Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference
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Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference

Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference
HMC Logo new.png
Leading Independent Schools
TypeNon-governmental organisation
PurposeEducational accreditation
HeadquartersMarket Harborough
Region served
United Kingdom
373 schools
General Secretary
Dr Simon Hyde

The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) is an association of the head teachers of 361 independent schools (both boarding schools and day schools), traditionally described as public schools. 298 Members are based in the United Kingdom, Crown dependencies and the Republic of Ireland. There are also 50 Foreign Members (mostly from the Commonwealth) and 13[1] Associate Members who are head teachers of state schools or other influential individuals in the world of education, who endorse and support the work of HMC.


The Conference dates from 1869 when Edward Thring, Headmaster of Uppingham, asked sixty to seventy of his fellow headmasters[2][3] to meet at his house to consider the formation of a "School Society and Annual Conference".[4] Fourteen accepted the invitation,[2] and twelve were present for the whole of the initial meeting: Thring, George Blore (Bromsgrove), Albert Wratislaw (Bury St Edmunds), John Mitchinson (The King's School, Canterbury), William Grignon (Felsted), Robert Sanderson (Lancing College), George Butler (Liverpool College), Augustus Jessopp (Norwich School), William Wood (Oakham), Steuart Pears (Repton), T. H. Stokoe (Richmond), Daniel Harper (Sherborne), and James Welldon (Tonbridge). John Dyne (Highgate School) attended on the second day, and Alfred Carver (Dulwich College) did not turn up.[5][6] From that date there have been annual meetings. It changed its name from the "Headmasters' Conference" to the "Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference" in 1996.[6] The current Chair is Sally-Anne Huang, High Master of St Paul's School.

Membership of the HMC is often considered to be what defines a school as a public school in England and Wales.[7][8] Not all private or independent schools are in the HMC; in particular, many notable girls' schools are not members, partly because historically the HMC was for boys' schools only.[] Today HMC's membership includes boys', girls' and co-educational schools.


The size of the Conference has grown. Until the 1970s, membership was confined to 200 schools.[]

List of HMC member schools

The following are the member schools, listed with their headmaster or headmistress. In some schools other titles are used, such as "High Master", "Warden", "Rector" and "Principal".




Northern Ireland



Isle of Man

Republic of Ireland

International members



Australia and New Zealand

Central, North and South America

Continental Europe

Middle East


  • Alpha Plus Group, London[36] -- Mark Hanley-Browne
  • Bangor Grammar School - Elizabeth Huddleson
  • Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury, Wiltshire[36] -- Stuart Smallwood
  • Gordon's School, Woking, Surrey[36] -- Andrew Moss
  • Methodist College Belfast - Scott Naismith
  • Methodist Independent Schools Trust, London[36] -- David Humphreys
  • Mill Hill Senior School - Jane Sanchez
  • Monmouth School for Girls - Jessica Miles
  • Pate's Grammar School, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire[36] - Russel Ellicott
  • The Judd School --- Jon Woods
  • Wymondham College - Dan Browning
  • Jill Berry
  • Brenda Despontin


  • Bury Grammar School Boys - Devin Cassidy
  • Monmouth School for Boys - Simon Dorman
  • Rugby School - Gareth Parker-Jones

HMC Projects in Central and Eastern Europe

HMC Projects in Central and Eastern Europe is a charity offering opportunities for students and young teachers from Central and Eastern Europe to develop themselves, by coming to HMC member schools in UK for a year.[]

Chairs of the Headmasters' Conference (HMC)


Chairs of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC)


  • Chris Brown, Headmaster, Norwich School, 2001
  • E. Gould, Master, Marlborough College, 2002
  • G. Able, Master, Dulwich College, 2003
  • Martin Stephen, High Master, The Manchester Grammar School/St Paul's School, 2004
  • Priscilla Chadwick, Principal, Berkhamsted Collegiate School, 2005
  • Andrew Boggis, Warden, Forest School, 2006
  • Nigel Richardson, Headmaster, The Perse School, 2007<*>
  • Bernard Trafford, Headmaster, Wolverhampton Grammar School, 2007-2008
  • Tim Hastie-Smith, Headmaster, Dean Close School, 2008-2009
  • Andrew Grant, Headmaster, St Albans School, 2009-2010
  • David Levin, Headmaster, City of London School, 2010-2011
  • Kenneth Durham, Headmaster, University College School, 2011-2012
  • Chris Ray, High Master, Manchester Grammar School, 2012-2013
  • Tim Hands, Master, Magdalen College School, 2013-2014
  • Richard Harman, Headmaster, Uppingham School, 2014-2015
  • Christopher King, Headmaster, Leicester Grammar School, 2015-2016
  • Mike Buchanan, Headmaster, Ashford School, 2016-2017
  • Christopher King, Headmaster, Leicester Grammar School, 2017-2018
  • Shaun Fenton, Headmaster of Reigate Grammar School, 2018-2019[38]
  • Fiona Boulton, Headmistress of Guildford High School, 2019 -2020
  • Sally-Anne Huang, High Master of St Paul's School, 2020-2021
  • Richard Backhouse, Berkhamsted School, 2021-2022

<*> Change to Academic Year Chairmanship

Chairs of the HMC Committee


The following were Chairmen of the HMC Committee in the early years of the Conference. In these years they served alongside the Chairman of the Conference (the 'annual meeting') until, in 1921, it was agreed that the Chairman of the Annual Meeting should always also be Chairman of the HMC Committee.

  • G Ridding, Head Master, Winchester College, 1870, 1871, 1872
  • Daniel Harper, Head Master, Sherborne School, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878
  • G C Bell, Master, Marlborough College, 1879, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1885, 1886, 1887
  • T W Jex-Blake, Head Master, Rugby School, 1880
  • E C Wickham, Head Master, Wellington College, 1884, 1888
  • E Warre, Head Master, Eton College, 1889, 1893
  • W A Fearon, Head Master, Winchester College, 1891, 1895
  • E Lyttelton, Headmaster, Haileybury, 1898, 1902, 1904
  • H W Moss, Headmaster, Shrewsbury School, 1900
  • J Gow, Head Master, Westminster School, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1911
  • R Cary Gilson, Chief Master, King Edward's School, Birmingham, 1909, 1910
  • F Fletcher, Head Master, Charterhouse, 1913
  • C Lowry, Headmaster, Tonbridge School, 1916

Chairs of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) by Institution


Institution Year of First Chairmanship Total Years as Chair
Winchester College 1873 15
Eton College 1879 14
Charterhouse 1886 12
Rugby School 1876 11
Shrewsbury School 1898 11
King Edward's School, Birmingham 1872 7
Wellington College 1881 5
Haileybury 1897 5
The Manchester Grammar School 1953 5
Sherborne School 1870 4
St Paul's School, London 1969 4
Westminster School 1912 4
Dulwich College 1874 3
Marlborough College 1877 3
University College School 1882 3
Merchant Taylors' School 1892 3
Magdalen College School 1907 3
Uppingham School 1869 2
Harrow School 1878 2
Tonbridge School 1902 2
Malvern College 1906 2
Monkton Combe School 1963 2
Ampleforth College 1975 2
Leicester Grammar School 2015-16 2
Berkhamsted School (Formerly

Berkhamsted Collegiate School)

2005 2
Highgate School 1871 1
Clifton College 1875 1
Bradfield College 1900 1
Christ's Hospital 1904 1
The Leys School 1909 1
Reading Blue Coat School 1913 1
Bristol Grammar School 1970 1
King's College School, Wimbledon 1972 1
George Watson's College 1976 1
Bolton School 1978 1
Lancing College 1980 1
Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School 1985 1
Bradford Grammar School 1988 1
Canford School 1989 1
Trinity School of John Whitgift 1993 1
Portsmouth Grammar School 1996 1
Daniel Stewart's and Melville College 1998 1
Bryanston School 2000 1
Norwich School 2001 1
Forest School 2006 1
The Perse School 2007 1
Wolverhampton Grammar School 2007-8 1
Dean Close School 2008-9 1
St Albans School 2009-10 1
City of London School 2010-11 1
Ashford School 2016-17 1
Reigate Grammar School 2018-19 1
Guildford High School 2019-20 1

See also


  1. ^ "HMC Associates". HMC Website. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ a b Leinster-Mackay, Donald P. The educational world of Edward Thring: a centenary study, Falmer Press, 1987, ISBN 1-85000-253-3, ISBN 978-1-85000-253-6. p. 100
  3. ^ Other sources including some Headmasters' Conference papers say "Uppingham asked thirty-seven of his fellow headmasters ..." (Headmasters' Conference. Independent Schools Yearbook: Official book of reference at the Headmasters' Conference ..., A & C Black, 1987 p. xlv)
  4. ^ Headmasters' Conference, The Public and Preparatory Schools Year Book, Adam & Charles Black, 1968 p. 3
  5. ^ Leinster-Mackay, Donald P. (1987). The educational world of Edward Thring: a centenary study. Falmer Press. p. 100.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Edward Thring (Uppingham School), (Bromsgrove School), (Bury St Edmunds), (The King's School, Canterbury), (Felsted School), (Lancing College), (Liverpool College), (Norwich School), (Oakham School), (Repton School), (Richmond), (Sherborne School) and (Tonbridge School).( Source "The public schools and the general educational system: Report of the Committee on public schools appointed by the president of the Board of education in July 1942, Volume 1942, Part 3", H. M. Stationery Off., 1944, p. 29)
  7. ^ Tony Halpin Public schools plead to be let off fines over fee-fixing in The Times 1 October 2005 "The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of leading public schools is due to hold its annual conference next week."
  8. ^ "Our Election Manifesto and The Queen's Speech both speak of 'public schools'. The only practicable definition of these (which was broadly that used by the Fleming Committee (The Public Schools and the general education system. Report of the Committee on Public School Appointed by the President of the Board of Education in July 1942. Published 1944)) is 'schools now in membership of the Headmasters Conference, Governing Bodies Association or Governing Bodies of Girls' Schools Association'"(Public Schools: Memorandum by the Sectary of State for Education and Science (PDF), 19 November 1965, p. 1)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "HMC Schools Directory(A)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "A new Headmaster, a new chapter". AKS Lytham Website. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "HMC Schools Directory(B)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "HMC Schools Directory(C)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "HMC Schools Directory(D)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "HMC Schools Directory(E)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g "HMC Schools Directory(F)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "HMC Schools Directory(G)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "HMC Schools Directory(H)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ a b c "HMC Schools Directory(I)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ a b "HMC Schools Directory(J)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "HMC Schools Directory(K)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "HMC Schools Directory(L)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "HMC Schools Directory(M)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g "HMC Schools Directory(N)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ a b c d e "HMC Schools Directory(O)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h "HMC Schools Directory(P)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ a b c d e "HMC Schools Directory(Q)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "HMC Schools Directory(R)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq "HMC Schools Directory(S)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  29. ^ a b c d e "HMC Schools Directory(T)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  30. ^ a b "HMC Schools Directory(U)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "HMC Schools Directory(W)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  32. ^ "Winchester College - HMC". HMC. Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ "HMC Schools Directory(Y)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  34. ^ "HMC Schools Directory(V)". Hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au "HMC International Schools". hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2019.
  36. ^ a b c d e "HMC Associates List". hmc.org.uk. Retrieved 2019.
  37. ^ a b c d "Member Zone Login" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2015.
  38. ^ Wilby, Peter (13 June 2017). "Elite private headteacher: 'The children we educate will create a fairer society'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017.
  39. ^ "Independent School Jobs | Independent School Vacancies UK". HMC Teaching Careers. Retrieved 2021.

External links

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