Day in the life of a Multi-Site Office Manager
Holly Lashford is a Multi-Site Office Manager across two schools within the Trust.
About the role
An office manager role is often the combination of many job roles, school administration, human resources, finance, health and safety, premises maintenance, reception and secretarial support, compliance, sales and marketing, child welfare and safeguarding, data protection and business development. In larger organisations, you would have 11 separate people responsible for each role.
The role of a school office manager is varied and busy. It requires an excellent multi-tasker and someone who is committed to ensuring pupils receive a good quality educational experience in order for them to love learning for life.
Holly has a range of skills, gained from a varied career history and a passion for education.
After completing a Degree in Sports and Geography and a gaining Masters in Exercise Physiology, Holly began a career in sales and marketing. However her ‘calling in life’ soon led her to train as a teacher through a school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programme, where she gained her PGSE. She then taught PE at a High School for 5 years.
After having children, Holly took a step back from teaching and instead worked part-time for a leisure facility, where she progressed to Finance Manager. During this role, Holly learnt many transferable skills such as project management and gained understanding of company administration and grant funding.
Whilst in the role of Finance Manager, Holly also became a Governor at her children’s school, and after 5 months went on to become Chair. Her role as Governor and Chair ignited her desire to get back into education, so when a role for part-time Office Manager position arouse at the school, she applied and landed the job. Following a secondment opportunity, Holly became Multi-Site Office Manager across two schools.
Holly manages all the school support services staff; the office team, premises/site team, wrap around team and lunchtime supervisors at two schools. Her work is varied and ranges from managing building alteration projects and supporting parents with payment systems to comforting children when they have spilt the contents of their lunchbox!
This is the day in the life of Holly one Wednesday in July, less than two weeks until the end of the summer term.
Holly working hours are from 8.30am – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, term time only + TED days and 10 additional days.
8.15am - The start of the day is spent catching up with emails and messages, answering staff HR queries about contracts, absences and other operational matters.
10am – Holly has been preparing and sending information to a new member of staff who is to start next term. Other duties include liaising with a HR company over contract requests, updating the complaints policy on the website and liaising with the Central Finance Team about salary and pensions for her staff.
11am – Holly has had a meeting with the Office Administrator to set opening dates and closures for pre-school and had a meeting to plan office management for pre-school during the summer.
12noon – Rather than stopping for lunch, Holly is inducting a new lunchtime supervisor to the role, showing them the ropes and explaining how as supervisor, they need to encourage the children’s independence and good manners.
1pm – Holly can be found with a dustpan and brush in her hand cleaning the floor of the dinner hall following the children’s lunchbreak. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do” Holly explains. Holly then finishes up with the lunchtime supervisor induction, ensuring all paperwork is in place for their September start.
2pm – After showing around an assessor for a new Display Energy Certificate, Holly finally finds time to have her first coffee break (well, drinking coffee and eating lunch at her desk whilst she responds to a growing list of emails).
3pm – As the pupils begin to head home after a day at school, Holly starts finance processing – adding invoices to the accounting system. She has also written a reference for a member of staff looking to apply for a teaching assistant position.
4pm – Holly delivers an update to staff about Microsoft Teams during a weekly staff meeting. She then double checks the fire evacuation policy and prepares paperwork for the project team managing the pre-school extension build which begins on Monday. Then its back to finance processing.
5.15pm – Home time!
What is most challenging about your role?
“Managing my time effectively is the most challenging aspect of the job, especially during these last few weeks of the summer term.” Holly states. However, Holly has mastered the art of time management by prioritising tasks each week and allowing time to re-prioritise daily. Blocking time in the calendar for tasks allows her to focus on those particular jobs, and by maintaining free time in the calendar she is able to adapt and work flexibly to meet any urgent deadlines which ‘do’ arise.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
“I enjoy the variety of the role, I’m always busy and I like that” states Holly.
Holly also enjoys engaging with the children and families. “Many would think that being in an office role you don’t get involved with children, but you do”. Holly assists with both school’s parent teacher associations (PTA) to help enhance pupil learning and enrich their time at school. She also helps with school trips, school tours and dealing with parent and pupil enquiries.
“I like working for the Rivers Academy Trust, they are dynamic and forward thinking and ahead of the game, making them an exciting organisation to work for”.
Holly enjoys the interaction she has with people through her work, building relationships and developing people. Holly spends time supporting and developing the Office Administrator who may one day be her successor one day.
Where so you see your career progressing?
There are many opportunities for career development and progression within the Trust. Holly is in her current role due to a secondment opportunity. Holly sees the Trust’s Director of Operations role a carer goal or having further opportunity to develop within a bigger school or even across more sites.