The Business Improvement Plan - coming to your school soon!
It’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you haven’t got time to plan, you’ve only got time to do but that’s not an effective or efficient way of working. Why? Because without spending time planning your vision, how do you know where you’re going? And what’s more, nobody else knows where you’re going either. So we’re all familiar with the concept of the school improvement plan but what about the business improvement plan? Do you take time out each year to think about how you’d like to improve your school’s business functions in the next year, to review what’s working well and what isn’t? If the answer’s no then maybe this is an ideal time to start.
So where do you start then? My advice would be to look at the ISBL’s Professional Standards School Business Management Framework and identify the areas that you’re responsible for out of those listed – Leading Support Services, Finance, Procurement, Infrastructure, Human Resources, and Marketing. Each area has 4 tiers of operation from a basic understanding of why the tasks in a specific area are carried out (Tier 1) to a much higher level of understanding of how the tasks impact on the wider school landscape (Tier 4).
So having benchmarked the level at which you’re operating in a particular area, you can then identify what tasks you would need to do to take your school to the next level. For example, let’s take Procurement. So you may be operating at Tier 1 where you evaluate a number of quotes from companies before placing a purchase order. Tier 2 would involve looking at alternative purchasing routes such as a Public Sector Buying Organisation (PSBO) framework. Tier 3 might mean that you take opportunities to get involved with a PSBO, giving them your feedback on how their service could be improved thereby influencing your future procurement opportunities. Tier 4 might mean becoming part of a user group on procurement being run by the Department for Education.
In my view, all good plans start with a template so here’s one to get you going:
Of course there are a number of personal benefits to writing a business improvement plan for your school. Firstly, you’re evidencing your strategic leadership ability, secondly, you may be identifying professional development opportunities for yourself and others, and thirdly, you’re getting a better deal for your school. So it’s all win/win! So ring fence some time in your diary now to develop your business improvement plan and then after a month, review where you’ve got to and see what you’ve achieved. Go on, make a difference to your school – you know you want to!
By Jo Marchant - August 2018