Schools, colleges and universities are often large, complex institutions with masses of students, staff, services, scholastic systems and activities which need to be coordinated effectively.
Pupils don’t just magically turn up at school in September and slot into their lessons without any timetables; university students don’t just turn up to any random university they fancy and start attending lectures for free; and teachers and lecturers don’t just teach in any random classroom or lecture theatre and hope that somebody might turn up.
Administration and management staff in academic institutions are, therefore, essential to making sure that these places of learning are running smoothly and effectively.
Without these guys, education institutions would be fit to burst with too many students; lecture theatres would be chaos; teachers would have no register from which to take attendance; truancy would be rife; and new students would be wandering around their campuses with no idea what they’re studying or where they need to be.
What do these staff do?
Administration and management staff that work in the education sector provide incredibly valuable operational support within their organisations and coordinate all school activities throughout each academic year. These guys manage admissions, enrolment, attendance, timetables, examinations, quality assurance and financial procedures.
Education administration and management careers can vary widely between different institutions. People’s responsibilities are entirely dependent on what kind and size of institution they work for.
For instance, a large university may have a huge network of administrative staff in different departments that deal with specific administrative functions, whereas a small secondary school might only have a handful of administrators that do the whole shebang.
Job titles and tasks vary; basically, everything varies between different schools, but hopefully if you keep reading you will get the gist of what careers in education administration and management are like.
How do I start out in education administration & management?
The majority of people that begin careers in education administration will start out in administrator positions. Here, you might be processing people’s admissions, guiding people through the enrolment procedure, monitoring budgets, processing applications for extra funding and updating financial databases.
Some administration staff might assist with external relations (i.e. marketing to the public and alumni) and liaising with satellite institutions (i.e. feeder schools). These guys might also be responsible for helping to compile timetables, distributing exam results and organising graduation ceremonies.
The extensive list goes on; however, all administrative staff that work in the education sector need excellent organisational, teamwork and communication skills. It is also helpful if people who pursue these careers have an appreciation and understanding of how education systems operate.
Managerial positions within academic institutions are equally as varied. It’s unlikely that you would start your career in one of these roles, as many people in these positions have progressed through the administrative ranks or have come from a teaching background.
Most managerial responsibility in schools is undertaken purely by head teachers and deputy heads. These guys act as the figureheads of their school and are responsible for planning and managing school policies, budgets and departmental procedures.
They are also in charge of recruiting and managing all staff and teachers. Most head teachers don’t tend to directly teach pupils and thus spend their time managing the operational aspect of their institution.
Education management in further education and higher education institutions can be quite different. The managerial processes used in these larger organisations can often resemble those used in private and public sector organisations. Most administrative departments will have departmental managers that oversee their specific area of administration.
However, senior managers and principals take charge of the institution as a whole and make executive decisions that impact on their current and future students. These roles have a strategic and financial aspect to them.
The budgets of educational institutions tend to be quite tight, and so expert managers are required to manage financial resources and decide how they can be best put to use.
Senior education managers are responsible for the planning, implementation and management of education policies and procedures. They then ensure that in-depth quality assurance initiatives are put in place to evaluate the validity of courses and departmental structures.
If you fancy a career in education that doesn’t involve convincing thirty children that algebra really is fun, then a graduate job in education administration and management might be just the subsector you were looking for!