Journalling is something that I love to do, I carry a pretty Paperchase journal with me all the time. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to publish my ramblings. I started with a Twitter account (@ShropshireSBM), I have been using this more and more, and I have a modest following. I have also written contributions for Edexec magazine and The Voice magazine. It is my dream to publish a book for school business leaders. The reason that I am writing and publishing this blog post comes down to listening to Nigel Risner at #NNC16, followed by spending the following weekend reading 2 of his books. I realised the only thing stopping me, was me. What’s the worst that will happen? No-one reads what I write or they think that it’s a load of old rubbish!
I have to say a very big thank you to @NeilLimbrick who has set this blog up for me, without him it would have taken me much longer to get started. I am very grateful to you Neil.
So here goes….
The main highlight of the NASBM Annual Conference 2016, has to be the opportunity to meet and network with many brilliant schools business professionals. Some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of networking with previously on Twitter.
Now I’ve had time to reflect on the 2 days which were packed with quality speakers, here are some highlights from my time at the conference.
The first day started off with NASBM outlining that it is their vision to become an institute! This would bring a whole new level of recognition to the profession. It is down to the likes of
Matthew Clements-Wheeler (@MidlandSBM) working hard as a NASBM trustee along with other leaders in the profession to bring it to this stage. This was followed by Stephen Morales (@stephenpmorale1), NASBM CEO telling us that this is our time and to seize the moment. Now is a great time to be working in school business leadership.
Tracey Gray (@traceysax) made an important point that we are all part of a team and we are better together. Collaboration and a continued commitment to CPD will make the profession and us as individuals better, which in turn will bring better outcomes for the pupils and families that we serve. We must have confidence in our ability and be prepared to adapt and change to meet the needs in this ever changing education landscape.
It is important for us as business leaders to consider ‘What is your flavour of leadership? Executive? Specialist? Generalist?’ SBMs this is our time….
Lord Jim Knight addressed the delegates and talked about HR, nurturing talent and preparing students for their future success. We need to nurture the whole child, preparing them for life and careers that are yet to be defined. Think about making your recruitment smart, in order to secure the right candidates for your school or MAT. Teachers tend to look at vacancies online at the end of the week. How and when do you advertise and promote your vacancies? Is your school website candidate friendly? Does it have the information that they would be interested in?
Lord Knight also highlighted the lack of training for all levels of teaching professionals, the importantance of professionalism, learn from each other, connect, keep fresh, peer learning, best practice and next practice! And finally the importance of trust… Are you trusted by parents? Peers? Your team? Yourself?
Another of my main highlights for me was my first workshop called ‘Demonstrating Impact’ by SBM Services (@SBMservices). I think I will write another post in the future of how I have used the tips in this workshop. It will improve my reporting to governors, what do you include in your HR report… Starters, leavers, concerns… what about data like staff turnover?
Next up was Russell Hobby (@russellhobby), General Secretary of NAHT. His message was to follow the integrity of your own vision, values and what the community you serve needs. Use a critical eye on government trends, you don’t need to be trendy or fashionable, its overrated! His best line was ‘strategic procrastination’ if an emails important they will send it again. Increased pressure is driving our schools, fueling recruitment problems. NFF will help some and hinder others. Lots of people (including me) were behind his endeavour to make registration for Free School Meals (FSM) automatic. This would be very welcome, reducing admin time and provide much needed Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) funding to those pupils who need it. Then a message on academisation… convert in haste, repent at leisure. Pitches from MATs should focus on what difference they can make to pupils, not how fast they intend to grow! My favourite message in his speech was ‘no school or colleague left behind’ let’s carry on doing what we know is right and take responsibility for each other. The important role that SBMs can play is to steer Headteachers and Schools in to the long term future.
This was followed by a representative from The Key. Some good points here for SBMs:
* SBMs need to spend more time on strategy less time on admin and operational tasks
* It’s important for SBMs to get out of school
* SBMs need to increase their skills and undertake CPD
Dr Paul Armstrong shared information about his research project and his findings. His thesis was on professional identity formation amongst SBMs, focusing on 10 case studies. His key findings included…
* Identified a lack of uniformity in relation to career trajectory
* ‘Boundaryless’ roles, raising concerns over SBM workload and succession planning
* SBM role is often a lonely one, no one else in school does the same role, networks are massively important
* Credibility – support of Headteacher and Governing Body is very important
* Structural reforms, concerns over fragmentation of the profession…. this point links back to the message earlier in the day, what is the right career route… generalist? specialist? Etc
During the dinner, Stephen Morales took the opportunity to recognise schools business professionals that had gone above and beyond. One of his awards was presented to Dawn Boyes (@dawnboyes) for her incredible work on the trailblazer apprenticeship programme, I am so pleased that she has been recognised, she is someone that I greatly admire. He also took the time to congratulate the recent receivers of the NASBM Fellowship, I was a little embarrassed but very proud to stand up and be congratulated along with the other recipients. A real highlight in my career so far.
Day two, started with a presentation from Brenda Burkett (@brenburkett) from ASBO, it was an interesting coincidence to hear from an American citizen on the same morning that Donald Trump won the election. I met her in the lift on the way to the conference room and just didn’t know what to say to her! Anyway, during her speech she expressed similar concerns from their members, as SBMs have over here: budgets, finance, condition of buildings, etc. With the size of America networks and association membership are vital.
Next up was an entertaining session from Nigel Risner (@NigelRisner) a motivational speaker, it was a great session and I bought his books afterwards, so that I could read more about his theories on success. He had a simple message of “if you are in the room BE in the room”.
“No one can go back and make a brand new start but anyone can start right now and make a brand new ending”
The final workshop I attended was hosted by YPO and FundEd magazine. This highlighted the importantance of better procurement practices and income generation. I picked up some useful income generation ideas.
So, in summary the the messages I took away with me are… be solution focused, be the change, work smarter not harder and take ownership of your career.
My motto: Is what you do having a positive impact on pupils? If not why are you doing it?
Thanks for reading!