A Day in the Life of a School Business Manager
No matter what the size of the school, whether primary or secondary, the role of the School Business Manager is always going to be a complex one, simply due to the breadth of responsibilities which it encompasses.
With 80 policies to be kept up-to-date; mobile support staff cover to be arranged; governors’ reports to be produced; facilities hire to be managed and construction projects monitored; not to mention the usual financial accounts and budgeting activities, it’s a role that requires consummate juggling skills, a top notch internal management team and a high level of external professional support.
Helen Peace is SBM at St Joseph’s Catholic College in Swindon, a busy urban secondary school with its own sixth form. It’s clear that she would not get through the day without the support of a strong team around her. Of her role Helen says: “You’ve got to be quite obsessive about detail to do this job. There are so many plates to spin.”
One of the first things she has to manage each day is any cover for staff absences, as well as any issues and escalations that may have arisen.
Helen says: “It’s good that my deputy SBM manages the facilities so we can meet and discuss any cover plans we need to put in place. Whether we’re using plan A, B or C everyone knows what to do!”
With property building work currently taking place in the College grounds Health and Safety considerations are paramount, so alongside her deputy Helen takes a key role in monitoring the impact of the construction.
Legislation changes, performance management and the deployment of the Pupil Premium Grant generate the need to keep on top of policy updates and statutory reporting. Helen’s PA does a sterling job in making sure that all management information is kept up to date, and also remembers to buy Helen a sandwich when she misses her lunch!
Helen is supported by an excellent Senior Management Team with whom she works closely, particularly regarding HR. “I meet regularly with the HR manager to review any capability issues, allegations and investigations,” she says.
“As we are also a conference venue I will usually meet with my deputy after lunch to discuss any issues regarding venue hire and make sure any bookings are running smoothly with pricing agreed.”
By mid-afternoon Helen is back at her desk. “l finally get to eat the sandwich my PA kindly got for me, and start looking over the accounts and the budget.” As a qualified accountant it is Helen’s job to prepare the year end accounts and prepare for any audits.
Before she leaves for the evening Helen plans the following day’s duties, making sure that she has confirmation from the 45 members of staff needed during the course of the day to cover before and after college, break and lunchtimes.
One thing Helen doesn’t have to worry about is making sure all the staff’s pay and pensions are handled correctly. Strictly Education manage that important part in the smooth running of the College by providing Payroll services, and ensuring that all salaries and wages are taken care of and all pension contributions correctly calculated.
At Strictly Education we understand how demanding the role of School Business Manager is. That’s why we provide services to assist in the back office, making sure you can keep in control of all the vital ingredients of finance, HR, payroll, property support and facilities staffing.