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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 14:41 GMT
Schools may get business managers
Head teacher at desk
The head teacher's workload has grown
Head teachers' time could be freed up with the appointment of highly trained business managers in England's schools, if a pilot scheme is a success.

Head teachers say their roles have become more demanding as they now work with many more external partners.

Many schools already have business managers, but this scheme will see them taking a more strategic role, possibly across a number of schools.

Head teachers would however retain ultimate control over the school.

Running a school is a challenging and complex job
Ed Balls
Schools Secretary

The role of the head teachers and their workload has grown significantly over recent years, particularly in primary schools.

Many work with outside organisations providing services after the traditional school day has ended and have to manage contractors working inside the school.

The National College for School Leadership says having a specially trained school business manager could save up to a third of head teachers' time.

It has created two new possible posts, the Advanced School Business Managers, and School Business Managers, which could work across a number of schools providing a strategic approach.

The scheme is to be tested in four "demonstration" areas over the next two years and then a decision will be made about whether to roll it out across the country.

'Bureaucratic overload'

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said: "Running a school is a challenging and complex job.

"We want schools to be the centre of the community by becoming extended schools and offering services outside the school day.

"Heads will need support with the challenges that come with joining schools up with various other groups and organisations."

He added: "We know that the best schools do not simply leave all the leadership to the head. They utilise senior teaching staff, deputy heads and bursars to take responsibilities that help the school run smoothly."

NCSL head Steve Munby said: "This initiative could open up the opportunity of every school having access to a skilled school business manager or school business director."

Association for School and College Leaders general secretary John Dunford said: "The job traditionally done by a head teacher has grown far too large and complex for one person.

"Schools can no longer afford not to draw on the expertise and knowledge that highly skilled bursars and business managers bring in areas such as finances and personnel."

National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Mick Brookes said the scheme would "reduce the bureaucratic overload" which was perceived as dissuading people from becoming head teachers.

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