7 Courses and qualifications every School Business Manager should attain

SBM courses and qualifications header

For School Business Managers across the country, every day is an opportunity to learn and grow. Broadening your skills and acquiring new knowledge leaves us better equipped to do our jobs.

But where do you start and what courses are relevant to our work? In this article, we’ll give you seven options that help SBMs of all experience levels to further themselves and better their careers.


7 Essential SBM courses and qualifications

Focus on personal development with these courses and qualifications for School Business Managers.


1. School Business Manager: Developing the Role

Designed for both aspiring and existing business managers, this free Open University course is an ideal starting place for SBMs who want to stay in tune with the latest developments in the industry.

The course states that learners will see how they can work effectively to support school activities and stakeholders. Learning outcomes include:

  • review a job description for a business manager that takes account of today's context
  • understand how a business manager can support teaching and learning and all stakeholders
  • understand and use a range of analytical tools
  • apply these analytical tools to your school's situation, in particular responding to government agendas
  • understand how benchmarking data can be used to compare and contrast expenditure and resource management.

Head over to the Open University website for more information.


2. Diploma in School Business Management

If you’re already in an SBM role, chances are you’ve already taken a similar course to the Diploma in School Business Management. For many schools, it’s considered a minimum requirement for attaining the role.

Over 15-16 months of study, the Level 4 Diploma for Business Management is the first of four tiers in the programme. Accredited by The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) and aligned with the standards set by the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL), the course is an ideal place to secure real accreditation tailored to the role.

The Diploma contains mandatory units that align with the day-to-day duties of an SBM:

  • Leading Support Services
  • Procurement
  • Finance
  • HR

Take a look at the SBM partnership for more information on the course, including where the next three tiers (Level 5, 6 and 7) will take you if you want to further develop your knowledge.


3. Certificate in Strategic Educational Leadership

Taught at the University of Chester (but fully available for remote learning), the Certificate in Strategic Educational Leadership is an opportunity for SBMs to home in on one aspect of educational leadership and master it.

The learning outcomes aim to develop in-depth knowledge of a particular topic area, studying the relevant literature and critically evaluating related concepts and theories. The module content includes:

  • Leadership theories
  • Culture within education
  • Critical incident analysis
  • Leading change in education

For those looking to progress further, the pathway continues to the Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Leadership and then a Masters in Educational Leadership. You can find out more about it on the ISBL website.


4. CIPS Award for School Business Professionals

Based on the global standard set by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), this course has been adapted to the challenges faced by School Business Professionals like you. Recognised by the Department of Education, you’ll study:

  • Driving Value through procurement and supply
  • Managing Expenditures with Suppliers
  • Developing Contracts in procurement and supply
  • Sourcing Essentials in procurement and supply
  • Effective Negotiation

A 12-month course with around 100 hours of study, you can find out more about the CIPS Award for School Business Professionals on the ISBL website.


5. Management of Health and Safety in Education

The next two suggestions come from Cheryl Campbell in a blog she wrote for us back in 2019. Designed for everyone from caretakers and admin staff to teachers and senior management, the 2-day course trains learners on how to regulate and oversee health and safety in the classroom and wider school environment.

It’s accredited by the Institute of Safety and Health (IOSH) and covers off these significant areas of Health and Safety:

  • Health and Safety Legislation
  • Risk Assessment and Risk Control
  • Common Hazards and Controls
  • Health and Safety Management Systems
  • Reporting and Investigation of Accidents

You can find out more about the Management of Health and Safety in Education here.


6. Diploma in Human Resources Management

While HR is an area that is touched on in many of these courses, it pays to have in-depth knowledge of one of the most important aspects of SBM life. You’ll find many providers of Human Resource Management courses and certifications, but the best place to start is on the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) website.

There, you can find the pathways for a wide range of HR Diplomas and Certifications they that provide.


7. Aspiring School Business Managers programme

One final course for those who have come here with the aspiration to be a School Business Manager. The SBM partnership delivers the Aspiring School Business Manager programme with four start points throughout the year.

Taking 6-7 weeks to complete online, the course provides an introduction to the role and prepares you to study the Level 4 Diploma programme (see point 2).

You can find out more about the Aspiring School Business Managers programme on the SBM partnership website.


Know of any more courses that we've missed here? Head over to our Twitter channel @gls_education and let us know!