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The Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) releases revised professional standards for the business profession

The Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) has released revised professional standards for the business profession, which set out the core and specialist areas of competency required to operate at four levels of practice, from entry level to executive business leadership.

The standards have been revised through extensive collaboration with the sector – including NAHT, which formally endorses them – alongside other representative bodies and professional bodies including The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Additionally, the revised standards have been recognised by the Department for Education as the key reference document for evaluating professional competency.

The aim of the standards is to establish a clear blueprint for effective school and academy business leaders, and they celebrate existing best practice. The standards outline the six main disciplines of school business leadership, along with six principal behaviours required to be effective in the school business profession.

The six main areas are:

  • Procurement
  • HR
  • Estate Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Operational Leadership (which sits at the heart of the framework).


Who are the standards for?

The standards can be used by both school business professionals and those who employ them. Further guidance for employers on how best to utilise the standards is expected to be released later this year.

How can the standards be used?

The standards can be used to support the recruitment, performance management and ongoing development of school or trust business professionals.

They can be used in the following ways:

  • Self-Assessment: school or trust business professionals can use the framework for identifying areas of particular strength and areas for self-improvement or development.
  • Recruitment: the standards can be used to help identify the range of tasks and responsibilities associated with any business professional role; help identify the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to effectively perform in any given role and in a range of contexts; and/or help employers to develop appropriate job descriptions and person specifications.
  • Performance management: the standards can be used to form the foundation of performance expectations across the range of practitioner levels and discipline areas.
  • Developing strong teams: the standards can provide a framework to assess capability and develop high-performing teams, ready and able to respond to the complexities of school or trust operations across the range of defined discipline areas; they can also help to inform decisions on organisational design, structure and leadership/executive team configuration.
  • Training and continuing professional development (CPD): the standards can provide a contextualised reference point for those with relevant qualifications acquired outside of the education sector (e.g. accountancy or HR) and act as a conduit between experience and qualifications, and should help guide employers and school or trust business professionals to appropriate formal and accredited CPD activity.
First published 13 June 2023

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NAHT Life focuses on helping retired members receive excellent trade union services and allows you to continue to play an active volunteer role within NAHT regions and branches, if that’s what you choose to do!

Please note to qualify for the benefits of NAHT Life membership you must join NAHT life within six months of retiring. 

Please ensure NAHT has your correct post-retirement contact details.

NAHT is currently reviewing, renewing and refreshing its services to support NAHT life member.

The Life Members' Sector Council (LMSC)

Whether leaving a labour of love or embracing a life of leisure, there can be no doubt that retirement from school leadership marks a huge change in lifestyle. There will be adjustments to make, new challenges to take and a range of new opportunities. At a time like this, it is important that our experienced members do not lose all the support they received in their working life. Our life members’ committee is here to ensure members are supported in retirement.

This committee feeds its extensive wealth of experience and know-how to support the work of NAHT. It also gives our life members the chance to make important contributions to our campaigns for working members.  

The committee, which meets four times a year, is made up of one elected representative from each of our regions, with the addition of one place each for Northern Ireland and Wales. And these elected committee members, normally, serve a three-year term.

Areas of focus for the committee include the following: 

  • Current legislation issues eg pension provision
  • Action against discrimination, including age discrimination.
LMSC chair

John Killeen (National Executive member): john.killeen@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC vice-chair

Nigel Patton: nigel.patton@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC communications officer

Michael Wilson: Michael.wilson@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC deputy communications officer

Eugene Symonds: eugene.symonds@nahtofficials.org.uk

Committee servicing officer

Frances Geddes has the responsibility for working closely with the LMSC as servicing officer. She can be contacted via email frances.geddes@naht.org.uk.

For further details and contact information about all current LMSC members please check out ‘Who’s who’ and the ‘List of LMSC members'.

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