What does a Primary School Business Manager do?

Primary schools. An integral part of the education system. There are almost 21,000 of them across the UK currently which means, give or take, an almost equal amount of SBMs working their socks off to support.

These are places where children learn some of the most important lessons in their young life. The teachers are equipping the pupils with the skills they need to progress through secondary education and grow in to successful, respectable adults. What impact comes from the people behind the scenes though?

School Business Managers within a Primary setting have an incredibly difficult job. The Primary SBM is renowned for buying in to an ‘all hands-on deck’ mentality, mucking in on every aspect of school life. Summed up perfectly to us by Michelle Cassar, SBM at Westerton Primary Academy in Wakefield, “I’ll unblock toilets. If we’re short in the kitchen, I might serve dinners!”

Every School Business Manager we’ve ever had the pleasure to meet has always been keen to show their passion for education, alongside examples like the one above to help the school succeed in any way possible. The children’s learning is still at the centre of every decision they make, even if some of those decisions ultimately have to be made with the head and not the heart.

This was summed up by Nemi Fisher, “Although I’m a School Business Manager, I see our children. They know me and I know them. Watching them grow throughout the years and being part of that, is really rewarding for me personally.” Nemi loves her work at Clapham & Patching Primary School in Worthing.

Whilst School Business Managers’ time is often taken up by balancing budgets and organising funds (albeit limited) for payroll, utilities and contracts – they know that keeping the school running is vital to every single Primary School pupil in their care. Yes, their care too.

Ask any School Business Manager and you’ll get the same answer; working in a school is so much more than just managing the business aspect.

Michelle Toy, SBM of Rodney House School in Manchester gave us her view on this, “You have a passion when you work in a school, you want to do your best and help the children. That’s what it comes down to really, the outcomes of the children. Providing the best education for them.”

We could write a list as long as our arm about the more obvious jobs that SBMs do within a Primary setting (HR, finance, procurement, H&S etc etc…) but in reality, they do so much more beneath the surface.

The SBM keeps the setting running smoothly to improve outcomes for every single child that comes through the school. When called upon, they get hands-on in the day-to-day. They council. They fight for more funding. They challenge to improve the school. They unblock toilets. They set a 3-year financial strategy. They ensure the building is standing. They communicate to Governors and parents. The list is endless…

Keep fighting the good fight Primary SBMs!