CISC Foundations

Before 1988 there had been some informal gatherings of Heads of Catholic Independent Schools from time to time. In 1988, Dermot Gogarty of St. John’s Beaumont hosted a small gathering of Catholic Independent Heads. At that meeting it was decided to try to convene more formal meetings which would further the cause and interests of the Catholic independent schools. It had been felt for some time that, whilst the maintained sector had support networks, there was a need to provide support for Catholic independent schools. The first formal meeting open to all Heads of Catholic independent schools in England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands was held at St John’s Beaumont in 1989 and became known as the 1990’s Group under the joint Chairmanship of Dermot Gogarty (St John’s Beaumont), Sr Margaret Mary Horton (New Hall School) and Fr Stephen Ortiger (Worth School).

Well over one hundred Heads came to the meeting and it was quite clear that such a gathering was needed. By the time the next Conference was held at Worth School in 1990, the 1990’s Group had formulated a constitution and the group became known as the Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference (CISC). In 1990, an informal gatherings of Catholic preparatory schools Heads chaired by Andrew Varley (Moreton Hall) decided to join the Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference. This informal group of preparatory schools which had met in May 1986 at Stonyhurst College and St Mary’s Hall had proved to be successful but it was recognised that a more formal gathering was beneficial for the greater cause of Catholic independent education. Now almost all UK Catholic independent schools are members of CISC and a growing number in other countries.

Chairs of CISC

  • 1990 Dermot Gogarty (St John’s, Beaumont), Sr Margaret Mary Horton (New Hall School,  Dom Stephen Ortiger (Worth School)
  • 1996 Dermot Gogarty (St John’s, Beaumont)
  • 2000 Giles Mercer (Prior Park College)
  • 2004 Adrian Aylward (Stonyhurst and Leweston School)
  • 2009 Joe Peake (St George’s College Weybridge)
  • 2014 Chris Cleugh (St Benedict’s School)
  • 2016 Antonia Beary (Mayfield School)

General Secretaries of CISC

  • 1992 Francis Floyd (Farleigh School)
  • 1999 Sr Frances Orchard (St Mary’s Ascot)
  • 2002 Mary Head (St Teresa’s, Effingham)
  • 2006 Phil Sweeney (Carleton House and Runnymede St. Edward’s School, Liverpool)
  • 2009 John Shinkwin (Princethorpe College, Rugby)
  • 2016 Raymond Friel (St. Gregory’s College, Bath