Membership criteria


  • Fully independent financially
  • Accredited by dint of ISI inspection (Estyn in Wales)
  • School must have appropriate governance and be in membership (full or associate) of AGBIS
  • Head appointed with an approved contract and in membership of ASCL (or other recognised Union for Heads).
  • School must have a sixth-form providing a range of 16-19 courses appropriate to the needs of the students
  • Evidence that the school is financially sound and employs staff on appropriate terms and conditions
    It is not uncommon for full members to be in membership of more than one Heads’ Association. Those that are also members of HMC, GSA or ISA are known as Dual Members. The criteria for Dual Members are identical to those for full membership.


The criteria are as above for full/dual members, except that the Head’s school may not meet the requirements in paragraphs a), b) and c) in which case responsibility for the accreditation inspection is currently with Ofsted.

A number of maintained boarding schools are currently Additional Members of the Society. Additional Members may not be elected as Officers of the Society or as Committee members, nor are they entitled to vote at the AGM/EGM but they are able to attend all meetings of the Society and benefit from all the other services offered by the Society.


Additional Members (Overseas) are expected to:

    1. Offer a curriculum and resources broadly in line with the National Curriculum for England and Wales or the International Baccalaureate/ International Primary Curriculum.
    2. Have teaching staff that are well qualified and are predominantly native or fluent English speakers.
    3. Promote teaching methodology and practices in line with UK practice.
    4. Possess buildings and facilities adequate for the number of pupils at the school and to comply with local regulations/UK guidelines.
    5. Have satisfactory health and safety procedures and to comply with local regulations.
    6. Meet the professional, ethical and operational standards expected of a member school.
    7. To have been inspected by a DfE approved inspectorate or to be committed to being inspected as soon as is practical.


The rights and benefits of membership are identical to those of Additional Members in the UK. However, the fee for the Annual Conference which members are expected to attend every two or three years, is not included in the subscription.


This is a category of membership designed to offer support to Heads who are actively seeking to meet all the criteria for Full or Additional Membership. For example, Heads of schools that do not have a sixth-form at present but have a development plan to open one within a specific timescale. This category also encompasses the Heads of those independent schools who are waiting for an ISI accreditation inspection commissioned by the Society. The Committee has also put a cap on the size (no more than 1000 pupils) on the schools whose Heads are seeking Conference Membership.

Conference Members are entitled to access all the support services provided by the Society and to attend the Annual Conference and other Society Meetings. Conference Members are subjected to the same restrictions on election as Officers, Committee membership and voting rights as Additional Members.


The Member's commitment is to

  • attend the Annual Conference and the termly meetings
  • show integrity in all professional matters and follow the Society of Heads and ISC Codes of Practice
  • pay the school's annual subscription to ISC
  • attend, if new to Headship, the New Members' Conference
  • participate in, and release staff for, ISI inspection work



Those who have served as Heads of Society Schools are entitled to Associate Membership upon retirement or upon moving to another post. The Committee may also consider awarding Honorary Associate Membership to those who have given distinguished service to the Society. There is no subscription for Associate Members and they are entitled to attend all Society events but they may not be Officers or Committee members and they are not entitled to vote at the AGM or at an EGM.

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