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Administrators are responsible for providing administrative support for an office or department within a school. They play a crucial role in the day-to-day life of a school by providing a wide range of administrative support to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.

What’s involved

An administrator's role depends on whether it’s a small primary school or a large secondary school, for example, where duties will be divvied up between a team. But expect the role to cover the following:

  • welcoming visitors to the school and dealing with their enquiries
  • answering the phone
  • administration relating to pupil attendance
  • managing email/post
  • using IT systems to draft letters, emails, reports, newsletters
  • monitoring school supplies
  • keeping financial records
  • keeping paper and electronic records up to date
  • using reprographic equipment
  • ordering resources, paying invoices and banking cash
  • sending key educational data about the school to the Department of Education or equivalent

Skills and experience you will need

  • excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • methodical and well-organised
  • able to work accurately and pay attention to detail
  • confidence with figures
  • good ICT skills
  • able to relate well with pupils, teachers and parents
  • able to prioritise work
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail

Entry requirements

It is up to schools and local authorities (LAs) to decide what qualifications and experience applicants need to have, so it is important to check locally. Some may employ people on the basis of their experience and potential alone. Others may require a qualification, such as in English and maths. Experience of office work or a qualification in administration or computer skills could also be useful. Administrators from other sectors can move into schools but it would be helpful to demonstrate interest in how schools work, such as by being a school governor.

You'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The following qualification is available for those not yet employed in the role:

  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools

However, this award is solely theory-based, without requiring a placement in a school, so it is important to check with the school or LA whether they would accept the qualification.

Training and Development

Your school or local authority would usually provide training in one of the specialised computer systems used in schools, such as Schools Information Management System (SIMS).

Your employer may also offer you the chance to gain other work-based qualifications, such as:

  • an award in desktop publishing
  • European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
  • business and administration certificates and diplomas

Courses may be available at your local college or online. The Institute of Administrative Management also offers a number of relevant courses.

If you are interested in developing your admin skills and potentially becoming a school business professional, the School Administration Foundation Certificate (level 3) may be appropriate. This can lead to level 4 apprenticeship in school business management. Find out more on the Institute for School Business Leadership website. 

Some schools also offer apprenticeships, which are work-based training programmes which lead to qualifications.

Find out more here: Apprenticeships

If you need more help speak to the person responsible for your career development or your Union Learning Representative.

Useful links

Have a look at the administration role profiles under the administrative & management job family to find out more about the different levels you could work at.

In Scotland for more information contact Skills Development Scotland:  www.myworldofwork.co.uk

In Northern Ireland contact Careers Service Northern Ireland: www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers

In Wales / Cymru contact Careers Wales: www.careerswales.com