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Embracing ALL School Staff #EmbraceEquity #IWD2023

By Sue Prickett    @ruralSBM    
The role of School Business Leader (SBL) in schools is often overlooked when describing the make-up of Senior Leadership Teams. Since the growth of the SBL sector joining social media channels, at last colleagues are finding strength and confidence in numbers, but are they finding the right support?

There are many ways into the roles taken up by both qualified and unqualified members of school teams who become responsible for financial and statutory duties such as budgets, census, exams, health and safety, compliance and indeed safeguarding.

Should we be doing more for our ECnT (Early Career Non-Teachers)?

Have our organisations and government institutions truly considered formalising support staff career pathways and training opportunities for those keen to expand their professional qualifications or reach higher into leadership?

Should the first port of call for a question be an answer from social media?

Being involved in #WomenEd has broadened my professional horizons and made me question my own methods of working, leadership style and current practice. Most valuably, it has provided a network of women who can be relied upon to challenge my thinking, guide me safely to answers and provide opportunities to improve. They have ensured the conversation and CPD has been widened to include those not in teaching roles.

#WomenEd gave me the confidence to stand up taller for support staff in all roles, find my own mentors and provide support when asked.

It's also given me the courage to implement new practice within my Trust. As leaders, those in the offices of finance and HR understand the pinch points in our organisations. They know how many people are on maternity leave, the best supply agencies to call, which curriculum resources are ignored and which are value for money. They feel the heartbeat of our schools and they can influence change and school policy to make it beat more regularly.

I know several SBLs who are or have been part of the #WomenEd cohort for the NCE Senior Leaders Masters Apprenticeship programme by The National College of Education and I recommend SBLs to join this cohort as well: it's on my to do list and game changing for us.

As a society, do we #EmbraceEquity by providing the child who wants to be a teacher with advertisements offering a myriad of entry level ways into achieving QTS, yet brush aside other careers within our schools?

Equity would look to provide consistent entry level training platforms and clear career pathways for all those who want to work in schools, but don't want to be delivering the lesson. We need to be having the conversation at Career events, about the many roles in schools that are not teaching, yet progress to leadership. Our Year 11s need to be considering roles such as Exams Officers, Estates Manager, Catering Manager, Safeguarding Leads, Chief Finance Officers, and Chief Operating Officers who keep our schools running day in and out. Administrative and operational roles in all our public sector services are as essential as the qualified service professionals.

To attract our Year 11s into these professions and to keep our current practitioners in their careers, we need the government to be considering school support roles as essential staff, not disposable staff on minimum hour pro-rata contracts.

Who can imagine a school without teaching assistants, who these days support teaching and learning, mental health, well-being, and often medical requirements of our students?

Will a school running with consistent in-year deficits be able to open its doors next September?

We need unions to be fighting for equitable salary ranges, terms, and conditions for all these roles equally as hard as they fight for the teaching sector. Language should include all staff working in schools.

#WomenEd have already started the work by embracing SBLs with open arms and celebrating the work of support staff.

Let us continue the change by sharing #WomenEd with our support teams today and inviting them to be the future of change for tomorrow.

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The Old Women Club #EmbraceEquity #IWD2023
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Comments 1

Guest - lawrence on Thursday, 02 March 2023 16:38

Thanks useful contribution to the debate. I think its about being able to describe career paths as well as the equity in pay

Thanks useful contribution to the debate. I think its about being able to describe career paths as well as the equity in pay
Monday, 27 March 2023

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