The Advisory Council for 2016
The Advisory Council of the British School of Costa Rica was founded in 2001 as one aspect during a re-organization of the School before the CIS/NEASC Accreditation process. The restructuring at the time involved Mr. Trevor Davies being appointed Headmaster (Head) of the school with responsibility for all academic affairs supported by Ms. Susan Bird as Director of Primary School. Mr. David Lloyd and Mrs. Liliana Lloyd continued as Directors General of the school with Mr. Lloyd having overall responsibility for finance and building and Mrs. Lloyd having responsibility for the Administrative Staff.
The members of the Advisory Council were appointed initially by invitation from the Directors General, later by approval of the members of the Council: its role was never intended to be "representative", only that it provides sound, objective advice. The mission statement of the Advisory Council is provided in more detail below, but in general terms it has a role to advise the Directors General on matters pertaining to the School's mission, philosophy and policies. It would also act as a "Crisis Management Committee" should the need ever arise.
The British School of Costa Rica is a private, independent school founded and owned by the Directors General who have financial and legal responsibility for the school. The Directors General as owners are the School's highest authority and final decisions regarding the school’s affairs are theirs.
In their governance of the School, the Directors General are assisted by the counsel and advice provided by an appointed Advisory Council.
Members of the Advisory Council do not have financial or legal responsibility for the school but act as advisors to the Directors General. The Advisory Council's principal function is to participate in and advise the Directors General in the development of policy and regulations pertaining to the orderly administration of the School. The Advisory Council is, as its name implies, an advisory body with no specific authority or liability.
The Directors General believe that the creation, definition and supervision of policies, directives and other administrative instruments to be the most important function of a governing body, whereas the execution of those policies and directives is the function of the Head, his deputies and delegates. This division provides freedom for the Head to manage the academic aspects of the school within the policies set by the Directors General and Advisory Council.
The Directors General hold the Head responsible for the implementation and execution of policies that they define in conjunction with the Advisory Council, the operation of internal machinery designed to serve the school programme and to keep the Council informed about the school's operations.
Unless there is a direct conflict that threatens the future welfare of the school, the Directors General shall adhere to the following policies:
- Give the Head full administrative authority for discharging his/her professional duties.
- Act upon the recommendation of the Head in matters of employment or dismissal of teaching personnel.
- Hold all normal sessions of the Advisory Council in the presence of the Head, except those pertaining to the Head's contract.
- Carry out an evaluation of the Head’s performance one month before the school year ends.
- Present that evaluation to the Head 3 days prior to the “end-of-year” meeting with him/her.
- Refer to the Head administrative matters brought to them such as complaints and specific requests and discuss these matters at a regular meeting of the Council only if such matters cannot be resolved at the administrative level.
- Present all personal criticisms of any member of the teaching staff to the Head.
- Decide, in consultation with the Advisory Council, at least 6 months prior to the expiration of the Head's contract if it should be renewed or not.
The Directors General will concentrate on the broad direction and control of the school as a whole. In consultation with the Council, they will establish basic policies for the School and delegate to the Head the day to day administration of approved programmes and policies.
Among the specific functions exclusively reserved to the Directors General are the following:
1. The establishment of general policy concerning:
- Organizational structure of the School
- Curriculum and instruction
- Admission of students, including priority of the children for enrolment
- Expulsion of students
- Student welfare
- Public relations and relations with local and national Government Offices
- Fee and tuition schedules
- The “Reglamento Interno” – the terms and conditions of the employment of staff
2. Disposition of all school property, including mortgages and leases
3. Procurement of insurance policies covering assets of the school
4. Approval of salary schedules
5. Approval of the overall annual budget
6. Employment and dismissal of teaching personnel based upon Head's recommendations.
7. Creation, change and elimination of administrative positions.
8. Approval of Banks selected for deposit of the School's funds and of the Investment of School reserves.
9. Determination of the time and place of regular and special meetings of the Advisory Council.
The Directors General shall concern themselves with questions of policy and the appraisal of results, rather than with administrative details. However, in order to review performance and appraise results as compared with the approved aims, policies, and programs, the Directors General shall require frequent reports from the Head and his delegates.
The Advisory Council shall support the Directors General in ensuring the continued existence and successful future of the school. The Advisory Council should consistently ensure that any advice it offers is congruent with the philosophy, mission and aims of the School.
At all meetings of the Advisory Council and its working committees, all decisions taken will be by consensus. In the absence of consensus, the Directors General shall take the final decision.
Unless specified, all Advisory Council meetings shall take place on the school premises. The Directors General shall have the discretion to conduct Advisory Council meetings open to parents, employees or students of the school. When invited to do so, parents, employees or students will be granted 5 minutes at the beginning of the meeting to present their case. The Advisory Council will hear and may ask questions but will discuss and decide such cases in the absence of those persons.
The specific functions of the Advisory Council shall include:
1. Regularly review and approve the school's philosophy and mission statement.
2. Consider major changes to school policies and practices.
3. Approve and oversee the implementation of the School Strategic Plan
4. Approve the quarterly and annual reports of the Head
5. Offer advice on any matter the Directors General may bring to the Council.
6. Bring to the attention of the Council, for consideration and possible discussion, matters that members consider to be of significant importance to the Directors General.
7. Review the school budget and annual financial statement
8. Advise on contract renewal of the Head
9. Review, at the request of those affected or of the Head, decisions regarding:
- teachers dismissed for disciplinary reasons, and
- students expelled from the school
10. Offer advice on the suitable resolution of extraordinary, serious problems which may arise
11. Act as a Crisis Management Team should the need ever arise
12. Suggest and/or approve the incorporation of new members into the Council.
The Directors General shall ensure that the Advisory Council will meet in Regular Sessions at least 8-10 times in the course of one calendar year. At the beginning of each school year, the Directors General will determine, as far as possible, the day and time of the regular meetings for that year.
The authority of individual members of the Council is limited to the time when and place where the Council is in session. Advisory Council members shall not assume the duties and responsibilities of administrators or staff members of the School.
The Advisory Council members or staff of the School shall not be bound in anyway by any action taken or statement made by any individual member of the Council except when such a statement or action has been expressly authorized by the Directors General.
The following shall be the duties and responsibilities of the Advisory Council members and the Directors General in relation to the work of the Advisory Council: Each Advisory Council member shall…
- for each meeting of the Council, review the agenda and any study materials distributed prior to the meeting and be prepared to participate in the discussion and decision making for each agenda item.
- give at least 3 days advance notice to the Directors General of their unavailability to attend an Advisory Council meeting.
- strive to perpetuate the school's mission, aims and objectives.
- ensure that advice or council given during meetings of the Council is given confirms to Costa Rican Laws and regulations and to the philosophy, aims and objectives of the School.
- participate actively and regularly in Advisory Council meetings and on Advisory Council committees.
- participate in the setting of policy for the school and to take action on budgetary and fiscal proposals.
- serve as an advocate for the school in the wider community.
- recommend the school as appropriate, to prospective families, students and employees.
- avoid conflict of interests and the appearance of conflict of interests in all activities on behalf of the school.
- participate in an annual Advisory Council self-evaluation.
- adhere to the Code of Ethics
- demonstrate their interest in the school by making regular visits to the school premises and teaching areas
The Advisory Council members shall abide by the following Code of Ethics:
- I will uphold and enforce all Laws, Rules, Regulations and any Court Orders pertaining to the administration of The British School of Costa Rica. Desired changes shall be brought about only through legal and ethical procedures.
- I will make decisions in terms of the education and welfare of children and will seek to develop and maintain policies ensuring that the school meets the individual needs of all students regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex, or social standing.
- I will confine my Advisory Council action to policy making, planning and appraisal and I will help to frame policies and plans only after the Directors General and the Advisory Council have consulted those who will be affected by them.
- I will carry out my responsibility, not to administer the school, but, together with my fellow Advisory Council members, to see that the school is well run.
- I will recognize that authority of the School rests immediately with the Directors General and ultimately with the Government of Costa Rica and will make no personal promises nor take any private action that may compromise the Advisory Council or the School.
- I will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interest or partisan political groups or to use the school for personal gain or for the gain of friends and family.
- I will hold confidential all matters pertaining to the school which, if disclosed, would needlessly injure individuals or the school. In all other matters, I will provide accurate information and wise counsel to the Directors General and, where appropriate, the Head of the School. In this I will interpret accurately the needs and aspirations of the School Community for its school.
- I will recommend the appointment as members of the Advisory Council the best qualified personnel available after consideration of the recommendation of the Directors General.
- I will support and protect school personnel in the proper performance of their duties. If warranted, I will bring to the attention of the Directors General any serious complaints concerning personnel of the School raised by other members of the School Community.