Our history

The Institute can trace its origins to local group meetings in the early 1990s. Bursars began to emerge in the state sector as a result of the new autonomy enjoyed by schools awarded grant-maintained status. Early informal meetings of like-minded school business professionals led to the National Bursars Association being formally incorporated in response to a growing demand for a more formal representative body.

In 2008, and in response to the changing education policy environment, the association commissioned a rebrand exercise and made a conscious move away from the term ‘bursar’ to reflect the broader responsibilities and complexity of school business management. The National Association of School Business Management (NASBM) was born.

The association’s principal role was to support practitioners’ professional development and the sector’s capacity to meet the challenges associated to a rapidly evolving and ever-changing system. It became increasingly clear that the association’s role was more closely aligned to a professional body than a representative body, so following extensive sector consultation, trustees resolved to transition from an association to a professional institute. In 2017, we became the Institute of School Business Leadership, the first dedicated school business professional body.


ISBL’s role in our education system

ISBL’s principal function is to provide confidence to all education stakeholders in this vital cadre of educational professionals. The school business professional workforce provides schools with access to unique, highly skilled and experienced practitioners. Here at ISBL, we set the benchmark for effective practice through sector-endorsed professional standards and provide development opportunities for our professional community and their institutions through a portfolio of quality-assured qualifications, training, resources and events.


Our role in influencing policy

ISBL aims to remain politically neutral. Using a non-partisan approach, we provide the Government with feedback from our community and a technical steer in areas of policy relevant to our expertise.


ISBL supports all school business professionals (SBPs)

We recognise the professional diversity of the SBP community. In a mixed-economy education system, it is inevitable that there will be variations in the scale of operations, different structures and consequently variable levels of responsibility and accountability for those within those structures. In this environment, it is therefore unsurprising that there are many versions of the school business professional role.

As an institute, it is our responsibility to ensure that we support practitioners at every stage of the professional journey, whether an aspiring SBP, an established practitioner in a local setting or operating at an executive level. Our development programmes and resources are designed to meet the needs of practitioners across a broad career continuum.


Our vision, values and focus

To see school business professionals having the greatest possible positive impact on our education system

Our values

  • Integrity
  • Inclusivity
  • Impartiality
  • Insight

Our core focus areas

  • Professional competency & sector assurance
  • Professional recognition
  • Professional development
  • Professional voice [conduit between policy & practice]


Who are the team at ISBL?

For more information about the team that are leading the institute, including the Executive Team, Board of Trustees and the Advisory Panel you can learn more about them here.


Articles of Association

To download and view a of a copy of the articles of association please click here.


Annual Accounts & Charity Commission

To access a copy of the annual accounts please click here and to view information held on the Charity Commission website about the association please click here. These accounts are the last posted accounts for NASBM, which become the Institute of School Business Leadership from 20 November 2017.