From bats and birds to Ofsted nightmares: Your SBM horror stories

Halloween is on the horizon, and what better way to celebrate than uncovering some spine-tingling SBM nightmares. We’ve all had a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping moment of horror in our roles as School Business Managers.

Here, a few brave souls have passed on their horrifying tales of woe. If you want to join them in our safe space of SBM horrors, tweet us @GLS and we’ll add you to this piece. 


An Ofsted ordeal 

We’ve all had them. The night before an Ofsted inspection, we dream we’ve turned up without our trousers or the school is flooded. Well, in this instance, an SBM’s nightmares turned to reality.

“We had the Ofsted call and after a long and late night of prep I got home feeling exhausted. I got out a nice dress out to wear for the big day.

The next morning I arrived at work bright and early to meet with the Headteacher. He even commented on how lovely the dress was!

Just minutes before the Ofsted inspector was due to arrive, I bent down to pick something up and heard the most horrific ripping sound. I had ripped a massive hole out of the bottom area of the dress, leaving myself completely exposed!

I had to ask one of my lovely ladies in the admin team to get up close and personal as she tried to pin the hole together. In the end, I had no choice other than to wear a really ugly over-sized chunky long wool cardigan to cover me up as the hole was still very visible.

The inspector arrived and after signing her in I took her through to the pre-meeting with the Headteacher and the rest of our Senior Leadership team. I was absolutely melting in the cardigan. The look on the Headteacher’s face was priceless as he stared in horror at what I was now wearing!”


Sheep invasion and other animal inconveniences

There is something oddly terrifying about a herd of sheep turning up at your school’s doorstep. This SBM has had a few run-ins with various animals, and a water-pipe related disaster to boot.  

“I remember getting a call from the Head of PE about an issue on the sports field.

Went to investigate to find out what the issue was, only to find a field full of sheep! It was pretty comical to find them wandering around the outside the classrooms. Students were taking great delight in trying to corner them.

I’ve also had birds fly in school and even a bat that squeezed through a ceiling whole and fly around a classroom in a panic. Had to call appropriate conservation chap to sort the issue out.

Perhaps the funniest (although not at the time) was when we had the grounds maintenance contractor hollow tine the sports pitches, only for it to go through an underground flexi water pipe.

We subsequently had a lovely little pond the following day.”


Playground of poo

We’re guessing this is a common one at many schools. Maybe this horror story will help exercise a few of your own animal dropping related issues.

“Yesterday I was just about to have my lunch when a member of staff ran into my office shouting "there's two big poos on the playground!" 

Armed with carrier bags and protective gloves I went out to remove it. I was going to ask whereabouts it was, but when I got outside there was a group of boys poking something with a stick - which rather gave it away.

I got to them and they were ecstatic that there was poo. They wondered who had done it. I identified it as a fox. They wanted to know why the fox had chosen to poo on the playground, so I went into details about animals leaving scents etc and a bit of science thrown in. 

One little girl turned to me and said, "maybe it's because foxes haven't got toilets?"

That was me told!”


Never guess someone’s age

The ongoing pandemic has proven very challenging for us all. For this SBM, there were unexpected consequences to their attempts to protect the vulnerable.

“My all-time low has to be when I told a cleaner she needs to shield for 12 weeks at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic because she is over 70. Then, she tells me she is only 60…

*Frantically searches for hole in ground to dive into…*”


Unexpected design flaws

Speaking of unexpected consequences, this SBM wanted to make some important design changes to their school – only for it to backfire.

“We had one school with a refit reception area, widened the window to make it more inclusive and inadvertently made it a useful jumping through target for nimble students the other side. Many moments of mayhem with staff trying to contain one particularly determined creator of havoc!” 


Need to exercise yourself of an SBM demon? Take this opportunity in time for Halloween and let us know your SBM horror stories. Tweet us @GLS and get yourself featured on this blog!