About Us

HMC (the Headmasters' & Headmistresses' Conference) is a professional association of Heads of the world's leading independent schools.

HMC has 253 members in the UK and Republic Of Ireland, a further 63 international members and 12 additional members

As a membership organisation, HMC has been providing support and advice to Heads for more than a hundred years. It is the oldest and most influential association of its kind in the English speaking world.

Today, HMC’s membership includes the Heads of co-educational schools, single sex schools and “diamond schools” where both single sex and co-educational teaching takes place. The association also includes Heads of schools with a particular religious affiliation or with dedicated provision for children with special educational needs.

HMC's member schools are individual and distinctive offering parents’ a rich variety of options when choosing the right education for their child; whether that is co-educational, single sex or diamond; day, boarding or flexi-boarding; rural or urban; or outstanding in specialist areas, such as sport, music, art or drama as well as academically. But, at the heart of every HMC school is a commitment to the benefits of a holistic educational experience: academic excellence coupled with a strong emphasis on pastoral care and exceptional co-curricular opportunities.

What we do

HMC exists to serve and support its members, to represent their views and to exemplify excellence in education. In particular, HMC seeks to:

  • help members and their schools grow and develop;
  • promote and protect the independence of HMC schools;
  • encourage and share innovation in HMC schools and more widely;
  • promote the discussion of national and international educational issues; and
  • influence policy and public opinion with regard to the independent sector.

Our purpose is to give members personal and professional support and an opportunity to meet together in geographical divisions and at the Annual Conference to encourage and share innovation and discuss matters of common interest. The Conference has met annually since 1869.


HMC works closely with the other seven associations of independent schools: the four Heads' associations (GSA, SOH, ISA and IAPS); the Bursars' Association (ISBA); the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools (AGBIS) and the Council of British Independent Schools (COBIS). Together, these associations make up the Independent Schools Council (ISC) which collectively represents some 1,200 schools and over 500,000 pupils.

HMC also enjoys close working relations with associations in the maintained sector, in particular the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). On educational matters HMC is a member of the Joint Associations Curriculum Group (JACG) which brings together all major providers of post-14 education and training in schools and colleges across the maintained and independent sectors in England.

HMC is committed to the idea of education as an engine for social mobility which is why our schools work hard to forge partnerships with maintained schools and their local communities and this is done in a variety of ways best suited to local needs. Please click here to find out more.

* in the UK and Ireland