The way towards success

Most schools are currently experiencing or predicting a reducing budget whilst also identifying the need that effective and well trained staff are key to ensuring the best delivery of school services. The National Association of School Business Management has recognised this need and is looking at how schools can deliver more through their INSET training days to compensate this.

INSET days, or to give them their full title, In Service Training days can be a very useful tool for head teachers to keep their staffs’ knowledge and skills up to date. In England schools have five days per year that can be used for staff training when pupils are not present. These days are most commonly tagged on to the end or beginning of holidays to minimise disruption to parents and carers.

An INSET day can be a very useful and beneficial day for school training if they are organised and planned well in advance. The day can be used to bring the whole of the school workforce together and provide the opportunity to demonstrate the school plan and align all departments.

In many schools, due to the nature of the site and the busy day to day operations, internal communication and sharing of ideas can be one of the biggest areas to suffer. The use of the INSET days to deliver training and information to the whole school can help to motivate and deliver common shared goals across the school. This is in the same vein as many other professions who undertake development and training during their contracted hours.

The current climate is certainly a very challenging one for schools with so much change happening at such a quick pace and with a financial climate that is putting the squeeze on every aspect of school life. Schools therefore have to be more creative with where and how they spend money whilst also ensuring that they meet all mandatory requirements, such as providing training and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for all staff members.

The most cost effective way to deliver training to a multitude of staff is to take advantage of INSET days, as you can deliver training at your own school site for up to 20 members of the team. Apart from the obvious value in imparting new or upgrading skills, INSET days can be made to work to a school’s advantage financially. They not only reduce the cost per head for delivering training but will reduce any incremental costs to the school such as travel.

They also can be self-financing as any additional or unwanted places can be sold to neighbouring schools to allow them to participate in the INSET training. This is a win-win situation as not only do the schools receive the training at a lower cost but the host school has the opportunity to generate an income for charging for its service. In a time of reducing budgets and a push for collaboration there could be no easier quick win to deliver both outcomes.


Perceptions of the usefulness of INSET days can vary widely. Too much time can be spent on routine refresher training which, whilst necessary, leaves little time for personal development. Vast differences can also arise between which members of the school are included in the training.

INSET days are largely geared towards the teaching staff and a lot of the training content is not particularly relevant to the non-teaching roles within the school. In some cases the non-teaching staff attend but can be left bewildered, as the content has not been geared to this audience and its diverse roles. A good school ethos, shared common goals and a strong understanding by all staff of the School Development Plan is vital to CPD.

In order for training to have impact and delivery identifiable outputs for both the school and the trainee it must clearly identify all the varied training needs and ensure that these are undertaken. Any training offered should be useful and valuable to the trainee. It needs to be relevant and cover the current issues facing schools, not something which “we’ve always done on INSET days”.

Once a training need has been identified, the school is then left with a twofold choice. Does a workshop or training day exist for their identified need? Secondly, who can deliver it in the most cost effective way for the school?

NASBM support
NASBM – the UK’s leading association working exclusively on behalf of the school business management profession – can offer this service. Our membership includes school business managers, bursars, finance officers, administrators, school secretaries and others who fulfil this important role. The Association was established to support the training, qualification and professional regulation of the role of school business managers. Increasingly the Association has recognised the importance of Continuous Professional Development and offers training on a consultancy basis.

NASBM can support local groups and deliver training in-house on school premises for half day and full day consultancy services across a range of management areas. This can be a useful cost effective way of delivering professional development activities for colleagues within the profession.

Are you planning your on-site training for the coming academic year? Do you need to get all members of a team up-skilled in a specific area? Do you want to reduce the costs of training delivery? Do you have a sister site that you wish to share training with?

NASBM realises that CPD budgets are getting tighter, whilst there is still a need to deliver training to all members of the school workforce. The training we offer can be tailored to your school’s exact requirements so if you don’t see what you are looking for below then please contact us directly. The standard topics we cover are shown below.

Performance management

Is your school looking to review its performance management systems and procedures ensuring alignment to your school development plans? Are you interested in developing skills to effectively manage review discussions in a professional and motivating ways?

We believe it is important to apply best management practices and skills to ensure the highest standards of school management. The programme covers the benefits of performance management review and the process; standards of performance and assessing performance objectively; setting personal objectives; effective performance management schemes – documentation and techniques and practical skills for one-to-one staff discussions and dealing with difficult situations.

Your school teams training and development is essential – and simple time management skills can see your school reap the rewards. This is an interactive training session, covering practical approaches and appropriate skills to help your team succeed in managing their time more effectively and efficiently.

This time management skills workshop will help your team to easily plan and prioritise their workload; address bad habits that can steal their time; manage and control their diary; delegate effectively and confidently and assist in “saying no”.

Dealing with difficult people

Are your team leaders or managers looking to develop their interpersonal and assertiveness skills? Are you interested in developing skills to resolve conflict and move school related problems forward?

Are there difficult people or just different people? Defining difficult people is completely subjective. We can either choose to be victims of others’ communication style or take charge of the relationship and manage them more effectively. Changing what you do, what you say and how you say it will create changes in the other person and hopefully the outcome too.

The workshop will allow delegates to understand people and behaviour; understand conflict and learn about preferences for dealing with conflict; explore various strategies for more effective relationships; and adopt assertiveness techniques to achieve what they want in difficult situations.

Building high performance teams

Does your school team need to develop their management skills? Are your line managers interested in developing skills for effective school team problem solving and decision making techniques?

To get the best output from a team you need to apply the best management practices and skills to ensure the highest standards of school management skills. The programme covers effective management – management v. leadership; effective teams; problem solving; and decision making.

Do you or your school team need to develop interpersonal effectiveness at school? Does your school need to review and further develop its professional communication techniques during meetings and presentations?

This programme covers confident delivery and presentation skills; professional communication; planning and structure of talks for maximum impact.

Interview skills
Are your team leaders or managers looking to develop their personal effectiveness in conducting interviews? Are you interested in developing confident interview skills to ensure you recruit the right person for the role?

We will provide clear guidelines for you on the successful preparation and conduct of safe and effective selection interviews in schools. Topics covered include the recruitment process; job/person specification; offering employment; and legislation and vetting.

The list, though long is not exhaustive and NASBM is acutely aware of the varying individual needs and hot topics which can arise. In answer to this, NASBM is flexible and can tailor a course to suit a school’s individual needs. Schools that have used our on-site training have found the experience both productive and cost efficient in training a large number of colleagues at once.

“Some really useful techniques which can be used in our everyday roles and responsibilities,” said Helen at Bartley Green, whilst Pen from Robert Napier School commented: “Found the day very interesting and constructive.”

On review it is proposed that INSET days are the way forward for schools. They can provide tailor-made training for a school which will not only improve the CPD of those employed, but also enhance the shared ethos of the school, ensure a cohesive and joined up approach to deliver the school vision, update their skill set and ultimately benefit the wellbeing and development of the pupils.

They can, if used properly be an income generator for the school by selling on the consultancy to other neighbouring schools. In these fast changing and challenging times the INSET day has changed. NASBM can facilitate this change for the benefit of a school and deliver value for money, plus effective and relevant training for all needs. L

For more information

Contact Diane Gregory on 01788 573300 or visit