Our History

Founded in 1974 by two brothers, one an entrepreneur, the other the Dean of the Faculty of Management and Policy Sciences at Aston University, the history of the College is one of educational innovation and entrepreneurship. An important part of the mission of the College has been to play an active role in the development of independent higher education. One way we do this is through building our relationships and actively contributing as members of bodies from across the sector, including GuildHE, Strategic Advisory Committees, and Advanced HE.

As an organisation dedicated to the regeneration of its communities through progressive and innovative higher education, we remain a dynamic contributor to the London and national higher education landscape, as we have been for over 40 years.

GSM London history in brief

1973  Greenwich School of Management established

2006  Agreement with University of Plymouth signed

2012  Greenford Campus and London Bridge opened

2013  Rebranded as GSM London; QAA IR achieved; Education Investor Award

2014  Faculties established and Deans appointed

2015  Member of Guild HE; College Enhancement Programme launched; new curriculum introduced

2016  New extended Learning Resources Centre opened in Greenwich

2017  QAA Higher Education Renew, resulting in the commendation for the enhancement of student learning opportunities

2019  New suite of postgraduate programmes launched 

Educational innovation and entrepreneurship

Examples include:

• In 1982, the College, in collaboration with the extra-mural department at the University of London, created a series of programmes in Petroleum Management, the last at the request of the Nigerian Oil Corporation. This resulted in one of the first postgraduate qualifications specifically related to the management of the oil and gas industries in the UK. We continue to deliver programmes across these areas today, building on our close association with the Energy Institute.

• In 1984, the College became a founding partner and member of the British Accreditation Council (BAC). The aims of BAC were to ensure the quality of independent further and higher education provision and enable these providers to work with the British Government to provide a ‘kitemark’ to support the recruitment of international students. The Council now stands as the oldest national independent accrediting body for independent further and higher education providers in the UK.

• In 1986, the College began delivery of liberal arts and business programmes from Western International University in the United States. In doing this, we were one of the earliest institutions in the UK to offer students US degrees. We continued to grow this type of programme and in the 1990s we were the largest provider of US degrees in the UK.

• In 1992-93, the College was a contributing member to the Flowers Committee of Enquiry on the Organisation of the Academic Year. As a result, in 1994, GSM London became one of the first colleges in England to pilot and offer a full-scale implementation of accelerated degrees. Though funded privately, we worked in liaison with accelerated pilot programmes funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), such as those at the University of Luton.

• In 2012, the College opened a second campus in West London (Greenford) to extend our education to a wider community of learners. The aim was to offer our education to other communities with low-participation rates in Higher Education in the West of London, particularly those with POLAR 1 and 2 profiles. A further benefit was to ensure that GSM London had adequate space to accommodate the expansion in numbers that the College was undergoing while also addressing the distances travelled by some of our students to the Greenwich campus from West London.

Our validating bodies

Our legacy of innovation and educational entrepreneurship continues to inform our approach today, and has continued to develop through our partnerships with our validating bodies: University of Plymouth and University of Wales.

In the past couple of years, the College has continued to develop and innovate, both in how it delivers education to its unique student body and in the introduction of new courses that meet the needs of today’s growth industries. An example of the former is our three-semester intake and pioneering work with strengths-based learning. An example of the latter is our creation of a degree course in app development. And in line with our values and vision, we will continue to use this entrepreneurial spirit to keep developing what we do and to extend the opportunities presented by Higher Education to new communities.

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