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Any School Secretaries/Admin people about that could help me please?

(10 Posts)
GrannyRatOnAScooter Wed 09-Jan-13 09:50:51

I am applying for a job as an Admin Assistant at a primary school having worked for 15 years as a Legal Assistant. I believe that many of my skills and experience will be transferable to this role. However, I'm aware that there are specific skills and knowledge that I don't possess.

So, I wondered if you could answer the following questions and offer any advice:-

1. Segregation of duties - please briefly explain this process in a primary school setting (I'm aware it's to do with transparency and the avoidance of fraud)

2. SIMS packages - please provide any info and advise if you think this is something I would pick up easily (I have lot of IT experience but have not used database systems before)

3. The job specifies that having a current First Aid Certificate be a desirable attribute. I am not first aid trained.

With regard to points 2 and 3, would it be worth pointing out in a covering letter that I would be prepared to attend any first aid or IT training before the job starts or is that a bit presumptuous and should only be mentioned if I get an interview?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and any advice would be appreciated.

Snowydrift Wed 09-Jan-13 11:54:52

Could you book yourself onto a first aid course and then either write in the letter or put on your cv that you will be attending one and give the date?
For the rest I have no idea, sorry.

GrannyRatOnAScooter Wed 09-Jan-13 12:05:53

Thanks, snowy that's a good idea. I will look at first aid courses nearby. It's the first time I have been out of work for 18 years so I'm scared new to all of this.

Capabilitymom Fri 11-Jan-13 20:51:41

With regards to SIMS, you will be able to pick it up very quickly.
I volunteered in a primary school to get some experience of SIMS and it is quite straightforward. If you make a mistake entering data, an error message comes up highlighting the problem.
Also there is a user handbook which explains everything, and a helpline to ring if you become really stuck.
Good luck.

auntpetunia Fri 18-Jan-13 13:15:04

Ok so number 1, this is very clearly to do with how is responsible for what within the office, if you are going for the Admin Assistant job you are the junior, you will have an admin officer or bursar or business manager who will be the person responsible for the school budget and all hr and purchasing. The Admin Assistant role will be the answering the phone, answering the window/reception desk to parents and visitors, doing any photocopying that is required, possibly responsible for checking dinner registers/daily attendance registers, Selling school uniform the list is endless.

SIMs is very easy to use if you've used any system in your solicitors where you put a clients name in and have a file on them showing bills paid ect then sims is very similar, has info on kids name, address, phone numbers of parents, gp, dinner choice, and info on any SEN.

Whilst schools want you to be first aid covered you can say you are happy to be trained, I actually think the worst people to be first aiders is the office staff as we are always insitu and end up getting no work done due to teachers sending kids down for the slightest thing. That said I am first aid trained but not on our school list and only used for backup.

I moved to school working from a solicitors 10 years ago and you are right your skills are very transferrable. Good luck, if you need any more info or help just PM me.

GrannyRatOnAScooter Sun 20-Jan-13 21:57:41

Just seen your posts Capability and Aunt thank you both so much for the advice. It is probably quite a junior role, Admin Assistant which is basically school secretary and the Head's PA. There is a School Business Manager and Finance Assistant.

I was able to go to my DCs school last week and spend half an hour having a quick tutorial on SIMs. Looks quite straight forward as you have pointed out.

Just hoping I get an interview - the closing date is next week.

auntpetunia Mon 21-Jan-13 10:22:07

Granny you are right you are the junior in that set up, though being Heads Secretary in that scenario is unusual . Glad you had a look at Sims it's so useful to have done that. Good luck.

Battlefront Mon 21-Jan-13 10:37:03

SIMS is very straightforward, if you've used a PC before you'll be able to manage with very little training and there will be a telephone helpline should you need it.

First Aid training has to be updated for all staff regularly, so they'll just add you to the next round. Not a requirement before you're able to start the job afaik

Segregation of duties for this type of role simply means that the person who collects the cash can't be the same as the person who enters it on the system. At our school, cash for trips etc is collected and checked in the classrooms, admin assistant checks and banks it, then finance assistant puts it on SIMS.

pinkandred Mon 21-Jan-13 15:32:22

Sorry to hijack this thread but - Capability, how did you manage to volunteer in a school. I would really like to work in a school office and have applied for a couple of positions (have years of admin/clerical experience plus some finance/accounts experience).

I have rang 3 local primary schools to ask if I can volunteer in the school office but they all said it wasnt possible due to the amount of confidential information passing through. I have sent my cv off to a further 4 schools but heard nothing. I have stated that I can volunteer for 2-3 days each week and can offer a regular committment on an ongoing basis for up to 6 months. I have also stated that I regularly help out at my dc school by assisting on trips & at planned events.

I dont want to offer my services at my dc school because I would rather not see confidential information regarding their classmates.

Capabilitymom Sat 26-Jan-13 14:29:29

Sorry Pinkandred, just saw your post today.
Like you I didn't want to work in my dc's school, so I wrote to another primary school a few miles away. I emphasised that I was aware of the importance of confidentiality and health and safety in a school environment. I offered to do any work, including admin, general tidying etc in exchange for a chance to get some SIMS experience.
The headmistress was lovely and we worked out a schedule where I worked one morning a week, doing general tasks for the first few hours, then carried out SIMS tasks under the watchful eye of the school secretary for the last hour.
I seem to have been very lucky to have had that opportunity.
You could check with your local college - if they offer an administration
course, they will most likely have a list of schools and colleges who are happy to take students / volunteers on placements.
Also check your local volunteer bureau - I have seen schools request volunteers there.
Good luck!

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