Reasons to join

The Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) is the UK’s only professional body for school business professionals and provides guidance on career pathways and develops specialist career development programmes from entry level with dedicated apprenticeship programmes through to executive level accredited training. ISBL is uniquely dedicated to supporting and building the reputation of the profession.


ISBL aims to shape the expectations of school leadership teams and set the benchmark for school business excellence. We will demand a commitment and desire for continued professional development from our members, whilst developing accessible professional career pathways.


The institute will work with sector stakeholders, who represent the other pillars of the leadership team – Heads and Governors – to drive behavioural change where the importance of business excellence in the running of efficient schools which both maintain and improve pupil outcomes is recognised. It is through the engagement and joining together of ambitious practitioners that we can develop a professional body that will drive recognition of school business leaders.


The sector need confidence in a workforce able to manage and lead in technical and specialist disciplines.


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(Please note that you will need to create an account on our member portal in order to apply, so when you are redirected please select create an account and you will then be able to click join and start your membership application). If you experience any problems then please call us on 02476 231221.

What are the benefits of membership?

Membership of your professional body (ISBL) will both validate and provide assurance about your professional competency. The institute will provide all members with the facility to assess themselves against the national professional standards as set out in 2015. The institute will focus on professional development across all levels of school business leadership from entry to executive level to assist all school business professionals in achieving their professional aspirations regardless of career stage.

As an institute, professional development will be an essential element of membership and will inform the level of membership that a professional can hold. To maintain a membership at any level, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) will need to be recorded annually, and the required level of CPD will need to be achieved. For more information on what CPD is and our membership CPD requirements click here.

What the practitioners say...

What we do

We offer a comprehensive range of support, including:

  • Guidance on career pathways, specialist training programs tailored to school business professionals and support the development of appropriate apprenticeship routes both for entry and continued professional development.

  • The institute has also created and chairs the national qualification board for school business professionals, overseeing the development of new SBP qualifications that map to the Professional Standards.

  • Most recently the Institute has created employer guidance on our standards to assist wider sector knowledge of the profession. 

  • An annual National Conference, where all content is tailored specifically to the school business leadership profession.

  • Regional conferences where you can network with colleagues, share best practice and learn about latest policy developments.

  • Digests of  the latest news highlighting the implications for your role, are available through our fortnightly e-bulletins, news updates, policy analysis and briefings.

  • A resources area hosting good practice templates, factsheets and guidance.

  • Online forums where SBM professionals can discuss and explore the issues affecting them.

ISBL also assists SBM professionals with important procurement decisions through our Approved Partner scheme, which recognises high quality service providers.


ISBL is here to help SBM professionals at all stages of their career and is at the forefront of the emerging sector-led approach to professional development. 

We also work with national awarding organisations to develop accredited programmes and qualifications to meet the diverse and ever changing needs of the school business profession. 

ISBL also provides a careers advice service and for those wishing to join the profession we run a job vacancy service to help you find your first post.


What are the costs of membership?

Membership of ISBL means joining a like-minded group of professionals, who are committed to developing all aspects of school business leadership and management whilst supporting the emergence of a sector-led approach to professional development.

We welcome members from all schools types. We also recognise that those carrying out school business professionals have varying titles and levels of experience. Indeed, with responsibilities often spread across the leadership team, we would encourage all school leaders to benefit from our membership offer.

Additionally, in response to the emerging variety of school structures, we can now accommodate membership across trusts, federations and indeed less formal clusters, please contact our Membership Officer for further details on 02476 231221.

To reflect this we have 6 membership categories, as shown below.


Prices shown in the table below are effective from the 20 November 2017:


Membership requirement

Membership type


Affiliate Member

Student Member

Associate Member

Full Member



Practising School Business Professional







Minimum level of professional qualification





6 and above


Part of the school strategic leadership







Continuing Professional Development commitment in hours per annum

>7 hours

7 hours

7 hours

21 hours

35 hours


Membership cost                      (From 1 April 2021)








Membership of ISBL is an individual professional membership that can often been reimbursed by or paid for on behalf of the SBP by their school.


ISBL do offer the opportunity for MATs to purchase multi-memberships on behalf of the SBPs that work across their schools as a single purchase. This option is open to any trust who is looking to purchase 10 or more memberships in a single transaction. For more information on this option please contact to discuss your specific requirements.


Please note that Corporate membership is aimed at organisations wishing to remain up to date with the sector to enable them to tailor their products and services accordingly. This membership type only allows them to receive the ISBL member communications including our e-bulletins and member magazine (The Voice). It does not provide access or interaction with our members.


In addition to the above membership categories ISBL also offer a further membership level of Companion status

Companion Membership

Companion is the highest tier of  ISBL membership and is only attainable by invitation from the institutes board of trustees. It is offered to individuals that have made a significant contribution to the evolution of the school business profession or have increased the breadth of relevant research and knowledge.



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Free Trial

We do offer individuals the opportunity to trial membership for 60 days and this is available on all membership types excluding Fellows. If you would like to take out a trial ahead of commencing a full membership then this is available by entering the following discount code when joining: pZiJEw2p. Please note that a free trial membership is only available if you pay by direct debit, as the membership will commence 60 days from the date the trial is commenced unless the membership is cancelled.

The trial membership is open to any school business professional working in or supporting a school. This trial is not available for consultants or individuals working in a commercial business supporting schools. An individual may only take out one free trial membership and ISBL reserve the right to refuse a trial membership where individuals do not meet the criteria. (Please note the trial is not available to existing or previous members).