Why training your school administrators is important

Traditionally schools have spent a significant part of their INSET budgets on teachers – which is of course logical since a school is primarily about teaching and learning.  Where money has been spent on training for administrators, it has generally been on training in the operation of specific computer programmes and accounting methodologies.

However, there is good reason to consider a broader level of training for administrators, because it is the administrative branch of each school that has the power and ability to spot ways of making the school more efficient – and hence more effective.

Indeed, it is not unknown for a few simple changes to the way in which the management of the school is operated through the administration to make a huge difference to the way the school is run. 

As a very simple example, consider the school’s website.  If it is out of date or difficult to use, or indeed if it has a complex and hard to remember URL, then parents and prospective parents won’t find it – and will instead phone up the school office for information.   This takes up time, disrupts the work of the office staff and reduces efficiency.

The problem is, however, that quite probably the only people who are aware of the problem are the administrators – and the chances are that they have never been encouraged to report such problems.

Or take the collection of dinner money in a primary school.   Parents are told that they should send the money in with their child on a Monday.   But some parents never do, preferring instead to deliver the funds to the school office on the grounds that they don’t have the right change or they are worried that the child might lose the money.   Quite probably the only person who knows how big an issue this is, is the administrator.  And the administrator might well not report it because she or he will say, “it's only a few minutes a week”.

In reality it might be more than 30 minutes a week that are taken up.  And worse, since errors are always more likely to be made to work following an interruption, and since it always takes a few moments to return to the job one was doing after an interruption, the amount of lost time through the event, the disruption, and the correcting of the occasional error that arises as a result of the disruption, may be closer to one hour a week.

That is around 3% of the administrator’s time wasted because no one is bothering to persuade parents to follow the rules.

The School of Educational Administrators is collecting an anthology of events of this nature, and we will be publishing them soon.  But, unfortunately, just knowing about the problems does not set them to rights.  As The School Efficiency Project (also downloadable from this site) shows, even when the problem is revealed it can be very difficult for management and administration to come togetherto resolve it.

It is to help overcome this sort of situation and to help administrators make schools more efficient that the IAM Certificate in Educational Administration was created.  It is a one-year distance-learning course, validated by the QCA-recognised Institute of Administrative Management – the same organisation that oversees the bursar courses run by the National College for School Leadership.

For more details on the Certificate in Educational Administration course please click here.