Interested in Membership

Accreditation of the Member entitles a school to access ISA’s full range of services and to use ISA’s badge of quality, including a plaque and logo for documentation and website use.  This is recognised by parents and educators throughout the UK.

When their heads are accredited Full Members of ISA, schools automatically have access to the services of ISC, such as its daily educational news summary and specialist advice. Accreditation also allows display of the ISC quality kitemark on promotional materials alongside the ISA logo.

Full ISA membership for the head gives schools access to the Independent Schools Inspectorate (providing compliance has been achieved under Ofsted), the only peer-review inspectorate with serving independent school heads and teachers on inspection teams.  Another benefit of accreditation is the opportunity to train as an ISI inspector and access to ISA and ISI’s support and training for inspection.

Please download an Information Pack, and do get in touch with ISA’s Deputy CEO Peter Woodroffe if you would like to discuss any aspect of membership.

ISA Membership Services

Courses and Training

ISA’s Professional Development Programme provides a range of high quality training opportunities for staff of members’ schools. Each year we run over 40 courses across the UK, promoting excellence in independent education and helping Heads to keep up to date with the latest best practice.

ISA’s training programme covers a broad range of themes including preparing for inspections, school development planning, and assessment and tracking. We also run a number of age range specific events such as our EYFS and Sixth Form courses.

ISA also puts on four major conferences each year. The conferences provide an excellent forum to meet and network with colleagues from schools of other ISA members.
Our members really value the community that ISA provides and our courses and conferences are an excellent way of getting to know others whilst learning and sharing good practice. For more information and booking please click here.

For queries on course and conference content, please contact Alice Thompson, ISA’s Professional Development Officer, on 01799 581696.

Support and Advice for Independent Schools

We supply a wide range of support and advice for our Members.

ISA support is available by telephone or online from our team of experts; we aim to be prompt, friendly and helpful. Talk to our well-trained staff for impartial and informed advice on areas as varied as staffing, compliance, curriculum and leadership. Support and advice is readily available in the ISA Office; the over-riding message is that we are here to help and no concern is too small.

Support at National and International Level
ISA is headed by a Chair, appointed annually and elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting. The Chair represents ISA and its members to a number of national bodies, in addition to chairing Executive Council and having a leading role in shaping ISA’s Annual Conference.

Executive Council comprises nearly 30 ISA member Heads/Principals, meeting five times a year to consider the strategic and developmental issues that affect the day-to-day work of the Association. A number of members also represent ISA on external bodies such as the Department for Education, Independent Schools Inspectorate and the Independent Schools Council.

Accreditation by ISA brings your school into the Independent Schools Council (ISC), to which the five Heads’ Associations, the Bursars’ Association and the Association of Governing Bodies are federated.
ISC represents the interests of all UK accredited independent schools to government and its agencies, to politicians of all parties, to the media and other opinion-formers. The ISC Press Office is responsible for relations with national, regional and international media. It issues regular guidance and information to members on a wide variety of political, legal, educational and practical issues. It also produces an invaluable daily summary of education issues in the press.

Regional Support
ISA’s regional structure means that serving Heads/Principals are nearby to support you, initially with pastoral visits. This can be followed up with a visit from an ISA Vice President or other ISA Head in your area to provide advice to help your school address specific issues. We now have Regional Representatives in six different areas of the country who provide an additional layer of support and advice.

The ISA Online Support Community

You can also sign up to our extensive online support community that covers all aspects of independent school education. Members across the country share resources and guidance, as well as immediate updates on the latest legislation and best practice. You can find out more about the ISA Online Support Community here.

ISA Mentoring
If you are in your first couple of years of headship and would like a mentor, or if you would like to be a mentor for a new head, then please contact Peter Woodroffe.


Networking for Independent School Heads

The Independent Schools Association provides extensive networking opportunities for its member Headteachers. We promote Member support networks and fellowship regionally, nationally and internationally.

Local Networking
ISA members can network with other Headteachers in their local area through our well established regional structure.

Membership of The Independent Schools Association automatically brings you and your school into a network of colleagues in your area. Our seven regional areas each offer a range of events and activities, including meetings, training and pupil competitions.

Wherever your school is located, ISA is a close and supportive presence, ready to share knowledge and experience.

Click here for details of each Area Committee, together with information on forthcoming events and meeting dates and times.

ISA Conferences
ISA’s four major conferences give members the opportunity to network with over 100 independent school Heads from across the UK, while updating themselves on the very latest educational thinking and best practice.

ISA’s Annual Conference takes place in the Summer Term of each year, while our Autumn Study Conference – which is also open to Deputies and Senior Leaders – follows in November. We also have our Proprietors’ Conference in October, and for new members, our Heads’ Induction Conference runs in January. The events also give Heads the opportunity to network with a number of leading schools suppliers in our conference exhibitions.

ISA Courses
ISA’s Professional Development Programme provides a range of high-quality training opportunities for members’ schools. ISA’s courses give Heads the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the UK. For more information and booking click here.

Sporting Opportunities & Competitions

The Independent Schools Association offers an extensive programme of National and Area sports events for its member schools to participate in annually.  The ISA Sport programme is one of the largest offered to Independent schools in the UK and includes an extensive range of high profile events including football, athletics, cross country, triathlon and swimming, often at some of the country’s most prestigious venues such as the London Olympic Park. Once a member of the Independent Schools Association, your school will be able to enter these events.

ISA is the only Association to provide an extensive extra-curricular programme for pupils. We offer unrivalled opportunities to compete in sporting events that include football, athletics, cross country, triathlon and swimming, often at some of the country’s most prestigious venues such as the London Olympic Park.

Area Competitions
As a member, your pupils will have access to an Area programme of events coordinated annually by a designated Area Sports Coordinator. The events are hosted and organised by member schools. Areas vary in the number and type of sports competitions that they organise throughout the year; from surfing and sailing in the South West to waterpolo in the North and judo in London to name just a few.

National Competitions
Your school will also be able to enter ISA’s National events, click here for more information. Some events require Area qualification in order to reach the National Finals including Athletics, Cross Country, Football, Netball and Swimming. Schools may enter other national events directly without qualification. ISA’s National events include traditional team sports (netball, football, rugby) and new individual sports (Triathlon, Skiing, Equestrian, Clay Pigeon Shooting).

ISA organises its sports competitions to a high standard, with experienced volunteers and officials at prestigious venues. The 2019 National Swimming Finals are to be held at the London Aquatics Centre.

Other ISA Sport Services
An annual professional development conference is organised for Directors of Sport, PE staff and sports coaches of independent schools to develop their knowledge, skills and network with other ISA schools. Member schools can also benefit from sports consultancy.

ISA Sport is committed to helping all member schools improving their sporting provision for pupils. Please do get in touch with us if we can help in any way.

Arts Opportunities & Competitions

The Independent Schools Association is broadening its offering for schools in the arts, from visual and performing arts, to essay writing, handwriting, and competitions focused for EYFS and Primary Schools.

By becoming a member your school will be able to enter ISA’s National arts events and competitions, click here for more information. Opportunities are available in the visual arts, textiles, drama,  Shakespeare, singing workshops, dance, music composition with more to be added in the next academic year.

ISA Arts is committed to helping all member schools improving their arts provision for pupils. Please do get in touch with us if we can help in any way.

Legal Services

Members find our legal services of great value, both as a freestanding resource and in conjunction with their own usual legal support arrangements.

ISA’s legal service is free in the first instance, with much-reduced rates if you require additional support for protracted issues.

The service has been developed in conjunction with the expert schools team at Penningtons Manches.

Feedback from Members

When asked what they valued most about belonging to ISA, members said…

“As a new member of ISA, I have been most impressed with the organisation. When I have contacted the Association, I have received first-class advice and assistance – thank you.”

“The ISA team offer such fabulous support and are always extremely efficient and friendly.”

“The kite mark of quality that belonging to a premier association provides.”

 “The chance to get our name and news of our successes out there!”

I found the whole ISA conference experience incredibly friendly and enriching As always, excellent speakers who make me enthusiastic to take new ideas back to school.”

“The CEO and his expertise – he is a genuine support.”

“The difference being in the ISA has made to my confidence as a Head. I was very anxious about attending the (Heads Induction) Conference, as I was not sure I was up to standard and would feel very outclassed. However everyone was very friendly and the speakers were excellent. Most importantly we do now feel we are not managing alone, being so small can make you worry you will miss important changes in legislation etc.”

 “The chance for me, my staff and my pupils to get into other schools.”

 “The sense of achievement our pupils get from taking part in regional and national sporting events.  Parents love it too!”

“ISA visited us yesterday to review our compliance and quality. It was a really useful exercise for the School, as it was the first time for many staff and students to experience inspection conditions. I just wanted to let you know how grateful we are for the support we get from the ISA.”