A survey by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has revealed growing concerns among bursars and school business managers about the lack of recognition for their roles despite their increasing importance in modern school life.
The survey, which polled more than 750 bursars and school business managers (SBMs) across the UK1, showed that while most (83.3 per cent) said they were included as part of their school’s leadership team, the majority (62.5 per cent) felt their pay scales did not reflect this level of responsibility.
The overwhelming majority (96.9 per cent) did not receive additional overtime payments or time off in lieu despite working significantly longer than their contracted hours. The majority, for example, reported that they were contracted to work for 37 hours per week although in practice, most work in excess of 50 hours.
Pay scales for SBMs also vary widely, according to the survey, with salaries ranging from £17,000 to £79,000 being reported. And despite these inconsistencies, 58 per cent have no pay protection and 24.5 per cent do not have all-year round contracts. Some 62.7 per cent say they believe pay for SBMs should be set nationally.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “With cuts in services that used to be provided by local authorities, schools are increasingly looking to the skills of their business managers and bursars to provide expert advice on the essential services they need to keep the school running smoothly.
“SBMs are finding themselves with more and more responsibility for the school’s practical operations and for making pivotal decisions at the most senior levels. Yet too often, they are not remunerated in a way that reflects their significance. Nor do they always have the sort of job security that usually accompanies a role which may require a long-term commitment.
“Modern school life is increasingly dependent on the contribution that effective business managers can make - not least of which is freeing pedagogical leaders to focus on learning - and the efficient management of a school is therefore closely linked to its educational standards.
“It is time to shore up this role by establishing clear guidelines in pay and conditions that reflect the value of these increasingly key players in today’s education system.”
1. The survey was sent in June to 751 of the NAHT’s 833 members who are business managers in the UK. Approximately 44 per cent responded.
Page Published: 22/06/2012