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Jon (Jonathan) Ashley, Chetham's 1959-1970

Ofsted inspector and educational consultant

Violin, timpani, Chorister

Since leaving Chetham’s…

Jon gained a History, Economics and Politics degree from Manchester University, then trained as a secondary teacher (PE and history) at Loughborough College. After taking further degrees (BEd and MPhil) in special education he taught PE and history then became deputy head of a special school in Oldham. A headteacher in five schools (Wirral, Liverpool and Salford), he has been married to Carol for 41 years. Now semi retired, he’s doing inspection work.

After playing rugby from the age of 7 – 59 years (inspired by Chetham’s experiences of competitive rugby), he’s now doing triathlons to keep fit.

What was the best thing about your time at Chetham’s?

Friendships, rugby, swimming, development as a reasonable musician via cathedral choir, school choir and orchestra. Development of self-discipline; Chetham’s taught me to be independent and resilient. Still keep in touch with old class mates. Enjoyed the friendships. It was quite tough in the early sixties as a young pupil – you needed to stand up for yourself. Some of the teachers – Brian Gee, Eric Stephens, Trevor Gamson, Brian Peters, Guy Pessell – encouraged and challenged you to do your best. Loved the sport. Have benefited from music tuition – still playing viola, violin and guitar.

What’s your favourite memory of Chetham’s? 

As a boarder, playing football on the yard on Sunday evenings until it went dark. Sneaking off for a smoke on the fire escape behind the refectory! Being part of a very successful rugby team and related camaraderie. Final year of 1969-70 when the school became a music school. Great friendships formed with girls and boys who joined the school during that year.

What impact did Chetham’s have on your life?

I feel that I was encouraged to stand on my own two feet whatever life throws at you. Enduring friendships with a small but special group. Enduring love of music-for example, currently having viola and violin lessons. Played acoustic guitar since leaving school; play piano for fun; sang with Alteri choir (2000-05). I have had a lifelong enjoyment of learning – I love reading, study and research.


Instruments: Chorister, Strings

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