Posted in Funding, school business management, Uncategorized

Remaining an effective SBM during a funding crisis

The education landscape is forever changing – with teacher workload dominating the news, alongside the proposed plans of the national funding formula, we understand that school business managers (SBMs) are feeling the pressure.

Not only do you have to deal with the government agenda and ever-changing policies at a fast pace, but your role is constantly evolving.

So, how can SBMs ensure they are working effectively, and that their school is financially efficient, in the face of financial cuts?

Created in collaboration with Caroline Collins, Head of School Business at Miles Coverdale Primary School, Fellow of NASBM and Specialist Leader of Education, here are some key tips to help you during this uncertain time. Continue reading “Remaining an effective SBM during a funding crisis”

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Posted in school business management, Uncategorized

Challenges facing SBMs

A school business manager (SBM) is responsible for providing professional leadership and management to the school’s support and teaching staff. They are employed to enhance the overall effectiveness of the team in order to improve standards of learning and achievement throughout the school.

To strategically ensure the most effective use of resources, in support of the school’s objectives, is a pretty daunting task. This is a role that certainly comes with many challenges. Continue reading “Challenges facing SBMs”

Posted in education, entrepreneurship, opinion, policy, school business management, school governance, training

How does the Enterprise Act 2016 affect schools and academies?

What is the Enterprise Act 2016?

The Enterprise Bill was put before Parliament in September 2015, starting in the House of Lords then passing through the House of Commons, before receiving Royal Assent on 4 May 2016. The main purpose of the Act is to boost British business; Business Secretary Sajid Javid promised that “it is proof that this government is delivering on its commitment to back the business owners who are the real heroes of our economic recovery”. Continue reading “How does the Enterprise Act 2016 affect schools and academies?”

Posted in academy conversion, education, leadership, opinion, policy, Primary, school business management, school governance, school leadership, schools, Secondary, teaching, Uncategorized

Thinking of starting, joining or expanding an MAT?

This week’s blog comes from our expert contributor, Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV), on the subject of MAT formation.

vwv_logo

Those readers who have recently seen presentations by the Schools Commissioner Frank Green, will know that the current political focus is firmly placed on school collaboration and the expansion of the multi-academy trust (MAT) model. This follows on from the clear messages contained in the Education and Adoption Bill. Continue reading “Thinking of starting, joining or expanding an MAT?”

Posted in academy conversion, policy, school business management, school governance, Secondary

The All-out Academisation Debate

On 17 March, the DfE’s White Paper set the course for another wave of changes to crash over the education sector. Now, despite the promise of “significant changes to teacher qualifications which will recognise teachers for the experts that they are, and give teaching the same status as doctors and lawyers”, teachers are gearing up to march in protest of arguably the most major pledge in the paper − “a blueprint for a system of full academisation”.[1] Continue reading “The All-out Academisation Debate”

Posted in communication, leadership, parents, Primary, school business management, school governance, school leadership, schools, Secondary, technology, Uncategorized

Why should you consider using technology in the education boardroom?

The use of technology in the boardroom is fairly commonplace in the private sector; however, it is yet to make a significant breakthrough in the education boardroom. A look at the key benefits will get you asking: “why not?”

A hub for all strategic conversations

Typically, board packs are shared by email or post to school directors, leaders and governors. In practice, this means wasted time prior to or, more frustratingly, during meetings to find the right email in order to print off reports, presentations, etc. I’m sure we’ve all asked the question, “Was I sent that?” to be met with the reply, “You were cc’d into the email sent on the 13th, would you like another copy printed now?”

In schools, where personal email addresses are often used for communication with governors and academy directors, this also relies on individuals creating methods to filter out school documents from the latest Tesco delivery email and Netflix offer.

An online board hub makes it easy for everyone to access the same document at the right time in one consistent, secure place.

Last minute amendments, updates or reports can be shared instantly to all attendees, meaning everyone has the latest report for the start of the meeting, and making mid-meeting print-outs a thing of the past.

Fewer interruptions. Less distraction. Better board meetings.   

We’ve all been there, silently flicking through a ream of
paper to find the specific section of a report being referred to, or just the right report amongst the pack, whilst trying to listen and contribute to the conversation taking place.

A board hub that supports electronic documents can be searched, categorised and filtered to make finding the right information quick and easy, allowing you to concentrate on the matters at hand.

Quicker decision making

The ability to access more information in meetings results in decisions being made quicker, rather than extending into the next committee or board meeting.

This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of introducing technology into the education boardroom, where the ability to have impromptu catch-ups or meetings just isn’t to the same degree as the private sector.

The right board hub will be a point of reference for all school conversations and will be accessible by everyone.

This blog was brought to you by our communication experts:

SchoolCal

“SchoolCal makes it easy for education leaders, directors and governors to concentrate on what’s important.”

Web, mobile and app based: access documents, minutes and agenda’s anywhere, on any device, and at a time to suit everyone. Easily review papers, open links and share with colleagues.

Everything exactly when you need it: quickly search, filter and bookmark content. Easily access past papers, meetings and documents.

For in-between meetings: share news, updates and key information all year round, providing leadership teams with important updates throughout the year − perfect for multi-academy trusts who operate across multiple sites and meet infrequently with directors and governors.

Professional design, simple to use: set up takes seconds.

For organisers to:

  • Share information with specific groups, committees or individuals.
  • Easily plan, schedule and communicate with everyone from a consistent platform.
  • Schedule meetings in advance and edit to add documents, new attendees and location details at any time.
  • Message and send reminders to all or specific delegates.
  • Send unlimited messages, reminders and contacts.
Posted in Funding, school business management, teacher's pay, Uncategorized

The good, the bad and the debatable

*Any views and opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not those of TheSchoolBus or HCSS Hub Ltd.*

It comes as no surprise that as George Osborne announced his financial plans for the country; he revealed the education sector will be facing yet more cuts.

Despite the Conservative Party’s promise to protect school budgets and spending per pupil, plans have been confirmed to reduce the funding of educational support services. After all, if a politician stuck to their promises, then it really would be headline news.

The aim of this overhaul in education is to remove large regional differences in levels of per pupil funding. But, is it doing more harm than good? It is debatable, that’s for sure.

The good

It is not all bad news though, as total financial support for education and care will increase by £10 billion in the next five years.

The Chancellor has upped his pledge to protect school budgets, with the news that pupil premium and grants for schools based on the number of pupils will also be protected.

Meanwhile, to help school and college sixth-forms stay afloat, a rescue package has been offered with the aim of protecting them from further cuts. Sixth-form colleges will also have the chance to save themselves £317,000 a year in VAT payments, as it was revealed that they will now have the opportunity to become academies.[1]

Deputy Chief Executive of the Sixth-Form Colleges Association, James Kewin, said: “The Chancellor has delivered better than expected news for sixth-form colleges today. A further round of cuts would have had a devastating effect on the life chances of sixth-form colleges.”(Garner, para 5)

In an attempt to help out parents, Osborne has confirmed proposals for 30 hours of free childcare for three-to-four year olds. However, it is not as black and white as you would hope.

Only parents who work at least 16 hours a week and earn less than £100,000 a year will be eligible for the service. This raises the question as to what about the single parents who can’t work 16 hours a week, due to the need for childcare. Will they be eligible for free childcare too?

Malcolm Trobe, Deputy General Secretary of the Association of School and Colleges, said: “It is important for people to understand that schools and colleges face substantial real-terms cuts despite the spending commitments made today.”

The bad

Whilst there is some good news following the spending review, it can be argued that it is outweighed by the increasing worry over the cuts that are to be imposed.

“There are no winners and losers under the government’s funding proposals – there are only losers and even bigger losers,” said the NUT’s Kevin Courtney.[2]

It is likely that a storm is brewing after it was announced that cuts will be made to the funding of educational support services.

The Local Government Association has warned of £600m being taken from budgets for services such as speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, music and checks on staff. For many children these services are vital to their learning and development, raising suspicion as to why this action that has been taken. (Coughlan, para 13)

Is this the only way that Osborne can successfully fulfil his promise of protecting school budgets?

The debatable

As news of the review sinks in, Pope Francis has added another ingredient to the mix, by declaring that teachers should be given a pay rise. After he raised his concerns in March, describing it as an “injustice” that teachers are paid so poorly, the Pontiff has continued to cause a stir.[3]

Calling on Catholic educators to overcome a tendency towards being too selective, Pope Francis said: “The educational alliance is broken. And this is our job, to find new paths.”(Busby, para 4)

An issue causing further debate within the educational funding debacle is whether free school meals will still be available in the future. Following the promise to protect school budgets, cuts must be made in the slim amount of areas left possible, including the free school meals initiative.[4]

With David Cameron fully backing the free school meals programme (it was a Conservative manifesto pledge after all), the initiative has been spared the axe, but it is more than likely not the end of the debate.

As the teaching sector continues to take a financial battering, the spending review has only highlighted the money woes that schools and sixth-forms are facing with yet more budget cuts. In the words of ABBA; “it’s a rich man’s world.”

[1] Richard Garner (2015) ‘Autumn Statement: Government to protect schools and college sixth-forms from future cuts’, para.3 <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/autumn-statement-government-to-protect-school-and-college-sixth-forms-from-future-cuts-a6748786.html> [Last accessed: 30 November 2015]

[2] Sean Coughlan (2015) ‘Spending Review: School funding to be overhauled’, para.11  <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34921585>  [Last accessed: 30 November 2015]

[3] Eleanor Busby (2015) ‘The Pope calls for teachers to be given a pay rise’, para.5 <https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/pope-calls-teachers-be-given-a-pay-rise> [Last accessed: 30 November 2015]

[4] Rowena Mason (2015) ‘How George Osborne’s spending cuts will affect each government department’, para.8 <http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/nov/09/spending-review-how-the-cuts-could-fall-at-government-departments>   [Last accessed: 30 November 2015]