Our first 50 years - Cobham campus aerial

Our First 50 years

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50th anniversary

On 5th July 2017, ACS celebrated 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.

All anniversaries offer an opportunity to both look back, and anticipate and plan for the future.
E J Poularas, ACS Founder
Former campus in Hampstead

Decade one

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 - ACS Cobham aerial

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.

A landmark campus for Doha

A landmark campus for Doha

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, we opened a new state-of-the-art campus in August 2020, which more than doubled our student capacity to 2,470. It’s part of our dedication to create a legacy in Qatar. 

Never resting on our laurels, ACS continues to look forwards, and become a UK registered charity in 2018. Now we can really widen our commitment to inspire and make a difference.