What is the simplest way of selling or giving away equipment and resources that your school no longer needs?

Many schools have items that are in a good condition but which for various reasons are no longer required.

However, they can be exactly what some other school wants. They might be exercise books, kitchen warmer units, equipment removed from teaching rooms during a refurbishment, some older but still fully functional computers, office furniture – in fact absolutely anything.

So how can they be offered to other schools without running up significant advertising costs?

The solution is simple. Last term the School of Educational Administration and Management launched Savings for Schools – a free service that offers services and products that will be of interest to administrators, teachers, and school managers via Facebook and Twitter. And to re-iterate the point, it is completely free.

All the advertising work is undertaken by the SEAM – all you have to do is provide us with one or more adverts for whatever it is you want to dispose of.

All orders and requests for further information will come direct to you, and there will be no costs for you – no up front charges, no agency commission, no commitment to do anything else, no nothing.

Savings for Schools is a new venture, and thus far we have been putting up occasional notices from commercial companies as well as some news stories. This is the first time we’ve offered the service free of charge to schools as well.

If you would like to see what Savings for Schools looks like just go onto Twitter and Facebook and in the search box enter Savings for Schools.

To become part of Savings for Schools all you have to do is send in your advert/s as a word file to Jenny@hamilton-house.com and give us details of your company’s name and address, for our records.

Tony Attwood

Tony@hamilton-house.com

——————————————————————-

If you have a press release relating to your school, or a piece of work by a pupil or student in your school that you think should reach a wider audience, it can become the featured item of the day on UK Education News (www.ukeducationnews.co.uk) Please send it to chris@hamilton-house.com and we will do the rest.

Tony Attwood
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd

How can BBC Learning help to ease the pressures that you face as a school administrator/school business manager?

Towards the end of last month Hopscotch Consulting asked us whether the subscribers of the Administration and School Business Management Newsletter (that’s you) would be willing to share with BBC Learning their experiences of working as a school administrator.

In particular, they would like to understand more about how you manage your workload, the pressures that you face, and how BBC Learning can best support you with resources and information. They are also keen to know what you have to say about the way BBC Learning communicates with you.

Whether you currently use the BBC’s resources or not, they are still keen to hear from you in order to ensure that their campaigns and resources remain relevant and useful to everyone involved in the school setting.

Hopscotch Consulting have prepared a survey on BBC Learning’s behalf for the subscribers of the Administration and School Business Management Newsletter. I have been told it should not take long to complete.

Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/M7HFDZT

What’s more, once you have completed the survey, you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win £130 of Amazon vouchers.

I would be grateful if you could forward this email onto your colleagues so they can also share their experiences with BBC Learning and be entered into the prize draw.

Tony Attwood
Director, School of Educational Management and Administration

What is the most effective way of changing and improving the workings of the school’s administration? A free report.

I am sure that there are some school administrations where everything works well, smoothly, and without undue stress, where the working conditions are excellent, and everyone co-operates with each other to ensure things run smoothly.

And if you work in such a school administration, then I must congratulate you on your good fortune.

But if you work in an administration in which you feel some things could be improved, but in which you have found it hard to get the improvements and changes made, then the School of Educational Administration and Management has just released a free report that you may wish to take a look at.

The focus in the report is not on the sort of things that can make life difficult in school administrations, but rather on one particular method of getting changes made.

We’ve been researching the issue of how change does come about – and why quite often requests for change are not successful. Indeed it was the fact that each year a number of administrators on SEAM courses have reported that they have requested changes, only to have their requests ignored or blocked, that we have looked specifically at schools where change has come about.

Perhaps it is the endless stream of “urgent jobs”, which are not really urgent at all, but which have become urgent because the person asking us has simply left the matter too late.

Or maybe it is the equipment that is old and desperately needs updating. Or maybe a colleague who simply won’t co-operate and refuses to take on certain jobs.

It could even be the room which is too hot in summer or too cold in winter, or too small, or which has large numbers of filing cabinets which take up space that is needed for everyone to have enough room.

Whatever it is, it turns out that there is one method of getting things changed which for most people works particularly well – even in schools where the administrator feels requests for change have been turned down in the past.

So, to end the year, we’ve produced a free report which asks, and answers, the question: How can I get things changed?

If you would like a copy just click here, and you’ll be able to download it directly into your computer.

I hope you find the report useful.

Tony Attwood

What tests can be carried out to see just how efficient your school’s administration actually is?

For most people it is quite easy to see where other organisations could be improved.

Think about your local supermarket, or a small coffee shop or restaurant, your local GP’s surgery, or the local hospital.  Or consider the way in which local roads are repaired.

In all of these cases the chances are that you’ll quickly be able to see exactly how those responsible could make the process more efficient.

But your own work place?  Now that is much harder.

But there is a way of doing this and it is quite simple. Just write down anything that takes up your time, or which annoys or frustrates, or which you really could do without.

Now don’t do any censoring at this point.

For example, if you write down “interruptions”, or the fact that a senior colleague doesn’t give you work until the last moment, or the fact that some teachers make mistakes on school registers, or return them late, or that you are horribly overworked, don’t dismiss these ideas as things you can’t do anything about.

Indeed, even if you have tried to sort these problems out, but have failed, still write them down.  For the chances are that you now have the beginning of a list of inefficiencies.

Now, let’s imagine an issue where you feel that you might be able to do your work more efficiently if this problem were solved, but solving the problem is not possible.

For example, you might feel that interruptions are part of the job, or that you have asked some teachers to sort out their registers correctly and they still haven’t, or that you have asked the head if she can’t sign the cheques twice a week instead of once a fortnight, or that the head has told the teachers not to interrupt you between 9am and 10am, but still nothing has changed.

But does this mean that you are stuck and that it is not possible to change your situation?

The answer, in fact, is a resounding “no”.  For there are some schools where the school office does not suffer from interruptions, where there are no register errors, where everything is requested in a timely manner, where old equipment is replaced when it needs to be, and when no one says, “the school just can’t afford it”, and where no teacher would ever dare enter the office and say, “I know I’m not supposed to interrupt you but…”

Many of the schools where the administration has moved to this situation are schools in which an administrator has taken the Certificate in School Administrative Efficiency course.

Which is why I can say that if you are interested in making your work more effective and your working environment more pleasant, you will almost certainly find this distance-learning course enjoyable and beneficial.

It takes just two months and you liaise directly with your own tutor from the School of Educational Administration.

There are more details on our website or if you have any questions please call 01536 399 007 or email Sam@admin.org.uk

Samantha Bates

Director of Courses, School of Education Administration and Management

Understanding all there is to know about school procurement

School Procurement is significant in terms of expenditure and time.  The Certificate of School Procurement provides Business Manager/Executive Officers with the tools to ensure that procurement is carried out in a transparent way.

If you wish to::

  1. Gain control over procurement
  2. Have confidence in procurement
  3. Protect the school from high risk procurement
  4. Reduce reliance on supplier focused contracts

then this online training is for you.

The benefits are:

  1. Increased confidence in procurement
  2. Better understanding of leasing versus purchasing issues.
  3. Focus on school contract for suppliers.
  4. Managing contract performance

The 14 week online modular procurement course can be undertaken at your own pace and can be completed within six months. The training will give you a benchmark as to how school procurement is currently operating and provide a guide for improving.

More information can be found at http://www.admin.org.uk/CCMintro.html

“Of course it was authorised: why can’t you get it right???”

One of the most common complaints at the moment seems to me to concern the marking of pupils and students as having “unauthorised absence” when in fact that absence was most certainly “authorised”.

Of course, we all know that mistakes can happen – and any reasonable person will accept that.  But where mistakes of the same nature happen over and over again, that certainly isn’t good news.

And going further, when those mistakes are not your fault but you end up getting the brunt of the subsequent complaint, that is indeed frustrating.

Generally speaking it seems to me that schools with a centralised clocking in and out system get fewer errors of this nature – but the notion that one can reduce the number of errors and complaints in recording absence isn’t normally enough of argument to move a school across to such a system.

If you find yourself in a situation in which there are lots of errors of this nature, you might already have asked the teacher to be more careful, and may even have asked the head or deputy head to “have a word”  – but still nothing happens.

To everyone else this will seem a trivial matter, but you are the one taking the brunt of the parental complaints.  So what to do?

As always the essence of the problem is that no action is taken to overcome the problem because no one except you is suffering as a result of the problem.  It is the same as with urgent requests for photocopying or other work which is only urgent because it has been left until the last minute.

The head might ask teachers not to leave things to the last minute, but because the head does not suffer as a consequence of last minute requests, and the teachers don’t either, no one really takes much notice.

The only solution is to move the problem on.  Of course, it is not for me to tell anyone what to do, but one way of handling this is to have a list which can be seen by anyone entering your office which says at the top, “Number of wrongly recorded reasons for absence” and you just add another tally note to each one.   If that doesn’t work, you could put the teacher’s initials by each one to show the source of the error.

The simple fact of there being a display of the problem is often enough either to reform the behaviour of those who make mistakes or to persuade a senior manager to go and sort the issue out once and for all.

This is just one of the problems that we look at on the distance learning courses that the School of Educational Administration and Management runs.  If you would like to know more about our courses there are details here.

And, of course, we continue to run our all day every day free education news service, UK Education News.  If you haven’t seen it, please do take a look.

Tony Attwood

Some managers describe having an administrator on the National Certificate in Educational Administration course as a revelation.

A Revelation is not something we expect to find in the school office.  But just imagine…  Supposing work could be processed more quickly, administrative colleagues could be happier, all problems resolved as they arise so they never arise again…

Then the whole administrative process of the school could run more smoothly than ever.

Now, you might feel that is not relevant to you, since your school’s admin is motoring along nicely.  And, of course, that might well be the case.

But to carry the motoring metaphor one step further, even if your car appears to be running well, you know that every so often you do need to get it checked, allowing the garage to do the range of near-incomprehensible things that they do with computers, wheel braces, and spanners when the car is on the ramp.

So supposing your colleague in the office told you of one small change which would cost nothing and actually reduce her workload by half an hour a day every day.  Or another change that would reduce the time it took to turn round some work you required.

You might say, “But if there were problems, I’m sure I’d be told,” and maybe you are right.  But what we find is that most of our colleagues in school administration don’t realise that change is possible.  Because they’ve not been trained to look at change, they can find it hard to see how simple changes to process could make a huge difference when something is causing difficulty.

It was to overcome this problem that in 2006 the School of Educational Administration and Management was set up through funding from the government’s Dept of Trade and Industry and with the support of the Education Faculty at the University of Northampton.

The aim was to find relevant efficiency savings and benefits that were being introduced into businesses, and see how they could be introduced into the school office to save the school time and money.

Since then we have developed a range of support and information services for school administrators and have influenced the working of hundreds of school offices through our free information services and our courses.   For more information you can read about our courses on our website, call our offices on 01536 399 007, or email Sam@admin.org.uk

Tony Attwood C.Ed., B.A., M.Phil (Lond) F.Inst.A.M.

Director, The School of Educational Administration and Management

All school offices can reduce their overload, unpaid overtime, and interruptions.

Whatever the job, there has to be organisation.  Organisation not just of the task in hand, but also of the workload as a whole.

There needs to be a balance of input and output, a control of the level of interruptions, and a certainty that the level of work is manageable by the staff available.

Unfortunately, within school administrations these issues are not always considered, largely because some negative factors in relation to the work (interruptions are a perfect example) become thought of as an inevitable part of the job.

However, just as there are a hundred ways of teaching a lesson in the classroom, so there are a hundred ways of organising a school office.

But if one believes that overload is inevitable, then it will be inevitable.  Only if one believes that there are alternative ways of doing things does one look for these alternatives.  And even then the habit of the past means that the alternatives are not always easy to find.

Yet the fact is that different schools do organise their administrations in different ways and that some approaches can make a significant difference to the effectiveness and efficiency of the school’s work.

At the heart of this volume is the notion that there are many ways of administering a school and that some of these ways of organising school administration are much more effective and efficient than other approaches.

The report “Increasing Efficiency in School Administration” gives examples of efficiencies that can be made within school administration and how one can change long-established approaches to leadership, change management, time management, facilities management, budgeting and the organisations’ behaviour.

The approaches outlined here do not require higher budgets; they simply put in place processes that inevitably lead to a smoother throughput of information and activity, which means there are fewer disruptions, fewer errors, and ultimately more time for everything to be done.

One of the fundamental issues within the report is that changes only work to the benefit of the organisation when everyone understands what is going on and why the changes are being implemented.

For this reason Increasing the Efficiency of School Administration is available as a photocopiable report, which allows you to give sections of the report to your colleagues. There is no restriction on the number of copies that can be made for use within your school. An edition of the book is also available on CD Rom for printing out via Word.

Additionally, all orders that quote the publisher’s reference below will also receive a free copy of two reports by the School of Educational Administration and Management: Reducing Overload in the School Office, and Eliminating Interruptions in the School Office.

There are sample pages from the photocopiable book at  http://www.pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/bursar/T1744.pdf

Publisher’s reference: T1744EMX ISBN: 978 1 86083 798 2

Prices

  • Photocopiable book: £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • CD with school-wide rights: £29.95 plus £3.95 delivery
  • Both the book and the CD: £36.94 plus £3.95 delivery

Prices include VAT.

You can purchase the report… please quote the order ref: T1744EMX

  • By post to First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Way, Corby, NN17 4HH
  • By fax to 01536 399 012

On line with a credit card at http://shop.firstandbest.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=26&products_id=568

You can now follow us on Twitter and Facebook

What is the simplest way of selling or giving away equipment and resources that your school no longer needs?

Many schools have items that are in a good condition but which for various reasons are no longer required.

However, they can be exactly what some other school wants. They might be exercise books, kitchen warmer units, equipment removed from teaching rooms during a refurbishment, some older but still fully functional computers, office furniture – in fact absolutely anything.

So how can they be offered to other schools without running up significant advertising costs?

The solution is simple.  Last term the School of Educational Administration and Management launched Savings for Schools – a free service that offers services and products that will be of interest to administrators, teachers, and school managers via Facebook and Twitter. And to re-iterate the point, it is completely free.

All the advertising work is undertaken by the SEAM – all you have to do is provide us with one or more adverts for whatever it is you want to dispose of.

All orders and requests for further information will come direct to you, and there will be no costs for you – no up front charges, no agency commission, no commitment to do anything else, no nothing.

Savings for Schools is a new venture, and thus far we have been putting up occasional notices from commercial companies as well as some news stories.  This is the first time we’ve offered the service free of charge to schools as well.

If you would like to see what Savings for Schools looks like just go onto Twitter and Facebook and in the search box enter Savings for Schools.

To become part of Savings for Schools all you have to do is send in your advert/s as a word file to Jenny@hamilton-house.com and give us details of your company’s name and address, for our records.

Tony Attwood

Tony@hamilton-house.com

What is the simplest way of seeing all the education news of the day – without leaving your desk, without it costing a penny?

Imagine being able to see a list of all the main education news stories at any time, day or night.  Weekdays and weekends.  And for there to be no charge.

Stories from the BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph, etc, plus announcements from relevant government agencies.

And imagine being able to click on any of these stories and then being able to read the full text on your computer while being able to share them and being able to print a story out if you find it particularly relevant.

And still without any charge at any point.

What I am describing is UK Education News.  At any time it contains the latest 50 education news stories, with the most recent at the top of the page.  Every five minutes the list is updated and new stories appear at the top.

Any story you want to follow, just click on the headline and you’ll go straight to the website of the originator (the BBC, the Guardian, etc, etc) and onto that story.

UK Education News is and will remain completely free. It won’t cost you a penny, and no one will ever email you as a follow up to you reading it. We don’t even ask for donations.

Indeed, if you wanted to use it to report on something important that has happened at your school you can send in your news item and it will appear within a day or two.  And again there is no charge.

I do hope you will have a moment to join hundreds of thousands of other readers who have decided to make UK Education News a prime way of staying up-to-date with the latest developments in education.

Indeed, I would also hope that once you’ve had a look at UK Education News, you might care to copy this note and forward it to a few colleagues so that they too can benefit from the service.

UK Education News is available 24 hours a day at www.UKEducationNews.co.uk

If you want to submit a text only education news story for display on the site please send it, complete with the headline you want, as a Word File to Chris@hamilton-house.com   In the Word file please only include the exact text you want published.

If you would like to discuss UK Education News, or talk about any ideas or questions you have, please do email me or call me.

Tony Attwood, publisher, UK Education News.
Phone: 01536 399 013
Email: Tony@hamilton-house.com

The blog for bursars and administrators