Who’s decision is it – the changing structure of schools
Who’s decision is it – the changing structure of schools

Who’s decision is it – the changing structure of schools

Ten, even five years ago school Principal’s had far greater autonomy in the operation of the school and the selection of business partners and suppliers.  However, the increasing complexity of schools and the tighter regulatory and reporting requirements of the various governing bodies has led to school Principals forgoing some of this autonomy to enable them to put a greater emphasis on student outcomes. 

This will vary dependent upon which market segment the school belongs to (state and territory, sector and type – read our post Understanding the Australian School Market for more information).  It is also true that every school is unique, however the following are some key insights into the structure of a school:

Business Manager
A significant change to government schools in recent years is the elevation of the Business Manager to being the key decision maker on many procurement supplier and partner related decisions – although partner related decisions are often joint decisions.

The Bursar is a long-established role in independent schools, many have had the sort of authority that business managers are now obtaining, although in independent schools the Principal still retains a CEO like role.

Education Office
The education office in government and catholic schools has taken over many of the responsibilities once the domain of the school principal. With each education office structured slightly differently and being relatively opaque to the outside world, this has made schools a much more difficult market for many businesses.

Approved Provider Status
Being an approved provider can be a requirement for gaining high value contracts in some segments, particularly government.  This is often a pre-requisite for tenders or requests for government funding for specific initiatives – for example the Victorian Government Mental Health Funding.

Lead Teacher
The Head of Physical Education and Head of Year Levels are key contacts for multiple suppliers as they are often key decision makers for school camps, excursions, sports carnivals and other student wellbeing initiatives. This can be the same for other curriculum domain areas.

An increasing number of decisions are made by a school board committee or sub-committee. This means that any proposal to schools needs to be able to stand alone and resonate value and clarity without the direct in-person support from the salesperson.