The Independent Schools Association (ISA) is the registered charity that represents the Heads of 674 of the UK’s best independent schools. We provide our Members and their staff with a wide range of membership services, including high quality training courses and conferences, networking opportunities, advice and support, and we actively pursue our charitable objectives by supporting a wide range of charities.

Founded in 1878, ISA is one of the oldest of the organisations for the heads of independent schools. We are proud of our reputation for offering warmth and professional, practical advice, and are delighted to offer an expanding range of benefits for our Members, including the provision of up-to-date information and legal advice, regional support, value-for-money training and competing opportunities for pupils. The Association is governed by the: 

Articles adopted 19 May 2023.pdf


ISA works closely with Headteachers and with other professional bodies to promote excellence in independent education. We seek to influence the national educational debate on behalf of our Members, while promoting independence and choice.

Our Values

ISA Members value innovation and inspiration, building on the best traditions to promote integrity, high standards, industry and responsibility. We value the diversity of our Members’ schools which cover the complete age range and vary in size and nature, from early years to senior, boarding and day, all-through schools, co-educational and single gender, and specialist schools in the arts and music.

All Members and their schools share a desire to meet fully the needs of the young people in their care, treating everyone as individuals and providing a high-quality and personalised education.  They encourage pupils to make the most of their talents, building confidence through academic achievement and offering a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities.

ISA exists for its Members, recognising that high quality support is essential if Heads are to run successful schools.

ISA is a heads’ association, founding member of the Independent Schools Council and registered charity, whose Members are head teachers or principals of independent schools, or Honorary Members who serve the sector. Occasionally, reference is informally made to “ISA Schools” as a form of shorthand; in fact the correct reference should be “ISA Members’ schools” – i.e. schools where the headteacher has been elected to full membership of the Association.