ISBL is committed to supporting the sector through the investment in research that both raises the profile of School Business Leadership professionals and provides practical guidance that can be used to provide a benefit to their schools.
Guidance for Improving School Financial Outcomes (May 2016)
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At the end of 2015, NASBM (now ISBL) commissioned a deep dive research project into operational efficiency in schools. The research was co-funded by Optimus Education (an ISBL Approved Partner) and was undertaken by OEE Consulting, who are experienced 'Lean' consultants.
The report, Guidance for Improving School Financial Outcomes, found that even small administrative changes – such as using existing resources more prudently and implementing better time management and staff training – could result in savings of up to 20% on administration costs.
Launching the report, ISBL Chief Executive Stephen Morales said:
“This represents a real opportunity for school business leaders to look at new and innovative ways to make the most of their resources and target funding to the front line. The analysis we commissioned shows that by making modest changes to legacy processes and practice, schools can make significant savings.
“Despite a real-terms reduction in education funding and a bulge in the student population, schools are still required to demonstrate ongoing improvements in pupil attainment. School leaders are facing some really tough operational challenges. However, through careful planning, appropriate processes and well-executed strategies, this paper demonstrates how you can get the balance between efficiency and effectiveness right.
“By making subtle changes, important savings are within the reach of most schools.”
The report is available for ISBL members to access via the members' library.
The Negotiation of Professional Identity (October 2016)
In 2016, NASBM (now ISBL) commissioned case-study research in partnership with the University of Manchester to gather knowledge on the composition of the School Business Manager role and notions of professional identity amongst individuals occupying SBM roles within the wider context of increasing complexity of the SBM role, the evolving schools landscape and the turbulent educational policy landscape.
The findings indicate the considerable diversity in terms of the professional background of SBMs, and the wide and varied role they undertake. In relation to professional identity, and what it means to be a SBM in schools today, a number of factors were discussed, including membership of professional networks, attempts to build credibility with school workforce colleagues, and concerns over succession planning both at school and local system level. The SBMs also discussed the capacity of the SBM community to withstand and adapt to current policy shifts and their sense of responsibility in ensuring the profession survives and thrives.
A copy of the full report is available to download.