School Business Managers


School Business Managers (SBMs) have an integral role in operations and the day-to-day running of schools.

They work closely with headteachers to ensure budgets are used efficiently, manage administration, comply with health and safety regulations, pay suppliers and contractors as well as other responsibilities.

If you are a school business manager you can subscribe to Edapt for high-quality, independent edu-legal employment support for your role.

In this article, we look at the responsibilities of the role, refer to examples of job descriptions and link to useful information to support.

Schools business managers: what do they do?

UCAS explains that school business managers might:

  • Advise the headteacher and governors on financial policy
  • Plan how to spend and control the budget and reduce costs
  • Order goods and services and pay suppliers and contractors
  • Pay salaries
  • Keep accounts for inspection
  • Report to the headteacher, governors and local authority and government departments

The role’s other duties may be to:

  • Recruit, train and manage school support staff
  • Control school building maintenance
  • Handle contracts and tenders for services such as cleaning, catering and IT support
  • Make sure school security as well as health and safety policies are followed
  • Manage the school’s administrative systems

The National Careers Service provides more information on the average salary, day-to-day tasks and the qualifications to become a school business manager.

School business managers: examples of job descriptions

School business manager: local authority primary school

Ealing Grid for Learning has a generic job description for a school business manager at a primary school. It explains that the main purposes of the role are:

  • To be directly responsible for the strategic and operational management of the school finances, HR, administration and site management within the school.
  •  To line manage and performance manage administration and site management staff. 
  • To be responsible for the management of the school’s unofficial fund.
  • To produce monthly budget reports highlighting any discrepancies or over/under spends.
  • To be responsible for project management and for ensuring the provision of appropriate, accurate and timely verbal and written guidance to the Senior Leadership Team.
  • To manage the financial, personnel, and site management aspects of the extended schools provision within the school.
  • To be responsible for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and young people within the school.

School business manager: independent school

The Cambridge Steiner School is an independent school and has a job description for the school business manager position.

The key accountabilities for finance and accountancy at the school include:

  • Preparing annual estimates of income and expenditure to include the preparation of departmental budgets within the school, the latter in consultation with the head or senior academic staff
  • Issue termly fee invoices to parents and robustly manage income collection & debt management
  • Monitoring income and expenditure in relation to budget and presenting regular management reports to the governing body
  • Keeping the accounts of the school and preparing Statements of Financial Activity (SOFA) and balance sheets in accordance with the charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP)
  • Maintaining cash flow projections for the current and future years
  • Keeping analyses of costs and other statistical records
  • Manage the Early Years funding process
  • Scrutinising and passing for payment all invoices received in the school
  • Advising on general financial policy within the school
  • Preparing forecasts for the future financial performance of the school over a period of five years
  • Advising on the financial implications of the charitable status of the school
  • Advising on scholarship and bursary funds and undertaking assessments of parents’ income and assets prior to making bursary awards

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