National Conference


This year ISBL’s national conference will focus on how professionals can illuminate their own leadership and that of their colleagues; both within their own setting and across the sector.

The school business profession celebrates its 30th anniversary as a unique and identifiable role within the state education sector.

As professionals, we have a collective responsibility to continue to assist in raising our own profile and that of the profession amongst our peers and colleagues.

We want to shine a spotlight on leadership across every role in school business leadership and demonstrate the significance and impact that all school business professionals have in the sector.

How are you illuminating your own practice and that of your colleagues – both peers and successors? It is through the encouragement, praise and support of our peers that we can all continue to grow, inspire and aspire as professionals.


What does leadership truly mean?

This is the only two-day event solely dedicated to the school business leadership and management professional, where all content is tailored specifically to your needs.

It will consider how school business professionals across all roles and at every career stage are leaders and how they can demonstrate the behaviours of leadership.

Why should you attend?

The conference will:

  • Examine your own behaviours and personal motivation.

  • Explore leadership, the evolution of the school business professional role over the last 30 years and shine a spotlight on good practice.

  • Provide a range of learning opportunities and methods, including high quality speakers, interactive workshops, policy direction and practical tools to take back to your school.

  • Look at what we can collectively do as a professional body to further raise the profile of our profession and the impact of SBPs.

  • Provide opportunities to network with practitioners and peers from across the country.

Who will be there?

The event attracts school business professionals from a range of school types, phases and settings. ISBL ensure that the content developed covers both maintained and academy schools of all sizes and type. It is essential that we consider practice at every level and across all types of school setting as good practice is emerging across all of these.

With over 300 delegates in attendance and an array of specialist workshops tailored for the school business professional, make sure you take the time to invest in yourself and your own development this year and book your place to attend.


The following speakers have been invited:

  • Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education

  • Emma Knights, CEO, NGA

  • Tom Wohlleber, President, ASBO International

  • Geoff Barton, General Secretary, ASCL,

  • Jenny Garrett, Inspirational speaker 


There will be sixteen workshop sessions across the two-days which have been developed to meet the ISBL Professional Standards disciplines.

Topics include:

  • Restructures: Carrying out an effective restructure

  • Unlocking income generation - guides and tips 

  • Behavioural Science: Positive motivation

  • Setting a communications strategy - ‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place’ – George Bernard Shaw

  • Effective engagement with parents and carers: Streamlining processes and reducing costs

  • Budget setting 2020 - what should it be?

  • Developing and sustaining highly effective organisations / schools 

  • Commercial contracts

  • Winning at wellbeing




Headline Sponsor

We are pleased to announce the headline sponsor for the National Conference 2019 is Zenergi.

They are keen to help schools illuminate their utility spend and enlighten them on the savings that can be made? You can read more about Zenergi on their website.

Conference programme

Following consultation with our members, we have put together a conference programme that enables you to be inspired by the speakers and panel discussions, participate in workshops, maximise networking opportunities and meet and engage with the exhibitors.

Watch this space! Our conference programme will be launched soon.

Procurement opportunities

In addition to the rich learning and development opportunities that the event represents; delegates can also benefit from the 90 strong exhibitor area that is available with a wealth and range of suppliers available all servicing the education sector and aware of the issues affecting the sector.

The November date supports academies procurement where they have just started a new financial year and maintained schools or are fast approaching the end of year.


Following feedback from delegates and members, the request was to host the conference in a central and easily accessible location with suitable onsite accommodation. We are therefore taking the conference back to Birmingham. Details can be found below:

Hilton Birmingham Metropole

The NEC Birmingham

Pendigo Way

Marston Green

B40 1PP

Charity of the year

This year we will be fundraising for Headway and the British Heart Foundation as our chosen charities and Stephen Morales our CEO will be undertaking a sponsored bike ride to raise additional funds for these charities during the year.

We will also be holding a silent auction for our charities during the gala dinner on Wednesday 20 November 2019.

Want to see it first hand...

If you have not attended one of our conferences before, take a look at a previous year's on the video below:

Conference fees              



ISBL member


Early-bird rate: Full conference (20 - 21 Nov)

£325 + VAT

Early-bird rate: Full conference plus B&B night prior**

£460 + VAT

Early-bird rate: Full conference plus Dinner, B&B night prior**

£495 + VAT



Standard rate: full conference (20 - 21 Nov)

£365 + VAT

Standard rate: Full conference plus B&B night prior**

£500 + VAT

Standard rate: Full conference plus Dinner, B&B night prior**

£535 + VAT



Day 1 delegate only – Wednesday 20 Nov

£195 + VAT

Day 2 delegate only – Thursday 21 Nov

£125 + VAT





Early-bird rate – full conference (20 - 21 Nov)

£440 + VAT

Standard rate – full conference

£495 + VAT

Day 1 delegate only – Wednesday 20 Nov

£250 + VAT

Day 2 delegate only – Thursday 21 Nov

£170 + VAT



Gala dinner only

£65 + VAT

 Please note

  • Fees are GBP and exclude VAT, this will be applied at the time of booking

  • The discounted early-bird rate is available until 29 April 2019

  • Full conference fees includes one night’s accommodation (bed and breakfast) on Wednesday 20 November, gala dinner, workshop attendance, speaker sessions, panel discussion debate, lunch and refreshments over the two days (20 - 21 November).

**The one night prior rate includes accommodation for Tuesday 19 November plus the full conference fee

Exhibition and sponsor opportunities  

Download the exhibition and sponsorship opportunities booklet to see what we have to offer. If you would like to book a stand, you can do so by clicking the 'book' button at the bottom of the page.

The floorplan is now available to download. Please note this is subject to change dependant on venue and health and safety.

If you would like to discuss the options available, please email