We asked Matthew Smith MBE to answer five questions about being a School Business Leader. Here’s what he said:

  • How did you become a School Business Manager/Leader?

Around 12 years ago I was looking for a career change and to move into the sector that gave me so much when I was growing up and going through the education ‘system’ myself. It has proven to be a tough, challenging but very rewarding environment which I very much enjoy being part of.

  • What would be your one top tip for aspiring/new School Business Managers/Leaders?

Never assume anything! Question everything and don’t be afraid to be of a different viewpoint to everyone else in the meeting! The best Business Managers/Leaders don’t take anything for granted.

  • If you had an independent mentor and you asked for their support in one area of your role, what would you ask for?

Undertaking difficult HR related conversations where you know the meeting is going to be both difficult and not have an easy resolution. These situations will and do happen and need prompt input and support. However they can have a significant impact on wellbeing and sometimes it can be difficult to find a ‘critical friend’ to debrief/ reflect with.

  • Thinking about when you first started as a school leader, what one piece of advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?

You cannot do it all alone. You need strong teams both above and below you (as well as alongside you). It’s okay to ask to help and it’s even more okay to admit you need/want training in a certain area of your job role.

  • Many School Business Managers/Leaders report feeling isolated, how do you think this could be addressed?

Encouraging those in school business manager/leaders roles to take time out of their working week to network, attend CPD and have confidence to take some time away from the office (it will continue to function without you).

Matthew is a School Business Leader at Sheringham Woodfields School in Norfolk. You can connect with Matthew on Linked In

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