Formation of the Midland Bursar Group
1994 proved to be a memorable year for the Bursar movement as both the National Bursars’ Association and the Midland Bursar Group were formed that year. They both came about as a result of the National “Administrators” Conference that was organised by the Grant Maintained Centre now the Centre for Education Management and held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. This was the time when the Bursar movement was really taking off. Local Management of School Budgets had just been introduced as had Grant Maintained Schools whose funding came to them from the Funding Agency for Schools and there was an increasing demand for Bursars in schools.
During the Conference agenda, there was a session called Regional Meetings and around eighty delegates from the Midlands famously found themselves in a Conference Room with no one appearing to be in charge of the meeting. After five minutes or so of silence, which seemed much longer at the time, Kate Rowles, the Bursar from St Augustines School in Redditch memorably strode to the front and said something along the lines of “I think the idea is that we discuss forming a regional group.” This broke the ice and very quickly Kate was elected Chair of the group and the discussions speeded up even more when the meeting was interrupted by a delegate from the Southern Region who graciously suggested that we could be a subsidiary of the Southern Region!
Kate served as Chair of the Midlands Group for ten years as well as being a founding Council Member of the National Bursars Association and led the group with drive and determination throughout this time. It is very much the result of her efforts in the early days that the group developed and grew in the way that it did. She retired at forty and now lives in Spain! She called the first actual meeting of the group at her school in Redditch on 16 February 1994 and arranged for this initial meeting to be sponsored by Lincolnshire Personnel Services, now Hyder. At the meeting she persuaded and coerced a number of members to join her on the committee and several of these members remain committee members today. Over the ten years she invited a wide range of speakers to meetings of the group, perhaps the best known being Jacqui Smith when she became MP for Redditch and was appointed a Junior Education Minister.
She was succeeded as Chair in 2004 by Karl Wilcox, Business Manager at Hagley Roman Catholic School also in Worcestershire, who has continued Kate’s example by taking the group forward with enthusiasm and no little commitment over the years.
Membership covers a very wide area from Shropshire and Staffordshire in the North, Herefordshire in the West, Nottinghamshire in the East through to Gloucestershire and Milton Keynes in the South. Meetings are generally held at a central location to try and alleviate too much travelling for members.