Business managers to help ease headteachers workload

Headteachers will have some of their heavy workload taken away so that they can concentrate on educating Powys youngsters.

Councillor Phyl Davies
Councillor Phyl Davies

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, February 22 councillors discussed setting up a new model of business support based around area clusters of school.

This would mean that schools would have a team of dedicated staff that can deal with finance, human resources and building issues for a number of schools.

The report explained that business and financial support has varied across the county and while high schools and all age schools have a business manager to help, in primary schools there is no dedicated support which means that the work falls on the shoulders of headteachers.

The report added that several trials had taken place since 2017, and three ongoing trials with primary school clusters were due to finish at the end of March when the grant funding stops.

Education portfolio holder Councillor Phyl Davies said: “It is really important that we recognise the value of our school cluster business manager it is something that has been requested from our governing bodies and school finance forum.

“It’s been piloted in areas and is seen as an incredible support mechanism and is something we do need to roll out across the authority.

“It allows our teachers to teach and business managers to manage the facilities and other essential matters that go on.”

Education service manager, Anwen Orels said: “It would certainly improve the financial and premises management of all our schools, and it would support our corporate services as they liaising with one business manager rather than 11, it would make things far more efficient.”

Ms Orels said that roll out would take place in “waves” over five years.

It would take this timeframe for “all schools to buy in” as some might wait and see how well the approach works before signing up.

The long-term hope is Ms Orels explained is that all clusters have business managers.,

Adult social care portfolio holder, Myfanwy Alexander said: “It’s good to see a pilot being mainstreamed like this, it doesn’t always happen as swiftly as we’d like.”

She added that as the daughter of a headteacher she could remember her father working late into the night, and that there needed to be a better work life balance as it could deter people from taking leadership roles in the future.

Councillors had several options to consider and voted unanimously for Option Two which is:

Two business support roles for each cluster, the first to be a strategic cluster business manager and an assistant per eight schools in a cluster.

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