Administrators and school business managers

Administrative staff provide essential back-up services for the whole school ranging from day-to-day office support to financial and school business management.

Administrative assistants perform a wide range of office support duties including:

  • Data entry
  • Attendance
  • Admissions
  • School trips
  • Photocopying
  • Filing
  • Answering the phone
  • Aspects of school finance.

Senior administrators may be responsible for and manage the operation and delivery of support services within the school, they could be responsible for the management, planning, development and monitoring of all support services.

In addition they will performance manage other admin staff.

School business managers

School business managers (SBMs) are responsible for the strategic and operational management of a number of areas within the school and the role has a set of professional standards that have been developed (November 2015) by the National Association of School Business Management (NASBM).

The professional standards for school business managers are a suite of standards for school businesses management professionals, comparable to those already available for other school staff. These standards are intended to:

  • Set out the core and specialist areas of competence required to be successful in the school business management professional role
  • Assist those currently working in, or aspiring to work in, the school business management profession to perform their role as expertly as possible
  • Set out the content of both initial and continuing professional development for those entering or developing their career in the profession
  • Provide a framework for the development of qualifications and other professional recognition for school business management professionals.

Take a look at the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) presentation given at the SBM 2021 conference. Find out more about ISBL


Disciplines covered in the standards are split into six professional disciplines:

  • Leading support services
  • Finance
  • Procurement
  • Infrastructure
  • Human resources
  • Marketing.

NASBM has split the disciplines in this way to help SBMs and others to navigate the framework, but stresses that they are interconnected aspects of the role.

Using the standards

Using the standards NASBM has suggested that the standards might be used by SMBMs or other stakeholders to support:

  • Self-assessment
  • Recruitment
  • Individual performance management
  • Organisational development
  • Training and development.

Each discipline is subdivided into a number of responsibilities that a school business manager might hold. For each of these responsibilities NASBM suggests what might be expected at four different levels of practice ranging from entry level to senior leadership level. However, it warns that they are non-mandatory and that, "due to the variety of SBM roles in each setting, do not establish a baseline of expected performance".

Personal behaviours

Personal behaviours In addition to the responsibilities and standards, NASBM also suggests behaviours that those in school business management roles should demonstrate. It suggests these individuals should be:

  • Catalysts for change
  • Decision makers
  • Skilled negotiators
  • Collaborative
  • Resilient
  • Challengers.


The SBM can get support from a variety of sources including the NASBM.

NASBM supports the profession of SBMs and is leading on a qualification framework and further professionalising and recognition by securing robust qualifications framework and professional development are at the heart of the evolving role of SBMs.

About NASBM (NASBM website)


SBM qualifications

There are three specific school business management qualifications for new or experienced professionals:

Level 4 diploma in school business management (formerly CSBM)
Level 5 diploma in school business management (formerly DSBM)
Level 6 diploma in school business mManagement (formerly ADSBM)

Further information is available on the NASBM website.

All school support staff

All school support staff can access a range of CPD and training via Ealing CPD online.

In Ealing we specifically commission training for SBMs and their teams which include accredited training such as the level 4 -6 in school business management as well as the Certificate in Public Finance and Accountancy (level 4) (CIPFA website).

In addition to accredited courses there are many one day courses in finance run by the NAHT to support the role and there are a range of courses on team working, customer service, appraisals and leading and management to support the roles within the administration team.

  • Alison Bennett, School workforce and governance development: 8825 6689/ 07545 412205
Was this page useful? 
Last updated: 03 Mar 2023

Ealing Learning Partnership