From choosing utility suppliers to managing multiple school email addresses, the role of a school business manager is many and varied.
But what is a school business manager, how much does it pay, and would it be right for you?
To understand why the position exists, we have to look back in time. Prior to schools being in charge of most or all of their budgets from the 1990s, most spending within educational establishments was the responsibility of local authorities.
The then Government decided to allow headteachers and Parent-Teacher Associations the right to opt-out of local authority control. This gave schools the right to run themselves in the way that they wanted (subject to National Curriculum requirements) and to control their own budgets.
However, this created a problem of its own. Headteachers were increasingly involved in the financial and administrative matters of their school and, despite the best efforts of headteachers and school offices to help them, they did not have the time to run the school in the way they wanted.
In addition, headteachers, deputy heads, and school office leaders’ skill sets were often very different from what was required to ensure that a school ran smoothly and within budget.
This led to situations like schools being charged 10 times too much for laptops and IT equipment on lease agreements. Headteachers were even chased for payment by finance companies.
Around this time, the role of school business manager began to emerge. Their role is to ensure that schools keep to budget, obey all applicable laws, and identify opportunities to save money to invest back into children’s education.
With salaries ranging from £25,000 to £55,000 depending on experience and location, the types of candidates best placed to perform well in the role usually have a degree in HR, public administration, business management, or accountancy.
In the role, you’ll be responsible for:
- contract and tender management for services including utilities, telecoms, IT support, catering, and cleaning,
- ensuring that school health and safety and security policies are followed,
- financial accounts maintenance and preparation for inspection,
- maintenance of school land and buildings,
- ordering goods and services,
- paying staff salaries,
- paying suppliers and contractors,
- providing advice on financial policy to the headteacher and governors,
- reporting regularly to local authority and government departments, governors, and the headteacher,
- school admin system management,
- school budget management, and
- school support staff recruitment, training, and management.
You’ll need to be great at both time and people management, communication, organisation, and be confident when the need to show leadership applies.
Primary schools tend not to have business managers because of the size of their budgets – you will more likely be working in a secondary school instead.
School business management courses
To find out more about school business management courses currently available, please click the links below: