I have been the school business manager at St Patrick’s Voluntary Academy since September 2012. Before that, I was a departmental manager at Sheffield Hallam University. Following voluntary redundancy, I was looking for a new role and saw the advert for the SBM at St Patrick’s on the Sheffield City Council website.
In a typical day my work involves: finance, HR, premises management, marketing and communication, grants and funding bids, procurement, IT.
The key skills that you need as an SBM are excellent organisational skills to juggle all your responsibilities and the ability to prioritise and re-prioritise at the drop of a hat. You also need a good understanding of HR processes and finance. A thick skin and a sense of humour are essential!
In terms of formal qualifications, an NVQ Level 5 in management and diploma in management have helped me apply and transfer my skills from higher education to primary education.
Other training I have undertaken has included health and safety training such as risk assessments and legionella. Business continuity training which was essential upon becoming an academy. I have taken on full responsibility for the safety of the school, pupils and staff and was proud when the latest Ofsted inspection for safety of pupils was graded Outstanding. I have also undertaken a fundraising masterclass which has helped me raise nearly £400,000 in additional grants for the school. I would like to achieve a work-based qualification in Academy Business Management.
I love working in a school, especially the relaxed atmosphere and mix of roles I undertake as no day is ever the same. On a personal level, I find the inequity for primary school business managers compared to secondary challenging; the role and responsibilities are no different but the pay scales poles apart in my area.
If you were interested in becoming a school business manager, I would say ‘Go for it!’ Becoming a school business manager is the best decision I have ever made. The variety in the job will keep you motivated and busy. There is never a dull moment.