Ashgate Croft School

Ashgate Road, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S40 4BN


        Tel: 01246 275111


Jenny Dodds – Headteacher

Ashgate Croft School is an Area Special School within Derbyshire Local Authority. Our allocated number of spaces is 142, although we are currently over subscribed with 154 pupils currently on roll (YR-Y14), ranging widely in cognitive and physical ability and needs.

Our pupils have severe learning difficulties and would have difficulty coping in a mainstream school. Some of our pupils have profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) with an increasing number on the autism spectrum.

Class sizes range from 6-12 pupils. Smaller class sizes have become an essential feature of the education for some pupils with autism and/or extremely challenging behaviour.

Keep up to date with everything going on at
Ashgate by following us on Facebook!

About Us

Click the following heading to read about our Vision, Aims and Values

Our Vision

About Us

Equality Objectives

British Values

  • Jenny Dodds – Headteacher
  • Chris Dodds – Deputy Head
  • Neil Amos – Assistant Headteacher – Pastoral
  • Ali Rodgers – Assistant Headteacher – Lower School
  • Georgia Middlebrook – Assistant Headteacher – Upper School

Designated Safeguarding Lead – Jenny Dodds

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead – Dawn Leader

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead – Chris Dodds

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead – Neil Amos

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead – Ali Rodgers

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead – Georgia Middlebrook

Family Support/Early Help Assistant – Heloise Diouf Harley

Co-opted Trust Partner – Lisa Bird –

Co-opted School Champion – Chair – Rob Dawe

Co-opted School Champion – Kiki Matemba-Belli

Headteacher – Jenny Dodds

Staff School Champion – Cath Henderson

Parent School Champion – Ian McIntosh

Parent School Champion – Jayne Burton


You can view and download all documents relating to our school champions here.

School Information

Term Dates for Academic Year 2023-2024

Monday 4th – Friday 8th September – INSET days – School closed to pupils

Monday 11th September – First day of Autumn term

· 4th September 2023 to 27th October 2023 (4th -8th September are INSET days and school is not open to pupils)

· 6th November 2023 to 22nd December 2023

· 8th January 2024 to 16th February 2024

· 26th February 2024 to 28th March 2024

· 15th April 2024 to 24th May 2024 (6 May 2024 is a bank holiday)

· 3rd June 2024 to 23rd July 2024

There will be 2 more INSET days during the year, dates to be confirmed.


Our school dinners are cooked on site. Dinners are to be paid for online via Parent Mail where you can use card details or Paypal. Please contact the school to register for this when your child starts. Cash or cheques are no longer accepted.

You do not need to select meals for your child. Pupils will choose at the start of each day and any meals pupils have had for that week will be selected each Friday and you will get an automated email telling you how much you owe. You can top-up your account and any money owing for meals will be deducted each week.

From September 2022, dinners cost £2.40 per day for Primary and £2.60 per day for Secondary.

View and download our the school meal menu.

Pupils sit with class staff who serve food and supervise eating, assisting where appropriate.
For all pupils we place great emphasis on teaching correct table manners and appropriate behaviour at lunchtimes, in line with our lunchtime policy.

Pupils are welcome to bring their own packed lunch. Some pupils may require special diets and we are happy to make individual arrangements for them.

Free School Meals

Parents/carers may be eligible to claim free school meals. It is easy to apply and you can now apply online by visiting Free School Meals Application.

Alternatively, you can ask at the reception office and they will provide you with an application form to complete. Using the contact details on the outside of the menu leaflet simply request a free school meal application form to be posted out to you.

On return of the completed form, parents will be contacted to advise on eligibility.



Government guidance on portion sizes

Mellors – Download additional information and activity packs

Mellors Environmental and Projects Update (October 2021)

They are dealt with by the Local Authority, please contact them direct and ask for Special Needs Admission Team:

Special Needs Section
Derbyshire County Council
County Hall
Telephone: 01629 580000

For some Parents/Carers, we appreciate the decision to consider the possibility of a special school is a difficult one.  If you would like to visit school on one of our open days, please contact the Jenni Catton (Headteacher’s PA) by email: Places need to be booked in advance.


Open days for prospective families:

Academic Year 2023 – 2024 

  • Wednesday 4th October 2023 1.30pm – 2.30pm
  • Wednesday 11th October 2023 3.30pm – 4.30pm
  • Wednesday 31st January 2024 1.30pm – 2.30pm
  • Wednesday 31st January 2024 3.30pm – 4.30pm
  • Wednesday 26th June 2024 1.30pm – 2.30pm
  • Wednesday 26th June 2024 3.30pm – 4.30pm

Our Leadership Team will be pleased to discuss with you the individual needs of your child and any concerns that you may have. You will have the opportunity to meet the Leadership Team, our Pathway Leads and our Pastoral Team

Our school day begins at 9:00am and we finish at 3:15pm

Whilst the school has no formal school uniform, pupils are encouraged to wear a school sweatshirt, pullover, cardigan or polo shirt. We do however expect parents/carers to send their child suitably dressed for the season of the year.



Blue/Red sweatshirt/hoodie/cardigan.

Polo shirt/t-shirt (no strappy tops, tops must cover stomach and chest areas.)

Dark coloured skirt/trousers/shorts (Shorts/Skirts need to be an appropriate style and length for school.)

Shoes or trainers are acceptable.

Jewellery should be limited to stud earrings and watches for Health and Safety reasons

Pupils in our Post 16 classes do not need to wear uniform.

Staff will address issues with clothing if they feel that clothes are not suitable.


PE kit- t-shirt/shorts, jumper/jogging bottoms, pumps/trainers.

Forest school clothes– long sleeved tops/trousers, waterproofs, wellies/boots.

Swimming kit– costume/trunks, towel and toiletries.


All clothes should be clearly marked with the pupil’s name.

To place an order with our uniform supplier, please follow the direct link below:


Our commitment to Safeguarding


We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our pupils and expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. All Staff are employed subject to a DBS check and undergo Safeguarding training prior to starting their role. There is annual Safeguarding training for all staff.

Safeguarding is about ensuring that everyone is safe from harm – safe from bullying, safe from people who could abuse, safe from discrimination or harassment – and that we all feel safe in our environment.

We have a number of policies and procedures in place that contribute to our safeguarding commitment, including our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy which can be viewed in the Safeguarding section of our website.

Sometimes we may need to share information and work in partnership with other agencies when there are concerns about a child or young person’s welfare. We will ensure that our concerns about our pupils are discussed with their parents/carers first unless we have reason to believe that such a move would be contrary to the child/young person’s welfare. If a member of staff is concerned about a child/ young person’s’ welfare, they will discuss this with one of the DSLs as soon as possible, staff will record their concern, and any observations or conversations heard using our secure online system CPOMS. 

If a member of staff has concerns which relate to the actions or behaviour of another member of staff (which could suggest that they are unsuitable to work with children/vulnerable adults) then this will be reported to one of the leadership team in confidence, who will refer the matter to the Headteacher who will consider what action to take. If the concern relates to the headteacher this will be reported to the Trust or the LADO.

We actively support the Government’s Prevent Agenda to counter radicalism and extremism.

If you are ever concerned about the safety or well‐being of someone at our school please talk to one of the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead s (DSLs) shared below

As a result of internal audit and DfE recommendations, the school has directly adopted the LA Safeguarding policy and any school specific information is contained within the safeguarding poster below.



School Safeguarding Team – Child Friendly Poster

Safeguarding Information for Parents and Carers

Pupil Handbook

Prevent Duty Policy

E-Safety Policy

Early Help and Family Support at Ashgate Croft School

If you have donated/contributed to our School in the past then we greatly appreciate it. Our aim for this financial year is to continue to make improvements here at Ashgate and we will always welcome donation/contributions towards these.

Clothing Bank

We have an Air Ambulance clothing bank on site, situated in the car park next to the Swimming Pool. If you have any unwanted clothes, bags or shoes, please do use the clothing bank as a percentage of the money raised is donated to school.

Current Fundraising Project

Finished Projects

School Lottery

Minutes from Previous Meetings

New parent/carers are always welcome to attend.

The next PSFA meeting will be on Thursday 28th September at 9.30am. The meeting will be held at Ashgate Croft School, however if you would like to attend but are unable to make it into school then we can set up a MS Teams link for you. Please contact Jenni Catton for more details.

The Giving Machine – Download the Shop&Give app and never miss a donation to Ashgate Croft School again! Follow this link for more information or see the posters attached below.

School Curriculum and Standards

Our School Outcomes

Our school’s latest progress and attainment figures can be found on the Department for Education’s website. 

Careers Policies and Documentation

Encounters with Employers

Encounters with Experiences of Workplaces

Encounters with Further and Higher Eduction

Supported Insight Scheme

Compass Careers Benchmark Tool


Derbyshire Local Offer

Information for young people & children with SEND, families and professionals.  Find out more information here.

Aims & Vision of Careers Education at Ashgate Croft School

Careers at Ashgate Croft is defined as ‘Any activity which furthers the knowledge, understanding, skill or experience with the purpose of leading to life enhancing outcome, including improving the possibility & probability of working in a range of settings.’ 

We aim to ensure a high quality of vocational and careers education for all our students, to be delivered in a meaningful and appropriate way for their needs and circumstances. 

Through person centred planning with the Education, Health & Care (EHCP) plans at the centre, we support all our students to articulate their aspirations for adult life, including community inclusion, independence, their aspiration to work and promoting their physical and mental health. This also includes adults around our students, knowing the individual and their needs. 

Our school vision is for all our students to become as independent as they can be and to be prepared for adulthood. We aim to give them every opportunity to reach their full potential whether that is to continue in further education, employment, or independent living. 

Parent/Carer Involvement 

We work in partnership with parents/carers and other agencies to ensure that students are supported holistically in their development. We do this by the use of newsletters, parent/carer evenings, coffee mornings, school website, and whole school events, we share information about open days and careers fairs to help inform the decision-making process. 

We inform parent/carers of opportunities which will enrich, enhance and add to the curriculum offered at Ashgate Croft, including open days, activities and events. We remind our parents/carers that with the right support, many young people with SEND can find paid work and be supported to live independently and participate in leading a full and active role in their community. 

  • Ashgate Croft School Careers lead and work experience co-ordinator – Richard Windle – 
  • Member of Leadership Team responsible for Careers – Georgia Middlebrook (Assistant Head – Upper School) –
  • Ashgate Croft independent careers adviser – David Shephard (Senior SEND Officer 14-25
Supported Insight Scheme

Some of our Post-16 students, as part of the ‘Supported Insight Scheme’ in partnership with DEBP (  will be working 1 day a week at Bolsover Partnership in the New Year.  As part of this programme, students created the following PowerPoint (download here) explaining the work they have done so far on the Bolsover Partnership’s website here:

Year 10 and Year 11 Information Evening

A virtual event was hosted by Richard Windle (Head of Careers Education) and David Shephard (Independent Schools Careers Adviser) on Tuesday 25th January 2022.  This was an information evening to give parents and carers the opportunity to start thinking about their child’s choices for their Post-16 education.  Due to the success of this evening, more events will be organised in the future. 

Year 12 and Year 13 Information Evening

A virtual event was hosted by Richard Windle (Head of Careers Education) and David Shephard (Independent Schools Careers Adviser) on Tuesday 29th March 2022.   A short presentation providing information for parents and carers to help families to start thinking about their children’s choices after Ashgate Croft School.  If you were unable to attend this event, but would like more information, please contact Richard at school.

Due to the success of this evening, we will be organising more information evenings in the future. 

RRSA – Rights Respecting School 

Ashgate Croft School has successfully been awarded Gold by Unicef “Rights Respecting School” (December 2019). 

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights. The Rights Respecting Schools Award is granted to schools that show commitment to promoting and realising children’s rights and encouraging adults, children and young people to respect the rights of others in school. Gold is the highest accolade given by Unicef UK and shows a deep and thorough commitment to children’s rights at all levels of school life. 

The Award recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child at the heart of a school’s planning, policies and practice. A Rights Respecting School is a community where children’s rights are learned, taught, practised, respected, protected and promoted. 

The Unicef UK Rights Respecting Schools iniative is aimed at schools across the UK, including those in an early years setting. This year the programme has received additional support from The People’s Postcode Lottery. This vital funding is helping UNICEF UK continue its work with over 4500 primary schools, secondary schools, schools for children and young people with special educational needs and pupil referral units across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Schools have reported a positive impact on pupil behaviour, relationships and well-being by enhancing pupil’s self-esteem, leading to less truancy and bullying, better learning and improved academic standards. 


School Council 

School council representatives are elected from each department. The school council meet on a termly basis to discuss key issues in school and make decisions about events taking place in school. 

To view the minutes of meetings, please see here. 


We are proud to offer an amazing opportunity that will bring fitness classes directly to your home, made possible by the National Lottery Community Fund.

At the click of a button you will have access to a wide variety of fun exercise workouts, suitable for the whole family and for all abilities. Whether you’re at school, in your living room or at the local park this is a great and inclusive way to be active together.

Simply click on this link and enter the password “pk” to access the brilliant range of activities.

LOTTERY COMMUNITY FUND LOGO - Cancer Focus Northern Ireland


 ** You can request a printed copy of any of the above free of charge. **

Contact Details


Ashgate Road, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S40 4BN

Tel: 01246 275111


For all enquiries please contact Jenni Catton (Headteacher’s PA) using the email address above. 

If you wish to make a complaint please contact the school office in the first instance.


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