Five ways to manage the SBM workload

TES | January 31, 2019

Five ways to manage the SBM workload
On my first day as a school business manager, I sat in a meeting with the other senior leaders and they listed the areas of the school that I would be accountable for. It was a long list: finance, human resources, recruitment, marketing, the premises, extended services, lunchtime arrangements, service level agreements and health and safety. Basically, everything other than teaching the children.I walked out of that meeting and thought: how the hell am I going to manage and cope with all this?Whilst most people will agree that there needs to be targets and monitoring in order to raise standards, this often results in our teams being put under massive amounts of pressure in order to demonstrate that they are delivering on the key objectives. Often when the school has financial issues, the back office staff will see reductions in staffing and an increase in workload. Many will quietly continue to work on, not talking about the rising pressures and increased tiredness. But it is only when small mistakes are made that the truth emerges. The simple signs of this that I have seen include: incorrectly processing finance journals (before mistakes were rare), incorrect dates on letters or simply forgetting to do something. Manage expectations As a school business manager, a key focus should be understanding what your governors or multi-academy trust leaders expect from you. If you know their expectations then you can work on delivering what they want. Don’t be afraid to negotiate if you think they’re asking too much. You need to be able to achieve their expectations within a realistic timeline. My key tip is to put up an A3 wall chart in your office and have the dates on a planner for all to see.

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