My mother is still in touch, and friends, with ‘her’ old School Secretary, 30 years after she (mother) retired. A formidable pair in their day (a fact made to me by a current deputy head who I met recently who had worked with her in the past), the secretary knew absolutely everything about the school: the teachers, the students, the parents and based on a telephone conversation between the two of them recently it is a skill that has not deserted her!
Nowadays I guess she would be called the Business Manager, although with the greatest respect she would not get the job. I have the utmost admiration and respect for the Business Manager, but part of me can’t help but feel that schools should not need one. I have yet to read a document that couldn’t have got the same message over in a quarter of the words.
IF schools need to be ‘managed’ then I think they should concentrate on getting more business like in their approach: Governors, Business Managers with actual business experience, closer links with local businesses.
The requirements to be a Business Manager are comprehensive:
- leadership skills
- business management skills
- customer service skills
- the ability to work well with others
- to be flexible and open to change
- maths and financial skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- knowledge of human resources and employment law
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
The role includes a range of day to day tasks:
- advise the headteacher and governors on financial policy
- manage the school budget
- order goods and services and pay suppliers and contractors
- keep accounts up to date for inspection
- oversee the maintenance of school buildings
- recruit, train and manage school support staff
- make sure school security and health and safety policies are followed
- develop the school’s marketing and communications strategy
- manage the school’s administrative systems
- report to the headteacher, governors, and local authority and government departments