Path to greater credibility and confidence

25th April 2008 at 01:00
Former school secretary Karen Powell is business manager of a federation of CofE primaries in Bournemouth
Former school secretary Karen Powell is business manager of a federation of CofE primaries in Bournemouth. "At first it was purely financial: handling the dinner money, money for school trips and ordering supplies," she says.

Her background was in book-keeping, working for a building supplies business. "I've always done the books, but had no formal qualifications," she says. Now with a school business management certificate and diploma, she combines the roles of school finance officer and administrator.

"I could see the way it was going and that they would want people in schools with these qualifications," Ms Powell says. "I did not want to get to a certain age and not be able to work because I was not qualified.

"It is a confidence booster and gives me credibility with other staff."

She has now been on the school management team for four years. "I can see it being a career path; I could go on to run a secondary, being a non-teaching deputy head. This seems to be the way the profession is going," she says.

Finance makes up less than 15 per cent of the job. Personnel, health and safety, and premises management make up the rest. As the school undergoes refurbishment, Ms Powell also deals with the contractors.

"A school business manager can really help the school leadership team focus more on education than admin," says Stephen Orman, her head.

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