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Thought leadership

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These articles are written by a variety of in-house staff and colleagues across the field, and as such the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of NAHT.


School business leaders – making a positive difference to children and young people

People are very familiar with the concept of teaching as a vocation. I believe that school business leadership is also a vocation.

The knowledge and skills that school business leaders (SBLs) have could be put to very good use in any sector or industry, but we choose to work in education because we want to make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people.

Whenever I'm in network meetings with other SBLs, I feel a great sense of pride listening to the passion, dedication and innovation that shine through all the discussions. Like all school leaders, we strive for continuous improvement within our areas of responsibility because we know that this leads to a better provision for the children and young people we work with.

Just as school business leaders are a vital part of the team in our schools and trusts, so we are a vital part of the membership of NAHT. Our unique perspective and expertise is welcomed, valued and celebrated.

That's why NAHT is thrilled to add its support to the inaugural National School Business Leaders’ Day on 11 June 2021 – a chance to celebrate the incredible contributions that school business leaders make to improving the lives of children and young people in their schools and communities.

The day offers not only the opportunity for other school leaders to celebrate and promote the work of SBLs, but also for SBLs themselves to celebrate the work of each other and the SBL community.

As part of the association's democratic structures, NAHT has a range of sector-led councils to ensure that all our members are being served effectively. The school business leaders' sector council meets four times per year and helps to steer and develop the association's policy and campaigning priorities. In particular, we provide an expert steer on NAHT's work to influence government, policy-makers and others on all areas of education with regard to school business leaders.

Ever since the council was first established, one of its main areas of focus has been the pay and conditions of SBLs. There has been progress but there is still a way to go. NAHT's policy position is that SBLs should have pay parity with other leaders within their school or trust. For a number of years, the association's submission to the STRB has included evidence around SBLs and a call for a thorough review of the leadership pay structure that includes SBLs. To date, our calls have sadly fallen on deaf ears, but we persist. We will continue to persist.

The SBL sector council also works to ensure that NAHT's advice and guidance reflects the needs of our SBL members, as well as assisting with the development of training courses and conferences. During the past year, we have held three Crowdcast events specifically aimed at SBLs that have been a great opportunity for colleagues to hear from experts, share experiences and ideas, and support each other.

On Thursday 8 July 2021, we are holding this year's SBL conference, Shaping a Successful Future. This conference is open to members and non-members, and will offer SBLs the chance to attend workshops that will impact on their own practice and shape their own future, and to listen to a thought-provoking panel discussion about the shape of the future for the whole SBL profession. We will also hear from two inspiring keynote speakers – Dr Andy Cope from Art of Brilliance and Sinéad McBrearty, the CEO of Education Support, which is NAHT's charity partner this year. 

I very much hope you can join us.

First published 01 June 2021