7 Smart Reads for Smarter SBMS

Here at Hope Education we’re all for Smarter SBMs, so we have pulled together this list of great books to help you tackle the day-to-day business of the role, as well as how to grow and have impact as a member of the school leadership team.

1. School Business Manager’s Handbook by Hayley Dunn

School business leaders are without doubt unsung heroes in education and this book will empower you to be the best version of yourself. Packed full of guidance, advice and tips from school business leaders across the UK, it shares practical advice that will support you in the day-to-day execution of the role. It also details the importance of being a leader who knows their value and can clearly communicate their impact.  Wherever you are in your career, this book will guide you through dealing with difficult situations, developing your career and creating positive collaborative relationships that will improve your role, your school and most importantly the outcomes for the young people you serve.

2. Eat That Frog! Get More Of The Important Things Done Today by Brian Tracy

Not one SBM we have talked with to date has reached the bottom of their to-do list. There just isn’t enough time or the changing dynamics of a school on a day-to-day basis means that priorities shift and change on a daily basis. According to this book, successful people don't try to do everything, instead they focus on making sure that the most important tasks get done. In this book, the author gets to the heart of effective time management and the vital skills of decision, discipline, and determination that are required, as well as how to keep technology from dominating your time.

And the name of the book? There's an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day. Using 'eat that frog' as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day - the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life - Eat That Frog! shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organise your day.

3. School Budget Mastery by Julie Cordiner and Nikola Flint

An excellent read for members of a school senior leadership team and aspiring school business managers looking to build confidence and financial success. This comprehensive read takes you from goal setting, to preparing and monitoring your budget throughout the year, ensuring that you can achieve value for money and a prudent, effective approach to the use of resources. It features a wide range of advice on legal requirements, sources of funding and income, the key information needed when preparing your budget and ways to foster a positive financial culture in your school at all levels.

4. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

School business leaders are without doubt unsung heroes in education and this book will empower you to be the best version of yourself. Packed full of guidance, advice and tips from school business leaders across the UK, it shares practical advice that will support you in the day-to-day execution of the role. It also details the importance of being a leader who knows their value and can clearly communicate their impact.  Wherever you are in your career, this book will guide you through dealing with difficult situations, developing your career and creating positive collaborative relationships that will improve your role, your school and most importantly the outcomes for the young people you serve.

5. Leadership Matters: How Leaders at All Levels Create Great Schools by Andy Buck

This book aims to improve the educational outcomes for children by empowering educational leaders in national, regional and local contexts to examine, refine and develop their management skills. Taking an in-depth and diagnostic approach, it encourages leaders at all levels in schools to think about their own personal qualities; their specific situation, their own leadership actions and their own overall leadership approach.

The author, a geography teacher by trade, went on to become a headteacher for thirteen years at two schools in east London. In the last year of headship, his school was judged outstanding in all categories and Andy was designated a National Leader of Education. In 2009, he become a Director at the National College for School Leadership, leading on the London Challenge programme. He was subsequently responsible for setting up the government's flagship Teaching Schools programme before being appointed as Managing Director at United Learning, one of the country’s largest academy groups. Since 2014, Andy has founded two organisations: Leadership Matters and #honk. Both aim to improve the educational outcomes for pupils by supporting great leadership development.

6. Leading in a Culture of Change by Michael Fullan

The school environment is changing and its leaders must develop the skills they need to lead effectively, no matter how fast the world around them is changing. This book offers new and seasoned leaders' insights into the dynamics of change and presents a unique and imaginative approach for navigating the intricacies of the change process. Drawing on the most current ideas and theories on the topic of effective leadership, the author incorporates case examples of large-scale transformation and reveals a remarkable convergence of powerful themes or - as he calls them - the five core competencies. By integrating the five core competencies - attending to a broader moral purpose, keeping on top of the change process, cultivating relationships, sharing knowledge, and setting a vision and context for creating coherence in organisations, you will be empowered to deal with complex change.

7. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

In this brilliant and original book, Malcolm Gladwell explains and analyses the 'tipping point', that magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviour cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire. Taking a look behind the surface of many familiar occurrences in our everyday world, Gladwell explains the fascinating social dynamics that cause rapid change.