A career in school business management

School business managers make a significant contribution to the effective financial management of a school, saving on average 20–33 per cent of a head teacher’s time and covering their own salary in savings. Obtaining the services (shared or full time) of a high quality business manager should be a priority for all governors and head teachers ...”

Source: The Importance of Teaching, The Schools White Paper, 2010

Efficient school business management is widely recognised as an integral part of helping schools make the best use of their resources to support effective teaching and learning of pupils, consequently enabling head teachers and other leaders to focus on leading that teaching and learning. The profession is an enticing and exciting career option, offering significant responsibility and varied roles.


Evolution of school business management roles

Current government policies are driving a shift of responsibility for strategic decision-making and management of school resources away from central government and local authorities towards individual schools and academy trusts. SBM professionals have a key role in managing this transfer of accountability and this devolvement of responsibility to schools has enabled many of them to develop their existing school support roles into significant management and leadership positions. 

According to NASBM research, SBM professionals have moved into the profession from the private sector – from financial, banking, leadership, management, IT, premises and HR roles. 


Responsibilities of the school business management professional 

The responsibilities of a school business management professional, as defined by the NASBM Professional Standards, include:

  • Leading Support Services
  • Finance
  • Procurement
  • Infrastructure
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing

Roles, levels of responsibility and salaries vary from school to school as do the job titles relating to school business management roles – School Business Manager, Bursar, Finance Officer, Office Manager, Director of Finance, Director of Resources, Head of School Support Staff, Administrator, Secretary. Many SBM professionals are members of school leadership teams although this is not always the case. 


Moving from other sectors into school business management

Some SBM posts require specific experience and school business management qualifications (see SBM Qualifications and Competency Framework) but many will not and are therefore open to professionals currently working outside of education.

See the resources and related information for more information on training for those considering a career in school business management

Resources and related information

Job vacancies

Many schools advertise SBM vacancies on the Job section of the NASBM website.  Vacancies are also advertised in the local press and online.

SBM sample job descriptions

Example job descriptions are located in the NASBM member library.

Courses and qualifications

There are three specific School Business Management courses for new or experienced professionals, each leading to a different level of qualification:

  • Level 4 Diploma in School Business Management 
  • Level 5 Diploma in School Business Management
  • Level 6 Diploma in School Business Management 

Further details are available here.

NASBM Professional Standards

NASBM Professional Standards were launched in November 2015 and provide a clear blueprint for school business management. They can be used by SBM professionals as a self-assessment and identify areas for CPD..


NASBM welcomes members from all school business management settings and roles, including those seeking to join the profession. Find out how NASBM membership can help you to develop your career here.

Case studies

From SBM to headship - why not?

Going cashless is the future

More than financial management

Further reading

School Business Management: Impact and evaluation update 2009-2010 (National College of Schools and Children's Services, 2010)