School governor and former headteacher Peter Downes takes the long view on what ‘local management’ set out to achieve 25 years ago and where he believes it has gone partially wrong

Phil Williams, chair of governors of Kelmscott Secondary School, gives a personal view of his school’s involvement in the first wave of the Building Schools for the Future scheme

While measuring school performance is important, it is vital that the data used is properly understood and that the broader picture is not lost, says headteacher Peter Kent

Steve Smith makes the case to governors for outsourcing the ICT element of Building Schools for the Future projects

Lindsey Wharmby puts cost prediction and risk assessment under the spotlight

To err is human, to forgive, divine… Ruth Bradbury ponders the fallibility of senior leaders

From taking assemblies to sharing your professional expertise, there are many ways for business managers to raise the profile of their work. Paul Ainsworth and Josephine Smith explain how to make a bigger contribution and climb the career ladder at the same time

Prudence, consistency, accruals and going concern: Ruth Bradbury explains how the four principles of effective accountancy can help schools develop robust financial systems

School data is an exceptionally valuable asset and schools are not doing enough to safeguard it. Mark Hoyland talks us through the issue

Steve Smith, former deputy headteacher at a technology college and now business development director for education at ICT specialist Ramseys, looks at the technological challenges and opportunities that extended service schools present

My new school is in a different local authority to my previous school, and since taking up my post I have met with a wide range of LA representatives to introduce myself and to get an understanding of the way that we can work together in areas such as finance, personnel, premises and extended services

Josephine Smith and Paul Ainsworth describe how school financial managers can contribute to school improvement by becoming involved in class observation and work scrutiny

Back in October 2007, Gill O’Donnell explained how to review health and safety procedures at the start of an academic year

Josie Earnshaw outlines the benefits of a comprehensive support staff review at her Barnsley school

Kim Sparling, headteacher of Oldfield School in Bath, explores the concept of ‘value for money’ in a secondary school context and outlines some suggestions on ways to achieve it

Lucy Fitzgerald highlights the financial and environmental benefits of more switched-on energy management in schools

As part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative initiative it is recommended that schools work with a managed service provider to procure, manage, maintain and refresh their ICT infrastructure and equipment. Steve Smith explores ICT outsourcing and highlights the potential cost savings

Paul Howells considers the changing nature of recruitment in our schools, and encourages you to consider how you can best save time while also getting best value

Patrick Ferguson, headteacher of De la Salle Humanities College, Liverpool, looks at the important role effective security plays in school improvement

Data protection law sets firm boundaries around what information you can collect. Educators retain excessive data at their peril, writes Simon White

Ruth Bradbury offers a wealth of practical advice on getting the most from the extended schools initiative

Nina Siddle explains how a primary cluster in East Yorkshire tackled the challenge of providing high-quality ICT support

Paul Ainsworth and Josephine Smith argue that it is increasingly important for school finance managers – especially those aspiring to lead schools – to understand the process of teaching and learning

Climate change is in the headlines every day. What are schools doing about this issue? Angela Youngman looks at the Eco-Schools programme

Two recent policy reviews have established the government’s priorities for spending on public services that help disabled and disadvantaged pupils

Small schools have limited resources and some funding streams can be very restrictive. Paul Ainsworth describes how one group of schools is seeking to overcome these problems

Brin Best explains why your school’s fundraising work will not be truly effective unless it is underpinned by a clear vision and strategy

Recognising and minimising risk in the school environment is a vital part of a headteacher’s management role, says former head Roger Smith

What’s an acceptable collective term for all the school business managers, administrators, catering staff, HR professionals, caretakers, secretaries and everyone else other than teachers?

The CPR Learning Space is a building with a ‘wow’ factor, providing services to schools and the wider community. Jane West looks at its development

Schools face a huge procurement challenge, and the DfES has set up services to help them make savings

Tracy Doyle maps out a way to align the budget process with the school improvement plan

A major new report could herald a new era in the leadership of schools, paving the way for the first headteachers to be appointed from finance, not teaching backgrounds

I have just got back from the SFM annual conference in London: a long journey for me, but definitely worth it – not only because it gave me the opportunity to present a couple of sessions, but also because it is encouraging to see the quality and variety of business management professionals who are now working in our schools.

We begin a series of best practice advice features with a look at the implications of a school having its own bank account

Sharon Wallwork provides comprehensive advice on dealing with a decline in student numbers. She argues that, far from being something that only schools in specific circumstances should be concerned about, all educational institutions need to assess the risks of declining numbers and the huge financial implications this can bring

The school business manager’s role goes beyond simply managing finances, says Hilary Morrison

Donald Maclean outlines some of the latest techniques and new technologies being introduced to help school finance staff keep utility costs under control

Proving public benefit will be essential if you want to retain tax exemptions, write William Colacicchi and Mark Blois

Can – and indeed should – someone from a background other than teaching become a school leader? Join this growing debate

In my own school, and I suspect in many others, each summer holiday sees the introduction of more and more ICT equipment.

I’ve been on maternity leave for over two months now, and although my hands are more than full most of the time with my beautiful baby daughter, I find myself occasionally considering what might be going on at work in my absence.

Nina Siddle explains how her school is working to improve the effectiveness of the governing body with respect to the new financial management standard for schools.

Gill O’Donnell argues that schools need to take a proactive approach to fire alarms if they are not to fall foul of the new disability discrimination legislation.

Government initiatives should be accompanied by more training and support, says Geri Skwarek.

Sima Goldsmith considers the environmental and financial implications of the sustainable schools agenda

Ruth Bradbury provides some practical advice for how you can stay ahead of the game.

Ruth Bradbury outlines the cost of staff absence to schools and explains how a range of practical measures can help staff to maintain a better attendance record for the benefit of themselves and the school.

Nina Siddle explains how one school in East Yorkshire found widespread benefits from engaging with the Investors in People programme

Q – SOMETIMES a child suffers so badly from bullying that parents keep her at home. But is this legally justified?

New rules call for closer cooperation between local authority and school, giving increased protection to children at risk, writes Ingrid Sutherland.

Christian Webb-Jenkins, of Browne Jacobson LLP, discusses the act.

Working to promote a positive image for your school can be a powerful tool for school improvement and can provide a focus for staff efforts on many fronts, argues Brin Best, education writer and director of Innovation for Education Ltd.

Involvement in European energy awareness projects can bring a multitude of benefits to the pupils and staff of schools, as well as to the planet, says headteacher David Dixon.

Ollie McFadden describes improvements at Sutton Grammar School for Boys.

New maternity and flexible working rights mean employers must brush up on the law, says Derek Eccleston.

In the second of two articles exploring what helps new teachers feel welcome in a school, teacher Colin Smith looks at how social relations and the delivery of lessons impact on their experience.

Taking on an old building is a commitment that can pay dividends, says Angela Youngman.

Ruth Bradbury outlines the things that all senior school finance managers need to know in order to contribute effectively to the running of their school.

We outline the key child safety issues to be born in mind when recruiting staff and explain the financial implications of getting it wrong.

Ruth Bradbury explains why it is vital to create development plans for support staff in schools, and outlines a range of practical measures to make the process more manageable in your own school.

THE ADVENT OF ICT across the curriculum is beginning to place a whole range of new resource demands on schools that usually fall to the bursar/business manager to manage.

Under the extended schools agenda, all schools are expected to enhance their community provision and open up their sites to embrace a range of wider community initiatives. Nina Siddle explains how one school in East Yorkshire is developing an innovative garden area, and outlines the key role that school business managers can play in such initiatives

Teacher Colin Smith, supported by fellow teacher/researchers seconded to a TLRP-funded project looking at the early professional learning (EPL) of teachers, reports on findings on what helps new teachers feel welcome in a school.

Ross Midgley of the Crocus Early Years group offers some practical ideas for managing payments by voucher.

Locally produced food is increasingly popular in schools and may become more important than going organic, writes Angela Youngman

When an early years setting is damaged by fire, the effects are far wider reaching than the material damage to the building. Consider the trauma to staff and children, loss of work and resources, and effect on the local community.

Most schools have not kept up with what management information systems can do for them, says education writer and former headteacher Gerald Haigh. Here he illustrates how they can make more of equipment they already have in school.

The government’s campaign to persuade more schools to offer extended services continues with the publication of new guidance.

Schools are having to tighten up their record keeping after an Ofsted survey found confusion surrounding procedures for vetting staff.

New initiatives, including travel plans and school transport advisers, are being introduced. Managers ignore these at their peril, writes Ingrid Sutherland.

Arson attacks on schools are serious and frequent. Nick Bason of the Arson Prevention Bureau sets out the key aspects of awareness and prevention.

Every school has a general duty of care for all of the children in its care. This extends to ensuring children’s safety on the internet.

Advice and ideas for securing the school site and buildings, compiled by Dave Cotton, West Midlands Police Force and Nick Bason, Arson Prevention Bureau.

Dave Cotton, Force Crime Reduction Officer at West Midlands Police Force, looks at security risks and gives safety advice for schools, staff and pupils.

Risk assessment and needs analysis are key areas of school security. Gill O’Donnell and Brin Best guide you though the systems that need to be in place to ensure that your school is prepared for all eventualities.

The security risks faced by schools are many and varied. This breadth of scope is mirrored by the numerous legal issues relating to security. Mark Blois from Browne Jacobson LLP offers an overview of some of the most important issues, followed by some advice on good practice.

A fire safety petition is calling for the installation of sprinkler systems in all new and refurbished schools.

Angela Youngman looks at a scheme in Norwich that is raising interest around the country and two other awards that encourage good hygiene and healthy eating.

If you have equipment which is fixed or too large to be put away, what can you do to prevent the threat of damage overnight? Police Sergeant Cotton of West Midlands Police has some advice for you to follow.

Nathan Archer, from the children’s house consultancy, guides you through the regulations relating to managing any money that you have raised from outside sources, and reminds you of the legalities surrounding local fundraising.

How much does food affect children’s behaviour? Mary Whiting reveals some research-based facts and offers some tips.

Schools should be at the centre of professional support for children and heads should champion change, argues Nick Johnson OBE.

This project focused on integrating Fair Trade purchasing throughout the school and raising pupil and staff awareness of global issues.

Headteacher Ian Bauckham attacks some common myths about faith schools and argues that their abolition would seriously reduce parental choice as well as being detrimental to the government’s commitment to raising standards.

Sue Moores, headteacher of a secondary school in the Isle of Man, compares the island’s educational system with that of England and concludes that she won’t be moving back here!

What makes a good supply teacher? Former head Bob Jelley draws on some memories.

Healthy meals for children, pristine premises and lovely grounds are within the grasp of every school, argues headteacher Mark Barnett.

Headteacher Carole Hawkins lays to rest the common perception that independent schools enjoy a privileged and problem-free position in today’s education market.

The successful implementation of new standards for school lunches, along with an increased uptake in school meals, is enhanced by a whole-school approach, according to research by the School Food Trust

Neil Short, education consultant and former head, looks at how schools are facing up to the challenge of supporting and developing sporting talent among young pupils.

Recently published research by a team based at the University of Cambridge highlights the efforts of teachers and other staff in schools to develop inclusive educational practice. At the same time, it provides evidence that these efforts are unsustainable in the long term, and that a national review of policy and practice is required.

A whole-school approach to food and health is fundamental to establishing good dietary habits and an understanding of the links between good nutrition and future health. In this article Anna Denny shows how shools can support children in leading a healthy lifestyle.

Gill O’Donnell provides practical advice on looking after these key staff and argues that a proactive approach to health and safety is needed to ensure that they are protected from injury.

Charitable trusts give more than £350m to education annually. Louise Germaney looks at some of the biggest grant-giving foundations.

The Certificate of School Business Management is fast becoming an essential qualification for all school finance staff. But what is the course actually like from a delegate’s perspective? SFM asked a recent delegate to share her views.

The closure of hundreds of schools across the country as a result of the recent Unison day of action over pensions can serve as a reminder of how essential support staff are for the day-to-day functioning of our schools.

Many communities are keen to know what is happening in local schools and the profile of your school can be raised and presented in a positive light by successful use of the media. This counters a great deal of the damage done to the public view of education by more generalised central reporting, where sensationalism is the main criterion for publishing/reporting. By Linda Trapnell

It often takes time to sort out problems that have arisen over the lunch break and to re-establish a learning environment. How can we reduce the hassle and get the learning in the classroom back on track more quickly after lunch?

School meals are in the news again, as Hull City Council announces the success of its free healthy lunch programme for primary and special school pupils.

The BSF scheme relies on successful public-private partnerships. Sharon Jones and Rachel Williams look at how the local authority goes about putting these in place.

The Education Act 2005: an overview for school staff.

The DfES has produced an extensive toolkit to support financial management in schools.

In February 2006, it was announced that Secondary schools in England were to receive a guaranteed minimum increase in their core funding of 3.4% per pupil for 2006-07.

In our September issue headteacher Brian Rossiter described the first part of the PFI route to rebuild his and other schools in the Bassetlaw district – creating the vision for the project and meeting with the bidders. Here he shares his experience of the next steps towards making the vision a reality.

Schools do not need to make massive improvements to school buildings to bring about improvements in learning – simple, inexpensive changes can make all the difference, according to Design Council research.

Fundraising for school activities is nothing new. Only now with the pressures of workforce reform and initiatives such as extended schools and specialist status, many schools are reviewing the way they have to raise funds.

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