The ever-changing role of the school business manager

The education sector is constantly evolving, teacher workload is the story that tends to dominate the press along with academisation and funding cuts. School business managers are also involved in all of these aspects but are often overlooked even though they hold a pivotal role in most establishments. We want to help you get the most from your role without allowing the obvious difficulties to defeat you.

The challenges

Holding a different set of skills to the leadership teams, business managers can be key to strategic direction within a school but they are unfortunately not always recognised in this way. Diverse, strategic and very broad in some cases – the role is constantly evolving and varies from school to school rather than being universally accepted.

As a profession, school business managers expect to be recognised as valuable assets to the senior leadership (and in some cases, to sit within the SLT) and not be seen just as administrators, which they have been viewed as historically. NASBM (soon to be ISBL) have been raising awareness of this for some time and they will continue to drive this way of thinking in the future.

Uncertain finances and the current landscape of school funding don’t allow SBM’s to have as much freedom in terms of plans and direction of resourcing, which is another issue for schools in general.

The opportunities

The role encapsulates resourcing, processes and efficiency. Whilst some days can seem very reactive, it’s good to find a little time to try and create proactivity in these areas. Look at processes within the school, review them and try to streamline how your office operates first of all. This can ultimately help reduce everyone’s workload and add efficiency across the board.

Data entry, especially with relation to ordering resources can be very time consuming for the SBM. Sometimes there are broken links within the system and process which can be easily rectified to make quick efficiencies. Try to get as automated as possible and remove any double-handling.

If you use an FMS system, GLS have created a successful solution that can save SBMs up to 80% of their time. The simple process to activating our WebFMS solution in under 10 minutes and at no cost – can save you hours of time across the working week, every week. Find out everything you need to know on our dedicated WebFMS page or get in touch with us today our team will be more than happy to help you.

Find out more from peers

All school business managers are different, and their roles are diverse. It’s good to speak to other professionals in the role at other establishments, see what’s working for them, what mistakes they’ve rectified and how they have improved efficiencies as a result. NASBM (soon to be ISBL) offers plenty of opportunity to start these conversations.

Use social media to your benefit, find others on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. What are the discussions in the sector? The more you know, the more you can adapt your current school.

The SBM is all about driving an efficiency culture, take the opportunity to help your SLT and make the changes that will ultimately benefit the pupils and their education.

How has your process changed over time? Has your job evolved as an SBM? Let us know in the comments section below.