What a week it’s been. We now have a minority Conservative government which will need alliances and compromises to achieve a working majority. It looks like the Democratic Unionist Party have the whip hand in these negotiations for the time being.
Inevitably this will temper some of the policies and plans the Conservatives put forward in their manifesto, so we will need to wait until the usual flow of policy announcements and keynote speeches by Ministers resumes and we see what survived the bruising battle and what was shelved.
Initial comments in my inbox from commentators and senior policy officers in sector organisations suggest that things are likely to be frustrating and disjointed for a while to come.
One thing is true and that is that education policy remains a hot topic. Right up to when the polls closed, the manifesto policies we discussed at last week’s SBM Roundtable and the issues we debated formed part of the electorate’s priorities. Education rose up the agenda and was ultimately one of the top three topics in the election.
Speaking of the second annual SBM Roundtable, I am proud that manifesto summary videos created for the event were widely shared over social media as part of this debate. More importantly I am proud to be part of an SBM profession that now sees policy debate and the national education system as something we should be involved in.
Hayley Dunn and another of our delegates who blogs as WorkingSBM (you’ll have to come next time to find out her real identify!) have both blogged about their thoughts and feelings after our discussion.
It was a twitter exchange between them which prompted me to convene last week’s meeting so I am delighted their enthusiasm continued after the event
Judging by the use of the hashtag #SBMRT17 on Twitter, there is still considerable appetite for discussion. Or perhaps this is motivated by the thought of further prize draw opportunities (Congratulations and thanks to Maggie by the way for both winning the prize draw and blagging promises of further prizes from Mary Myatt, Nigel Risner and The Sumo Guy).
A number of colleagues around the country wanted to be present but couldn’t due to the short notice. Others have expressed an interest in a local version of the event near them.
In the immediate aftermath of the election and the growing desire for senior SBLs to shape education strategy, we want to continue to build on the momentum we’ve created.
Here are some ideas to get the discussion started:
We are encouraging other SBMs and local SBM groups to consider holding their own local roundtable event focused on policy rather than the more traditional school-based/operation issues. Such discussions would be in addition to existing agendas and not a replacement for the important grassroots support work that goes on regionally.
Keep using the hashtag #SBMRT17 to promote the concept of school business professionals being involved in policy debate/system leadership. We’ll convert this to a less time-bound one in the near future.
A core group of us are working together (those who attended last week and those who had to send apologies) to create a set of session materials/ videos/ core agenda items which can be shared via a blog with local groups wanting to run their own session. (The party manifesto videos I released a couple of weeks ago are just one example of this sort of resource).
The aim is to make SBMRT a sort of co-constructed / network-distributed discussion event. Local iterations can use centrally developed materials to support or inform their discussions and then add their own materials /topics as they see fit.
By sharing some common agenda elements across the country, groups could feedback into a shared narrative and add their voice to a wider debate.
The 3rd annual SBM Roundtable will be in March 2018
We will run another national roundtable at BGGS alongside our annual teaching and learning conference in March next year. The date for this will be confirmed in the next fortnight.
We are talking to regional groups and interested individual School Biz professionals with a view to convening regional roundtable events before then so that time/geography are not barriers to participation.
We are open to ideas and suggestions. What do you think? Let us know!