As you read these words, you’ll likely be contemplating your intake for the coming academic year and how your attainment outcomes may affect the review of, and requirements for, additional development among your teaching staff.
However, your team extends far beyond the teaching and learning on offer in your school. You’ll also need to consider the training and development opportunities available to your school business professionals.
A few years ago, this process was much more straightforward. The National College for Teaching and Learning (NCTL) provided the only dedicated suite of training programmes intended for these colleagues, and for a significant period, bursaries were readily available.
When it comes to the qualifications available and the next steps these professionals should take presently, we’ve found ourselves facing the same questions posed by a multitude of colleagues and employers. There are now a range of new qualifications available, and a variety of career points that can be reached.
The old programmes originally introduced by the NCTL, such as the Certificate in School Business Management (CSBM) and Diploma in School Business Management (DSBM), are still valid qualifications that provide excellent starting points for practitioners to build upon with further learning and development.
The question, however, is which programmes, through which providers and via what learning methods they should pursue. With the myriad new qualifications available, and with few, if any bursaries to call upon, school leaders naturally want to ensure that they’re investing in the most appropriate training opportunities – and perhaps whether any funded apprenticeship routes might exist which offer the same learning outcomes.
To correctly identify the best training and development route for yourself or a colleague, you must first understand what training needs need to be met. These can then be used to assess the various training programmes on offer.
As a school leader, you can use the ISBL Professional Standards (see isbl.org.uk/standards) to identify the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the team responsible for your school business and governance. In a primary school, some of these activities may be shared across multiple members of the SLT.
The standards set out a clear blueprint for effective school and academy business leadership. They impose no glass ceilings on the profession, but continue to recognise that practitioners are at different stages in their professional journey.
From this analysis you’ll be able to understand the development needs of your team in conjunction with your strategic aims, and thus be better placed to consider which of the training routes and programmes available to you best meet these needs.
Paul Robertson is Professional Development Manager at the Institute of School Business Leadership; the organisation has developed a career pathway for SBPs with clear entry points, highlighting the training and CPD available based on career route and experience, which can be found at the ISBL website via tinyurl.com/isbl-pathways