Government priorities bring no respite for school business managers

Government proposals for schools in England, set out in the Education and Adoption Bill, miss the important issues currently facing schools, says UNISON.

The public services union believe that a government obsessed with forcing schools to become academies is failing to address inadequate funding, excessive workloads or helping hard-pressed school business managers to support their schools.

Well-trained and committed school business managers are facing increasingly complicated and diverse duties including greater management of premises, complex reporting procedures and the procurement of services for schools at the same time that local authority services disappear, according to a recent UNISON survey.

UNISON head of education and children’s services Jon Richards 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.”

“School business managers are already working excessive hours to cope with the ever expanding demands being placed on them. Ideological cuts to local government education grants means more and more support services that councils provide are disappearing, including physiotherapy, attendance monitoring, and carrying out police checks on staff. This forces business managers to spend extra time searching for replacement service providers.

There is only so much one person can do, even when excessive amounts of overtime – often unpaid – are worked.

“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.”

Notes to editors:

– All UNISON press releases can be found at

– The date for the third reading, and last chance to amend, the Education and Adoption Bill has yet to be announced.

– Last summer 843 school business managers responded to a UNISON survey on workplace issues.

UNISON media contacts:

Alan Weaver T: 0207121 5555 M: 07939 143310 E:

Liz Chinchen T: 020 7121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E:

Fatima Ayad T: 020 7121 5255 M: 07508 080383 E:

Sophie Goodchild T: 020 7121 5546 M: 07767 325595 E: