Professional development for school business professionals 

In a changing and increasingly demanding workplace, the requirement for school business professionals to undertake qualifications and training that help to maintain and enhance their capability which also demonstrate their competence and professionalism is becoming increasingly important.

Changes in items such as legislation, working practices, market conditions and technology continually transform the workplace and drive the need for school business professionals to commit to professional development.

This commitment will help the school business professional to manage their own learning and growth throughout their career. School business professionals, because of the specialist nature of their roles acknowledge the need to keep up to date and will make every effort to plan their development accordingly.

ISBL will support our members in their drive to apply knowledge and understanding to their roles.

The Institute will support members by encouraging the development, maintenance and enhancement of skills, competence and the application of professional judgement throughout their career.

We will support and encourage employers as they strive to provide a learning environment for school business leaders.


What does professional development mean for you?

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 via the membership portal.

Planning and completing your professional development will provide a number of benefits. These include:

  • Peer parity with other professionals in the workplace
  • Keeping up to date with technology, legislation and workplace requirements
  • Enhancing your future employability
  • Demonstration of your commitment to the school business leadership profession – becoming a role model for others
  • Providing personal satisfaction that your career has structure and value


How does professional development work?

Professional development relies upon the school business professional taking ownership of their career and identifying in a structured and realistic way the steps that will need to be taken to keep up to date.

It’s important for ISBL members to consider that professional development is something that can, and invariably does happen in a variety of ways. Professional development isn’t always a linear activity, in fact almost 80% of your development will be completed in the workplace by undertaking activities that might include special projects, secondments or activities that are new and novel.

Professional Development doesn’t have to be costly. The School business professional must be able to identify:

  • Where am I now?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • How am I going to get there?

Tools such as the professional development cycle, shown below, are extremely useful in helping professionals to identify and assess their needs:




















A portfolio of evidence (such as the ISBL online member CPD tool) will help school business professionals to review the progress of development throughout the year. The portfolio is an effective resource as it allows the school business professional to demonstrate that activities have been completed and may help to justify additional investment in future professional development (both in terms of time or money) by the employer.

Professional Development is always best when supported by a mentor or a coach.

If you are interested in finding some assistance, or would like to offer your support to others please email:, as we hope to launch a coaching and mentoring program later this year.


Types of Professional Development

ISBL is committed to approaching professional development and professional development programmes in a way that’s consistent with other professional bodies that operate within the education sector.


Initial Professional Development (IPD)

Initial Professional Development (IPD) typically takes place at the start of a school business professional’s role and helps the practitioner to build a specific skill or expertise that will underpin their competence in line with professional standards.

Initial Professional Development typically consists of a formal structured training programme such as an apprenticeship or graduate programme.

Apprenticeships offer aspiring and practicing school business leadership professionals with the opportunity to combine practical training and study.

ISBL has led the development of a number of new apprentice programmes that have been specially contextualised for the education sector. These programmes will offer a route to ISBL Membership and provide an exciting opportunity for professional and personal development.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a process of building, maintaining and enhancing your knowledge.

CPD helps you plan your development, review what you have learnt and evaluate the effectiveness of your activity.

Your commitment to CPD is important as the activities you choose will help to underpin your validity and competence as a School Business Leader

CPD is typically undertaken in a variety of ways – work based learning, short courses, formal study programmes, secondments, placements or mentoring & coaching can all be considered as relevant activity

CPD is not always formal and linear, it relates to learning a new skill or undertaking a new task.


CPD Policy

We require our Members to take responsibility for their own professional development.

Underpinned by the Professional Standards, CPD is an integral component of your professional journey. CPD is personal to you and your own development needs and therefore any activities must be owned and managed by you.

We recognise that your CPD activities must be owned and managed by you. We ask you to ensure that any activities that you undertake are:

  • relevant to you and your career

  • able to support the development of your knowledge and expertise

  • planned, executed, recorded and evaluated to demonstrate the impact on you and your role

  • varied – this is because we recognise that our members will have differing access to resources and activities that support their own professional journey 

For further information please read our CPD Policy.