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    Leading School Business: professional growth and confidence in changing times

    Creaby, Fiona ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3986-2639 (2018) Leading School Business: professional growth and confidence in changing times. Research Report. Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL).

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    This white paper reports on research undertaken with school business professionals in the United Kingdom compulsory education sector during 2017 and 2018. With rapid policy reforms in recent times, schools are facing evolving accountabilities in an increasingly school-led and self-improving system. The last two decades have seen an increase in business management requirements in schools, with business professionals playing an increasingly important role in leading business functions and compliance. However, despite an increasingly complex and turbulent policy landscape, there has been limited research on the school business profession and its development in the wake of reform. Therefore, this research explores the tensions and challenges that school business professionals face in practice and the opportunities and possibilities for their professional growth. Using a mixed-methods design and thematic analysis, the research presented in this paper involved three phases of data collection to gather the opinions of professionals working in business management roles in a variety of school settings in England and Wales. Just under three hundred volunteers from the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) membership population participated in the data collection, which included an online survey, three discussion groups and ten semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed during each phase of the research to inform a holistic thematic analysis and generate key findings and recommendations for stakeholders at various levels, including school business professionals, professional associations and policy-makers.

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