Unsung staff do the business

2nd June 2006 at 01:00
Your articles "Headship too much for one person" and "Off with their heads" (TES, May 19) outlined innovations to alleviate the stress heads face, and these are certainly ideas for the future.

However, I am frustrated by the low profile of a body of people who help heads with their workload daily - school business managers. John Dunn's letter "Draft in the businessmen" (TES, May 19) suggests recruiting "teachers with business backgrounds so that schools can gain skills that are increasingly vital for the education system". We do not need teachers to do this - they are there to teach. There are business managers in many schools, we just need a higher national profile.

Historically, school administrators collected dinner money, typed letters and tended to sick children. This is no longer the case, and supported by new training, business managers are able to take responsibility for the business function of the school, as full members of the school leadership team.

Many in the education world are under the illusion that this role is only necessary in large secondaries, but the role is even more important in small primaries, where the head may have teaching and curriculum roles on top of management - sometimes without a deputy.

It is possible for small schools to share business managers - a successful pilot has been carried out in York.

In my small primary, I am a full member of the leadership team, and this has to be a major step forward in alleviating headteacher's workload.

The Training and Development Agency has published a useful document Looking for a Bursar (available at www.tda.gov.uk), which I would urge all headteachers to read.

Margaret Richards

Lincoln House

Broomfield Road

Chelmsford, Essex

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