Five things I know about School Business Leaders

Posted  7th June 2021
Posted by  SBL Day Partner
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Partner Blog from Minerva

11th June 2021 is the inaugural National School Business Leaders’ Day. The chance to recognise the SBL community and celebrate the huge contribution that you make.

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Minerva is delighted to be a partner for this day, and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to reflect on what it is about SBLs that I love and admire so much. So, here’s my top five things I know about School Business Leaders!

1. You are the unsung heroes of the pandemic (well not just the pandemic actually!)

Whether it was setting up mass testing centres from scratch with minimal notice, staying up until 3am to order vouchers on the Ed*$%ed website, writing myriad risk assessments, dealing with anxious staff (when no doubt feeling anxious yourselves) you really could not have asked any more of our SBL community.
Tim Bowen - NAHT President
And every time you all thought you couldn’t do any more well you just went right on and levelled up!  As always, you delivered, in spades!  It’s a truism that you often only notice something when it goes wrong.  The fact that time and again as SBLs you quietly went about your business almost unnoticed, no fuss, no crisis, seamlessly taking care of your colleagues and pupils alike is testament to what an outstanding job you have all done.

    2. You are a community of friends as well as colleagues.

    All too often we have seen colleagues stumble throughout the past 12 months.  Self-doubt, overwhelm, imposter syndrome, exhaustion.  Most SBLs have felt some, if not all, of these things.  And yet, there is always a colleague or, dare I say it, a friend to lift you up and carry you through that day/week/month.  The support I have seen in the SBL community is unsurpassed.  A friendly ear, a shared document, some helpful advice or even just a much needed virtual hug is always available from #TeamSBL.

    3. Be prepared for incidents that are both serious and likely

    Finance, strategy, marketing, procurement, fundraising, counsellor, IT expert, photocopier repairer, nurse, HR manager to name but ten roles you fulfil, probably all of them on the same day at times!  And yet, you take it all in your stride with great humour and professionalism.  Tapping into your studies, your network and your own expertise to deliver on whatever task is thrown your way.

    To be able to move smoothly from one to the next is a real skill.  (Although I appreciate the serene swan we see on the water’s surface often belies the furious paddling beneath)!

    4. You are the best sort of person doing your job for all the right reasons!

    SBL: “I’m so fed up; this job is awful at the moment.  I’m a qualified accountant, I could get much more money in a nice corporate job somewhere.  I think I’m going to resign….”


    Me: “You won’t though will you?”


    SBL: “No!”

    This is an actual conversation I’ve had.  The SBLs I know are such well qualified and capable individuals who could easily get a job in the corporate world.  And I even know of some SBLs who left to do so…..and then came back.  They realised that actually there is something about working in a school which you simply can’t get in a business……and that’s the amazing feeling that what you do makes a massive difference to the life chances of the pupils in your care.  (Funnily enough it’s the reason I love what I do too!).  That sense of moral purpose.

    You’re not in it for the money (I know, I know!), you’re certainly not in it for the recognition (does anyone in Government actually know you exist?!) nor the status (SLT anyone?!).

    No, as Diana Osagie says, “you are Captains in the army of change”!

    You’re the warriors fighting for every last penny of funding for your school.

    The all-conquering individuals with big hearts and even bigger dreams for the schools in which you work.

    If you haven’t gathered it already, I think you’re A-MAZING people!

    5. It’s a well-known fact that all SBLs love gin, chocolate, stationery and a spa treatment!

    And honestly?  What’s wrong with that?!  Absolutely nothing!  So on that basis, Minerva is delighted to offer a prize to support National SBL Day and you get to choose.  Bit of Bombay Sapphire? A giant Toblerone? A gift pack from Paperchase?  Or a lovely pamper at your favourite beauty salon/spa.  The winner of our prize gets to choose what they’d like up to the value of £100!  So join in!

    About Lorraine

    Lorraine Ashover is Managing Director of Minerva Procurement Consultancy Services Limited. Fulfilling a long-standing ambition to be her own boss Lorraine set up Minerva in 2010 in direct response to feedback from the school bursar community and helps schools reduce cost, streamline procurement practices and save time.

    The company looks after many independent and academy schools and manages significant spend on behalf of clients. Prior to setting up Minerva, Lorraine worked for Barclays Commercial for 20 years, the last seven of which were as an Industry Specialist in the education sector. When not working Lorraine runs after her daughter Maisie, escapes into a good crime novel and bemoans the demise of her beloved Nottingham Forest!

    Find out more about Minerva

    Visit the Minerva website

    See the Minerva offer for National SBL Day