Academisation increases workload of school business managers, survey suggests

The role of school business managers has become increasingly pressured and complex as more and more schools convert to academy status, a survey has found.

Nearly nine out of ten school business managers are concerned about their workload as their responsibilities expand, according to a survey from the public services union Unison.

A survey, of nearly 850 school business managers, has revealed that 87 per cent of respondents work more than their contracted hours and 71 per cent are not rewarded for the additional work.

Of those who work in an academy, more than three quarters said that their workload had increased since their school was granted academy status.

Unison argues that the government has not recognised the growing workload pressures placed on school business managers when pushing for more schools to obtain academy status.

Jon Richards, head of education and children’s services at Unison, said: “It’s a fantasy to think that if all our schools become academies, the government would solve all the many problems facing our schools. The additional workload of running academies doesn’t appear to have been considered by ministers.

“Feedback from school business managers suggests there are increasing concerns over their growing workload. While they love their jobs and the contribution they make to their communities many have real concerns about workload stress, which is prompting some to consider leaving the profession.”

School business managers are facing increasingly complicated and diverse duties at the same time that local authority services disappear. The role now includes greater management of premises, complex reporting procedures and procurement of services for schools.

Cuts to local government education grants has led to more support services disappearing from councils, which Unison says has increased the amount of time school business managers have spent searching for replacement service providers.

Mr Richards added: “School business managers are already working excessive hours to cope with the ever expanding demands being placed on them. There is only so much one person can do, even when excessive amounts of overtime – often unpaid – are worked.”

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