ILM Level 4 Diploma for School Business Managers

Our next intake for the DSBM online-only course will start in Autumn 2020. 

The ILM Level 4 Diploma for School Business Managers (formerly CSBM) is a nationally recognised programme for school business managers. It has been designed to develop professional knowledge, understanding and competencies so that those completing the qualification can contribute effectively to key areas of school business management.

Suitable for both new and aspiring school business managers and school business leaders, the online-only delivery route has the added benefit of being accessible to colleagues nationwide

We also offer individual units to run alongside the full online programme. Please see the Programme Outline section below for details on the individual units we offer. 

Who is this for?

The Level 4 DSBM is part of a suite of school business management qualifications. The programme is designed for existing and aspiring school business managers who wish to enhance both their leadership, management and administrative skills together and their knowledge and understanding of key areas of school business management through a professional qualification.

How to apply

Please complete the online registration form in the right-hand bar to apply for a place.

You will be asked to upload the following as part of your registration:
A signed declaration from your headteacher in which they agree to support you through the programme and confirm that the school will finance the cost of the course.

It will save time if you have this before you start your online registration.

What are the benefits?

The Level 4 Diploma for School Business Managers will equip senior administrators and new SBMs with the operational skills required to be an effective school business manager. Throughout the programme you will:

  • manage resources within a school more efficiently, effectively and sensitively
  • develop an understanding of the purpose of business management in a school context
  • demonstrate leadership and management decision-making skills
  • evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of business management operations within a school
  • understand the nature of school business management
  • gain CPD against the ISBL professional standards

How is it delivered?

The ILM Level 4 Diploma for School Business Managers programme (qualification no. 603/1997/5) is delivered over 12 months.

The ILM credit value of the qualification is 39 to 40 credits, which comprises three mandatory units (35 credits), plus one optional unit of 9 or 10 credits.

The units are:

Mandatory Units Optional Units
  • Leading Support Services in a School
    35 guided learning hours
  • Finance in a School
    35 guided learning hours
  • Procurement in a School
    35 guided learning hours
  • Supporting Human Resource Management in a School
    30 guided learning hours
  • Supporting School Infrastructure and Management
    35 guided learning hours
  • Marketing in a School
    30 guided learning hours

Online learning pathway 

    • An online induction session
  • Two online 1.5 hour tutorials for each of the four units
  • Three online group support workshops
  • Two online assessment tutorials focussing on the requirements for the e-portfolio of evidence
  • Two 1:1 telephone coaching sessions to provide individual support


The programme is accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). 

Evidence for skills/competence-based assessment criteria should be produced in a school environment/context where possible. Evidence for these units is likely to come from naturally occurring activities from the workplace and may include (but is not restricted to):

  • Products from the learner’s work
  • Records of Team Minutes/Agendas
  • Direct observation of the learner’s performance by their assessor
  • Outcomes from oral or written questioning
  • Personal statements and/or reflective accounts
  • Professional discussion
  • Authentic statements/witness testimony
  • Records of External Customer communications
  • Written reports/case studies

What does it cost?

The full cost of the online-only programme including assessment and certification is:

  • The fee for the online model is £1,350 plus VAT, a reduction of £145 from the blended learning model.
  • Members of the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) are entitled to a 5% discount (ISBL membership number required).