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This week School Stream looks at the unsung heroes of the education world: School Administration Managers. Although much of their workload is behind the scenes, school administration staff are indispensable and schools would fall apart without their important work.

A big thank you to Helen Long at Turramurra North Public School for sharing her experience.

We’re here to support schools. Keep reading or watch a short demonstration of School Stream in action.

The School

Turramurra North Public School is a lovely primary school located 20 kilometres north-west of the Sydney CBD. They are strongly connected to their values and are guided by their Nine Values of Good Character. The school has 295 students and 20 staff in total, including a full-time School Administration Manager and two part-time staff.

School Stream & Turramurra North Public School at a glance

Parents and families using School Stream: 389
Budget savings to date: $30,302.10

Meet the SAM

Helen Long is an experienced School Administration Manager and has been at Turramurra North Public School for the past 19 years.

What kinds of things are you responsible for in your role? (Hint: it’s a lot)

“You wear a range of hats. I do all the finance, arranging maintenance, ordering supplies, looking after sick children, compliance, signing children in and out if they are late or leaving early, setting up casual teachers, checking when toilets are blocked, booking for hire of facilities, evacuation plans, tree audit, answering the phone, enrolment enquiries… Everything! At the moment, we are replacing the all the roofing and I am managing all the workers on site and trying to make sure they don’t make noise while NAPLAN is on”

What do you love about your role?

“There is never a dull moment. Every day is different. I like to think that I’m helping the school run”

Are there some challenges in your role? Every job has something.

“You can have a schedule of what you’re supposed to do, but it never happens. I don’t know if people realise how big the job is. There are the constant interruptions that you don’t get in another environment. You can be in the middle of something and then you’ve got a child at the front desk. It’s very different from working in a normal office.”

Has the role changed much since you first started?

“Things have changed a lot over the years. When I started it was all DOS – you had to flick a switch to get onto Word! And there wasn’t so much on the computer. Now everything is computerised. There are so many new systems you have to learn all the time.”

You use School Stream at Turramurra North. Was it easy to learn and set up from your end?

“Yes. It’s pretty straightforward and when we have an issue we can ring. We usually talk to Brad. There’s always been a solution. We have kept it pretty simple. One parent commented about online payments and I just linked the page to School Stream.”

How have parents responded to School Stream?

“Most of them get it and use it. We still have a few parents who prefer paper. We just tell them School Stream’s our main communication. They can use it on their phone. It’s easy; they don’t have to log on to anything. It’s just there on the app. When we get new students, we tell them: ‘we send everything out on the app’. We only send the newsletter electronically now.”

What are the main features you use on School Stream?

“We get lots of absentee messages; that’s been great. We encourage people to use it (the absentee form) and also the change of details form. Our newsletter goes out fortnightly with Adobe Spark. That’s our big communication tool. We also use electronic permission notes. We could do more. The parents would like it if we separated the school into stages, so everything is just there for them.”

Do you have any advice for other schools considering an app?

“There’s a lot of apps out there, but we’ve found School Stream easy to use and an effective communication tool for our parents. I haven’t had any trouble with it”.

Thank you again to Helen for her time, and to all the rock star administration staff who keep our schools running smoothly.