Section 1: Introducing the school setting print

Sun 5. Jun 16 13:34

Understanding school business management


The purpose of this initial unit is to enable you to begin to build up a picture of school business management as an area of professional practice that you will develop further as you progress through the CSBM programme.

It will also ask you to describe a particular school setting (this is normally the one in which you are currently employed or your link school if you are an 'aspiring SBM' who is not currently employed in a school) and to investigate the way in which its school business management is organised.

The focus then shifts to your own role within this organisation and your relationship with other school stakeholders. This work will set the scene for the further units of your portfolio.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of school business management
apply that knowledge and understanding to a specific school setting
analyse the organisation of business management in a school setting and the professional roles within this
communicate information about a school and its business management in a professional manner

Section One: Introducing the school setting

It is important to demonstrate that you have a good knowledge of your school or your link school context and that you are self-aware in terms of your past, current and potential future professional position. A review of this basic information can then form the platform for coherent professional planning for yourself and your school.

You are asked to provide a pen portrait of your current school, covering the kinds of factual things that you would tell an interested colleague who does not know the school. Include some brief details of school size, age range, number on roll, location, and number of teaching and support staff.

You might provide a brief outline of the recent history of the school, any significant changes that have been achieved or are on the way. You will probably wish to celebrate the positive aspects of the school to which you belong, as well as pointing out any major challenges that your school faces

As part of this process, you will need to identify what type of school this is. This has become increasingly complicated in recent years, with an increasing number of different types of school in operation.

This is vital information for a school business manager, as it affects, for example, who owns and is responsible for the school site, who employs the staff, and so on. It also affects the governance of the school and the make-up of the key stakeholder groups responsible for the strategic development.

The following Link will  be about the different types of school in England should help you identify where your school fits Types of Schools

Section Two: Analysing school stakeholders

Identifying and working with stakeholders
Schools work with a wide range of groups and these various groups are normally referred to as stakeholders. This is because they have an interest in the life and work of the school. Schools need to work closely with and consult their stakeholders. They also provide specific services to stakeholders too.


1.2: Stakeholder mapping

Download the 'Stakeholder map template'

Identify the stakeholders who have an interest in the life and work of your school. Consider whether they are internal or external and the influence that they may exert upon the school.

Once you have completed your map, record your reflections on your findings:

Which stakeholder groups seem to be most powerful or influential?
Which stakeholder groups are able to make themselves heard most effectively?
Are there any stakeholder groups that seem to have a negative relationship with the school?
Which stakeholder groups seem to be most marginal to the life and work of the school?
Are there any groups that could be served better by the school?

Undertake some further research to complete your stakeholder analysis. This will help you to frame a response to these three further questions:
Overall, how effectively does the school work with and consult their stakeholders?
How effective is the school in providing specific services to stakeholders?
What areas for potential improvement have you identified?

Section Three: The organisation of school business management

Key areas of resource to consider
The organisation of a school's business management varies according to its size, category and context. There are significant variations in the way in which staffing is organised and responsibilities are dispersed across the school. However, there are some underlying commonalities in terms of the range of activities or functions involved in school business management. This topic is intended to help you gain an overview of what the scope of school business management entails.

The diagram opposite gives a very basic picture of what might be involved in school business management from the perspective of the core business of the school: promoting pupil learning and wellbeing. It summarises the key areas of resource that need to be managed properly if high-quality teaching and learning is to take place and student wellbeing is to be secured.



1.3: Identifying aspects of school business management

With reference to the diagram above, consider whether it gives an adequate view of all of the resources that need to be in place to ensure that high-quality learning and teaching takes place in a school.

Identify other areas that need to be considered and the systems required to underpin these.

SBM areas of responsibilities

The 'Strategic study of school business managers and school business directors' (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2010a) carried out for NCTL showed that school business managers work in several areas of resource management.The results of this survey are shown in the diagram opposite.

The comparison of these findings with the data presented in 'The final report of the baseline study of school business managers', published by the National College in 2007, indicates that they are increasingly spending much more of their time in a leadership and management role. A recent 'Review of the school leadership landscape' by Peter Earley and a team of researchers (Earley et al, 2012:68) showed that 30% of primary schools and 70% of secondary schools have a school business manager on the senior leadership team.

The following account of the role taken by a school business manager in a First School in the north east of England provides an insight into growing breadth of the SBM role:

In his role as SBM/assistant head, Brian has a wide remit for school development matters and he carries out many operational roles. He manages and monitors the school's budget, oversees a three-year budget, deals with performance development systems, develops the school improvement plan, analyses school performance data, manages health and safety on the site, deputises when the headteacher is away, involves parents in the school, helps with ICT and is a member of the governing body. He directly line manages around 8 members of support staff, and is the overall line manager for all 40 support staff in the school.

You might also wish to view some of the case studies produced by NCTL about the role of the school business manager and the impact that SBMs can have on their school

An academy must have a principal finance officer (PFO) who is the academy's finance director or school business manager and leads the finance department. The key responsibilities for the PFO include:

preparing annual accounts
parparing and monitoring the budget
technical advice
liaison with auditors

While an accountancy qualification may be helpful in this role, there is no presumption that it is necessary. The PFO need not discharge all of the above duties personally. The academy trust board may decide that its needs are adequately served by employing staff or contractors with relevant skills and knowledge at the relevant time, for example when the accounts are being prepared (Education Funding Agency, 2012:8).

Another useful insight into the scope of school business management is to be found in the 'School business management competency framework' developed and published jointly by the National Association of School Business Management (NASB) Framework

This framework describes the professional attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to leaders and managers working within school business management. It also provides a clear overview of the various strategic and operational areas that need to be covered in the organisation of a school's business management.


1.4: Reviewing the school business management competency framework

Download a copy of the 'School business management competency framework' (see link above).

Use the competency framework to construct your own checklist of the various strategic and operational areas that need to be covered in the comprehensive organisation of a school’s business management. Keep it simple! You need to limit this to an overview of the key strategic and operational areas, do not include every single function!

Section Four: How is school business management organised in your school?

Creating an organogram
This topic of the unit is intended to help you produce a summary of the way in which school business management is organised in a specific school setting and create an 'organogram' that shows its organisational structure and key personnel.

The activities completed earlier in the section should now have given you a clear view of the scope of school business management; the task now is to relate this learning to a specific example.

To do this, you should create an 'organogram' of school business management in a school setting. An organogram is simply a drawing or plan that gives the names and job titles of all the staff in an organisation or department, showing how they are connected to each other.

You might start at the top and identify how the school business manager is linked into the headteacher and the other members of the school leadership team. However, things may not be this simple! The school setting might not have a school business manager, with various roles scattered across the leadership team. Alternatively, the school might be part of a federation of schools, with business management functions organised in a collaborative way.



1.6: Researching models of deployment of school business managers

The diagram shown above is based on the Training and Development Agency for Schools and the National College for School Leadership (2009) 'Discover the benefits of school business managers: develop the bigger picture' (London: TDA).

This should help you when thinking about your organogram.

Information as to different models of using staff are described in the National College publication 'The changing role and influence of senior support staff in schools’ (2011).

Download this publication  and read about different models of deploying staff.

You should now continue to construct your organogram by working through the further tiers of responsibility, once again identifying personnel and the line of accountability (ie who reports to whom).

Depending on the size and complexity of the school setting you are describing you may have two or more additional tiers to map out. It may be the case that you identify blurred lines of accountability or a very complex web of roles and responsibilities.

Defining your professional role in school business management

Finally, once you have completed your overview of how school business management is organised in the school, you should begin to define your role within this.

To do this, produce a description of your role and the scope of your responsibilities. Your job description should be an important reference point in putting this together. You may wish to add a brief comment on how accurately you feel your job description describes what you currently do.

You should also describe your relationship to the school's leadership group, and the contribution that you make to its work. If you are an 'aspiring SBM' who is not currently employed in a school business management role, you should focus on the key person responsible for business management at your host school.

You may find that the duties associated with the SBM role are shared by several people because there is a wide variety of ways of organising the business of the school. Focus on the most senior person responsible for the management of the business of the school whatever their title.

In this unit, we have begun to examine the role and responsibilities of the SBM within the school. We have considered the characteristics of your school settingand the way in which its school business management is organised.We have also begun to describe your own role within this organisation and your relationship with other school stakeholders.

The assessment requirements for unit 1 of this module ask you to provide a description of your school and the community it serves. They then focus on your role and your relationship with other school stakeholders.

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