Sue is the Director of Business & Finance at Bridgnorth Endowed School with responsibility for finance, health & safety, premises, administration, compliance, marketing, income generation, infrastructure, managing contracts, and HR.
What happened after you left Bridgnorth Endowed School?
When I left Bridgnorth Endowed in 1984, it was the time when Youth Training Schemes were in place so I decided to go down the route of being in employment whilst gaining my qualification. As my friends headed off to college, I went to work at a large vehicle dealership and enjoyed it thoroughly. While I was there, I gained additional O Levels and administration qualifications.
I got married quite young and went on to have three children. When they were old enough, I decided to go to college to gain a formal qualification and was successful in achieving my RSA Diploma, then gaining a place at university to study for a Business Degree.
Then came the life changer… I walked into my child’s primary school (St Mary’s) in June of 2001 and the headteacher at the time said, ‘what are you up to Sue?’ My response was that I was starting uni in October, I was then asked ‘how do you fancy working in the office for a few months, my administrator has left?’ Well, I thought I may as well.
The headteacher was so supportive, he offered me a full-time job and I was able to gain my qualifications over time. I went on to achieve my NVQ Level 4 Certificate in School Business Management and Diploma in School Business Management, and finally my BA (Hons) in School Business Management, all while working for him at the school. I owe a lot to Jack Cornall and also my family, as it was their support and nurturing that allowed me to see what my potential really was.
What does your current job involve?
I started work at Bridgnorth Endowed in 2007, as Business Manager. When the school became an academy, the job evolved into something completely different and my job title changed to Director of Business & Finance to reflect this. I have responsibility for areas, including finance (managing and balancing the budget), health & safety, premises, administration, compliance, marketing, income generation, infrastructure, managing contracts e.g. catering, leisure services, HR.
I love my job. No day is ever the same and I have become an expert in spinning plates whilst maintain a calm and, I hope, approachable manner. I mean, who else goes from managing a multi-million pound budget to being asked to get a toilet seat repaired?
I am Chairperson of the Shires Education Business Association, which offers peer to peer support to the 60 member schools. I am now also working with other school administrators/business managers on their path to completing the Diploma for School Business Managers. I find this most rewarding, as I hope that my experience, knowledge and passion for the role helps others in this exciting career.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I am currently on the last leg of my Masters in Business Admin and when I finish, hopefully in September, I'll be proud of that achievement and probably tell myself enough is enough – well until the next course that catches my eye comes up.
To be honest, I am most proud of my work with other business managers. This profession can seem a lonely place to be and there is nothing better than to message a colleague who will understand, listen and support, making you realise you are not alone, you are in this together.
What were the highlights of your time at Bridgnorth Endowed School?
I loved my time at Bridgnorth Endowed School so it's hard to pick out specific highlights, although, I will always remember some key staff members who gained the respect of students.
Mr Cobb was one, for being the teacher who gave you an insight into the lessons of life not just languages; Mr Phelps for bringing a passion to science for a student with a phobia of the subject; Mrs Farrington and Mr Brown for encouraging my passion for art; and Mrs Sidaway for encouraging and nurturing the netball team to give us confidence and raise our self-esteem, so much so that the majority of us were also Shropshire County players.
A word to the wise
I saw this quotation the other day and it resonated with me completely.
‘Never let yourself be satisfied with less than you actually deserve. To make your aspiration come true, you hold high expectation of yourself and work greatly to make it true.’
It has not been an easy path to where I am now but having aspirations for myself is what has kept me going through life’s ups and downs. Have a high expectation of yourself and work hard in school and in life, as you never know where life’s journey will take you.