2017 has proved to be another big year for ACS International Schools. As we celebrated our 50th year as an organisation, it has been a year full of positive change and progress across all four of our campuses. From new facilities being opened, to student enrolment records being broken, we take a look at some of the highlights.
After years of planning, 2017 finally marked the opening of the brand-new Woodlands Senior Boarding House. What was once a building site, is now the most contemporary boarding house fit in the country. The milestone was marked by an August garden party at ACS Cobham – with guests including members of the ACS Board, staff, students, both past and present; the Mayor of Elmbridge; and the CEO of the Boarding Schools’ Association.
Boasting ergonomic and state-of-the-art en-suite bedrooms, study areas, cinema room and a medical centre, the £15 million development has helped consolidate ACS Cobham’s standing as a leading international boarding school.
2017 has been an important year for ACS Doha, as the newest member to the ACS International Schools family continues its rapid expansion. Since opening in 2011, the Doha campus has grown to offer a compelling set of international programmes.
In fact, ACS Doha proudly welcomed a record 907 students for the 2017/18 year. To meet the ever-growing demand, work has now begun to build an ambitious new 2,400 student campus in Doha, destined to become the standard of excellence in the region.
As part of a host of campus developments to improve and expand learning spaces, this year saw ACS International Schools invest £10 million into building a cutting-edge Science Centre at ACS Hillingdon. With 7 new state-of-the-art laboratories and revolutionary facilities, this flagship facility underlines the importance we place on STEM subjects and our desire to inspire the next generation of scientists.
The new Science Centre was officially opened by BBC Stargazing Live Presenter and revered astronomer, Mark Thompson. The evening was attended by Board members, staff, students and their families, and featured a series of fascinating practical experiments by the National Space Academy.
ACS International Schools is not just an organisation that invests in its students and their education, it is also an organisation that invests in its people. This year, ACS proudly became the first International School in the UK to be officially accredited as a London Living Wage employer – joining the likes of Natwest and Aviva in this esteemed network.
In celebration of our 50th anniversary and in the spirit of our founders’ legacy, ACS International Schools aims to become a charitable entity by the end of 2018. As part of this transition, 2017 marked the year we launched an extensive new bursary programme across our three UK schools. The aim of the programme is to widen access to our outstanding education, through a full programme of means-tested bursaries and scholarships from the academic year 2018/19.
6. ACS Celebrates International Food Fairs
One of the most rewarding aspects of being an international school, is the opportunity to celebrate and embrace our multicultural community; and what better way to do this than to hold an International Fair across all four of our schools. This much-loved tradition brings together parents, staff and students to share and enjoy a host of traditional cuisines from every corner of the globe, as well as exploring the diverse cultural identities through games, music and performances. As always, the Fairs were a huge success this year, and are sure to be one of the first events added to the school calendar next year.
Read more about the International Fair at ACS Cobham, ACS Egham and ACS Doha >
This year, the ACS Cobham community raised a staggering £65,000 to help support schools in Namibia, Africa. ‘How did they achieve this?’ I hear you ask. Well, as part of our long-standing ACS Namibia Project, the 2017 Namibia Project Team held what can only be described as an amazing generous evening of giving. The event featured live and silent auctions, and a three-course dinner, raising thousands to support the Dr. Alpos Mauno Mbamba Secondary School and Kutenhoas Primary School.
The student-led outreach programme, which has been running strong since 1999, has seen ACS International Schools send annuals groups of staff and students out to Namibia – driven by cultural aptitude and the motivation to make a difference to the world. Long may it continue.
Over a number of years, ACS International Schools has prided itself on a tradition of academic excellence; and 2017 has been no different. This year, all four of our schools celebrated strong results, enabling our students to attend the university of their choice, anywhere in the world. This has been another testament of the hard work and dedication our students and their expert teachers and college counsellors.
Back in October, ACS Doha announced that it had signed a deal with Qatar Foundations’-Recreation Services to use their amazing sports facilities – known to be some of the highest level in the country. The signing took place at QF’s Recreation Center in Education City, involving Mohammed Al Saoud, Head of Recreation Services at QF, Mr. Robert Cody, ACS Doha Head of School, and Mr. Christopher Quinn, ACS Doha Head of P.E.
Known for our sporting prowess, athletes at ACS Cobham, ACS Egham, ACS Hillingdon, and ACS Doha, have a tradition of competing against local and other international schools across the world and occasionally playing against each other. The idea of a tournament for only ACS schools was jumped upon by our schools and the inaugural ACS Schools Cup was founded in 2017 – with the Boys Varsity Football Teams from our four campuses, competing against each other for the very first time.
Hosted by ACS Hillingdon, the fiercely contested tournament involved 65 student athletes, and was watched by parents, staff and fellow students – with ACS Cobham crowned champions on goal difference. As this tournament was such a success, we’re already looking forward to the ACS Schools Cup 2018.
11. ACS Students Return From Orbis Mission in Vietnam
This year saw ACS students return from an Orbis sight-saving mission in Vietnam. Since its inception in 1982, Orbis has been dedicated to saving sight and eliminating avoidable blindness globally. Students from our ACS Cobham, ACS Egham and ACS Hillingdon embarked on an internship in Vietnam’s Hue Province with Orbis - designed to encorage students to engage with crucial world health issues. During the trip, the students visited Hue Eye Hospital and Hue Central Hospital, where they spent time with surgery patients and their families who had been treated within the local hospital.
This year proved to be an important year for ACS International Schools, as we celebrated our 50th anniversary. Since being founded in 1967 by E J Poularas and G E Speed, ACS has continued to serve the needs of both local and global families, whilst experiencing substantial growth in both size and reputation. To mark this milestone, staff celebrated the occasion with a summer garden party on a gloriously sunny day in July at ACS Cobham, whilst students and staff from each of the four ACS schools have produced videos, activities and other projects to mark our golden anniversary.