How do I make a case to get on my SLT? by Helen Burge

You’ve read Mark Alridge’s report “School Business Managers: their role in distributed leadership. How can SBMs/Bursars compliment and support distributed leadership”. You’ve seen SBLs in neighbouring schools are on their SLT. On #SBLTwitter it feels like everyone but you is on the SLT already, however you’ve not been able to successfully put your case together for you joining your SLT, yet. 

So how do you overcome the fact you are not a teacher and therefore haven’t been invited to join the SLT? Unsurprisingly, stamping your feet, saying “it’s not fair” and giving the SLT the cold shoulder is not going to help.  Here are some ideas to help you create an action plan to develop your case for persuading your Headteacher that you would be a strong and irresistible addition to their team:

  • Become a broken record and constantly repeat your wish to join the SLT
  • Hypnotise them
  • Bribe them with chocolate

Alternatively, and possibly more professionally, you could:

Identify what the obstacles actually are

Don’t rely on your perception as it might be skewed or even wrong - talk to the individuals involved, if necessary ‘eat the frog’ and have that tricky conversation! Read ‘Eat That Frog!’ by Brian Tracy and “Successful Difficult Conversations in School” by Sonia Gill, they’re filled with lots of useful advice.

Create your own action plan as to how you are going to overcome those obstacles and identify that you could be the missing link. These actions may help you:

  1. Talk the talk…strategically
  • Read leadership books – loads of them and then recommend them to your SLT
  • Demonstrate what you’ve learnt and demonstrate use of the tools – SWOT, PESTLE etc.
  • Use the tools to work out how you could deal with the threats or areas for development from your conversation with the Headteacher
  1. Use the appraisal process
  • Check your job description, does it mention the SLT? How could it mention the SLT?
  • Link your appraisal targets to the school improvement plan
  • Rag yourself against the ISBL Professional Standards and share the outcome at your appraisal
  • Offer to carry out appraisals of your office crew
  1. Show your impact
  • Especially on school outcomes, i.e. use of Pupil Premium or Sports Premium
  • Work with leaders individually and help them add value on their projects
  • Attend Governors meetings and try and add verbal support of the reports you produce for Governors to read
  • Spot opportunities to add value if your school collaborates with other schools
  • Rag yourself against the ISBL Professional Standards and share that with your SLT


  1. Show the impact of the SBL role

Develop your relationships with other stakeholders – Governors, parents, colleagues within your MAT or LA

Walk the walk

  • …Dress for the job you want!
  • Demonstrate understanding of the issues facing the teachers and SLT in your school
  • Get inspired, consider your work station, does it look professional?
  • Have a strategic plan and action plans for your areas of work, share and discuss them with your Headteacher

Get support from others

  • Is there already a sympathetic member of the SLT who can see the benefits of you joining the SLT? Could you talk to them about inviting you to attend a couple of meetings to show the benefits of you joining them?
  • Join your local SBL network group, find out how they got on their SLT
  • Join the ISBL, if you’ve not already
  • Find a coach or mentor

If all this fails to deliver, then ultimately you have the choice to stay earning the money with your wings clipped or you can look elsewhere for a school and a SLT with the desire to have the full informed picture available for discussion during every SLT meeting. As @lauraljbusiness recently said about on #SBLTwitter about data that “numbers need narrative and narrative needs numbers” - the SBL role within a SLT discussion delivers this. 


There are many HTs overwhelmingly welcoming their SBL with open arms as they know the benefits they bring to a leadership team. If you don’t have that…find it! Might seem drastic, but it’s an option!