Updated: Aug 30, 2019
My creative well appears to have run dry today, I'm struggling to know what to blog about. Usually I'm overflowing with nonsense and thoughts, but today its a struggle. It's probably because there's so much enormously huge stuff going on in the rest of the world that my tiny corner of it doesn't seem important or relevant. I've had an average day doing average stuff and no one really wants to know the minutiae of my day, unless you want to hear about how Steve the kitten has been terrorising Malcolm the big cat. ? Fair enough.
One important part of today was a brave and sad post from a struggling SBL colleague, who told us that they had reached a point where they needed to seek help from their GP. The wonderful outpouring of support, advice and comfort that immediately appeared from the SBL community was truly heartwarming, it really is the most wonderful collection of professionals who support and guide each other through difficult personal and professional times.
We're all had times when we can't see a way forward, or when the pressures of the role, our home lives or just a combination of various strands any of those things, meet up to swamp or overwhelm us. And in those times, there really is no-one better to sympathise than a fellow SBL. It can be an isolating and intensely challenging role, and with schools having no option but to reduce their support staff hours, the pressure of managing horrific funding cuts and increasing stresses of the education world, it is no surprise that we are seeing more and more calls for help from colleagues.
And although the support offered from colleagues is fantastic to see, I can't help but feel that there's something missing for our profession. Many of us are members of trade unions, who can support in times of individual professional difficulty, and who issue updates and guidance on relevant educational agendas. There are other membership bodies who offer professional development, or career pathway support, or who offer a representation of resource management in and around Whitehall.
But where is the body who understands the specific pressures that our profession are under and support SBLs by offering a collective place for the community to discuss and collaborate, or who host resources and a central pool of mentors and coaches with specific SBL expertise? Where is the body who is championing wellbeing for school business professionals and who is compiling a set of resources and guidance materials to help us through the unique trials of our role, rather than education leadership in general? Who is ensuring that Headteachers and CEOs are given advice on how to support and develop their SBLs? Who is out there, championing us, with us and specifically, uniquely for us?
And that is not necessarily criticism of any trade union or other organisation, some of whom are doing an excellent job of understanding the SBL role and ensuring that the school business disciplines are given a high profile and a seat around the table.
But I'm not sure a seat around the table is enough. Why can't we have our own table? Or a whole bunch of tables? And sofas and chairs - and a virtual staffroom where we can hang out and discuss our professional challenges online, share our resources and recommendations, in a place which is online but protected from the fierce global scrutiny of social media?
I want that, all of that. That's got to be possible somehow, hasn't it?