Introducing ISBL to headteachers, senior leaders and governors


As the Institute of School Business Leadership, or ISBL, we are the only dedicated professional body for school business professionals and have been established and supporting the profession since 1997.

We are here to help to support the school business practitioners in your school / trust.

We give assurance that they are working to the sector-endorsed professional standards, provide professional development and training courses, which meet these standards and help to develop an unrivalled talent pipeline. We aim to ensure that schools and trusts across our system have access to a highly competent and appropriately qualifies workforce.

You can read more about us here.


If the school business professionals in your school/trust are not a member of ISBL, they can find out more here.


As well as the range of services, training and resources we offer, membership of their dedicated professional body provides assurance to you as their employer and wider stakeholders that SBPs are maintaining their professional knowledge.

Professional body membership and a commitment to ongoing CPD is now an expectation for all CFOs as stated in the Academies Financial Handbook. The handbook is explicit that ISBL membership covers that requirement.


The school business professional (SBP)

There are many iterations of school business leadership, with some SBPs operating in generalist roles, some as specialists and indeed many in senior executive roles. The role can look different from school to school, but all are part of the same profession.

The role continues to develop and evolve as the education sector changes and we help to make sure that SBPs are equipped for the future, for example, many school business professionals (SBPs) are working across or within multi-academy trust (MAT) structure and in some cases multiple regions as centralisation becomes more commonplace.


Professional Standards

Our Professional Standards set out a clear blueprint for effective school and academy business leadership.

The standards framework sets out the six main professional disciplines of school business leadership, along with the six principal behaviours required to be effective in the school business leadership profession.

The standards continue to provide a reference point for recruitment, performance management and career development activities and are often used by professionals, their employers and training providers.

It is important that line managers encourage their SBP colleagues to undertake a regular self-assessment against the ISBL Professional Standards to allow discussion on areas for self-development and ways that the school can support further learning and training.

You can read more about how to use the professional standards in organisational development, recruitment, training and development, performance management and when setting school business practitioners’ pay. Click here to find out more.







If you are looking to attract candidates to your latest school business professional role at your school, you can email


Joined up leadership

We encourage and promote joined up leadership in schools, between the Business, Pedagogy and Governance functions of school leadership.

We work closely with key sector organisations on this area, including Department for Education (DfE), NAHT, ASCL and NGA. You can read more about this work in a joint statement here.








We have also issued joint guidance with NGA and other sector leaders, which aims to improve the effectiveness of school leadership by developing mutually supportive and respectful working practices between those leading and those governing schools. Access this guidance here.









ICFP stands for Integrated Curriculum and Financial Planning. It helps a school use resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. It does so by systematically analysing all aspects of the educational provision within a school setting to ensure that financial management planning considers and questions the appropriate balance in the allocation and expenditure of resources.

ICFP is an important way to review a school’s financial and resource management planning and use against its curriculum delivery aims. It integrates the school and trust’s teaching and learning ambitions and financial resource management into one approach.

ICFP is increasingly a focus of the DfE and is becoming more important in reporting and benchmarking.

If you are new to ICFP, we recommend you attend our ICFP Fundamentals training. We also provide intermediate ICFP training which will help your SBP(s) implement ICFP in your school / trust.


Find out more

If you have any queries about our work and would like further advice, then please email us at