Before 1988 there had been a few informal gatherings of Head Teachers of Catholic Independent Schools from time to time. In 1988 Dermot Gogarty of St. John’s Beaumont hosted a small gathering of Catholic Independent Heads. At that meeting it was decided to try to convene more formal meetings which would further the cause and interests of the Catholic Independent sector. It had been felt for some time that whilst the maintained sector had great support, little effectively was being done to galvanise the excellent work done in Catholic independent schools. The first formal meeting open to all Catholic independent schools in England, Wales and Scotland was held at St John’s Beaumont in 1989 and became known as the 1990’s Group under the joint Chairmanship of Dermot Gogarty ( St John’s Beaumont), Sr Margaret Mary Horton (New Hall School) and Fr Stephen Ortiger (Worth School). Well over one hundred Heads came to the meeting and it was quite clear that such a gathering was needed and by the time the next Conference was held at Worth School in 1990 the 1990’s Group had formulated a constitution and the group became known as the Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference
The Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference was the first organisation to attract both the primary and secondary independent sector and this new body quickly became established. In 1990 the informal gatherings of some preparatory schools which had been chaired by Mr Andrew Varley of Moreton Hall decided to join the Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference. This informal group of preparatory schools which had met in May 1986 at Stonyhurst College and St Mary’s Hall had proved to be successful but it was recognised that a more formal gathering was, for that time, beneficial for the greater cause of Catholic independent education.
By the mid-1990s almost all Catholic independent school Heads were in membership, the first Conference became an annual event and Francis Floyd, in 1992, became the first General Secretary.