Level 6 Diploma in School Business Management (ADSBM)

Level 6 (ADSBM) programme details – see latest information below

The Level 6 (ADSBM) programme develops the knowledge and skills of experienced SBMs, enabling them to work more strategically and enhance their contribution in complex settings.

See important update for 2017 below

We recommend that you complete the Level 5 (DSBM) programme first, although we do welcome applications from eligible applicants who would like to proceed straight to the Level 6. You may be asked to provide further information about your professional and academic background as part of your application.

Key features of our programmes include:

  • 15-16 months blended learning programme (includes 3 separate 2-day workshops, 6 days in total)
  • Fully accredited programmes
  • Online support and networking opportunities also available within your group forums

Who can apply?

July 2017: the Level 6 (ADSBM) programme is under review and no longer available in its current format. It is due to be replaced by the new Level 6 School Business Director Degree Apprenticeship (due to be launched in 2018). Click here for further information on apprenticeships for schools-based staff.

Please contact us for further information or to register your interest in the new Level 6 degree apprenticeship programme. E: sbmpartnership@serco.com 

The Level 6 Diploma (course code: 280) is aimed at experienced school business managers (SBMs). To be eligible applicants must be a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Please contact us if you need to discuss your eligibility for the most appropriate programme.

The programme is intended to allow professional SBMs opportunities to reflect on, apply and evaluate the unit content to their professional and personal development needs and those of their schools. 

Previous participants have valued the opportunities to network at this professional level and this networking is an integral component of the learning process.

Throughout the programme there are opportunities to develop professional and technical skills in key areas at the heart of the SBMs role.  These include leading and managing initiatives that will lead to income generation, sponsored innovation, service improvement, maximising resources for teaching and learning and making efficiency gains. There is particular emphasis on the role of the entrepreneurial SBM in managing strategic finances.

Need more information? Please see the links under Key Documents panel (on the right) to print or download helpful documents.

Not sure which level to apply for? See our simple, new guide ‘Which programme should I choose?’ (under Key Documents, right) which helps to distinguish between each level of study so you can choose the best level for yourself.

Full Programme or Unit Study

Level 6 is available to study as a Full Programme or an Individual Unit (for pre-arranged groups). 

  1. Full Programme

    What’s involved?

    The Level 6 Diploma (course code: 280) will take between 15-16 months to complete and comprises 4 phases divided into 6 units.

    You will complete the units using a variety of learning opportunities, including 6 face-to-face sessions, online units, school-based projects, guided and independent research activities and private study.

    The 6 face-to-face sessions are divided into 3 separate 2-day workshops (we are able to provide accommodation, please see price list for details). In order to successfully complete the programme you are required to attend all 6 face-to-face sessions.

    For the face-to-face workshop sessions the programme will normally be delivered to a single national programme group at a location in central England (usually the West Midlands).  The exact location for the workshops will not be confirmed until after the application round has closed and you have been formally offered a place on the programme.  At the point of offering places you will be advised of the date and location of all workshops, allowing you to make an informed decision before finally accepting your place. 

    Our Level 6 Diploma and units are based on standards developed by the National Association of School Business Managers (NASBM) and recognised by the  National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). We have continued to develop and update the materials for the Level 6 Diploma (ADSBM) since the programme began in 2011.

    NB: ILM accreditation for both the full programme and units is available at an additional charge.




  2. Individual Unit

    If you wish to study the Level 6 programme spread over a longer period of time, or to improve your skills in only one specific area, an individual unit may be the right option for you. This option is normally only available to pre-arranged groups, e.g. MATs, cluster groups, local authorities, etc. Note: you cannot complete the full programme via individual units alone – please contact us to discuss your options and availability of individual units.

    Individual units (available to school/ academy groups) can count towards your final qualification should you decide to undertake the full programme within 2 years of completing a unit. The price paid for the individual unit(s) completed will be deducted (in full or in part) from the full programme cost should you apply within this time period – please contact us for details.

    The study period for an individual unit is approximately 16-17 weeks. All Level 6 unit options are studied online.

Ready to apply?

Important update (July 2017): the current Level 6 (ADSBM) programme is no longer available in its current format. The alternative for many will be the Level 6 School Business Director Degree Apprenticeship (SBDDA), with up to 100% funding possible (for levy-paying schools), which should become available from 2018  (subject to Institute for Apprenticeships approval process).

Click here for more information about trailblazer apprenticeships for school business managers. 

To register your interest in the proposed SBDDA please email us on sbmpartnership@serco.com and we will update you once further details are available during Autumn 2017.

Upcoming schedule:

  • Level 6

    Blended Learning

  • £1960
  • or 2 staged payments of £1235 & £823
  • Apply by: please contact us
  • Start Date: n/a
  • Apply Now
  • Level 6

    Blended Learning

  • £1960
  • or 2 staged payments of £1235 & £823
  • Apply by: please contact us
  • Start Date: n/a
  • Apply Now
  • Level 6

    Individual Unit

  • £357
  • Next Unit: Available to groups
  • Apply by: Contact us for details
  • Start date: n/a
  • Apply Now


PLEASE NOTE: The above prices exclude overnight accommodation costs (if required) for the face-to-face workshops. Costs inclusive of overnight accommodation are £2410 (single payment) or 2 staged payments of £1518 & £1012. You can, of course, arrange and pay for accommodation separately yourself.

All prices exclude (but are subject to) VAT.


Our Programmes