On Wednesday, Somerset School Business Leaders held their first conference in the stunning ballroom at Weston Winter Gardens. Avril and I decided to call this conference “We all stand together” as we were visualising this conference as one to unite our relatively new ISBL regional group. Avril and I couldn’t help thinking of Paul McCartney’s “Frog Chorus – We all stand together” when we were planning this conference – at the time we were feeling about our own jobs that we would either sink or have to keep swimming – the choice was ours and we were certain we would never give in! School business leadership is a unique role and it can be lonely, as for many of us we are the only ones in our setting tasked with the business side of leading a school. So our conference was the opportunity to stand together with our own.
We were fortunate to have three amazing speakers join us at our conference – Stephen Morales, CEO of the Institute of School Business Leadership talked to us about the importance of our profession; The Real David Cameron flew in from Scotland to entertain us but also inspire us about leadership and Nickii Messer travelled across the country to deliver top practical tips about improving our well-being, resilience and managing our overwhelming workloads. We chose these speakers as we recognised how they could help us with our complex, diverse, challenging, rewarding and overwhelming roles. They could help us put on some armbands or grab hold of the edge for safety or be brave enough to let go of the edge and swim. I’ve spoken to colleagues who literally the day after the conference were putting into practice the advice they heard. The volume of positive verbal and written feedback we have received following the conference has been fantastic and enough to make anyone feel buoyant (Try it! Join the committee of your local SBL group). Talking of helping others swim again, I asked delegates to consider the School Resource Management Advisor role, in particular with a local provider – The Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust, check out @workingsbm2017 for more information. #BeTheChange
We were also joined by 40 exhibitors in the Ballroom, supporting our conference, encircling our gathering, providing information, quotes, ideas and of course the conference goodie bag.
I’m not sure the frogs in the Frog Chorus will like this next sentence, but I think I’ve mentioned before in blogs the phrase “eat the frog”. Nickii Messer made me laugh when she suggested if you’ve got to eat two frogs, eat the ugly one first – so true! The frogs in the Frog Chorus sang about being side by side and hand in hand, I’m hoping our SSBL members will feel like that following our conference and will be able to stay connected via our new website, so they can play the game and fight the fight!
Academy Business Leader