Parent Council welcomes new Head

The Parent Council are happy to announce Neil McCallum is the successful candidate for Head Teacher at Balerno High School. He is currently Depute Head Teacher at James Gillespies, a well performing high school in Edinburgh.

Information has gone out on wisepay to parents/carers and staff/pupils have been informed.

We’d like to thank Parent Forum members for your help during this process, particularly if you took part in the headteacher survey. We’d also like to thank Balerno pupils who interviewed a very strong list of potential candidates.

We look forward to welcoming Mr McCallum to the school in the very near future.

Parent Council Head Teacher survey results


To help Parent Council members recruiting a Head Teacher we asked for your views on what their priorities would be.

126 people did the survey – our target was 90, which would have been a good representative sample for accurate findings.

54% heard about the survey on wisepay, 33% from social media/website, 13% other/word of mouth.

There were over 200 comments with 25 parents/carers interested in the Parent Council, 16 the fundraising PTA and 60 wanting more information on the report (which will be made available after we share it with the new Head Teacher).

Your absolute musts were
1) Good Communication (89.68%)
2) Supports academic achievement (79.37%)
3) Fairness (78.57%)
4) Inspirational Leader (65.87%)
5) Positive Approach to Behaviour Management (63.49%)
6) Ability to know the pupils (61.90%)
7) Can plan and implement curricular policy (57.14%)
8) Authority (53.97%)
9) Supports extracurricular activity (42.86%)
10) Works well with the local authority (32.54%)
11) Engages with the community (30.95%)
12) Experience of being a HeadTeacher (19.05%)

1) Communication & engagement 35 comments
2) High Quality Education 27 comments
3) Staff retention, motivation and action 24 comments
4) Discipline, Drug & Alcohol abuse 21 comments
5) Extra Curricular activity, school trips, sport – 18 comments
6) Increase subject choice & work with partners 17 comments
7) Learning & emotional support – 9 comments
8) Pupil retention & engagement (particularly in S6 year) – 9 comments
9) Leadership & motivation – 9 comments
10) Refurbishment & update equipment – 8 comments
11) Support outwith academic route – 6 comments
12) Equality of feeder primaries – 4 comments
13) Maintaining uniform policy – 4 comments
14) Stop mobile use in class – 2 comments
15) Storage in school for pupils – 3 comments
16) Develop school ‘brand’ – 2 comment

A second open ended question was asked for further skills, qualities and comments. Responses covered fairness/engagement (26 comments), leadership (19 comments), academic success (8 comments), good communication (8 comments), well being on campus (5 comments), support needs (2 comments)

Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey. It helped us greatly during the recruitment process and for Parent Council priorities for the future.

Tony Foster
Chair of Balerno Parent Council

Head Teacher Recruitment Parent Council Survey

Help recruit a new Head Teacher for Balerno High School – have your say. 

The Balerno Parent Council are involved in the recruitment of the new Head Teacher and we want to hear from parents/carers about what qualities you would like to see in them.

The Parent Council are also interested in your thoughts about what the priorities of a new Head Teacher might be for Balerno High School, to help inform our work in the future (please do not refer to specific individuals).

Your answers will be in complete confidence, and your details will not be shared with anyone else. The deadline for this survey is 12 midnight on Monday 2nd May 2016. Apologies for the tight deadline, but the recruitment process is moving along very quickly.

You can find the survey here:

Thanks in advance for your help.

Kind regards,

Tony Foster

Chair, Balerno High School Parent Council

Head Teacher announcement – Parent Council response

Dear all

On Tuesday this week I was informed by the Head Teacher Graeme Sives that he is to take up a new post in South Lanarkshire. All staff, pupils and parents/carers should now have been informed by meetings, letters or Wisepay e-mail.

The Parent Council thank Graeme for all his work at Balerno High School and wish him well for the future. As indicated by Graeme in his letter the Parent Council will work closely with the school on interim arrangements and the recruitment process of a new head teacher. Both Graeme and I will keep you informed of developments over the coming weeks.

I have received initial feedback from Parent Council members on the opportunities the recruitment of a new Head Teacher can bring as well as ensuring the continued good work of staff and pupils at the school. The Parent Council members will ensure we achieve that, to the best of our abilities, as representatives of parents/carers at the school. Graeme and I hope to meet further next week on the matter.

If you have any comments or questions you can contact the Parent Council via e-mail at

Kind regards,
Tony Foster,
Chair of Balerno Parent Council