Professional Membership Grades Revealed

The National Association of School Business Management has announced the list of new membership grades which will apply when it converts to the Institute of School Business Leadership at the end of November.

ISBL tiers of membership

The new institute, which will quickly become known as the ISBL, will have five professional membership grades when it launches. Existing full NASBM members and Fellows will be ‘grandfathered’ across to the new ISBL membership grades.

The new membership grades will be:

  • Affiliate member
  • Student member
  • Associate member
  • Full member
  • Fellow

This represents an expansion in the number of membership categories and is designed to allow new entrants to the profession to join the institute and enjoy the status of being part of their professional body whilst still in training.

At the top end of the profession, the ISBL will retain Fellowship as the senior membership level. Practitioners achieving this status will continue to be qualified to at least Level 6. In addition, they will have significant leadership responsibility gained over a number of years in their school or multi-academy trust setting and be deemed by their peers to be contributing towards the improvement of the school business leadership profession.

In a letter to NASBM’s current members, Commercial and Business Development Director Bethan Cullen, explained the importance of school business professionals being able to demonstrate their level of proficiency.

Increased accountability

Extract from Cullen’s letter to members


The ISBL’s activities will build on NASBM’s 20-year legacy and that of the former National College suite of SBM programmes to define best practice, to steward a range of tiered professional qualifications and to hold members to account via a requirement to undertake ongoing development and training.

Whilst membership of the Institute of School Business Leadership will not be mandatory, the introduction of rigorous membership grades, clearly linked to a formal qualifications pathway overseen by a professional institute is expected to give candidates an advantage at interview and, increasingly, to become an industry expectation.

“To maintain membership…CPD will need to be recorded annually”

Cullen was very clear in her letter to members when she said “to maintain a membership at any level, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) will need to be recorded annually”. She went on to say that the ISBL would hold members to account for undertaking a specific minimum amount of training and development every twelve months.

Student members of the ISBL will be required to undertake a minimum of 7 hours of CPD a year, rising to a commitment to complete 35 hours annually to maintain Fellow status. For many practitioners, this will be easy whilst undertaking formal study programmes, it will become an added element each year once qualified to ensure practitioners’ skills remain current.

In a new development for NASBM as it transforms into the ISBL, members will have access to an online portal to record their CPD.

Given the wealth of training currently available for SBMs/SBLs/COOs/CFOs and the clear signals from both the DFE and the EFSA around the importance of school business professionals, the future for the ISBL and its members looks bright.