It has been reported in the news that 1 in 7 teachers are struggling to cope, but often the person spinning more plates and adding to their to-do list is the school SBM or SBL. With growing procedure lists and schools navigating their way through new paperwork, policies and classrooms opening up again for lessons, we caught up with Welsh SBM Andy Heron.
Andy shared his experiences with champion of the SBM, GLS Educational Supplies, on the biggest challenges facing the SBM; life in a Welsh school; and his invaluable tips on successfully spinning the plates with advice to inspire every SBM.
Wales looks a little different
Although Wales is part of the UK and the day-to-day challenges are very similar to schools in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland; Wales does not have academies, so emphasis is on local authority. Finance and budgets per head are also a hot topic in Wales, where traditionally spending is behind the curve on a ‘per pupil’ basis.
The SBM role within schools is sometimes not as heavily recognised as it is in England because in the mid 2000s, English SBMs were able to access courses and qualifications which weren’t so readily available in Wales.
Whilst SBMs are needed and wanted in Wales, the role and recognised importance of the job of an SBM in Welsh schools is something which still has potential to continue to grow.
The biggest challenges facing the SBM – UK Wide
Despite the word ‘budget’ being on the tip of every SBMs tongue, Andy said the biggest challenge facing SBMs and schools at the moment is the uncertainty of life within the school. He said the constant changes are increasing workloads and putting more pressure on keeping all the plates spinning successfully.
Getting support in Wales
With so much pressure in schools from all angles, it’s important to ensure SBMs are just as supported as both the teaching staff and the children. Andy recommends, for Welsh SBMs, wales.gov.uk but for those on Twitter, GLS Educational Supplies recommend following Andy on his Twitter account @WrexhamSBP plus following the hashtags #sbmtwitter and #sbltwitter for support, advice and inspiration.
Words of wisdom from one SBM to another
Being an SBM can be a tough job and Andy shared his top tips for not only surviving, but thriving, within the school environment:
- Be mindful of what core areas must be done to keep the school on an even keel and make sure these get done.
- Staying on track will give you a huge sense of security and comfort, through knowing you are doing the main things right .
- Each day, week and month presents new challenges: weave them into the main core where possible.
- Remember, the current ‘normal’ means that not everything can and will get done, but being able to keep on that even keel should help to bring some element of security and mindfulness that you are doing a good job.
To join in with the conversation and to share your SBM perspective on the new term, tweet GLS Education.