Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference

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The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference
HMC Logo new.png
Abbreviation HMC
Formation 1869
Type Non-governmental organisation
Purpose Educational accreditation
Region served
United Kingdom
252 schools
General Secretary
William Richardson[1]
Affiliations ISC
Website hmc.org.uk

The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) is an association of the headmasters or headmistresses of 243 independent schools (both boarding schools and day schools) in the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies and the Republic of Ireland. There are also International Members (mostly from the Commonwealth) and 30[2] Additional Members who are head teachers of state schools.


The Conference dates from 1869 when Edward Thring, Headmaster of Uppingham, asked sixty to seventy of his fellow headmasters[3][4] to meet at his house to consider the formation of a "School Society and Annual Conference".[5] Fourteen accepted the invitation,[3] and twelve were present for the whole of the initial meeting: Rev. Edward Thring (Uppingham), Dr George J. Blore (Bromsgrove), Rev. Albert H. Wratislaw (Bury St Edmunds), Dr John Mitchinson (King's School Canterbury), Mr William S. Grignon (Felsted), Dr Robert E. Sanderson (Lancing College), Dr George Butler (Liverpool College), Rev. Augustus Jessop (Norwich), Rev. Dr William S. Wood (Oakham), Dr Steuart Pears (Repton), Rev. Thomas H. Stokoe (Richmond), Dr Daniel Harper (Sherborne), and Dr James Ind Welldon (Tonbridge). Dr John B. Dyne (Highgate School) attended on the second day, and the Rev. Alfred Carver (Dulwich College) did not turn up.[6][7] From that date there have been annual meetings. It changed its name from the "Headmasters' Conference" to the "Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference" in 1996.[7] The current Chairman is Richard Harman, Headmaster of Uppingham School, and the current general secretary is Dr William Richardson.

Membership of the HMC is often considered to be what defines a school as a public school in England and Wales.[8][9] Not all private, 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. As late as the 1970s, membership was confined to 200 schools.

Chairmen of the Headmasters' Conference (HMC)[10][edit]

Chairmen of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC)[10][edit]

<*> Change to Academic Year Chairmanship

Chairmen of the HMC Committee[10][edit]

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.

Chairmen of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) by Institution[10][edit]

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
Westminster School 1912 4
Dulwich College 1874 3
Marlborough College 1877 3
University College School 1882 3
Merchant Taylors' School 1892 3
St. Paul's School 1969 3
Uppingham School 1869 2
Tonbridge School 1902 2
Malvern College 1906 2
Magdalen College School 1907 2
Monkton Combe School 1963 2
Ampleforth College 1975 2
Highgate School 1871 1
Clifton College 1875 1
Harrow School 1878 1
Bradford College 1900 1
Christ's Hospital 1904 1
The Leys School, Cambridge 1909 1
Reading School 1913 1
Harrow School 1933 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 1993 1
Portsmouth Grammar School 1996 1
Daniel Stewart's & Melville College 1998 1
Bryanston School 2000 1
Norwich School 2001 1
Berkhamsted Collegiate School 2005 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
University College School 2011-12 1
Magdalen College School 2012-13 1
Uppingham School 2013-14 1

List of the 40 oldest HMC schools[edit]

  1. The King's School, Canterbury (abbey founded 597)
  2. King's School, Rochester (604)
  3. St Peter's School (627)
  4. Hereford Cathedral School (676)
  5. Warwick School (10th Century)
  6. Wells Cathedral School (909)
  7. St Albans School (c. 948)
  8. King's School, Ely (970)
  9. Bedford School (1086)
  10. Norwich School (1096)
  11. Abingdon School (possibly 1100, endowed 1256)
  12. Westminster School (1179)
  13. Stamford School (1309)
  14. Bablake School (1344)
  15. Winchester College (1382)
  16. Ipswich School (1399)
  17. Durham School (1414)
  18. Sevenoaks School (1432)
  19. Eton College (1440)
  20. City of London School (1442)
  21. St Dunstan's College (pre-1446)
  22. Bromsgrove School (record of a chantry school 1476)
  23. Magdalen College School, Oxford (1480)
  24. Stockport Grammar School (1487)
  25. Loughborough Grammar School (1495)
  26. Giggleswick School (1499)
  27. King's School, Macclesfield (1502)
  28. St Paul's School (1509)
  29. Royal Grammar School, Guildford (1509)
  30. Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (1509)
  31. Wolverhampton Grammar School (1512)
  32. Nottingham High School (1513)
  33. Pocklington School (1514)
  34. Manchester Grammar School (1515)
  35. Bolton School (1516)
  36. King's School, Bruton (1519)
  37. Royal Grammar School, Newcastle (1525)
  38. Sedbergh School (1525)
  39. Bristol Grammar School (1532)
  40. Berkhamsted School (1541)

List of HMC member schools[edit]

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[edit]



Isle of Man[edit]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

International Members[edit]



Latin America[edit]


Middle East[edit]


New Zealand[edit]



South East Asia[edit]

Additional members[edit]

HMC Projects in Central and Eastern Europe[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Contact HMC at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012
  2. ^ http://www.hmc.org.uk/about-hmc/membership/additional-membership/
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Headmasters' Conference, The Public and preparatory schools year book, Adam & Charles Black, 1968 p. 3
  6. ^ Leinster-Mackay, Donald P. (1987). The educational world of Edward Thring: a centenary study. Falmer Press. p. 100. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 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)
  8. ^ 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."
  9. ^ "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, 19 November 1965, p. 1) 
  10. ^ a b c d http://www.hmc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Past-Chairmen-and-Secretaries-updated-Jan-2015.pdf
  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 aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj HMC Schools A-C at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012
  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 z aa ab ac ad ae af ag HMC Schools D-G at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012
  13. ^ 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 av aw ax ay az ba bb bc HMC Schools H-L at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012
  14. ^ A merger between the all-boys Leeds Grammar School (HMC member) and Leeds Girls' High School
  15. ^ 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 HMC Schools M-P at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012
  16. ^ 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 av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk HMC Schools Q-S at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012
  17. ^ 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 HMC Schools T-Z at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012
  18. ^ Staff List, September 2011 at kwc.im, accessed 22 March 2012
  19. ^ 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 av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk HMC Schools: International Members at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012
  20. ^ http://www.hmc.org.uk/schools/the-british-school-in-new-delhi/
  21. ^ http://www.hmc.org.uk/schools/the-doon-school/
  22. ^ http://www.hmc.org.uk/schools/the-international-school-bangalore/
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o HMC Schools: Additional Members at hmc.org.uk, accessed 18 March 2012