1. Bethan Cullen, Commercial Director, ISBL

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week Tim travels to Coventry to speak to Bethan Cullen, Commercial Director of the Institute of School Business Leadership – the first port of call for academy schools looking for best practice.

On this episode Bethan talks about:  

Being inspired by her primary teacher mother – running a budget and a school without the resources

Joining what was the National Association of School Business Management nine years ago

Schools now being their own professional entity

With core business strengths

How she thinks things have developed

The National College driving through efficiency in schools

Estelle Morris helping to develop core resources in schools

Helping head teachers to drive through better resource management

How education cannot stand still as a profession

Schools having to collaborate more

Schools having to develop further skills

Needing to be at the forefront of education

How the first 100 days after academy conversion are key

Schools needing to do due diligence before becoming an academy

Needing the right players to negotiate arrangements

Speaking to the local authority about the state of a building before conversion

The challenges schools go through in transition

Developing clear guidance of the processes for schools

How schools needs to build in time to benchmark buying in professional services

Looking at how the money is spent

Looking at what abilities are already in the organisation or the group

How some schools might be transferring with a legacy of problems

Issues with school buildings such as asbestos

Trying to make sure that every school stands the best chance of survival

Academisation being a difficult minefield for smaller schools to navigate

CPD being critical as can going to a network, having training, reading quality assured guidance

Trying to demystify what schools need to unwrap

The key moment being prior to academisation

Schools increasing need to specialise

Schools bringing increasing revenue streams from out of hours

ISBL’s member magazine writing a lot about the subject

How the term ‘income generation’ can put schools off

Primary schools having less available resources to manage such activities

No evidence to show educational standard is higher in academies

Evidence however that the high performing schools are more attractive

Environment in schools affecting performance

Organisations collaborating through aggregation

The greatest impact Bethan would personally like to bring

Setting the benchmark for good practise

Wanting school business leadership to be seen as a career

How the school sector can collaborate with professional services to ensure a smooth transition to academisation

How ISBL can help facilitate between all different partners