Meet the Team: Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is General Manager at Schools Advisory Service. Holly has day to day responsibility for operations and oversees the work of our five teams. Here she talks about her work and SAS’s evolving services for schools.

How long have you been working for SAS?

I’ve been with the company for three years and I am based at our Head Office in Derbyshire. A lot has changed in three years, we’ve moved into purpose built premises (complete with a conference room for events with schools), every team has expanded, and we’re working with more schools and academies than before. A key issue in those three years has been the development of our management systems so that we can continue to support all schools quickly and efficiently. That is a continuous process and we welcome any feedback that schools may have on the service they have received recently.

What changes have you noticed in the education system during the last few years?

I have previous experience of working with schools on financial issues, so I’ve noticed some big changes! Most noticeable to everyone (within and beyond education) is that schools and school leaders now have much more responsibility across almost every area of their work. Teaching and learning is so important, but the responsibility in other areas has grown too – which can have an impact on how manageable the job of school leadership is. Part of our purpose at SAS is to support school leaders to manage many of the wider issues – such as staff wellbeing and HR – that are important, but can steer them away too often from the core business of leading teaching and learning. We’re very passionate about helping school leaders to make the most of their roles by providing the right kind of support. Again, we’re always keen to hear about what more we can do.

How do you see SAS working with schools in future?

We want to ensure that schools receive as responsive and personal a service as possible. We now have colleagues based in every region of England and Wales who act as a key point of contact for schools when they need to talk to or get advice from a familiar face. Our Regional contacts can be found on the SAS website .

Also, a key priority for us is ensuring SAS continues to be the first point of call in aiding schools to proactively prevent and reduce absences in schools. We are developing and adding new, exciting services to our medical and wellbeing care – such as our new for 2014 relationship counselling service which has become extremely popular with schools across the country. We’re also doing more to work proactively with schools to enable them to ensure staff wellbeing. This includes the development of our Nurse Absence Support Service, where our nursing team directly contact schools to develop a programme of support and rehabilitation for certain types of illness where our services may be able to reduce absences, and the LeadWell programme where we work with school leadership teams to develop their approach to improving both their own and colleagues’ wellbeing.

Finally, which teacher inspired you most when you were at school?

My favourite primary school teacher was Mr Mallalou because of his unique and fun way of approaching life and learning. He was able to take what would ordinarily be considered a dry topic and turn it into a fun adventure. He was also easily persuaded with cola bottle sweets! I later learned that he did a degree in Zoology before becoming a teacher, which added to his quirky charm.

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