Survey reveals school business leaders feel they are not properly valued

News Article

School business leaders feel undervalued and do not believe they receive a salary that reflects the importance of their role, according to a new survey.

Research carried out by the NAHT headteachers’ union revealed that despite having to deal with “school budgets [which are] at breaking point” they are not being fairly paid for the job they do.

NAHT General Secretary, Paul Whiteman, claims that school business leaders’ work is as vital to the running of a school as deputy and assistant heads and that they should therefore receive an equivalent level of pay.

Mr Whiteman said: “School business leaders (SBLs) are right at the centre of the increasing financial pressure on schools. The Government has tasked schools with massively cutting costs and it is SBLs who are required to balance the books.

“But while SBLs are having sleepless nights over getting the best deal for their schools, they are not receiving the best deal for themselves.

“This survey shows that SBLs’ workload and working hours have increased dramatically in recent years, but salaries and access to training have not kept pace.”

A survey of 430 school business leaders revealed:

  • Only 46 per cent of respondents have had their pay reviewed in the last three years
  • 61 per cent work more than 45 hours per week
  • 63 per cent believe their working hours have increased over the past three years
  • 81 per cent say their workload has increased over the last year
  • 49 per cent have not received any formal personal development in the last year
  • 70 per cent would like to undertake further formal qualifications to help with the demands of the role

The survey discovered that, on average, the salary for an SBL is £40,000. Although this represents a 9 per cent compared with two years ago, the union argues that pay is significantly less than for other leadership team roles.

Mr Whiteman added: “Pay and status for SBLs have to increase if we are to attract and retain high-quality individuals to the profession.

“SBLs perform a role as important to the running of a school as deputy and assistant heads, and they should be paid at an equivalent level.

“With school budgets at breaking point, an SBL’s job has never been more difficult or more vital. They are being stretched ever more thinly, with unsustainable workloads.”

Stephen Morales, Chief Executive of the Institute of School Business Leaders, said: “It is imperative that school business, pedagogy and governance work seamlessly together and that there is mutual professional respect and recognition.

“Effective schools have been shown to have a joined-up approach to leadership, where school business professionals and pedagogical leaders operate with parity based on levels of accountability and responsibility.”

Samantha Randall, a Solicitor with Palmers who specialise in employment law, said: “Schools are facing a difficult situation, trying to balance their books whilst paying their staff a salary commensurate with their experience and ever increasing workloads. Well drafted employment contracts which clearly define issues such as pay reviews, bonuses, overtime and TOIL can be extremely useful to ensure clarity on both sides.”

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