle programme: Irish, English, mathematics, science, history, geography and a modern foreign language (French or German) Students also take two certified short courses: civic, social and political education (CSPE) and social, personal and health education (SPHE).

Religious education (RE), physical education (PE) and guidance are also core subjects on the Junior Cycle curriculum but are not assessed for certification purposes.

In addition to core subjects, seven option subjects are offered to junior cycle students. These include art, business studies, home economics, engineering, music, graphics and wood technology. Students try all option subjects in September and October in their first year. At the end of October first year students choose three option subjects which they will continue to study for the remainder of the junior cycle.

The introduction of guidance into our Junior Cycle programme allows us to tailor a programme to meet the specific and varied needs of our students in the area of wellbeing.

Transition Year

Ashton offers a very comprehensive and varied Transition Year programme. The programme follows junior cycle and is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students who give it everything they’ve got. Students are actively encouraged to take part in the programme. In Ashton it is not compulsory but almost every student opts for the programme. The primary aims of the Transition Year programme are to promote maturity and the skills of independent learning. The additional aims include providing opportunity for students to identify their future educational and vocational needs before choosing their leaving certificate subjects.

Leaving Certificate

Senior cycle students take Irish, English and mathematics as core academic subjects. Students also take guidance, religious education, physical education and social, personal and health education (SPHE) but these are not examined for certification at Leaving Certificate level. Ashton offers approximately sixteen option subjects arranged in four teaching blocks. Students choose one subject from each block. The arrangement of subjects in the blocks is optimised for each group entering senior cycle to ensure that as many students as possible can choose the subjects they desire. The option subjects offered for Leaving Certificate are: accounting, art, biology, business, chemistry, construction studies, design and communication graphics, economics, engineering, French, geography, German, history, home economics, music, physics and Spanish.

Pastoral Care and Discipline

Ashton puts an emphasis on providing an organised and calm environment to for teaching and learning.  Accordingly, discipline is considered important and the school has a well-developed discipline system. Students are supported by an established pastoral care system and the school’s discipline structures. 

Pastoral care and discipline are not seen as mutually exclusive. Each year group is assigned a teacher who takes on the role of year head for the group. Each student is also assigned a form tutor. Together year heads and form tutors take responsibility for meeting the pastoral and discipline needs of our students. The support structures in place provide an environment that is conducive to student learning and wellbeing and an environment which facilitates good teaching without time being wasted on student behaviour.

Student Achievement

The ultimate aim for most students is to perform well in the Leaving Certificate examination, so that they have as many options as possible for further education. Ashton students over an extended period of time have consistently scored grades significantly higher than the national averages. Over the most recent three-year period the number of Ashton students achieving 500+ points has been 60% higher than the national average and the number of students scoring 600+ points has been 130% higher than the national average.

The academic achievement of our students is a primary focus and students perform well at all levels. Top academic performance is not something achieved by chance. It is inspired by the high expectations we have of our students in terms of classwork, homework, behaviour, and overall participation. Top academic performance is realised through the hard work of our students in response to the expectations we have of them. The expectation that students give their all to their studies is written into our mission statement which can be accessed below.

In keeping with our mission statement Ashton School is committed to doing its best for the students who enrol at the school and students who enrol are also expected to do their best in return.

External Evaluation

In the last decade the school has been evaluated externally during two whole school evaluations carried out by the Department of Education and Skills. Our most recent whole-school evaluation focused on management, leadership and learning. It was conducted in February 2016.

A summary of the findings reported by the inspectors following evaluation in 2016 is as follows:

very effective management and leadership of learning

principal and deputy principal 
demonstrate a deep commitment and loyalty to the school

parents, teachers and students are very positive in their views of the school

a positive and caring learning community

curriculum is broad and balanced as befits a comprehensive school

quality of teaching and learning was very good

wide range of extracurricular activities provided

school facilities are of a very high quality

student achievement in the certificate examinations is strong

high level of engagement with the school self-evaluation (SSE) process

The full reports of the whole-school evaluations (in the areas of management, leadership and learning) conducted in 2010 and 2016 are available by clicking on the links below.

Sport and Extra-Curricular Activities

Ashton School and the schools from which it was amalgamated (Rochelle School and Cork Grammar School) have had fine sporting traditions stretching back over many years.  The schools have produced many interprovincial and international players in a wide variety of sports.

Sport is a very important element of school life in Ashton. Students are encouraged to take part in the many sports that are available.  The main sports include hockey, soccer, badminton and athletics. A variety of other sports are also taught through the physical education programme. Many students also take part in sporting activities outside the school such as windsurfing, swimming and horse riding. Where they wish to enter in inter-school competitions the school is pleased and willing to facilitate them.

Student Experience

Evidence of the quality of student achievement is best demonstrated by students with experience of all programmes offered in Ashton. Please listen to the testimonials of two senior students who give accounts of their Ashton experience as they progressed through the school.

Admission Policy and Process

It is very important that parents of prospective students are familiar with the school’s admission policy. Among other things, it describes the student selection criteria in detail. The selection criteria explain the order in which places are offered to applicants. The policy also describes the application process. A link to the school’s admission policy¬† is given below.

The application process is described in further detail on the school’s Annual Admission Notice which gives the application dates and deadlines for the current admission period. It also gives useful statistical information about admission during the previous admission period.

It is imperative that all applications for First Year are received by the school by the deadline published in the school’s admission notice.

A link to the Admission Notice is given below.

Final Words

Ashton School is a school where high standards are expected and attained, and a school which constantly seeks ways of improving the education it provides. The education of children is a team effort involving students, teachers and parents. Ashton recognises the role of parents as the primary educators of their children. We recognise the complementary roles of parents and teachers in educating students, and together we pursue the common aim of educating students according to Christian principles to become good and able members of society.