School Business Manager

School business managers (sometimes known as bursars or finance directors) play a crucial strategic role in schools, making the most of the available resources to ensure teaching and learning get the financial support they need. They are the senior financial and administrative manager in a school, and often lead a team of support staff.

What’s involved

School business managers generally bring their professional expertise and experience to bear on a wide range of financial management issues including:

  • Keeping accounts and reporting on the school’s financial position
  • Advising the head teacher and governors in financial matters
  • Assisting the head teacher on income generation and marketing the school
  • Managing the procurement process, including service contracts, licences and insurance
  • Recruiting,training and managing school support staff
  • Managing facilities
  • Responsibility for health and safety within the school


Skills and experience you'll need

  • Experience in accounting and finance
  • Excellent speaking and writing skills
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • The ability to handle large budgets
  • People management
  • IT skills

Entry Requirements

You'll need a strong background in finance, management or similar to become a school business manager. An accountancy qualification is a very common requirement in this job.

You may have an advantage with a foundation degree or degree, orporfessional qualification in accountancy, business management, public administration or human resources.

You may be able to start as a school administrator or secretary. You'll usually need five GCSEs including maths and English. With experience, you could then apply for promotion to office manager or business manager.

If you are already working as a school administrator you may wish to work towards the School Administration Foundation Certificate offered by Anglia Ruskin University. The course is offered through a mix of face-to-face and distance learning. It may help you to increase your professional knowledge and prepare you for further study.

Alternatively, you may find it useful to take other qualifications in accounting or management. 

Training & Development

You may be able to boost your skills by taking qualifications in school business mangement which are awarded by the Institute of Leadership & Management and offerend by a number of course providers.

Courses include:

  • Level 4 Diploma in School Business Management - previously the Certificate of School Business Management (CSBM)
  • Level 5 Diploma in School Business Management - previously the Diploma of School Business Management (DSBM)
  • Level 6 Diploma in School Business Management - previously the Advanced Diploma of School Business Management (ADSBM)

The names of qualifications have changed although you may find that some course providers still use their previous titles.

Visit the National Association of School Business Management for more information about courses. 

You could progress in your career by moving to a larger school with a bigger budget.