Head to Head with Louise White of Discovery Schools Academy Trust
Your current title / role
Director of Operations
Brief career background
I have worked within the education sector for the last 20 years experiencing education from both a classroom and school office perspective. Prior to this I gained considerable experience of office management within the hotel and leisure industry. I took a short break from full time working to have children but continued my professional development by becoming treasurer of a local playgroup. This was a voluntary position which I enjoyed immensely and got involved in numerous activities, including fundraising and marketing and was elected to chairperson, a position I held for nearly four years.
In 2009 I became School Business Manager at Kibworth CE Primary School and then took the lead School Business Manager when the school became a multi academy trust in 2012.
I now oversee all operational elements for the entire organization and currently evolving central functions and processes to develop good practice throughout all the schools with particular reference to HR, H&S and facilities. I also project manages academy conversions and lead the Business Manager Network group for the Trust.
I became the Director of Operations in 2015.
What does a typical working day look like?
I arrive at work from 7.30am and view emails – action those that need immediate response and flag others to manage as and when. I then plan my day and review current pending items – prioritise work according to deadlines and new tasks that have come in.
My main focus are currently re-conversions of two SAT’s to join our MAT group, converting two LA maintained schools to join the MAT and supporting with the opening of a brand new school for September.
I'm usually home at 5.30pm.
What did you have for dinner last night?
Spaghetti alla puttanesca with spiralised butternut squash. A spicy tomato based pasta sauce with black olives and capers – yum!
What was the last piece of music you listened to?
OMD – Dazzleships in readiness for watching them live at the Royal Albert Hall.
What was your favourite and most hated subject when you were at school?
Literacy – favourite
PE – most hated – especially cross country running.
What is the best thing about your job?
No one day is the same – I love the fast pace and the thinking on your feet and I get to work with some really inspirational colleagues.
If you could change one thing about the current education system what would it be?
Fairer funding of the Schools Funding system. Leicestershire is one of the worst funded counties. As a MAT we are constantly looking at ways of collaborative procurement and sharing best practice to make the most of our budgets but with salary expenditure taking up to 80% of a budget – there is only so much you can do.
If you're interested in taking part in our Head to Head feature please get in touch with Bethan Jones.