Independent schools are all signing up to the values agenda, Judith Sischy, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said.
Mrs Sischy was part of the study visit to Maine and has since relayed the findings to her sector.
"Ethos and values are much more upfront now and are high on the agenda.
They are explicit in schools' marketing and it is something parents are looking for. It is not so much exam results but a sense of values," she said.
Schools were highlighting aspects such as voluntary activities and citizenship as well as "old-fashioned values" such as courtesy, respect and good manners.