We asked Loretta, an Executive SBM, to answer five questions about being a School Business Leader. Here’s what she said:

1. How did you become a School Business Leader?

I worked my way up from an Administrative Assistant to a School Administration Officer, I was then promoted to the School Business Manager role. After several years of running a resourced based one form entry school I moved to the Federation as the Executive Business Manager over two schools.

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

There’s no clear pathway for business leadership careers. I’m always astounded when I speak to a new SBL and find out their route into schools. No two answers have ever been the same.

I would suggests searching out opportunities working in educational administration. Studying a qualification will give you the knowledge, however it’s the school office that will provide the opportunities for applying that knowledge gained during studying.

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

Practical advice on securing bid based competitive funds, or securing sponsorship. It is not something that is trained for in maintained schools.

4. 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 will never have an empty to-do-list, however meticulous you are. Putting processes into place that protect your time and automate elements of your role, is vital.

5. Many school business managers/leaders report feeling isolated, how do you think this could be addressed?

Networking is crucial for SBLs, reach out to your neighbouring school and find someone to connect with, not only to share best practice and stay up to date with the ever changing landscape but to talk to like- minded peers who will probably be facing the same day to day challenges.

Loretta is an Executive School Business Leader at a school in Lewisham, London. You can connect with Loretta on Linked In or on Twitter

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