Level 5 Diploma in School Business Management

The Level 5 Diploma in School Business Management forms part of a suite of school business management qualifications accredited by the ILM.

The Level 5 Diploma aims to support the professional learning of experienced School Business Managers (SBMs), or individuals with significant business leadership experience who are developing into this role, to enhance their contribution to the strategic direction of their school. It is aimed at experienced SBMs who are members of, or work closely with, the school’s senior leadership team (SLT).

"The DSBM course equipped me with confidence, improved awareness of the educational setting, improved business skills, ability to operate at a more strategic level, and improving my approach to handling situations”

We offer a distance learning study option.

Level 5 Diploma provides the opportunity to progress on to further CPD and school leadership opportunities.

What is the cost of the Level 5 Diploma?

For details of costs, please see the Price List.

The price you pay is fully inclusive of ILM registration fee, which will give you free membership to the Institute* and a range of studying member benefits.  Membership benefits include access to the LearningZone, the Resource Centre, the Ci Zone and access to Institute events and professional seminars.  On successful completion of the programme you will receive an ILM certificate of your recognised professional qualification.  You may also be eligible to upgrade to become a professional member of the Institute.

*ILM’s partner, the Institute of Leadership & Management, is a specialist membership organisation that raises the professional standards of leaders and managers.

It is possible to pay the cost of the programme by instalments - see the SBM FAQs for details.

Anglia Ruskin University is an ELC Approved Provider and MOD Enhanced Learning Credits can be used towards the cost of this programme. Visit the ELCAS website for further information.

Preferential rates are offered to schools, academies, local authorities and cluster groups who host their own group deliverires

Programme overview?

The Level 5 Diploma is roughly 12 months. During this time you will complete four phases:

  • Phase 1 - Online induction
  • Phase 2 - Leading and managing self and others
  • Phase 3 - Leading and managing the business of schools
  • Phase 4 - Leading and managing school improvement

Download a copy of the Level 5 Diploma Programme Factsheet to learn more about the content of each phase and the programme structure.


"I learnt far more than I expected and this has improved my professional practice in many ways. I now have a far broader view when forward planning and am more confident when managing staff”

In order to undertake the Level 5 Diploma you should be:

  • Employed as an SBM by a state-maintained school, academy or pupil referral unit.
  • Employed by a state-maintained school, academy or Pupil Referral Unit, but not in an SBM role.*
  • Employed by a local authority and visiting schools and/or academies regularly to carry out SBM duties.*
  • Employed as an SBM by an independent school.
  • Employed by an independent school, but not in an SBM role.*
  • Employed by an overseas school which follows the English Curriculum.

*You should have the support of the Headteacher and be able to access any of the school’s policies and data you will need to cover the content of and complete the coursework for all four Phases of the Level 5 Diploma.

In addition you should:

  • (Ideally) Have completed the Level 4 Diploma in School Business Management (or CSBM)
  • Be part of, or be working closely with, the school’s Senior Leadership Team.

If you are not currently employed in the school sector but want to become an SBM then you may still be able to apply as an aspiring applicant.

If you have any eligibility queries then please contact the SBM team on 01245 684355 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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