School Business Professional Apprenticeship

Level 4 School Business Professional
A group of young professionals gathered around a research paper and pointing
What is a school business professional?

School Business Professionals (SBPs) have a distinct and specialised role within educational institutions.

They are responsible for overseeing and coordinating various financial, site, and support services within the school setting.

SBPs play a crucial role in supporting school leadership teams by effectively implementing their financial and business strategies.

This role typically includes:
  • Drafting and monitoring the school budget, setting up financial controls and reporting on performance to ensure the best value for money is achieved; managing payroll, maintaining accounts and financial reporting to the headteacher and governors
  • Management of the school site to ensure that it provides a safe and suitable learning environment; procurement of goods and services to achieve the best value and overseeing contract management, e.g. staff, catering and maintenance contracts
  • Identification of income generation opportunities on a small scale, supporting the SBD in larger opportunities
  • Preparation of marketing materials and leading a range of marketing activities to add value and promote the school externally
  • Responsibility for managing office and other support staff and for developing and maintaining effective administrative systems, e.g. student record-keeping systems; implementation of school HR processes
  • Ensuring compliance with and implementation of safeguarding and Health & Safety policies so that all stakeholders work in a safe and healthy
Apprentices will benefit from:

Earn while you learn

Gain experience in the education business sector

No learning costs for the Apprentice


Potential career paths of School Business Professional Apprentices…

  • Various finance roles
  • Procurement
  • Infrastructure
  • Governance
  • Project Management
more Information

The apprenticeship will typically take 18 months to complete. 

Entry requirements

Individual employers may set different requirements.


Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths on entry must achieve this level before taking the end-point assessment. 

Knowledge, Skills & Behaviours


What is required for occupational competence


Understands the range of educational funding streams available which are applicable to their educational setting. Has a working knowledge of accounting practices and understands how to apply business principles to the optimum use of funding to support learning outcomes. Understands school compliance issues. Recognises business efficiency and knows the range of data required to inform school business decisions.


Knowledge of school procurement regulations and requirements and how to achieve value for money, including collaborative procurement.

Understands how to manage collaborative processes with other schools in order to share good practice and secure financial efficiencies. Has an awareness of the complexities of procurement law.

Human Resources

Understands the complexities of teaching and support staff contracts, terms & conditions of employment and payroll. Understands educational HR policies, safer recruitment, and compliance with safeguarding priorities and equality legislation. Has an awareness of when to seek legal advice.

Managing Support Services

Knows the impact of educational policies at an operational level in order to support the school development plan. Understands the influence of educational regulatory bodies (DfE, Ofsted, etc). Is aware of Ofsted requirements and the implications these have for the workforce and planning in a school. Knows how to manage the DfE pupil and workforce census and their impact on the school.

Governance and Risk

Has practical knowledge of the supporting documentation governors need. Understands the process of risk management and procures and manages insurance cover for the school to mitigate risks as appropriate. Has relevant knowledge enabling compliance with charitable status and education law. Understands the impact of, and how to implement, safeguarding policy in a school environment.


Understands how marketing can be used to underpin school funding. Knows the marketing priorities of their school and the impact marketing activities can have. Understands marketing activities to promote their school and takes into account e-safety when doing so.


Awareness of the optimum deployment of resources targeted to raise pupil attainment. Understands the significance of physical facilities and digital processes in an educational setting, e.g. facilities repair logs, student data analysis, data security and safe use of social media. Has knowledge of relevant legislation that schools must comply with, such as Health & Safety, Freedom of Information, Employment and Data Protection policies.

Ethical Standards

Understands and demonstrates the highest standards of personal and professional conduct, and applies statutory regulations and provisions.


What is required for occupational competence

Financial and Operational Management

Manages strategies set by senior personnel and drafts budgets that reflect them. Manages the accurate recording and reporting of the school’s finances to inform the senior leadership team who set the priorities for school spending. Completes pre-audit checks. Produces reports that present information and data using a range of analytical processes.

Project Management

Plans, organises and manages processes to ensure value for money for the school whilst supporting education delivery, e.g. contract management, payroll, building maintenance and small development projects. Uses multiple IT packages and specialised schools MIS (management information systems) platforms. Prepares and collates reporting data.

Change Management

Embraces change in a school and influence others in a positive manner.

Works constructively within a team environment.

Communicati on and Relationship Building

Communicates appropriately and effectively with a range of stakeholders including students, parents, governors/trustees, staff, government and local government departments, e.g. DfE/ ESFA, to gain positive outcomes. Has the confidence to question or seek clarification of aspects of school practice when unsure or unclear.

Strategic Management

Manages support services across an entire school whilst also providing guidance to colleagues on the most appropriate use of school funding. Effectively line manages small teams to drive efficiencies.


What is required for occupational competence

Change Catalyst

Keeps up to date with educational policies and embraces change. Self- motivated and supportive of others in working through change.

Decision Maker

Demonstrates a confident approach to decision-making and prioritisation, thus gaining the confidence of others.



Open, approachable and is able to build trust with others. Consults and seeks the views of others and values diversity.


Behaves in a collaborative way with other internal and external stakeholders. Promotes a team spirit and actively demonstrates professional competence in all settings and situations.


Has the ability to adapt to different, changing and challenging situations whilst promoting the highest professional standards.


Is willing to ask difficult questions whilst demonstrating an ethical, fair and consistent approach. Offers a business perspective and supports discussion and debate with professional knowledge and evidence.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is the completion of a project and building a portfolio on the programme, this is done by witness testimony, delivery of knowledge content with a personal tutor on a 1-1 basis, assignment work, work-based documentation evidence and discussion.

Full support from your personal tutor throughout the programme

Your final assessment will be a presentation of the project and the completion of a scenario-based task to complete a governor report on a given subject.

Progression routes

Progression can be to School Bursar, Financial manager, School Governance Manager.

On completion, you can become a member of the Institute of School Business Leaders.

Professional body alignment

Candidates will be eligible to become a Full Member of the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL – formerly National Association of School Business Management) upon successful completion of the apprenticeship. 


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