Angela Ogden, Director of Business Services and Michaela Jinks, Exams & Community Development Manager were kind enough to invite us in for a chat about succession planning at their fantastic school, St. Damian’s RC Science College in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.
Michaela has been on a journey with the school, one which could help to raise awareness in other schools. She is part of a School Business Manager succession programme, under Angela’s experienced wing.
Support staff to School Business Manager is natural progression
The idea is that Michaela, already an experienced school office worker of 16 years, will be guided by the current School Business Manager Angela, to fully understand each and every aspect of the SBM role. This will in turn, give the school a ready replacement should Angela be absent for a long period or was to choose to move on in her own career.
Michaela told us, “I’ve worked in schools for years, so it’s a natural progression. After a positive appraisal from Angela, it was the next step for me to take on the SBM programme.”
Alongside the one-to-one training she is receiving directly from Angela, who has 10-years’ experience at this school, Michaela is also undertaking an official qualification in the form of a Diploma in School Business Management. About this choice, Michaela said, “I think professional development is extremely important, it will help with my role at the school and also it could help me personally - was I to move on from St. Damian’s.”
School Business Management is developing as a profession
Michaela is also already aware of both the pressures and pleasures of the role that Angela undertakes day-to-day. Angela mentioned about the role itself, “it’s completely different to any role you’ll ever work and it’s very rewarding. Business management is a role that’s really developing, I take pride in the fact that people now aspire to be Business Managers.” It is key that Michaela is closely involved with the work that Angela does, and often assists on projects, giving her a unique perspective and a good starting block to transition into the role quicker than most.
It’s clear to see from our conversation, both Michaela and Angela emit a passion for the school and great respect for each other. Michaela said of the school, “I love working in a school, it’s a different environment to a normal office, every day is different. Everybody is so supportive, we all look out for each other and we’re all here for the same purpose.”
Michaela had kind words for her mentor too, “Angela is an outstanding SBM and an excellent role model.” Angela is clearly more than happy to share her knowledge with Michaela, and it certainly paves the way for many other schools and SBMs to think about doing the same.
Succession planning should be welcomed in all schools
There has been plenty of mention on #SBLTwitter about SBMs mentoring other local SBMs, this is one of the first instances of true succession planning that we’ve seen publicised though. How many other schools are taking this route? Angela talked about succession planning in general, “succession planning isn’t a new initiative, we’ve tried to develop with CPD but also with experience. It’s about business continuity to ensure there’s someone in place to make sure the operation continues. Succession planning does take time and it’s about making sure you give adequate resources to that.”
Is your school ensuring that this vital role has a succession plan in place? Based on this conversation, it’s certainly something worth looking at…