Recently, I visited a primary school where a classroom near the school's entrance had been converted into a centre for the three administrative officers: the premises officer, his assistant and the bursar. During my teaching career, no London primary of up to 350 children had more than an admin officer - known as a secretary in those days - and she coped, fairly easily usually, with all the school's administrative work.
Today, I understand how three might be needed. With schools required to churn out masses of statistics and paperwork, there is a growing need for admin staff.
A typical school office will contain at least two photocopiers, a fax, a couple of phones, a scanner and several computers. Yet I can't help thinking Parkinson's Law operates to an extent (work expands to fill the time available for its completion). I have just one admin officer, who is deadly efficient. If her workload becomes too heavy, we share it. I don't employ a bursar but I employ an accountant to check everything once a month.
This means I have lots of money to spend on the children. It's why we have all the instruments for an orchestra and why, when my teachers ask if I can buy them a particular piece of classroom equipment, I usually say yes. And really, that's how it ought to be.
Mike Kent, headteacher.