School Business Managers are so organised, skilled and efficient, they could single-handedly run a small country without breaking a sweat. As it is, we’re very lucky they apply their considerable talents to keep schools running smoothly. It’s a complex role and Business Managers need to be financial experts, administration ninjas, first-aid officers, human resources consultants and born communicators – all while remembering the name of every kid in the school. So, in acknowledgement of all the hard work school administrators do, we are delighted to share our interview with Jan Cashen, the Business Manager at Osbornes Flat Primary School (as well as two other schools!). Business Managers and Administrators, this one’s for you.

We want to support you. Read on for our interview with Osbornes Flat Primary School Business Manager or click to see a quick video of School Stream in action.

Osbornes Flat Primary School

Osbornes Flat Primary School is a terrific school located 5 kilometres from Yackandandah and 25 kilometres from Wodonga. They enjoy modern facilities and are set in a stunning bushland area with plenty of wide-open spaces. They are very proud of the personalised learning experiences they offer their students with plenty of opportunity to put into practice their school vision: To nurture community minded learners who are self-motivated and challenge themselves to become resilient problem solvers over the course of their learning journey. There are 29 students and four teachers (including a teaching principal). 

A massive thanks to Jan Cashen who took the time out from her busy day to share her experience with us.

What are the main responsibilities of your role? (Hint: nearly everything!)

“Probably the main thing is all the finance and administration, which covers many, many things. With the finance, I deal with the creditors, debtors, family finances, the BAS statement, banking and I look after the budget. The Principal and I organise the budget each year and then I monitor it and report to the School Council on other finance and budget matters. The admin side of my role covers student enrolments, the newsletter, organising excursions (permission notes and booking buses) and things like that. I look after the first aid – so I look after the students – but I also make sure we have everything we need like asthma plans and equipment. I’m also responsible for OHS and make sure we are compliant. I organise contractors if we need anything done. I look after HR too. If there is a position vacant, I put the advertisement up online and, when new staff are appointed, I do all the paperwork. If we need a relief teacher, I organise the payroll for that because they are employed by the school. I think that covers most of what I do.”

What do you love about your role?

“I really love the variety. I know that no day is going to be the same as the one before. The work is the same, but there is always something different going on. I love working in the school environment. I originally wanted to be a teacher, so I really enjoy being here and listening to the teachers talking about teaching and learning. And the kids are great – they have their moments – but they’re great. I’m an older person, I’m 61, but I love coming to work. I work at two other schools too and the workplace environment is really good. I love all the schools I work at, the teachers and the Principals. We often hear bad news (about schools), but there is a lot of good stuff going on in schools. There’s a lot of good teachers out there and I’m lucky to work with lots of them.”

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

“I think the time factor is one of the main things. You always have to juggle and share the workload so you can fit things into the time you have. Osbornes Flat is a small school, and they would love to have me full time, but we just don’t have the funding for it. That’s the other thing: juggling our funding. We’ve only got so much money and we have to decide what we do with it and what misses out. As the person who manages the finances, my opinion is often asked for.” 

You’ve used School Stream for about 5 years at Osbornes Flat Primary School. Was it easy to set up and learn?

“Yes, it was. From memory, I did the training with Brad (School Stream’s much-loved Customer Success Manager) and an online session and it was pretty easy to navigate around. It was new and I hadn’t used anything like that before, but it was very straightforward. I don’t think I use it to its full capacity, but it does what we need it to do.” 

How have your parents responded to using an app for school communication?

“Our parents are pretty good. They’re a really switched-on community. We had a few who worried at the start saying “My phone’s not that good” but I think we’ve got pretty much everyone on the app now. They love the reminders and that they’re instant. We can schedule them to go out in the morning or the night before if people need to remember to pack specific things for that day. Apps are second nature to most people now, anyway.”

What features do you use the most?

“Our newsletters go out via the app. Mostly the instant reminders or we send a message if anything urgent comes up during the day. And we send out general information about what’s happening. I did do a training session with Brad last year about digital forms but because of COVID, we didn’t go anywhere so I haven’t been able to use that training yet. It’s on the list!”

Thanks again for your time, Jan. Your schools are very lucky to have you.

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