Tes Awards 2020: School business leader winner

Discovery Schools Academy Trust school business manager Louise Barber is described as ‘the linchpin’ of the trust’s 13 primary schools
13th November 2020, 8:31pm

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Tes Awards 2020: School business leader winner

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/tes-awards-2020-school-business-leader-winner

It's not difficult to see why the lead judge of the category, school business leader and National Association of Head Teachers mentor Hilary Goldsmith, said that Louise Barber's nomination ticked all the boxes to impress her.

Ms Barber, who leads a team of 13 office managers and five central support staff within the Discovery Schools Academy Trust, is praised by the judges for her presence, expertise, attention to detail and positive attitude, but it is her leadership that really shines through.

Ms Goldsmith said: "Louise has done a lot of work on innovative approaches to flexible working and apprentice mentoring. She deputises for the chief executive - she really ticks all of the hot topic boxes that are hitting the role at the moment."

Ms Barber mentors women to take on leadership roles and has developed policies and procedures within the trust to empower them to take on new roles through promoting flexible working and diversity.

She has also focused on her own leadership development by studying for an MBA, lecturing on school business leadership national courses and helping to develop the trust's apprenticeship strategy. 

James Brown, the deputy leader of the trust, said: "Louise's most inspiring trait is her desire to learn. Working with children as we do in our schools means that Louise is an extremely positive role model to girls and the women she works alongside."

The head of estates and admissions at the trust, Nathan Odom, said that Ms Barber's leadership goes beyond the areas she directly manages.

"Louise is very much the linchpin of the organisation, being that one person who everyone will turn to for advice and guidance," he said. "There is authentic respect and admiration for Louise as a person and as a leader."

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