The Review of a Secondary School’s Administration/Non -Teaching Staff Structure
Ahead Associates has now carried out a number of reviews of the structure, roles and processes of school administration/support staff in state, state-integrated and independent secondary schools. We are invited to do so for a number of reasons e.g. the Board of Trustees is concerned about the amount being spent on support functions; information being provided by administration is not accurate or timely; there are tensions between staff; the Board of Trustees is planning for the future and wants to know that its administrative will provide the required support the teaching and learning staff.
Ahead Associates was invited by the Board of Trustees to review the school administration and the roles of teacher support personnel as the new Principal had identified at least one overloaded role, tension between two of the administration staff and what appeared to be insufficient number of teacher support staff.
Working to a very clear brief one of the Ahead Associates directors and an associate carried out the assignment. This included interviews with all the administration staff, the support staff, the Heads of Departments whose teachers had heavier than usual workloads e.g. English and Music, the principal and the chairman of the Board of Trustees. A survey was sent to a random selection of the teaching staff inviting them to rate and comment on the service provided by the administration department.
While we found that many aspects of the administration department were working well we also found one totally overloaded role while two others had less than full loads; the principal had inadequate secretarial support and the Senior Leadership had no secretarial or administrative support at all. The Board of Trustees were not receiving adequate reports with regard to structure of property matters and a major building project. Support staff were not being fully utilised by the teaching staff and the communication system failed to include them.
We made a number of recommendations regarding the roles, the structure and the reporting lines. The restructuring of the office roles recommended the appointment of an Executive Officer who had the necessary skills to deal with the two staff who were at logger-heads and to build a well-functioning team. The need for up-skilling on the use of the Students Management System was also identified, the need for updated position descriptions and a robust appraisal system for non-teaching staff; recommendations were also made in regards to savings on grounds and property maintenance.
The Board of Trustees and the principal were appreciative that Ahead Associates had been able to show how improvements to the administration department and to the support staff structure which would result in not only greater efficiencies and savings but a cohesive administration team and well supported Senior Leadership and teaching staff.