5 places SBMs can go to for support

9 hands of school business managers on top of one another in support of each other.

No SBM is an island. In a job that is so extremely varied, busy, and challenging, where can a school business manager go to for support? There is knowledge and support ready and waiting to help school business managers do their job and feel less like an island. You just have to know where to find it.

We asked the SBM Twitterati where they go to for support and they did not disappoint. Here is a list of places all SBMs can go to for support, as well as some added bonus places we thought were worth adding to the list.

1. Networking support for School Business Managers

One of the best ways to seek support as a School Business Manager has got to be from other School Business Managers. That can be a difficult task when so much of your time is taken up by your actual job.

But learning from other SBMs is not only great for the soul, it has the potential to save your school money and elevate your career by learning from the experiences and knowledge of others.

SBMs on Twitter could not compliment School Business Manager, Hilary Goldsmith, enough for her work in providing SBMs with online networking opportunities through SBL tea break and SBL Connect.

SBL tea break

SBL tea break is all about sharing stories and supporting one another through the ups and the downs. A remote meetup, SBL tea break is a sure-fire way of ensuring you don’t feel alone as a School Business Manager – cake and tea welcome! You can find out more about SBL tea break by following @SBLConnect on Twitter or searching for #sblteabreak.

School Business managers meet on a video call to support each other

SBL Connect

In SBL Connect’s own words, it is a “grassroots movement to connect and represent School Business Leaders. We know that isolation is an important issue for the SBL community so we want to find ways of putting School Business Leaders and Professionals in touch with each other in an informal and supportive way.”

Through the use of Twitter and #sblconnect or the tag @sblconnect, SBL Connect helps SBMs and SBLs from all over the UK find and support each other.

2. Supporting SBLs to be 10% braver with #WomenEd

#WomenEd was created to, “connect(s) aspiring and existing women leaders in education and gives women leaders a voice in education.” The fantastic Hilary Goldsmith has worked with #WomenEd, ensuring SBMs don’t go unnoticed in such a fantastic movement.

WomenEd holds events and posts blogs that not only help women in education have a voice and reach for those higher up positions, but that also provides tips on allyship, ensuring women help each other too.

Look out for the book from WomenEd, ‘Being 10% Braver’ with a chapter from the fantastic Hilary Goldsmith published December 15th 2020!

3. Finance support for SBMs

If you’re looking for support with juggling your school’s finances, or you’d like a reliable source to update you on government announcements, Julie Cordiner was mentioned as a great port of call. Julie is an Education Funding Specialist with over 30 years of experience in finance.

Her website, School Financial Success is a wealth of support for SBLs looking for helpful information regarding school finances. Her blog covers topics such as governmental changes to funding in schools but also offers support for SBMs who are struggling under the pressure of the job with articles discussing self-care and feeling overwhelmed. You can also sign up for her newsletter that provides a “roundup of government announcements and news from the world of school funding.”

You can follow Julie on Twitter @juliecordiner.

4. Some helpful Twitter accounts

We’ve already mentioned some of the helpful accounts to be followed on Twitter, but we were also recommended some individual SBM accounts from other SBMs.

@lauraljbusiness is a wealth of knowledge and emotional support on Twitter – and she has great gif game too! She has experience in school leadership, coaching, training, business operations, and governance. You might have spotted some of her writing in publications such as Teach Secondary and Ed Exec. She also has a blog that contains free resources designed for SBMs including a Checklist for new SBMs and a Guidance Tool for MAT Growth.

@AbidemiAA runs a Business Management Consultancy, as well as providing services in management solutions and business coaching and mentoring. She has experience in being a School Business Leader and, “runs on coffee, humour, candour, curiosity.”

@NickiiMesser provides CPD for school business leadership and management. She’s written blogs for TeachWire, The Schools Network (SSAT), and Optimus Education, and her Twitter is amassed with supportive tweets. She recognises the need for support emotionally and professionally in equal measures.

@ABBLed_network is the Association of BAME Business Leaders in Education. They are, “Working to promote diversity in School Business Leadership.” It was founded by the fantastic, @CherylSBM. The ABBLEd was formed in May 2020, “to address the low representation of BAME professionals in School Business Leadership.” They aim to promote diversity within the profession and to develop a network of professionals to support Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic School Business Leaders. We highly recommend you check their website and take the time to support a more diverse future for school business management. You might see some familiar names on their blog, as well as some insightful and inspirational posts.

@NeilLimbrick is an Education IT Strategy Consultant and runs @EducationCol. Neil posts helpful news updates on Twitter, but his day job is to provide online collaboration tools as well as, “practical impartial support.” If you need tech support for you and your school, the Twitterati suggests The Education Collective is the place to go.

And last, but by no means least, is @sbl365. We’ve already mentioned Hilary Goldsmith and her fantastic drive to connect SBLs digitally, but we couldn’t leave out the help she provides directly through her Twitter account. Hilary provides a truthful, helpful, and supportive feed of Tweets for fellow SBLs. She is a self-professed, “cage rattler,” and one not to be missed on Twitter.

If you’re looking for a wider breadth of content, as well as the rest of the tight-knit community of SBMs on Twitter, search the hashtags #SBLTwitter and #SBMLife. Make sure to include those hashtags when you tweet so that others can find you as well.

A woman with a phone in her hand looking at SBM Twitter accounts

5. Mental health support for School Business Managers

We see SBMs and SBLs working extremely hard to make school a happy and safe place for pupils and staff alike. That takes a huge amount of mental (and sometimes physical!) strength, and SBMs aren’t known for being easy on themselves! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your job, it might be time to take a step back and ensure you’re looking after you, too.

You should always consult your GP if things have gotten too much. But here are a couple of other places you can turn to for some well-earned support and self-care.

There are many charities around that help specifically with those who are struggling with mental health, including those who have burn out. Mind is a great place to start if you’re looking to find support.

Education Support is an organisation that provides support for all those who work in the education sector – including support staff. There are lots of resources on the website including whole sections dedicated to Helping You as well as Helping Your Staff. They have a helpline and a magazine that provides support and information.

Don’t forget to reach out to your colleagues. Chances are, they’re struggling just as much as you are, and they might be able to provide you with some practical help. Always remember, you’re doing a grand job. Everyone at GLS thinks so, so it must be true!

If you have any other places that you turn to for support, please share them with us via our Twitter account @gls_education