An overview of governance at The British School, Alexandria, the governing constitution and profiles of the School Board of Trustees and Directors.
Establishment and Nature of The British School
“The British School was established according to the cultural convention signed between the Arab Republic of Egypt and The United Kingdom” (Protocol with the Ministry of Education of Egypt)
- The British School, Alexandria was established in 1984 in the grounds of the British Consulate. It is a not-for-profit organisation, registered as a trust foundation with the Charity Commission in the United Kingdom and recognised in the framework to the cultural convention signed between the Arab Republic of Egypt and The United Kingdom
- As referenced in the Protocol co-signed between The British School (BSA) and the Ministry of Education of Egypt, “the British School was established according to the cultural convention signed between the Arab Republic of Egypt and The United Kingdom in September 1965” (Article 1) and “is a non-profit making school with charitable status” (Article 2).
- The UK diplomatic mission to Egypt, represented by its Consulate in Alexandria, played a central role in the establishment of the British School included establishing its governance status and constitution as a registered UK charity and company limited by guarantee; as the founding Chair of Trustees/Directors of the British School, the British Consul-General to Alexandria oversaw the establishment of the school governing policies, administrative protocols and School bank accounts in Egypt and the UK.
- The mission statement of The British School, Alexandria, as outlined in its founding documents with the UK Charity Commission and Companies House, is “to provide education of the highest quality to an ever-widening selection of the Alexandria school population, and to promote the advantages of a British based education. In doing so we believe we are allowing the children of Alexandria to take a broader view of the world, and better contribute to Egyptian Society as a whole”.
- As referenced in the Protocol co-signed between The British School (BSA) and the Ministry of Education of Egypt, “The British School, Alexandria follows British teaching methods for students in (15) different grades” (Article 3).
Good Governance and Oversight
- In accordance with the BSA Constitution and as formally validated by the founders of the School, “the Trustees have overall responsibility for the governance and financial affairs of the School; the Principal acts as liaison officer for relations with Ministries and the Associations for British Schools Overseas”
- “Trustees” has referred since the School’s establishment to the individuals formally registered as Trustees and Directors of the British School Charity (no. 1089630) and Company Limited by Guarantee (04042675).
- In accordance with the Companies Act 1985, the British School Trustees/Directors have responsibility for oversight on the financial policies of the organisation including reviewing the annual reporting to the UK Charity Commission and Companies House.
- The Trustees/Directors are composed of a minimum of three individuals who 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”. The Trustees/Directors have been registered since 2000 on the website of the Charity Commission.
- The British Ambassador to Egypt acts as Patron of the School ex officio; his nominee (normally his Deputy) attend meetings of the Governors to keep the Embassy up to date on the School’s affairs; the Embassy supports the School publicly, as a leading British institution in Alexandria, particularly in its relations with the Egyptian government.
Governing Constitution, Policies and External Inspection
“The quality of governance is excellent. The governance, restructured in 2011 to provide 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” (1st Inspection Report by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, ISI)
- The Trustees of The British School, Alexandria initiated a process in 2011 leading to the first international accreditation of the School and the updating of governance policies compliant with the requirements of British Schools Overseas.
- As referenced in the Protocol co-signed between The British School (BSA) and the Ministry of Education of Egypt, “the British School, Alexandria is accredited by the British Government as a British School Overseas (BSO) and therefore undergoes an inspection every 3 years” (Article 1).
- The international accreditation process from 2011 led to the updating of governance arrangements whereby the existing Trustees/Directors of The British School, Alexandria – “with overall responsibility for the governance and financial affairs of the School” – appointed a Board of Governors to ensure with the School Principal/CEO the development and monitoring of the annual School Development Plan.
- While the Board of Trustees/Directors is comprised of on average 3 to 4 individuals registered with the UK Companies House and Charity Commission, the Governors bring together on average 8 to 10 individuals of Egyptian, British and other foreign nationalities to reflect the fact that it is a British international school in Egypt.
- The Constitution of the British School outlines the terms of reference of the governing bodies. The Trustees/ Directors, in accordance with the Constitution, appoint the Board of Governors, ensure overall performance management of the Board and Principal/CEO and approve the proposal for a Chair of Governors.
- The Board of Trustees appoints a Board of Governors with the purpose to monitor and support the week-to-week implementation of the School’s development plan in partnership with the Principal. The key accountabilities of the Board of Governors include: acting as a “critical friend” of the Principal, knowing what is happening in the day-to-day running of the School and reporting any critical issues to the Trustees, ensuring 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.
- The governance work led by the Trustees since 2011 resulted in the international accreditation of The British School, Alexandria. This included the School’s status as Member of BSO “British Schools Overseas” (http://aobso.uk/), accredited Member of COBIS(www.cobis.org.uk), recognition as Member of BSME (www.bsme.org.uk), recognition as an official LONDON EXAMINATIONS International Centre of Learning by Edexcel (www.edexcel.com), Associate Member of Cambridge International Examinations (www.cie.org.uk/)
Profiles of the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees and Directors of The British School, Alexandria, were appointed according to their long-term association to the School and demonstrated capacity to act with independence and to guard the founding charitable aims and not-for-profit nature of the School. The current Board of Trustees include educationalists associated to the School during its 30+ year history and former Governor leaders recognised for outstanding school governance through international inspection.
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 one of the founding teachers at the British School, Alexandria. She is currently supporting teachers' professional development in underprivileged schools across Alexandria and has led research projects with Egyptian primary pupils in different schools.
Magdi El Garf is a trustee of The British School and represented the School in co-signing its first Protocol with the Ministry of Education in the framework of the UK-Egypt cultural convention. An academically trained architect, he is the chairman of an Alexandria-based leading development company and has worked in the past for a number of companies in Egypt and in the UK. Magdi is also the elected chair of the Egyptian-British Association in Alexandria.
Paul Walton has extensive international experience in leading award-winning organisations and multi-country programmes in the domain of Africa-Europe cooperation and has held advisory roles with the United Nations on education, youth development and governance. As former Chair of the Board (2011-2016) Paul was recognised for outstanding leadership in governance and oversaw the British School’s first international accreditation process.
Affiliated to the work of the Trustees is the independent educational advisor who carries out an annual inspection and performance review of the Principal/Board on behalf of the Trustees. Since 2012 this role has been assumed by Gerard Flynn, former British School international headteacher who was awarded an MBE in 2010 for services to education and charitable works in Egypt.
For any enquiries on governance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We currently have an Interim Governing Body until a new Governing Body is put in place in September 2020.
David Gater - Chair of Governors
Magdi El Garf - Trustee
Dr Eleanore Hargreaves - Trustee
Gerard Flynn - Educational Advisor
Tawfik Gurgis - Lawyer
Justin Blakebrough - Principal