The Board of Governors of The British School, Alexandria is comprised of leading professionals and experts from the sectors of education, business, construction and legal affairs.
Should you wish to contact the Board of Governors, please send an e-mail via the Board Clerk on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Board of Governors
Chair of the Board
Mona El Ahmer
Vice-Chair of the Board
Passent Abdel Salam
Mrs Passent is an ex-teaching assistant and instructor of Marketing and Human Resources. She is currently on leave pursuing her PhD degree. Passent has spent the past seven years living in Belgium and had an active volunteer role at the British School of Brussels. She has worked in Alexandria at the Arab academy for Science and Technology and also at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and in Cairo at MSA University. Passent has two children attending the BSA.
Chair of Students Learning & Staffing Committee / Pre-Prep School Governor
Mrs Amani Madwar has extensive professional experience in the international education sector, having worked for the British council for more than 20 years. In her work at the council, Amani managed projects related to skills for youth employability, with a specialist interest in career guidance and development. Amani has also received training as an editor and writer.
Chair of the Campus and Health & Safety Committee / ICT Governor
Mr Wael Mansour is a trained engineer, graduating from the University of Alexandria, the city where he was born. Through his professional work, Wael has worked in various engineering projects within Alexandria and the wider Egypt, and is particularly interested in development initiatives. Wael has children who attend The British School and he is very active in the field of sport.
Mr Colin Clement is Director of Harpocrates Publishing and an experienced media professional and historical researcher. Born in Edinburgh and educated at Oxford University, he has lived in Alexandria for more than 20 years, arriving first in 1986 to teach English at Victoria College. Colin is passionate about Alexandria's modern history, having published numerous books on the subject, including "Victoria College: A History Revealed".
Dr Tawfik Gad is President of El Konouz International Shipping and Trading Company, and a lecturer at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology in Alexandria. Educated at the American University in Cairo and the North Carolina State University, he has a PhD and academic training in Industrial Engineering. In addition, Dr Tawfik has a child who attends The British School, Alexandria.
Nancy Van Dongen
Mrs. Nancy El Aswad Dongen is the Co-founder of Casa dei Bambini Montessori Nursery. Interested in education and child development, Nancy has received Montessori Teaching Diploma in 2013 from MEPI organization, and followed a special course on Montessori New School Management in 2015. She has originally graduated with a Computer Science Bachelor Degree from The Advanced Academy in Cairo. Nancy has moved to Alexandria with her husband Mr. C.H. van Dongen in 2004, actively participating in the community, she is a member of Alexandria English Book Club and a visiting guest to the Alexandria Cosmopolitan Rotary Club.
Haisam A. Ghaly is the MENA Regional Manager for Wedge Networks Inc, and has various expertise in research and industrial R&D. Haisam was born in Alexandria but has lived most of his life in Canada, he has worked closely with the HCSD Board of Education and has shown a passion for redefining the way our children learn. Haisam Believes that G.K Chesterton said it best “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another”.
Nagwa Saad Asfour, born in June 1955 in Alexandria. Graduated from the English Girls, college in 1972 (High School, science section). Graduated from Faculty of Engineering in June 1977 - holding a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Power.
Started a Banking Career with Chase National Bank( joint venture with Chase Manhattan Bank) and attended Chase's first 9 months Certified Credit Course.
Banking Career for 35 years mainly with joint venture and offshore banks in the corporate finance and Wealth Management including the Commercial International Bank, Bank of America, Egyptian American Bank, Egyptian Gulf Bank and HSBC.
Graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Photography from PCL/University of Westminster, Wendy spent many years working on the editorial teams of consumer magazines, including as Editor at the Daily Mirror’s TV supplement. As well as her experience overseeing the design and content of magazines, she has skills in product development, marketing, team management, career development and budget controls. Married to an Alexandrian since 1994 and moving to Egypt in 2013, she and her husband now run their villa in Borg el Arab as a guest house.
Mr Justin Blakebrough took on the role of Principal of The British School in August 2015. Mr Blakebrough has 34 years of teaching experience in British education, both in the independent and state sectors, as well as three years’ teaching in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has recently been Headteacher of a very successful 11-18 comprehensive school in Chester in the North West of England for eight years. He studied Electronic Physics and Philosophy at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth before completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Bristol University. This was later followed by gaining a Master of Arts in Educational Management at York University and the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). He is married and has two children, one who attends The British School and the other who lives in England. He has a range of interests including music, independent travel and skiing.
Board of Trustees
Mr Paul Walton works in the headquarters of the Anna Lindh Foundation, an international institution promoting trans-Mediterranean cooperation in the fields of education, culture, media and conflict resolution. Prior to the Foundation, Paul was co-Founder and Executive Director of the award-winning organisation Global Voice UK and has managed multi-country projects on behalf of the European Union, League of Arab States and United Nations.
Dr. Eleanore Hargreaves is a Reader in Learning and Pedagogy at the UCL Institute of Education, London University, UK. Before joining the UCL Institute of Education, she was a teacher at the British School in Alexandria from 1986-8. She is currently supporting teachers' professional development in underprivileged schools in Alexandria and has recently carried out interview research with Egyptian primary pupils in those schools.
Audit, Legal & Finance
Magdi El Garf
Mr Magdi El Garf is the chairman of an Alexandria-based leading development company which focuses on industrial and housing projects. An academically trained architect, Magdi worked in the past for a number of companies in Egypt and in the United Kingdom, and has a specialist interest in eco-development projects. Magdi is also the elected chair of the Egyptian-British Association in Alexandria.
Mr Gerard Flynn is a former British International School head teacher who has a long connection with BSA, firstly as a colleague and now as an educational advisor. In 2010 he was awarded an MBE for services to education and charitable works in Egypt. At BSA he has been involved in Principal Appraisal, Pre-Inspection Training and he also assisted in the recruitment of the present Principal. He is an experienced school inspector, school development partner and trained mentor.
Frequently Asked Questions
“The quality of governance is excellent. The governance, restructured in 2011 to provide more effective control of the school and its strategic direction, provides more effective control of the school and its strategic direction, provides extremely effective oversight of the school thereby enabling the school’s aims to be met. The school’s strategic vision is ambitious, and the excellent standard of governance is built on comprehensive knowledge of the workings of the school (..)” Inspection Report by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), 2016.
Governance at the British School, Alexandria has received international recognition as a model of outstanding practice. This is the benchmark to continuing investment in good governance to support the long-development of the School and its ongoing capacity for outstanding teaching and learning.
The governance policy and structure reflects the nature of The British School as a not-for-profit organisation, registered as a trust foundation with the Charity Commission in England, and operating in Alexandria, Egypt in the framework of the Cultural Agreement co-signed between the Egyptian Government and British Government.
The Trust is administered by a committee of Trustees who are accountable to the Charity Commission in England, and the overall management and development of the School in Alexandria is administered by a Board of Governors together with the appointed Principal/CEO. H.M. British Consul-General to Alexandria is Patron of The British School.
What are the profiles of current Board members and Trustees?
All the profiles are published and updated on the governance section of the website. Click here:
What is the composition of the Board of Governors?
The standard composition consists of: co-opted governors elected to the Board; the Principal/CEP; and the British Consul-General. The co-opted governors are on average around 12 individuals, with a balanced composition (experience, gender, cultural background, parent/non-parent).
The School’s Head of Finance and Head of Administration are invited to attend full Governor meetings but they remain non-voting members. Elected staff, parent, and student representatives provide in put to the Governance structure, principally through the Sub-committee on ‘Students, Learning and Staffing’.
What are the main responsibilities of the Board of Governors?
The Board of Governors monitors and supports the implementation of the School’s strategic and school development plan in partnership with the Principal and Trustees. The main responsibilities of the Board are:
- Act as a “critical friend” to the Principal – in other words they hold the Principal to account but at the same time support the Principal.
- Know what is happening with regard to the running of the school so that they can intervene if necessary but they would not normally be involved in the day-to-day running of the school.
- Ensure that the school meets all legal obligations.
- Ensure that the school is effective and doing its best for the education as well as ensuring the welfare of the students in accordance with the aims and values of the school.
- Ensure a secure future for the school in accordance with the values and aims of the school as well as a secure future in terms of the school’s finances.
How are Governors elected?
In line with the Governance Policy, the School will publicise recruitment processes for Board members, principally through the School’s website and communications to the school community; current Governors are also responsible for pro-actively contributing to this process. The recruitment should specify priority areas of expertise and experience identified at the level of Governance.
Short-listing of governors is carried out by a committee of the Board, typically composed also of the Chair and the Vice-Chair, based on the advertised criteria. The short-list is presented to the full Board and to the Trustees for final review. All elected governors have a term of 3 years, at the end of wish they can seek re-appointment.
How can parents contribute to the decision-making of the Board?
There are three elected parent representatives (one for each of the three schools elected by parents) who meet with the Principal once every half-term to discuss any issues raised by the parents or the principal. This gives an additional channel of communication. The three parent representatives are invited to attend part of the “Students Learning and Staffing Committee”. The term of office would be 2 years.
How can students contribute to the decision-making of the Board?
There are 2 student representatives (normally the Head boy and Head girl) who meet with the Principal once every half-term to discuss any issues raised by students or the principal. The two student representatives attend part of the “Students Learning and Staffing Committee”.
How often does the Board of Governors meet and who attends these meetings?
The Board holds regular Board meetings once a term whilst the school is in session, and not less than 3 times per year. Regular meetings are attended by Board members only, unless other persons have been specifically invited to give a presentation to the Board in relation to proposals put before the Board. The regular Board meetings are also attended by the Clerk to the Board, who is a non-voting attendee with a range of responsibilities such as formulating the Board agenda in association with the Chairperson, taking and circulating the minutes of all meetings of the Board and maintaining the official copy of the Policies Manual.
What are the different committees attended by The Board of Governors?
There are three main sub-committees that drive the work of the Board of Governors:
1. Students Learning & Staffing Committee
This committee is responsible for scrutinizing the following areas:
- Curriculum including curriculum enrichment – Recent and Future Developments – this could include presentations from Heads of Department and Subject Co-ordinators to keep governors updated
- Student Admissions – Policies / Procedures
- Student Achievements including Examination Results and extra-curricular achievements
- Learning and Teaching – Recent and Future Developments (including SEN/More Able)
- Pastoral, Welfare and Safeguarding (not Health & Safety) of students
- Staffing updates including new staff and any issues
- Staff Liaison Report
- Staff welfare including staffing questionnaire for new staff in the Autumn term
- Staff Development (CPD)
- Performance Management
- Other HR matters including staff contracts and staffing issues / effectiveness / attendance
2. Campus and Health & Safety
This committee is responsible for scrutinizing the following areas:
- The Campus and Buildings and their suitability and quality
- The Health and Safety of staff, students and visitors to the school including:
- Buildings, Campus, Medical, first aid issues, Critical Incidents, Security and Trips.
3. Finance and Legal
This committee is responsible for scrutinizing the following areas:
- The current and future financial security of the school and assessment of risk
- Ensuring that proper financial procedures are in place in accordance with legal requirements and to prevent losses due to fraud or incompetence.
- Receiving and scrutinising an annual auditors report
- Ensuring best-value i.e. that our finances are used to best effect.
- Agreeing the budget each year and monitoring on a regular basis whether expenditure and income is in line with the budget throughout the financial year including bank balances and forecasts.
- Agreeing the fees
What are the responsibilities of the Trustees?
In line with the policies of the Charity Commission in England, the Trustees are responsible for ensuring compliance to the Commission, including ensuring that the charity’s resources are use for the established charitable purposes of the Trust.
More specific duties include: Performance Management, monitoring and supporting the work of the Board of Governors and Principal/CEO; Recruitment policy for the Principal/CEO; Legal policies related to compliance with the Charity Commission and British Company Law; Monitoring of the School strategic development plan and financial management policies; Reviewing the vision and aims of the school, on average every 3 years; Opening up international opportunities to support the school’s overall development.
What is the criteria for appointing Trustees?
The Trustees of The British School should have a long-term association to the School and demonstrated their capacity to act with independence and in the interests of the School’s strategic development. Current Trustees include former members of the Board of Governors who have held senior leadership positions as Governors, and educationalists associated to the School during its 30 year+ history.