Job descriptions, Leadership

So what?

person pointing on paper
Photo by Lukas on

Recently @WorkingSBM in her blog “Detained without Charge” talked about updating her job description in Term 7. As with many blogs this caused positive ripples and discussions on twitter.  In private messaging @WorkingSBM and I agreed to encourage the Great Summer 2018 SBL job description review by collating job descriptions, anonymising them and sharing them on

There are many reasons to review your job description, including assisting you:

  • to highlight areas which could be delegated to another colleague (obvs you’ll need to review their job description too!);
  • in your case for a salary increase to be in line with your SLT colleagues;
  • in realising you’re are currently performing not that far off the job description of the role you’re aspiring to get in the MAT down the road or the new school being built around the corner and therefore have a boost of confidence to put your application in.

But so what? Job descriptions often explain the situation or school context and an overview of the task, but they don’t explain the “so what?” bit – they don’t explain the impact of the role.  So, a couple of years ago you had a target to set up a school breakfast club.  You’ve established it and now oversee the management of it, this is reflected in your job description that you line manage the team, so what? Is it just an accepted part of school life or is there an impact that should be recorded somewhere – Pupil Premium Action Plan and review, School Improvement Plan, Attendance action plan etc.. Parental engagement, impact on numbers of roll…  What is your SBL impact in this? How do you know it?

You’ve secured a great deal on A4 paper, so what? What is your SBL impact on this? – how was the money saved redirected for the benefit of the school, what was the impact of that benefit? Some situations might start a relatively long chain reaction, again so what?

You’ve created a new school website, so what? What is your SBL impact on this? Yes, you might have achieved your performance appraisal target and the marketing action plan looks like someone is doing something, but so what? Have you had an increase of visitors to your website? Do Parents and children report looking at it more? Do potential families like what they see? Have you got more children on roll as a result? This means X more income for the school, which means X number of contracts won’t be ended, which means X number children will have the right level of support, which means those X number of children who are reluctant to attend school have had a X% increased improvement in their attendance as they’re now happy to come into school as they are able to access the curriculum, they’ve made X amount of progress, their parents are happy and recommend the school and so on and on…

Every action we take impacts the lives of others around us. The question is: Are you aware of your impact? – Arthur Carmazzi

Whatever your reason is to review your job description, it will no doubt help you as you prepare for your performance appraisal.  It will help you focus on the Situation, the Task, your Actions, and the Results.  The Results being the bit you focus on in your appraisal, you might have only 30 minutes to demonstrate your impact, so don’t talk waffle about the Situation, Task and Action, talk about the Results – your impact!  The job description review process will identify your areas of strength as well as areas for your development, so you can identify your CPD requirements or a potential appraisal target.  With your CPD wish list don’t walk into the appraisal thinking I know the school can’t afford this, walk in thinking the school can’t afford for me not to do this and demonstrate how it could be funded and the impact it will have on your role and therefore the school.  Even if after demonstrating the impact, it’s an outright no or a not yet, it would be recorded that you’ve asked for a particular CPD opportunity.

For those of you are struggling with confidence at the moment, let’s remember Anita Roddick’s quote:

 “If you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”

Reach out to someone, don’t struggle on your own – find another SBL (#SBLTwitterBuddy) or a coach, please talk things through.

Please do take a look at the job descriptions on and then be 10% braver and email your job description to be uploaded to it. Don’t worry that you’ve not reviewed your own job description yet, email it in, as it will in its current format still assist someone else. Your job description could help an SBL you’ve not met yet move on from a tricky school, or an aspiring SBL secure their first post or reassure another SBL that yes it’s the norm for “this much” to be in one person’s job description!

A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else’s life – Roy Bennett


Helen Burge

Academy Business Leader

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