All anniversaries offer an opportunity to both look back, and anticipate and plan for the future.
On 5th July 2017, ACS celebrates the start of its 50th anniversary, making us the third oldest (and, possibly, the wisest) international school in the UK. Our history is marked by milestone campus openings, world-renowned programmes, and future-facing teaching. We are proud of our heritage and the people (including 26,000 alumni) who have helped establish us as a leading group of international schools – now educating 3,500 students from over 100 countries, at four campuses.
Our first school, the Overseas School of London, opened in 1967 at 16 Netherall Gardens, Hampstead, with just 35 students. Our Founders, Mr. Emmanuel J Poularas and Mr. Gordon E Speed, had a vision to create an outstanding learning environment for London’s booming expat community. Within three months, the Hampstead campus had enrolled to capacity with 220. To accommodate this demand, we opened a sister school in Knightsbridge the following year.
Within ten years, ACS had opened additional campuses in Hyde Park and Wimbledon. The Knightsbridge campus introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to support the diversity of global families. ACS also became the first American elementary school south of the River Thames.
From city to countryside
During the following years of rapid growth, ACS reached an important milestone. With more than half of our students being bussed into central London from South West London and Surrey, we decided it made sense to relocate out of the city centre and into the suburbs, opening new campuses in Cobham, Hillingdon and later Egham.
ACS Cobham opened in 1975, set in the magnificent 128-acres grounds of the historic Heywood Mansion. By 1988, a state-of-the-art boarding house had been added. In 1978, ACS Hillingdon was founded on the 11-acre site of the old Hillingdon Court School. As demand steadily increased for quality international education outside of central London, we opened ACS Egham in 1995 on the beautiful 20-acre Woodlee estate. ACS Egham is now the only school in the country to offer all IB programmes.
Wanting to make our model of education available to more students around the world, we opened our first overseas campus in Doha in 2011, combining the philosophy and approach of our established UK schools with the local traditions, culture and history of Qatar. ACS Doha experienced meteoric growth taking it to capacity in under five years. As a result, a purpose-built campus is planned that will accommodate up to 2,470 students in order to help meet future enrolment needs and address the country’s demand for quality education places.
Never resting on our laurels, ACS continues to look forwards, and has begun the process to become a UK registered charity in 2018. Once there, we can really widen our commitment to Inspire All the Make a Difference. Keep watching.