Alternative Careers for Lawyers

Bursar & Senior Management in Schools

Well suited to former lawyers and involves no mandatory retraining.

Schools are increasingly keen to appoint business managers and professionals into their senior leadership, to relieve headteachers of areas of responsibility including:

  • strategic and operational management of finances;
  • administrative and procurement work;
  • site management and human resources;
  • line management and the professional development of support staff;
  • company secretarial work; and
  • marketing and communications.

So, as well as advertisements for traditional bursar roles, you increasingly see positions such as 'business manager', 'vice principal - business operations', 'director of operations', 'director of finance', or 'senior administration officer' and references to a school's 'executive management team' and the like.

You will need to display evidence of team and project management, an understanding of finance and accounts, and an enthusiasm for education.

There are an estimated 8,100 bursars or business managers in schools in England alone, double the amount there were in 1997.

6 out of 10 secondary, and 1 in 8 primary schools have a business manager.

Smaller primary schools often share a business manager between 4 or 5 schools.

The National Association of School Business Management (formerly the National Bursars Association) provide training and development opportunities via workshops and courses open to all levels of experience and their website advertises current vacancies.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is a government body providing professional development for school leaders and runs courses for National Professional Qualifications.

Advertisements for bursars and school management positions also appear regularly in The Times, which can be in the public sector recruitment pages on a Friday and Sunday, in the 'management and finance' section on Tuesdays, and in the Wednesday and Sunday Times education pages.

Institute of School Business Leadership
National College for Teaching and Leadership

Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Department for Education
Picadilly Gate
Store Street
Manchester. M1 2WD

Tel: 0800 389 2500