Our history

The Institute can trace its origins to informal gatherings amongst the earlier pioneers of state school business leadership over 40 years ago.

As our education system has evolved, the education workforce has had to adapt. As schools continue to be afforded more local autonomy, and with it more direct accountability, the need for well-trained, qualified and competent school business professionals (SBPs) has become increasingly important in all school leadership structures.

Between 2001 and 2012, the National College led a government-sponsored programme to develop thousands of SBPs.

The coalition government favoured a move towards a sector-led, self-improving system, which signalled the end of National College SBP sponsored programmes.

To continue the important SBP workforce professionalisation work initiated by the National College, in 2017 ISBL became a nationally recognised professional body by being granted the prestigious status of institute.

Our role in the education system

ISBL’s principal function is to provide all education stakeholders with confidence in the capability of school business professionals. In order to adequately serve our education system, this workforce needs to consist of technically competent, 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, research and events.

Helping secure a brighter future for our children: A blueprint for school business leadership practice

This is a statement of ISBL’s intent, with effective school resource management at its core. It sets out our vision and commitment to supporting the ongoing development of a critical, fit-for-purpose workforce, along with the necessary steps towards equipping a cadre of professionals ready and able to support other school and trust leaders in responding to the complex challenges of our evolving education system.

Download a copy of the ISBL blueprint here.

How we influence 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. In essence, we act as the conduit between policy and practice.

We support all school business professionals

We recognise the professional diversity that exists within the SBP community. In a mixed-economy education system, it is inevitable that there will be a variety of operating models – some very large and some much smaller. The structures that support these organisations will differ, as will levels of responsibility, accountability and complexity. It is therefore unsurprising that there are many versions of the SBP role.

As an institute, it is our aim to develop and support practitioners at every stage of their career journey, whether they are an aspiring SBP, a practitioner in a standalone setting or indeed operating at an executive level across a number of schools.

Our vision, values and focus

Our vision

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]


Articles of Association

To view the articles of association, please click here.

Annual Accounts

To view our most recent annual accounts, please click here.