Founded in 1869, HMC was the world’s first association for headteachers and currently consists of over 300 members in the British Isles – educating more than 270,000 pupils – and around 50 further members across the globe.

The aims of HMC

The association’s aims are to serve and support our 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
  • inform policy and public opinion with regard to the independent sector.


The work of HMC is overseen by the Board of Directors. The Chair is elected directly by the membership and serves on the Board for three years as Chair Elect, Chair and Vice Chair. The current Chair is Sue Woodroofe, Vice Chair is Melvyn Roffe and Chair Elect is Jaideep Barot.

Council is the policy-making body of HMC. Its work is supported by the Head Office team and several Committees, Working Parties and Task & Finish Groups.

Head Office

The Head Office team is led by the General Secretary, Dr Simon Hyde. It consists of the Members Services and PD team led by Melanie Horsburgh, the Education team led by Kate Howell, the Communications team led by Chris Fairbank and the Finance and Operations team led by Chris Silver.


Membership is open to the leaders of many different types of school: day and boarding, single-sex, co-educational and diamond schools, and schools within foundations.

Membership also extends to HMC Affiliates, Associates, and Honorary members. In addition, there is an increasing number of HMC networks, including HMCj (for the leaders of junior sections within HMC schools and school groups), and networks for academic and pastoral deputies, designated safeguarding leads and staff with responsibilities for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

The benefits of membership

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Our members

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A kitemark of excellence

HMC is a kitemark of global quality, innovation and excellence in education. High standards are expected of both schools and members. A rigorous accreditation process helps to ensure and maintain the high quality of HMC member schools.

Central to every HMC school is a commitment to the benefits of a holistic education experience: including academic excellence and exceptional co-curricular opportunities.

HMC: key areas

The association’s activity focusses on key themes including public benefit, future of education, pupil participation in sport, pastoral care and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Great importance is placed on the value of schools being civic institutions within their communities. All HMC schools in the UK are at the heart of partnerships with state schools, social organisations or neighbourhood groups – providing real, tangible benefits to their local communities. The schools are intrinsic to their local economies, not-for-profit and public benefit is at their core.

HMC is committed to education as an engine for social mobility. Our recent work includes the Destination University toolkit – produced by HMC in collaboration with schools, colleges, universities and organisations concerned with social mobility – which helps to support and enable young people from less advantaged backgrounds to access selective universities successfully.

Case studies about the wide-ranging partnership work of HMC schools can be found on the Schools Together website.