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Educational Landscape: SBMs' Expectations in Election Manifestos

As we know, School Business Managers (SBMs) play a pivotal role in managing the financial and administrative aspects of the day to day running of schools. Their responsibilities encompass budgeting, financial planning, and resource allocation, ensuring the effective functioning of schools. SBMs collaborate with school leadership to create strategic plans that align with the setting’s goals and educational priorities. 

Despite their crucial role, SBMs face various challenges in the current educational landscape. Budget constraints often pose difficulties, requiring meticulous planning to optimise limited resources. 

Additionally, the evolving regulatory environment demands a continuous adaptation to new policies and procedures. SBMs must navigate these complexities whilst still being mindful of the financial management of their schools. 

The pandemic has further intensified challenges, with unforeseen expenses for health and safety measures, technology upgrades, and support for students and staff. Managing these additional demands within constrained budgets requires resilience and strategic decision-making from SBMs. 

Moreover, the increasing emphasis on technological integration in education adds an extra layer of responsibility for SBMs to ensure schools remain equipped with the necessary tools for effective teaching and learning. 

SBMs are at the forefront of many of the critical issues in the sector as we anticipate the upcoming General Election in England. In this blog post, we will explore what SBMs can expect to see in these manifestos. 

  1. Budgets and Financial Planning:

One of the central issues that SBMs will encounter in party manifestos is the discussion of budgets and financial planning for schools. Parties may propose specific funding increases, potentially tied to student enrolment or addressing specific needs within the education system (such as for Special Educational Needs). As SBMs, it will be crucial to examine these proposals closely, understanding how they may directly impact the financial health of schools, so having a strong background in finance will be helpful here. 

Moreover, manifestos may delve into changes to funding formulas, aiming to ensure a fairer allocation of resources across different regions and school types. SBMs must prepare to assess these proposed changes, considering the potential impact of adjustments on their school's budget and resource allocation. 

The question of financial autonomy for schools may also arise, with parties potentially proposing greater control over budgets and spending choices at the school level. SBMs should carefully weigh up the potential benefits and challenges associated with increased financial autonomy, understanding the implications for effective budget management. 

  1. Planning for Workforce and Staff:

Political parties are expected to emphasise teacher recruitment and retention. Addressing teacher shortages and ensuring competitive salaries may take centre stage, impacting staffing and recruitment strategies for schools. SBMs should pay close attention to these proposals, understanding how they may influence the workforce dynamics within their schools. 

Additionally, manifestos may touch upon workloads and well-being for educators. Parties may propose measures to reduce administrative burdens and enhance teacher well-being, aiming to create a more satisfying and effective working environment. The Department for Education’s recent recommendations Teacher Workload can be found here.  SBMs should assess how such proposals align with their school's ethos and priorities. 

Investing in non-teaching staff, including school business managers, support staff, and early years educators, may also feature in manifestos. SBMs should evaluate how these proposals align with the broader needs for a well-rounded and efficient school workforce. 

  1. Election Manifestos and Curriculum Standards:

The national curriculum and standards in education are pivotal components that may find a place in party manifestos. Debates around the content and flexibility of the curriculum may arise, requiring SBMs to consider potential impacts on teaching strategies and resource requirements.  

Discussion on assessment reforms might be on the horizon, as parties explore the possibility of overhauling or refining current assessment methods. School estates may come under strain as we move towards digital assessments. SBMs should analyse how proposed changes align with their school's assessment practices and student learning outcomes. 

Certain parties may emphasise specific skills and subjects, such as STEM education, mental health awareness, or vocational training. SBMs should tune in to these proposals, understanding their alignment with their school's unique educational priorities. 

  1. Inclusion, Equality, and Special Educational Needs (SEN):

Manifestos are likely to include proposals aimed at addressing educational inequalities and supporting specific groups of students. Ensuring sufficient funding and support for SEN students may be a key aspect that SBMs need to evaluate, aligning these measures with the specific needs of their SEN students. 


As the General Election approaches, school business managers should be prepared to critically analyse the manifestos of different political parties. Budgets, planning, and overall strategies outlined in these documents will significantly impact the educational landscape in England. By staying informed and actively engaging with the proposals, SBMs can play a pivotal role in advocating for the best interests of their schools and ensuring a positive future for education.   

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