How Does a School Business Manager Add Value to Pupils’ Education?

In the thirty years since the introduction of Grant Maintained Status, school management has changed dramatically. Today, with the rise of academies, much of a school’s administration falls under the leadership of the school business manager.

Far more than a bursar, the business manager is usually a member of the senior leadership team and carries out a wide range of duties. Their responsibilities often include school finance, income generation, publicity and marketing, building management, HR and health and safety.

With most senior teachers having limited management experience in these areas, it makes sense to delegate responsibilities to someone with the necessary skills so that the teaching staff can focus on educational areas: teaching and learning, curriculum, progress and attainment, etc.

However, school business management and school education management should not be conceived as being separate. As I mentioned in my recent YouTube video, The Importance of School Business Mangers, “the key objective of any school is about maximising the attainment of every child and to create as many positive experiences that they will remember,” and the business manager has a big role to play in making that happen.

Here are some of the important ways a school business manager can add value to pupils’ education.

1. Making the school improvement plan financially feasible

The purpose of any school improvement plan is to raise the attainment and achievement of pupils but putting these plans into action does have an impact on the school budget. You may need to recruit additional staff, reallocate existing staff, procure new resources or buy in third-party expertise.

A good business manager will assist here by providing robust financial management to the improvement planning process. They will help make significant savings and identify alternative funds to ensure that the school’s objects are financially viable.

2. Saving money through best value

Business managers are experts when it comes to getting the best value. They have the experience, for example, to negotiate the best contracts with the external services the school needs. This can include supply agencies, catering companies, classroom resource providers, coach hire companies and school window cleaners. The results here not only mean savings that the school can reallocate to improving teaching and learning but more efficient and better-quality services, too.

It’s not just in the procurement of resources that a business manager can improve efficiencies. They also ensure that the school makes the most effective use of its resources. Moving training days from winter to summer can save hundreds of pounds on heating and lighting bills, better management of staff absence can reduce the number of sick days and save thousands, as can moving the school’s IT server to a third-party cloud hosting company.

3. Taking responsibility for non-teaching staff

Many school business managers become the senior line manager for non-teaching staff within a school and this can have an enormous impact. One of the first big gains is that a senior teacher no longer has to fulfil this role and, thus, they’ll have more time to concentrate on school development.

More than this, however, is the way that business managers can restructure the working arrangements of the non-teaching staff so the school functions more effectively. Introducing new protocols for admin staff can help reduce the admin workload for teachers and give them more time to focus on the classroom. They can also manage the performance of non-teaching staff and ensure that effective training is put in place to enable the school to perform even better.

This can mean classrooms are cleaner, playgrounds are better supervised, teaching assistants are better allocated, photocopying is done quicker, resources are easier to find and consumables are always in stock. All of which can have a valuable impact.

4. Finding additional funding

School business managers are adept at bidding for external funding. They have the experience and skills to ensure that bids for funds are completed accurately and meet the criteria which are needed. For many schools, the amount of additional funding found by a business manager covers their salary many times over. These types of bid enable schools to undertake big capital projects which otherwise would be impossible.

Thanks to business managers, schools up and down the country have new roofs, new outdoor sporting equipment, modern IT suites, minibuses, better disabled access and extra teachers. Some funds will even cover the cost of building of new classrooms or sports halls. Of course, better facilities and resources have a positive impact on learning and help improve attainment.  

Besides submitting bids, business managers are also very good at earning extra funds from the school premises – such as letting out the rooms for adult evening classes or charging local sports teams to use the school playing fields. They can also get local businesses to sponsor school teams or events. Although these are not new ideas, many schools did not benefit from them in the past simply because staff were too focused on other things or lacked the know-how. Business managers don’t waste opportunities like these.

5. Enrichment

Education is not just about attainment. It’s also about enriching children’s lives. Here, the business manager has a role to play as well. Whilst the cost of many small enrichment activities, such as school trips, are usually helped by parental contributions, some of the bigger projects are often shelved because of lack of funds.

At ESP Play, for example, we hear from many schools who are keen to develop their school playgrounds and outdoor areas. The facilities they want will enrich the lives of students in many ways: improved physical and mental health, encouraging independence, boosting social skills, developing creativity and even enabling the creation of an outdoor classroom.

The school business manager is the key person in a school to help bring these enrichment plans to fruition. Through shrewd management, finding additional funding or careful budgeting, they are the ones that have the skills to make enrichment a reality.

6. Freeing up the Head

As the leader of the school, it’s the headteacher who drives it forward. It’s their vision and passion that motivates and inspires staff and pupils to greater achievements. With this in mind, it’s worth noting that, according to the government whitepaper, The Importance of Teaching, a school business manager can free up a third of a headteacher’s time. How valuable is that in enabling a school to improve children’s education?

Conclusion

So, how does a school business manager add value to pupils’ education? The simple answer is that they do it in many ways. They bring in much needed funds, they make sure that existing finances are used effectively, they improve the way that resources are procured and used, and they make people work smarter and in more efficient ways. Through this, they ensure that funding and resources have the biggest possible impact on children’s learning and improve their overall experience of school.

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New Funding Will Create Healthier Generation

On 28 February 2017 Education Secretary Justine Greening announced that, in addition to the PE and Sport premium, schools are to receive £415 million to help pupils benefit from healthier, more active lifestyles.

ESP Play have transformed over 2,500 playground across the UK but more recently are focussing on sustainable outdoor learning. They are able to provide AfPE approved courses to staff within schools that leads to better quality provision, healthier children and a more inclusive sports environment.

Primary, secondary and sixth-form colleges will be able to use the new funding to pay for facilities to support physical education (PE), after-school activities and healthy eating. This includes indoor and outdoor facilities.

Schools will also be able to use the new healthy pupils capital programme to improve facilities for children with physical conditions or support young people struggling with mental health issues.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

“Schools can really help our children get a healthy start in life from exercise and sport, and also from knowing what a healthy diet means. It’s not only good for them while they’re in education, but the health and wellbeing benefits can last a lifetime.

“That’s why we’re investing £415 million in facilities to support sports, after-school activities and promoting healthy eating, so we can secure the future health of our young people.”

Local authorities and larger multi-academy trusts will receive an allocation for schools and will make decisions locally on how this money is invested. Smaller multi-academy trusts (MATs), individual academies and sixth-form centres will be able to bid for grants for specific one-off projects.

ESP Play are a leading provider of outdoor learning equipment and training to the Education sector. In addition, their sustainable approach to improving physical activity across all levels of education and their free outdoor activity design service has led to them delivering a record number of project over 2016.

The new funding will be available in 2018 to 2019. All state-funded primary, secondary and sixth-form schools in England will be eligible to receive funding

Information on the allocation formula, spending guidance and bidding criteria will follow in the summer.

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Another teacher joins the ESP Play team…

We have added another teacher to our education team to help continue to strengthen the educational benefits Play and Physical Activity can bring to schools.

Here’s what Rob Whitelock had to say about why he joined ESP Play:

I am passionate about learning – 18 years in the classroom plays testimony to that and having worked closely with key protagonists in the play and sport movement, I’m equally passionate about how play and sport can help the progress and achievement of every child.  I’ve seen it – it can – it does!  I want to use every opportunity to share my experience with schools so they are best placed to enjoy the benefits play and sport can bring to all children.

Every school has a duty of care to every one of its children. With safeguarding at the top of the OFSTED agenda, schools need to be sure they are providing the best opportunities for their children in a safe and secure setting. The School Sport Premium gives every school the chance to invest in the well-being of its children but is it being used effectively? OFSTED will make a judgement on a schools use of its SSP so is it worth leaving it to chance? Many schools ‘buy in’ specialist support to deliver physical activity, which is great while the SSP is in place but expensive and not sustainable when the funding ends. Many schools don’t realise the most effective, most sustainable investment is in its own staff and most importantly, its own children. Furthermore, how can schools guarantee SSP spending reaches every child?  While a focus on traditional, competitive sport might suit some children, does it suit all? Sport is not a ‘one size fits all’ offer. It needs diversity to be totally inclusive. It needs innovation to reach every child. It needs to offer something to everyone at every level.

Done well, sport and play can engage the most difficult to reach child, raise self-confidence, raise self-esteem and raise attainment. Done well, sport and play dissolves stereotypical boundaries and becomes limitless. Done well sport and play can be fun!

Our work, in collaboration with the NHS is backed up by independent research from Leeds Metropolitan University, which concludes:

  • Independent observers: an increase in INDIVIDUALS’ physical activity (plus increases in staff supervising the space.
  • Teacher observers: more (%) children are more active (boys AND girls)
  • Reduced % of lightly engaged pupils
  • A wide range of benefits for pupil involvement – developmental and curricular, individual and systemic
  • Playgrounds seen as more positive environments for all members of the school community
  • As well as sustaining already active children, what equivalent investments will benefit an additional four children in every class of 28 (and in so many diffuse ways)?

I have joined the passionate team at ESP Play to share and promote best practice in schools and help schools make best use of their limited capacity.

 

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10 amazing playground equipment deals

10 Amazing Play Equipment Deals

We have created 10 playground equipment special offers to help you develop your outdoor area on a budget. With everything from seating solutions to climbing frames covered, don't miss out on these amazing prices.
Get these whilst you can!

Deal 1 - 5 Magnetic Game Boards

Get our 5 most popular magnetic game boards!

 

Children are most enthusiastic when they are having fun, magnetic game boards are a good way to get them to interact with each other in a fun and enjoyable way.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £699 including installation

Post mount your boards for only £120 each.

Deal 2 - Rope Trail

Our popular Rope Trail offers schools a fantastic way to get a large climbing structure into a small space and also at a fantastic price.

 

There are 7 individual challenges as part of the trail designed to provide a physical challenge for your pupils.

 

What you get:


 

  • Twisty Challenge

  • Traverse Net

  • Tyre Pass

  • Balance Challenge

  • Rope Traverse Zig

  • Rope Traverse Zag

  • Spinning Log

 What you pay:


Only £3,699 including installation

Deal 3 - Ball Catcher & Ball Catcher Trainer Marking

Our multi-coloured steel Ball Catcher stimulates both physical and mental activities.

 

With one entrance point and 3 exit points, the challenge is to get the ball in the entrance and run around the ball catcher to the appropriate exit point.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £1,179 including installation

Deal 4 - Story Telling Area

school story telling area special offer

Let your children and even staff enjoy telling stories outdoors with our story telling area package.

 

The large story telling chair is an ideal focal point for the story-teller and the 5 colourful log seats are perfect for eager listeners.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £1,269 including installation

Deal 5 - 2 x Recessed Goal Units

The recessed goal unit is designed to contain ball games in a highly active zoned area. It is a fantastic exhaust for energy for all ages and abilities.

 

The recessed goal unit unit carries a 10 Year guarantee against rot and infestation.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £2,865 including installation

Deal 6 - Small Shaded Pergola with Planters and Seating

Small shaded pergola with planters and seating to seat up to six children. The pergola enables children to interact to chat, read and develop social skills.

 

All our pergolas come with a 10 Year guarantee against rot and infestation.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £1,545 including installation

Deal 7 - 5 Panel Traversing Wall

The wooden traversing wall is a robust solution for a school with minimal wall space. Complete with explosion proof handgrips, made from resin bound sand, combine fun and physical activity whilst encouraging team building and leadership.

 

All our climbing walls carry a 10 Year guarantee against rot and infestation.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £1,375 including installation

Deal 8 - Tangled Wolf and Grass Matting Surfacing

The Tangled Wolf frame is a lower-level and more cost effective version of our popular Tarantula climbing frame which offers children everything to help them develop into confident climbers.

 

The Tangled Wolf features a 10 Year guarantee against rot and infestation.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £8,165 including installation

Deal 9 - Excellent Adventure Play Tower

The Excellent Adventure Towers design is one of the larger Play Towers available from ESP and includes a range of challenging apparatus that bring variety to a playground space.

 

Our Excellent Adventure Tower features a 10 Year guarantee against rot and infestation.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £8,145 including installation

Deal 10 - Play Hut

The playhut offers a fantastic opportunity for role play, creativity, imagination and inclusion.

 

Children can interact with each other, stimulating creative play in a safe, welcoming and sheltered environment.

 

What you get:


 

 What you pay:


Only £940 including installation

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Concerns Surrounding Activity Level – Our Response

Recent research reports have again shown growing concerns surrounding children’s physical activity level in school time. The report shows that the increasing numbers of children who are not participating in the required amount of physical activity is currently at a figure of 49%. This is remarkably high and it should set off alarm bells in the minds of the public health sector.

This serves as a healthy reminder of what Baroness Sue Campbell had to say back in January of this year. She confessed her worry for the ‘physical illiteracy’ of children as they progress into secondary school. She stated that many children felt overwhelmed with the sporting curriculum at secondary level due to the lack of proper physical education at primary school.

ESP have been discussing these concerns for years. Through independent research carried out by a number of UK universities, we proved that there was much room for improvements in the physical activity taking place in schools. We worked in partnership with Roehampton University and Leeds Metropoliton University at 163 schools in SW Essex to provide the necessary research to show the effectiveness of our own multi-skills playground markings. This research looked at the amount of activity taking place in school playgrounds and reported the changes in activity levels following the installation of our own multi-skills markings and CPD training. The reports showed a significant increase, proving that our multi-skills concepts were extremely effective throughout the whole school. Read our research evidence on play in schools for the full report.

Since these reports were released to the public, we have had many schools throughout the country take on board our concepts and implemented them into the school playground. One of our most popular products, the ‘multi-skills zone’ includes 5 playground markings and accompanying CPD training.

These expertly designed markings were specifically designed with multi-skills in mind and can be used to practice every single skill. They provide children with the context to learn and practice fundamental skills in an outdoor learning environment that is fun, creative and encouraging. It allows them to participate in a range of games and activities that are proven to improve gross motor skills applicable to all sports. Alongside pre-set games there is scope for creativity, allowing children to invent their own multi-skills games. Sustainability is vastly improved through CPD training, which is used to up-skill school staff with the knowledge for teaching multi-skills games to the children.

To find out more about our multi-skills concepts and how we can help improve the physical activity levels within your school playground, contact us today on 01282 434445.

 

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