By the end of the 19th century, the dearth of high-quality academic education for girls had been recognised as a major social issue. Our founders leapt into action, and the Church Schools Company was formed by a committee which included the Archbishop of Canterbury.
We began with Surbiton High School in January 1884, and appointed our first Headmistress, Miss Mary Amelia Bennett, to oversee it. By 1885, the Company had 10 schools with 653 pupils between them. In 1887, the first ever Headmistresses Conference was held at Surbiton.
In 1888, the Company acquired Guildford High School, and in 1890 opened Hull High School - a predecessor to Hull Collegiate School.
A joint school prize giving is held in Newcastle - in many ways a precursor to our annual Best in Everyone Awards.
By 1918, the Group was educating 1,253 pupils at its schools. In 1926, Atherley School opened, a predecessor to Hampshire Collegiate School.
Guildford High School's library is opened. Head Girl Thalassa Cruso commented "soon a generation will grow up that takes a silent workroom for granted, but... [we] regard the library as the greatest boon the school has ever had".
During the Second World War, Atherley School was evacuated to Winchester, and Hull HIgh School to Scarborough.
The London office was bombed, and so work was temporarily moved to Surbiton.
Tranby Croft, a Victorian country house, is purchased for Hull High School for £13,250. Hull Collegiate School students still use this building today.
Between 1958 and 1985 a lot of building development took place, including science laboratories being fitted and computer facilities created to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape.
In 1983, the Church Schools Company celebrated its centenary at York Minster and Winchester Cathedral. A centenary mug was given to every pupil.
As the Millennium approached, our Trustees reflected on the future and asked themselves: ‘What would our founders have done had they been alive today?’ The answer was to respond to the key education issue of the day by raising the aspirations and life chances of young people living in some of the most deprived parts of the country. In 2003, Manchester Academy opened after trustees accepted the government's invitation to develop new academies. They established a new, linked charity to do so.
Between 2003 and 2012, 20 academies were opened or joined the Group, along with 6 independent schools. In 2012, it was agreed that the two linked charities should come together as a Group to form 'United Learning'. It was seen as a fresh opportunity to establish ourselves as a single, nationally recognised force in the education sector.
Today we educate over 40,000 students across more than 70 schools, as well as employing around 7,000 members of staff including over 3,500 teachers. We are uniquely united across state and independent sectors, and committed to bringing out 'the best in everyone'.