Cyril Taylor

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Sir Cyril Taylor (b. 1935) is Chair of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT), the leading advocate of the gradual replacement of traditional "comprehensive" schools in the UK with "specialist" and "academy" schools, sponsored and part-governed by private businesses.

As former education advisor to ten UK Secretary of State for Educations, he has had a large influence over government education policy. The UK Government now aims to convert all schools in the UK to specialist schools or academy schools by 2008.

Sir Cyril Taylor is the Founder and Chairman of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) which he founded in 1964... Sir Cyril also serves as Chancellor and Founder of Richmond, The American International University in London." [1]


As part of a national service commision awarded at the age of 18, Taylor served as a platoon commander in the Mau Mau emergency campaign in Kenya 1954-56. After attending Harvard Business School in 1959, he worked in brand management for Procter & Gamble at the headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1964 he founded the American Institute for Foreign Study, a company which initially made money by facilitating Anglo-American school exchanges. Group companies include the College Division, Camp America, Au Pair in America, the American Council for International Studies (ACIS) and the Summer Institute for the Gifted. AIFS has offices in the US, UK, Germany, Poland, South Africa and Australia.

In 1970, AIFS established Richmond University, a non-profit university.

Since 1987 Taylor has served as Chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) and as Advisor to ten successive Secretaries of State for Education on specialist schools and academies. In 2005, the SSAT was made the lead body to support the 200 City Academies to be established on the sites of underperforming schools in socially disadvantaged areas.

Positions held