Time management in the role of the SBL can be an art in itself in ensuring that the majority of tasks get done in time and to a successful conclusion/outcome. Often juggling several tasks, projects or issues all at the same time is seen as “normal” for our profession and the reliance in ensuring that you will “sort it” is often taken for granted.
Quite often what is done in the background and not trumpeted as a key role, is ensuring that the school fundamental services and facilities remain operational to ensure that all stakeholders are as inconvenienced as possible. Time, as I know, is apportioned to this vital area but quite often because this goes under the radar of most, it is seen to almost look after itself.
In the recent bad weather this area was brought to the fore, with many tales of schools going above and beyond the norm to ensure that their school remained open to receive students/pupils. However, just to make the decision that the school was opening would have taken the consideration of many factors such as:
Is the school and are the grounds safe to all?
Is the school warm enough?
Is the school going to be adequately staffed?
Is there food available?
Is the school transport able to run – both in and out of the school?
These are just some of the concerns that would need to be satisfied and these would have to be constantly monitored throughout the day to ensure that safety was not compromised for anyone and that the school continued to run as smoothly as possible.
"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognise a problem before it becomes an emergency." Arnold Glasgow
Furthermore, “as the person in charge, it's your responsibility to make sure everything is running like a well-oiled machine. In doing so, you need to keep an eye out for any potential threats, determine what the best solutions are, and act quickly and efficiently if problems do arise”.
I think this will all ring true in how many of us approach this role, which is after all only one of the cogs that make up the school business machine.
The ISBL Professional standards define Infrastructure as:
“Ensure the fundamental facilities and services necessary for the school/trust to function are maintained to drive sustainability, support teaching and learning excellence. Assist in expansion and support community engagement.”
By itself the use of the can and its contents will oil the wheels of many of the school facilities and services but it will be with the addition of resilience, collaboration and challenge that the skilful business manager that will get that school environment “humming” to the right tune.
By Andy Heron - April 2018