More than just purse-string holders

23rd May 2008 at 01:00
Well done, TES, for raising the profile of school business managers (SBMs) in recent articles
Well done, TES, for raising the profile of school business managers (SBMs) in recent articles. I would like to emphasise, however, that the role is much wider than just finance, and that concentrating on funding raised or saved is not a true reflection of our worth.

I manage a small primary school, with day-to-day responsibility for finance, human resources, administration, ICT, premises and facilities management. I am also PA to the headteacher and offer a valuable perspective as an active member of the senior management team.

The role, especially in small schools, enables heads to concentrate on their core expertise of teaching and learning, thereby giving heads some sort of worklife balance. At a time when many small schools are struggling to appoint heads, surely this should be the focus?

Government advisers are suggesting that "high-flying city financiers" ("City assistance", TES, May 9) should be asked to spend their retirements managing the budgets of their local schools. But why is this necessary when there is already an army of professionally trained SBMs? Give us the recognition we deserve and use our skills - don't reinvent the wheel.

Margaret Richards, MInstAM, school business manager, Great Waltham Primary, Chelmsford, Essex.

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