ISBL Workforce Survey 2020




Recently formed institute rigorously surveys the profession in order to speak with authority about state of school business leadership


The Institute of School Business Leadership has undertaken the most significant survey with the School Business Leadership community since this professional role began to emerge over 20 years ago.


Areas covered in the report include an analysis of issues raised via a survey conducted with over 900 practitioners including:

  • Gender and ethnic diversity
  • Strategic leadership involvement
  • Job roles and titles
  • Workload
  • Access to CPD
  • Qualifications

The findings show that whilst the profession has enjoyed a positive evolution over the last two decades and the SBL’s critical impact on our education system is now undisputed, there are still areas where the system can improve – both in its approach to resource and operations management and the relationship between SBL practitioners and other senior leaders.

We aim to use this report to develop and further refine our professional development proposition.

Stephen Morales, CEO, stated: “This study into the school business profession workforce represents landmark research in the field of education leadership. The findings provide evidence of a professional community coming of age, but also identify areas where our education system could make improvements, particularly in terms of representation and strategic leadership integration.”

Matthew Clements-Wheeler, ISBL Chair, stated: “I am delighted that ISBL has been able to undertake this research. As the professional body working to ensure schools and academy trusts have access to a sustainable supply of sufficient, suitable school business professionals, the information in the survey will inform our work. The information provides further insight into the nature of the roles of those charged with resource management in our education system.

“In commissioning this survey, the trustees and staff of ISBL were determined to add to the sector’s understanding of where, when and how school business practitioners are working in England. This survey has done that and has raised further questions about the differences in status, pay and training available to practitioners. We look forward to unpicking this with employers, officials and ministers during this coming year.

“The number of responses gives the survey data validity and indicates that whilst many professionals are now fully integrated into their leadership teams, too many SBLs remain underpaid and under-resourced in terms of time available to actually do their jobs.”


Notes to editors:

The survey was undertaken by ISBL from September to November 2019, using representative sampling methodology to allow the results to be extrapolated and provide sector-wide insights on the role of the school business professional.

The full report is publicly available from noon on Thursday 23 January 2020 at

Further press enquiries for information or comment should be directed to

Back to News