How to become a School Business Manager. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a School Business Manager do?
As a school business manager (sometimes known as a bursar), you would be the senior financial and administrative manager in a school. You would work closely with the head teacher to make sure that the school’s budget and resources are used in the most efficient way.
A major part of your job would be financial management and accounting, for example:
- keeping accounts and reporting on the school’s financial position
- advising the head teacher and governors on financial policy
- planning how to spend the budget and finding ways to reduce costs
- ordering goods and services and paying suppliers and contractors
- processing salaries.
Your other duties may include:
- recruiting, training and managing school support staff
- managing school building maintenance
- handling contracts and tenders for services like cleaning, catering and IT support
- being responsible for security and health and safety on school premises
- managing the school’s administrative systems
- preparing information and reports.
In some jobs, you may also be involved in marketing or bidding for funding for the school.
In a full-time job you would usually work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Part-time and term-time is possible.
You may be expected to attend occasional meetings or school events in the evening or at weekends. You must take your holidays at times to suit the school.
How much does a School Business Manager earn?
Salaries can be from £19,000 to £57,000 a year, depending on experience and the size of the school.
Pay in state schools usually follows local government scales, while salaries in independent schools may include other benefits such as accommodation, a company car or private health insurance.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You will need a strong background in finance, management or similar. An accountancy qualification is very common in this job.
You may have an advantage with a BTEC HND, degree or professional qualification in accountancy, business management, public administration or human resources.
Alternatively, you could start as a school administrator or secretary, and be promoted to bursar/business manager with experience. You could help your chances of promotion by asking your school to put you forward for the Certificate of School Business Management (CSBM), from the National College of Leadership for Schools and Children’s Services.
Alternatively, you may find it useful to take other qualifications in accounting or management.
Training and Development
You could enhance your skills by taking qualifications in school business management from the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services:
- Certificate of School Business Management (CSBM) – aimed at senior school administrators and newly-employed school business managers
- Diploma of School Business Management (DSBM)
- Advanced Diploma of School Business Management (ADSBM)
- School Business Director Programme.
Each qualification takes between eight and 12 months, and you will study through a mixture of distance learning and short courses. They also lead to Institute of Administrative Management qualifications and membership.
See the National College website for more information on their school business manager qualifications.
- National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services – Professional Development for School Leaders (scroll down to see School Business Manager section)
With experience and the CSBM, DSBM or ADSBM qualification, you could join the National Association of School Business Management (NASBM) one-year MSc in Educational Leadership (School Business Management) programme. The NASBM also offers a range of short courses to its members. See the NASBM website for more details.
- National Association of School Business Management – MSc in Educational Leadership
Skills and Knowledge
- experience in management, accounting and finance
- excellent spoken and written communication skills
- the ability to lead a team of staff
- decision making ability
- the ability to manage large budgets
- good organisational and time-management skills
- the ability to work under pressure and prioritise work
- computer literacy.
You could work for a local education authority in a state school, or for an independent school.
Jobs may be advertised in the local and national press, on local authority websites, and on specialist recruitment websites.
You could progress in your career by moving to a larger school with a bigger budget. You could also move into financial or education management with a local authority.