History of the ABC

The history of the Academia Britanica Cuscatleca began at 5 pm on Tuesday 9th of June 1970 with the first meeting of the British School Provisional Committee.

Attending were: Mr Michael A Wenner (British Ambassador – Chairman), Mr G O’Farrell (GRAMCO), Mr Dennis F Martin (ITCA), Mr G Berry (British Council Lecturer), Mr J Lawton (Shell), Mr PE Collins and Mr A Jones (both of BOLAM). The original financial projection of setting up a school was done by Mr Lyon Sullivan. Attending in meetings during the year included Dr Alfredo Martinez Moreno, Mr J Nash (Shell), Mr R Zimmer and Dr Jaime Quesada (who drafted the legal documents for setting up the Foundation).

On Monday 31st August 1970: at a follow up meeting it was decided to name the school the Academia Británica Cuscatleca.

The many meetings held in these months concentrated on trying to find a location for the school, funds, a Headmaster and teachers. The American School Board, the German School, “Los Pinos” and others were approached to see if they would sell land, and finally it was decided to start the school at a leased house – “La Pilarica”, Calle El Progreso 3143, Colonia Avila.

On Tuesday 20th October 1970: Mr Garry York was contracted as the founding Headmaster following an interview in London. At the same time his wife, Joan York was also appointed. Finances were limited. Garry and Joan York had previous experience of setting up an overseas school.

On 23rd October 1970: Legal formation of the Fundación Escolar Britanico-Salvadoreña, drawn up by Alfredo Martinez Moreno and signed by the following:

  • Michael Alfred Wenner (British Ambassador),
  • Arthur George Wynn Jones (Banker),
  • Patrick Ernest Collis (Banker),
  • John Frank Bennett Lawton (Businessman),
  • Charles George Edmund Berry (University Professor),
  • Dennis Frederick Martin (Technical Education Specialist),
  • Walter Arthur Soundy (Farmer),
  • Gerald Bertram Carr (Businessman),
  • Sydney Martin Stadler (Businessman),
  • Manuel Cano Guignot (Engineer),
  • Roberto Antonio Parker (Engineer and Architect),
  • Edgardo Suarez Contreras (Engineer).

Gerald Paul O’Farrell (Businessman) and Jaime Quesada (Lawyer) were not present but were included in the statues of formation.

In December 1970: the original “Junta Directiva” of the Foundation was formed with

Honorary Presidents: Minister of Education and the British Ambassador

Executive President: Mr MA Wenner; Executive Vice-President: Mr D Martin; First Director: Dr A Martinez Moreno; Sindico: Dr J Quesada; Treasurer: Mr A Jones; Secretary: Mr G Berry; Vocals: Mr G O’Farrell, Mr J Lawton, Ing R Parker

On Monday 21st December 1970: Sra Concepcion de Arias was introduced to the Board appointed as the Assistant Headmistress.

School starts:

The first day of school was the 1st of February 1971:

Classes started at La Pilarica with 72 on the first day rising quickly to 108 (115 by another account) students and the following grades with their teachers:

Preparatoria (Sra de Arias)

1st Grade (Mr York, Headmaster)

2nd Grade (Mrs York)

3rd Grade (Mrs Portillo)

The new school was very grateful to ITCA for their help with the preparation of materials for the school. Garry and Joan York lived up stairs and the school took place down stairs. The garden had two resident macaws and a swimming pool. Mrs. York started the swimming team and designed the first uniforms and the school motto "Effort leads to success" was introduced. The following year the school expanded into the top floor so the York's moved out. The third year the school expanded again to take a neighbouring house a few hundred metres away. Meanwhile planning work started on a new site in Santa Tecla.

December 1975: from the ABC's first school magazine

  • Headmaster's letter
  • A letter from the President of the School Board
  • A School is Born - Mr and Mrs York's account of the first five years of the ABC

Monday 26th January 1976: ABC started school on the new site in Santa Tecla.

Infants taught in two shifts to share facilities:

PreKinder and Kinder – 1st Shift (8 to 11) Prepa and 1st Grade – 2nd Shift (11 to 3)

August 1978 new Headmaster Mr Poppleton.

Class of 1980 - First Graduating Class:

1980s School suffers severe set-back with many students leaving due to the security situation.

1981 One school year fitted in between January and June to allow the Northern school calendar to be used, starting August 1981.

August 1983: new Headmaster Michael Cross.

August 1984: International Baccalaureate - IB School Code: 0202

1984 to 1987 PreKinder, Kinder, Prepa and 1st Grade taught at La Castilleja.

August 1986: new Headmaster Anthony J McGuiggan.

August 1992: new Headmaster Ralph Braund.

1998: Auditorium inaugurated.

December 1998: Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS).

August 1999: new Headmaster J. George Hobson.

2001: three 1st Grade Classrooms, Lower Primary Outside Areas built and Lower Primary Toilet Blocks extended. New two-storey building with six classrooms for Upper Primary.

2002: Upper Primary - The Jubilee Library with an ICT suite, Science Laboratories, Staff Room and offices built. Design, building and refurbishment of all Primary School play areas.

2003: Secondary School - refurbishment of five Science Laboratories and the conversion of two classrooms into laboratories.

2004: The Performing Arts Centre built.

2006: Auditorium Block (new Music Area) built (temporary library while the Learning Resources Centre was being built).

2008: The Secondary School's Learning Resources Centre built.

December 2008: Re-accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS), without conditions.

2013: two Secondary classrooms converted to Science Laboratories, expansion of the ICT suite in Upper Primary, Auditorium Tower converted to two French classrooms, Music practice rooms constructed and soundproofed. ABC Sports office, Cafeteria and kitchens, Studio built.

2013: Successful completion of CIS 5 year study

2014: three classrooms constructed in LRC block.

August 2014: new Headmaster Graeme Keslake.

February 2015: ABC becomes a member of LAHC and recognised as a Values based Education school following the visit of Dr. Neil Hawkes.

August 2015: New Lower Primary classroom north wing completed

August 2016 New Lower Primary classroom south wing completed

June 2017: IB Five Year Review completed.

November 2017: IPC Accreditation Achieved - the first school in Latin America!

December 2018: CIS Re accreditation for five years in line with the new CIS cycle.