About Concord College UK

Concord College, UK is an international boarding and day school for students aged 13 to 18 set in a beautiful 80-acre campus in the heart of the Shropshire countryside. The college provides a safe and friendly environment in which students can flourish. The word Concord means ‘harmony’ and the first generation of students remember a family friendly atmosphere in which the joint Principals worked tirelessly for the welfare and academic success of their students.

Concord College, UK is an international boarding and day school for students aged 13 to 18 set in a beautiful 80-acre campus in the heart of the Shropshire countryside. The college provides a safe and friendly environment in which students can flourish. The word Concord means ‘harmony’ and the first generation of students remember a family friendly atmosphere in which the joint Principals worked tirelessly for the welfare and academic success of their students. 

They expect all students to achieve the highest standards and to gain entry to top universities in the UK. They also pledge nurture the individuality of students at Concord to develop their self-confidence. Students are also encouraged to understand the needs of others and to respect the values of the Concord community.

Concord was founded in 1949 after WW2 by Mr Paul Oertel and Miss Monica Carr-Taylor, just outside Hastings in Sussex, as a small privately-owned language school.  It was at its heart, a response to the hatred and bitterness of war by using language teaching and personal warmth to break down barriers and misunderstandings between peoples.  The college soon moved to larger and more conducive premises at Tunbridge Wells in Kent and expanded to offer A Levels. The word Concord means ‘harmony’ and the first generation of students remember a family friendly atmosphere in which the joint Principals worked tirelessly for the welfare and academic success of their students.

The college continued to grow slowly and in 1969 upon the retirement of the founder Principals, the college was bought by Mr Frank Bell who had founded the Bell School of Languages a number of years earlier. In 1973 the college moved again to its present site at Acton Burnell and a major programme of expansion began. Student numbers rose from the 90 students who came to Acton Burnell in 1973, to 200 by the 1980s.  The expansion of the College at this time enabled improvements to the facilities including the provision of a library, a gymnasium (now the current Library), engineering workshop and science laboratories.

In 1977 Concord accepted girls for the first time, although they were taught at a separate site, in part of the nearby Attingham Park stately home (now run by the National Trust). By the early 1980s the girls were integrated on the site at Acton Burnell.

In 1983, in one of the most significant moments in Concord’s development, the college became a charitable trust.  A board of trustees rather than an owner was now responsible for the strategic direction of the college and a period of expansion and improvement of the facilities began. Mr Tony Morris had taken over as Principal in 1975 from Mr Martin Horwood and it was Mr Morris’s vision and guidance that enabled the college to fulfil its ambitious aims in these important years. In order to attract the most able students a substantial scholarship programme was introduced and by 2002 Concord was among the top fifty schools in the country.

In 1995 it was decided to open a Lower School to offer GCSE courses for students under 16. From its own small beginnings the Concord Lower School has developed and expanded. Each year our Lower School continues to achieve outstanding GCSE results, the best in Shropshire, and now attracts top students from both the local area and overseas. With the retirement of Mr Morris in 2005, Mr Neil Hawkins was appointed Principal of the college. Since 2005, the College has grown very considerably both in numbers, the number of subjects offered, the number of staff employed and in the complexity of education on offer.  In 2009 Concord celebrated its Diamond Jubilee and was honoured to be visited by HRH The Princess Royal. Her visit, the first ever royal visit for Concord and the first member of the royal family to visit Acton Burnell since 1283, coincided with the college breaking into the top ten schools in the UK league tables.

Student numbers have now reached 600 with record numbers of boarding and day students sharing Concord’s beautiful facilities.  Results have also reached record levels with all of Concord’s top GCSE, AS level, A level and top university entry success occurring in the last three years.  At the same time, Concord has opened new classrooms, boarding houses, a new library and greatly extended the dining room.  In 2015, Concord announced its most ambitious programme of development to date, with the extension of the campus to the north by 32 acres, the building of a new boarding residence for lower school girls and the commissioning of a £12 million science block which was completed in January 2018.  These developments have coincided with the launching of the Anthony Morris Foundation.  This Foundation aims to raise funds to enable students to study at Concord who might – because of the cost – not otherwise be able to do so.

In 2019, Concord celebrated its 70th anniversary.  This was marked by a number of events that culminated in a wonderful gathering at Concord College.  Former students and their families from around the world and ranging from Concordians from the mid-1950s to very recent leavers came together for an evening of friendship and fun.  The event was very special in so many ways but was also a timely reminder of the stature and strength of the Concord community and of the Concord network.

In addition to the development of Concord College in Acton Burnell, Concord is actively seeking to develop further schools as opportunities allow.  The first of these is the Shanghai Concord Bilingual School which opened in 2017 and further are planned in the years ahead. Related to this, in September 2021, Mr Neil Hawkins took up a new role as Global Principal of Concord College International in September 2021.  He was succeeded as Principal of Concord College by Dr Michael Truss.

More information about Concord College UK

Concord college’s Proudest Moments

Concord College UK is very proud of the academic success of their students. Here are some of the headlines from 2023:



of all of Concord’s GCSE / IGCSE grades were 7/8/9


of maths results are grade 9

Over half

of our 85 GCSE students this year achieved 9 or more grade 8/9s.


is the most frequently achieved grade by Concord students


students achieved nine or more 8/9 grades

AS Level

Concord students frequently sit AS exams at the end of their Lower Sixth year (Y12). This year, over 80% of AS grades were grade A (the highest grade available at AS Level).

A Level


students gained A*A*A* or better.


students achieved AAA or better.

Nearly 1%

of England’s A*A*A* candidates are Concordians

University Destinations


Oxford and Cambridge places


places on law courses


into medical, veterinary or dental schools.

Over 100

will be studying at World Top 100 Universities


places on engineering courses

Message from Dr. Micheal Truss, Principal, Concord College UK

“The idea of bringing students together from all over the world to strive for excellence in an environment of mutual respect and kindness is central to the Concord College philosophy. The opportunity to share our educational experience with a much wider audience of students at schools around the globe is one that is truly exciting, and I am absolutely delighted to welcome Concord College International School Malaysia to our growing family. Concord has a long and important relationship with Malaysia: it is somewhere that we know and love, so this is something particularly special for us.” 

Dr Michael Truss MPhys Hons. (Oxon.) FRAS 
Principal, Concord College UK

Rosanna Kirkbride originates from Toronto, Canada and is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in English and Political Science. She then completed her teacher training at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia and is currently pursuing a master’s in education from the University of Bath.

Whilst in Australia, Mrs Kirkbride developed a great passion for education and returned to her home country to teach at a native Canadian school in Northern Ontario. Shortly after she moved to the United Kingdom where she taught at primary schools in East London and Essex. Following her time in the UK, Mrs Kirkbride then moved to an international school in Seoul, South Korea where she held the posts of Head of Year, Literacy Coordinator, Lead Safeguarding Trainer, and Extra-Curricular Activities Coordinator.

Most recently, Mrs Kirkbride has served as the Founding Head of Primary at an international school in Malaysia, assisting with the physical development of the site and successfully establishing the Primary School’s internal structures. She has also served as the Vice-Chair of Primary Heads within the Association of International Malaysian Schools. She is now the Founding Head of Primary at Concord College International School, Malaysia.

“Education serves as a pillar in the lives of children, and I consider it a privilege to contribute to the teaching and learning of young minds in an outstanding institution. At Concord Primary, we take pride in helping parents raise children in addition to educating them. We foster the growth and development of children through our ethos, Rigour, Kindness, and Creativity. It is my belief that equipping children with a set of practical life skills in line with this ethos will support their future achievements and successes. Through the delivery of a rigorous curriculum Concord Primary sets the foundation in academic subjects to prepare students for Secondary School.

Our highly dedicated team of educators reinforce values that promote kindness and creativity to develop students into respectful and responsible members of our global community. Working closely with our Concord families, we look forward to celebrating the achievements of your children.”

Dr Phil Outram read Mathematics for his undergraduate degree at Queens’ College Cambridge. He completed his Doctorate degree at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, before moving to the University of Durham where he spent six years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. His research focused on using large state-of-the-art surveys of distant active galaxies to probe the evolution of large-scale structure in the universe. Whilst in Durham, Dr Outram’s responsibilities included teaching and supporting the undergraduate and postgraduate students, and he took the decision to switch to secondary education, taking up a position as a teacher of mathematics at Rugby School.

He moved to Concord College UK in 2008 and immediately fell in love with the vibrant atmosphere there, where students show friendship, compassion, humility, and integrity to match their passion to learn and determination to succeed. Dr Outram has been Assistant Principal at Concord College for twelve years, with responsibilities including examinations and enrichment. He has a passion for travelling and hill-walking and has taken Concord students on many expeditions to destinations including Costa Rica, Madagascar, Bolivia, and Kenya.

Dr Outram will be moving to Malaysia at the end of the academic year and taking up the position of the Founding Head of Secondary at Concord College International School.

“We live in a world of wonders where technology is revolutionising all aspects of our lives, from an explosion in social media and driverless cars, to dramatic medical advances from sequencing the human genome. For young people growing up in this exhilarating new world, the possibilities are boundless. However, they will also face many challenges, with our rapidly expanding population using resources at a rate never previously seen, and polluting our world to an extent that wildlife, habitats, and even our climate, are threatened on an unprecedented scale. Technological advances such as artificial intelligence with quantum computing could enable us to find new solutions to problems that currently seem impossible. New inventions, innovations and discoveries require curiosity and creativity, and a Concord education will embrace these values by bringing excitement and joy to the classroom and inspiring our students to always question and want to discover more. However, with ever increasing competition, I believe that a rigorous education, ensuring that our students stand out from the crowd, is more crucial than ever. Our students entering this world will become its next leaders. Kindness and international cooperation are central to the ethos of Concord College International School, and, in my view, it is most important that our education should instil these values in them, to guide them to make the best possible decisions when addressing the challenges of the mid-21st century.”

Neil Hawkins was educated at Robinson College Cambridge, where he studied History. His 34-year of career in education started in 1989 as a teacher. He has taught and led in some of the UK’s finest schools in a career that has been marked by success and high achievement. He was Principal of Concord College UK from 2005 to 2021 during which time Concord College doubled in size, clarified its ethos, transformed its measurable outcomes and became recognised as one of the UK’s Top 5 performing schools. During this time, he was also Chair of Governors of a top performing UK primary school. His record of shaping and leading success in education is clear.

Described as an ‘educational visionary’, Mr Hawkins is now the Global Principal of Concord College International Ltd and is the Founding Executive Principal of Concord College International School, Malaysia. Mr Hawkins is also the Chair of Befrienders Worldwide, one of the world’s largest emotional support networks.

“It is my honour to welcome you to Concord College International School, Malaysia.

Our children have just one chance to be young and one chance to prepare for adulthood.    This time is precious.  It is my aim to ensure that our wonderful new school maximises opportunities and prepares children for tomorrow.  Of course, this is what all schools aim to do.  However, this is not always achieved.  Here at CCIS we will educate children using the highly successful Concord ethos of Rigour, Kindness, and Creativity.   This ethos fuses the best of western and eastern global education traditions while recognising that we all thrive when we are treated with respect and with kindness.

It is my aim that CCIS will not just be a good school but will become one of the top schools in Malaysia and in the region.  This will be achieved by children, educators and parents working together to deliver the central Concord ethos, while recognising that each child is unique and is constantly changing and developing.  My experience as an educator has taught me that the quest for high standards and good discipline is the bedrock of educational success.  When this is linked with the fostering of curiosity and creative problem solving, measurable success is achieved.  If we then act with decency and in a spirit of harmony, our families, communities and societies benefit.

Welcome to Concord College International School.”