A school administrator is responsible for providing administrative support for a school. They may also be known as a school secretary or clerical/administrative assistant. They are likely to be the first point of contact people have with a school.
The role varies depending on the size and structure of the school, but a school administrator's responsibilities may include:
In some smaller schools, administrators may take on additional business management and financial duties.
School administrators come into contact with a wide range of people including teachers, pupils, parents and carers, education welfare officers, social workers and school governors. They may work alone or as part of a team, and usually report to the head teacher or a school business manager.
School administrators usually work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4pm. Some occasional evening work may be required. Many administrators work during term time only. There may be part-time and job share opportunities. Holidays must be taken during school holidays.
The role is office based. A large amount of time is spent sitting at a desk or workstation. Smart-casual or business dress is usually expected.
Starting salaries may be around £15,000 a year.
There are around 55,000 administrators employed in nursery, primary and secondary schools throughout the UK. Opportunities are to be found in state and private schools. The number of administrators is fairly stable, and there is often a lot of competition for jobs as the hours of work and holiday allowance can be attractive.
Vacancies are advertised in local and national newspapers, Jobcentre Plus offices and school newsletters. They can also be found on local authority and school websites, as well as on the websites of job agencies specialising in education.
There are no formal entry requirements. Schools are likely to ask for five GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), including English and maths. Some entrants may be educated to degree level.
Office skills and experience working in an educational environment may be an advantage. Applicants need to have a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) or Disclosure Scotland check.
In large schools it may be possible to start as an administrative assistant.
An Apprenticeship in Business and Administration may be available. The Council for Administration (CfA) can provide further details.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Training is on the job. Schools may arrange for administrators to attend external courses, and local authorities may organise relevant training.
The School of Educational Administration (SEA) runs the National Certificate in Educational Administration, a structured training programme for school administrators. This is a one-year, distance-learning course for school administrators. The course is recognised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and CfA. It is validated and awarded by the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM), and is a recognised step towards the Certificate of School Business Management run by the National College of School Leadership.
SEA also offers a two-month introductory course in key aspects of school administration. From 2008, this will also be available to people who are not school administrators, but who want to enter the career in the near future. Further details can be obtained from SEA.
SEA and IAM are currently working together to set up a Foundation degree for administrators and other non-teaching staff.
The IAM also provides a Continuing Professional Development scheme, offering various qualifications in administrative management.
Qualifications from other training providers include:
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A school administrator should:
School administrators may be able to progress to senior administrator, either within their existing school or by transferring to another school. They may move into a teaching assistant or learning support assistant role.
Some administrators transfer into secretarial, reception or general office work outside of the school sector.
Council for Administration (CFA),
6 Graphite Square, Vauxhall Walk,
London SE11 5EE
Tel: 020 7091 9620
Institute of Administrative Management (IAM),
6 Graphite Square, Vauxhall Walk,
London SE11 5EE
Tel: 020 7091 2600
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA),
Customer Relations, 83 Piccadilly,
London W1J 8QA
Tel: 020 7509 5556
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.