Business managers advance teaching and learning

With the increasing demands on principals and the extra compliance issues they now have to deal with, it was considered a good idea to employ a business manager.

While business managers usually have little contact with students, their role is still crucial in benefitting teaching and learning.

The role of business manager in schools is still evolving. Andrew Noney was one of the first business managers employed by the Diocese of Parramatta in Sydney’s rapidly expanding western suburbs.

He started at St John Paul II Catholic College (then called Terra Sancta College) in 2003, after an extensive career as an accountant in the health field.

He also spent several years as Financial Controller of the Commonwealth Public Sector Union, (CPSU) and Soccer Australia, before starting at St John Paul II Catholic College.

Andrew feels a strong affinity with the teaching profession as he himself has taught part-time for over 15 years at TAFE, teaching accountancy, small business and event management. Most members of his family are teachers including his daughter who teaches at the same Catholic College.

The business manager’s position is responsible for all the non-teaching activities of a secondary high school. St John Paul II Catholic College is a large dual campus college with the junior and senior campuses separated by 4kms.

The senor campus is located within the Nirimba Educational Precinct which includes UWS College, Nirimba TAFE and a senior DET high school. Andrew says that part of his role is to liaise with all three institutions, especially the state high school as several of the precinct’s facilities are shared.

Apart from managing the college’s finances and budgets, collection of school fees and dealing with parents are important parts of Andrew’s job. He also has responsibility for the maintenance of building and grounds, including purchasing and the engagement of contractors, managing the cleaning contract and support staff, the uniform shop and the canteen.

“We have a great team here, with low staff turnover, and our two cooperating principals have fostered a happy and caring environment.“

“Because of my corporate experience and qualifications (Andrew has a Masters in Health Administration) both principals and staff seek my advice and respect my opinion.”

Before the diocese began hiring business managers, principals were responsible for chasing fees and managing finances, while a teacher might manage various administrative tasks.

Andrew said employing qualified business managers has allowed teachers and principals to concentrate on what they are good at: teaching students.

Since his employment, nearly all high schools in the Parramatta Diocese have followed suit and hired a business manager.

Andrew feels that in the future, business managers can play an important role in assisting principals of feeder primary schools in providing advice and support and this has been borne out by the development of K-12 schools.