You know you’ve had some effective professional development when you are still mulling the event over in your head well over a week later, knowing that you have already implemented some of the “quick wins” into your own practice and thinking about who might work with you to implement some of the more complex suggestions.
The Institute of School Business Leaders (ISBL) Conference 2018, with its focus on ‘Projecting Professionalism’ ticked all my boxes. Speaker after speaker called for an increased collaboration between schools, declaring that it was down to the School Business Leaders to get out there, share skills and best practice, support others and be professionally generous.
I like that message.
I’ve accepted over time that I cannot do my job in isolation, I cannot keep all I’ve learned to myself and, even though my job might seem small and localised, I’m actually part of the bigger picture that is Education.
So, following the conference, I have been inspired to want to become part of a MUCH bigger picture and I’ve been reflecting on how I can do this…
Firstly, every SBL should be part of a local partnership of schools. These are the cluster groups, maybe it’s in the form of a MAT or a Teaching School or just a group of like-minded schools that support each other with a similar localised demographic. I’d like for these clusters to be a mix of secondary, primary and special schools because I think we all have something to learn and share from different phases, but linking regularly with the school down the road is a start.
Then there are the regional groups. These offer some excellent networking and CPD, and they often run a sharing platform so that you can put a question out there to your whole group. They usually link in and promote the work of our national network, ISBL, and they provide a valuable interface with the local authority, maintained schools and academies.
I will be honest, I spent a long time out in the wilderness from ISBL. I struggled to balance the cost/benefit. At the time, I was going my own way with training and I couldn’t see what they could give me over and above my regional group. I’ve since learned that to engage with ISBL membership is to align yourself and your own practice with nationally recognised standards and that the benefits outweigh the cost by a country mile. They give me confidence, direction, support and a future development pathway. With them, and other members, I can be part of the drive towards promoting the professional status of my role internally, regionally and nationally… and there are also a lot of lovely colleagues to befriend along the way.
So what’s next?
I was particularly thrilled to meet and have a conversation with Chuck Peterson from our global network, the Association of School Business Officers – ASBO International, at the conference. He had travelled a considerable distance to be with us and share his experience. It really inspired me to want to be part of our global network and I asked him if ASBO and ISBL could please come to an arrangement so that members of one could receive a discount on the membership of the other. I’d love the opportunity to be on a global e-mailing list that allows me to hear about what’s going on with the role of the SBL in the UK, USA, South Africa and Australia. I’d like to be part of the massive global network of SBLs and SBOs and one day, maybe, I’d love to be able to attend their conferences.
Since becoming involved on a national footing, my outlook has changed dramatically and, I believe, I’m a better SBL for it. My first ISBL conference has now inspired me to think globally, showing me that I’m actually part of an even bigger Education picture, and challenging me to start thinking about how I can start sharing, and learning from, best practice around the world.
I am an SBL of Planet Earth.
What about you?